Inside Fights has you covered for tonight’s Top Rank pay-per-view featuring Kelly Pavlik’s middleweight title defense against Miguel Espino. The telecast will be split over two sites and will also feature Humberto Soto vs. Jesus Chavez. Four fights are scheduled for the event and the action kicks off at 9pm ET. Check out our round-by-round coverage and be sure to refresh the page for the latest updates.
It’s showtime and we are ready to go. Four fights are on the docket tonight, including two world title fights. The action kicks off in Youngstown, Ohio. Then we head to Mexico before Kelly Pavlik takes on Miguel Espino in the main event, back in his hometown of Youngstown.
Rich Marotta, Al Bernstein, and Genaro Hernandez are on commentary in Youngstown. Genaro Hernandez won his battle with cancer, and that’s great news. It appears that I, however, will not win the battle to understand what Genaro is saying most of the time.
Vanes Martirosyan vs. Willie Lee (light middleweight)
Referee: Randy Jarvis
Martirosyan has Freddie Roach in his corner. Lee is scurrying inside and getting picked off by counters from Vanes. Lee fires lunging jabs to the body of Martirosyan. Vanes lands a good one-two. A right from Vanes staggers Lee. Vanes goes in for the kill with 60 seconds remaining. Lee is getting battered. Not only is Lee still on his feet, but he lands some good shots in the skirmish. Martirosyan closes out the round strong to clearly win the stanza.
They get into a clinch early. Vanes lands a nice counter right. Vanes gets a warning for a low blow. Lee’s guard is weak as Vanes is getting through with ease and with good power. Lee is pressing the pace as Vanes is choosing to circle and counter.
Willie Lee is still chasing Martirosyan. Lee is having difficulty landing with any accuracy once he gets to his man. Willie Lee lunges in and Vanes catches him with a counter right that puts him down. Lee struggles getting to his feet but gets up at the count of 9, spitting out his mouthpiece in the process. Lee’s corner milks the time to get the mouthpiece back in, giving Lee more time to recover. Vanes swarms Lee at the restart and lands a lot of crisp shots. Lee is in trouble. Lee goes down again and the referee calls a stop to the fight.
Winner: Vanes Martirosyan by TKO at 2:13 of R3
Vanes looked good. Having Freddie Roach in his corner can only add to his confidence. It was quick enough that we have already entered ‘bonus fight’ territory. Would rather have seen Sam Peter or a replay of the Matt Korobov fight but here we go.
Miguel Angel Garcia vs. Yogli Herrera (featherweight)
Referee: Jim Villers
Slow pace to start as the commentators talk about how big the ring is. Maybe it’s because these guys are just really small. Slow, feeling-out process to start. Garcia makes a bit of a move to press the action. Herrera circles, using the big ring to his advantage. Hardly no action from either man this round but I give the edge to Garcia.
Garcia lands a nice left-right that backs Herrera into a corner. Herrera is fighting very defensively, not offering much in the way of punch output. Garcia lands a looping left as Herrera is on his horse. Garcia is trying to cut off the ring but Herrera is a pretty quick mover in the ring.
Garcia has Herrera on the ropes but nothing comes from it as Herrera skips away. Garcia lands a nice right and then a left hook to the body. Herrera is running less and standing in front of Garcia more. Bad move as Garcia puts Herrera down to the canvas. Herrera beats the count and starts to run a little more now. Garcia patiently stalks Herrera and lands a one-two combo that puts Herrera down again. Herrera gets to a knee but allows the count to get to ten. Herrera is counted out. It seemed like he didn’t want to fight any longer.
Winner: Miguel Angel Garcia by KO at 2:19 of R3
Garcia looked good and moved to 19-0 with 16 KOs with the win.
Al Bernstein talks to Kelly Pavlik, who says his hand is 100% now. He downplays the media’s hype of him having a bad year, adding that injuries happen but he has still managed to fight twice this year. Pavlik says that tonight is the night that The Ghost returns.
We are heading to Mexico for the split-site portion of the simulcast.
Before we head to Mexico, we get a replay of Matt Korobov vs. Ken Dunham. Someone is listening to me! They pick up the action in the second round. Korobov throws a lot of heavy shots in this fight, seemingly focused only on power shots. He works the body well on his way to a third-round KO. Korobov actually looks like a miniature version of Oleg Maskaev. Not in terms of fighting style, but visually. I can’t stop thinking of Maskaev when I see Korobov.
Now we go to Mexico.
Humberto Soto vs. Jesus Chavez (lightweight)
Referee: Francisco Laviaga
Chavez presses the action to start. Chavez lands a nice right with Soto’s back in the corner. Soto gets out and catches Chavez as he rushes in. Chavez goes down. He beats the count and doesn’t seem hurt. Soto avoids a right and charges with a combo that misses as well. Soto lands an uppercut and Chavez lands a nice stiff jab before the bell rings.
Chavez comes in strong to start the second round. It doesn’t last long as Soto responds with a strong flurry of punches. A headbutt causes a break in the action. No cut from the headbutt is visible. Chavez comes in strong again and Soto turns him around. Soto screams at Chavez to bring it. Soto in the center of the ring and Chavez forces the action. A nice exchange in the corner. Soto is pushed down. No knockdown is the correct call.
Chavez comes out fiery again and surprises Soto with a shot. Chavez gets Soto against the ropes and attacks the body while Soto does a good job of countering to the head. Chavez lands a good overhand right followed by two jabs from Soto. Soto is starting to pick Chavez off as he gets inside. Chavez gets a little dirty and shoves Soto, prompting a warning from the referee.
It’s a recurring theme at the start of each round. Chavez is fighting the first 30 seconds the way most guys fight the last 30 seconds. Chavez has Soto on the ropes again and works the body. Soto tries to get some licks in until he scurries away. Soto backs against the ropes and lands a beautiful uppercut that elicits a favorable response from the crowd. Chavez comes back at Soto creating a wild skirmish that the fans are eating up. This is a great fight so far. Soto lands two more clean shots before the bell to secure the round.
Soto seems comfortable fighting with his back against the ropes. Chavez forces Soto into the corner and unleashes more body shots, some of them even landing. Soto lands two short uppercuts. Soto with a good body shot. Now Soto is on the attack. Huge right from Soto followed by another. Chavez continues to plug away at the body. Chavez turns and throws Soto through the ropes and into the front row. A point is understandably taken from Chavez. They trade blows until the bell and have a nice staredown after the bell.
The ref tries to regain control of the fight as he talks to the fighters before the start of the sixth round. Soto again beckons Chavez to bring it and Chavez responds with a left to the nads. A warning is given to Chavez while Soto recovers. The fight is restarted and these two are going at it. An absolute maniacal frenzy of punches from both men. This is awesome. They drift apart and gather themselves with one minute remaining in the round. Chavez lands a good shot and Soto responds with three of his own. Chavez’ mouthpiece falls out and he wags his tongue at the crowd.
Two lefts from Chavez back Soto up. Chavez has Soto on the ropes and is really throwing all the way through his punches. Which means his putting some forearm into Soto. Soto wants to engage some more and calls Chavez in. Soto with some good jabs. Soto rips off a multi-punch combo that looks beautiful, but he doesn’t appear to have landed many of them.
Honestly, Soto should just start every round with his back against the ropes or in the corner. Chavez seems a little more discouraged and weary this round. Chavez comes in with a nice right. Soto is moving around a lot more and making Chavez chase him. Soto lands two short uppercuts before the bell and then a right hook after the bell. Chavez must be tired because he doesn’t even cause a stir over the late hit.
Chavez starts with a good body-head combo that connects on Soto. Chavez certainly doesn’t have as much pop on his punches but he’s still putting together a lot of offense. Soto rushes at Chavez and lands a right on Chavez as he’s backpedaling. Chavez’ mouthpiece comes out. Soto rushes in and lands another right after the bell.
Last round and both guys embrace as the round begins. Soto appears to be cruising this round as Chavez chases the younger Soto. Chavez isn’t going for the knockout so much as he looks to be trying to score points. Chavez with a right upstairs and a left to the body. Soto steps it up in the final 45 seconds and we have a slugfest to finish an overall entertaining fight.
Inside Fights scores it 98-90 for Humberto Soto.
All three judges score the fight 100-87.
Winner: Humberto Soto by unanimous decision.
Little time is wasted in moving on to the next fight. Alejandro Valdez has the hometown advantage over the Venezuelan Nehomar Cermeno in this one. Cermeno has the balls to come out to a Madonna song so he must be badass.
Nehomar Cermeno vs. Alejandro Valdez (Interim WBA Bantamweight Title)
Referee: Russell Mora
Valdez is fighting southpaw. Cermeno throws some wild punches and misses. These two are feeling each other out. A clash of heads draws blood over the right eye of Valdez. The cut is ruled accidental. It’s right underneath the eyebrow of Valdez. The round ends with little flare. I’m giving it to Valdez for pushing the pace and leading the action.
They get into a scrum against the ropes and Cermeno lands a left that puts Valdez down. Valdez is up by the count of three. He seemed more off-balance than anything but the cut may be obstructing his vision. They trade punches again and Valdez’ knee hits the canvas, drawing another knockdown. Valdez disputes that he slipped but it’s the correct call.
Both knockdowns in round 2 were of the clumsy variety. Valdez needs to calm down as he appears bothered by the cut suffered in round 1. Cermeno is patient and taking advantage of his seemingly flustered opponent. Cermeno works the jab well. Valdez lands a good right that ignites the crowd but it’s too little too late for Valdez to win this round.
Valdez starts this round off well landing some good jabs but Cermeno responds with solid shots of his own. Cermeno with a strong combo. Uppercut from Cermeno. Valdez lands a good jab and then complains of another headbutt. They get back into it and both men are trading punches. The crowd is trying to cheer Valdez on but every time Valdez connects, Cermeno counters with a more flush response.
Valdez goes to the body and Cermeno answers with a strong right counter to the head. Mex-i-co chants breakout. Valdez stalks while Cermeno circles around the ring. Valdez is trying to make a move and Cermeno allows it to happen with ten seconds remaining. Valdez lands a big left that stuns Cermeno and follows up with two more solid connects as the round expires.
Cermeno tries to be more aggressive to start the round and this is what Valdez wants. Valdez lands two good lefts until a clash of heads causes yet another break in the action. They restart and Valdez seems to have a lot more confidence. Cermeno is clinching more as Valdez is starting to catch up with him when he circles around the ring. Valdez is feeding off the crowd and seems rejuvenated.
The ref calls time right as the round gets underway. The tape on Cermeno’s glove is coming apart and the corner breaks out all of the stall tactics in the book to milk the break. Jab from Cermeno. Good right from Cermeno as Valdez seems to be waiting for a big opening. Cermeno may be too savvy for that. Good left from Valdez. Valdez isn’t doing much to close the distance as he lets Cermeno circle and counter. Valdez cuts off the ring and lands a jab to a retreating Cermeno as the round ends.
Cermeno has his second wind as the flip in momentum has changed in Cermeno’s favor. Good work from Cermeno as this round is more of the same from last round. Valdez is trying to get close and use his power but Cermeno is quick and picking him off.
Valdez is more on the attack. Time is called for a headbutt as Valdez keeps complaining. He seems to be clamoring for a point deduction. Valdez is frustrated and seems out of patience. Cermeno is still gliding around the ring with ease and keeping Valdez away.
Valdez finally gets Cermeno to slow down but Cermeno clinches to avoid punishment. Valdez chases him down and lands a shot that gets the crowd excited again. Cermeno comes in for a nice exchange as the round closes.
Valdez complains about a headbutt early but Cermeno punches him while he complains. Good for him. Valdez complains about a knee from Cermeno and the ref halts the fight and takes a point from Cermeno. Good call as Cermeno kneed Valdez in the groin. Valdez lays lax against the ropes and Cermeno goes to work on the body and more to the head seem to hurt Valdez. Cermeno continues to attack and puts Valdez down. Cermeno actually caught him with another right as he hit the canvas. Valdez gets to his feet but the ref decides to stop it.
Winner: Nehomar Cermeno by TKO at 2:40 of R11.
Valdez was outmatched as Cermeno was just the more skilled fighter.
Back to Youngstown as we get ready for the main event. The announcers mention that Sam Peter won by 4th round KO over Gabe Brown in heavyweight action.
Kelly Pavlik vs. Miguel Espino (WBO/WBC Middleweight Title)
Referee: Steve Smoger
Kelly Pavlik wasted little time in getting to the ring. The crowd chants “Kelly, Kelly!” prior to Michael Buffer’s announcements.
Pavlik goes for a glove tap and Espino throws a left. Pavlik lands some jabs as Espino covers up. Espino goes to the body and seems to be throwing punches to the back of Pavlik’s head. Pavlik lands big body shots. Espino has his guard high, leaving the body open. Pavlik lands an inside uppercut. Espino opens up a little more but it allows Pavlik to open up as well. They trade punches after the bell and Espino gets frustrated and slaps Pavlik in the chest a good five seconds after the bell. Smoger shoves Espino away and deducts a point.
Espino charges in and lands a low blow. Smoger warns him. Espino still works the body and Pavlik responds with body punches of his own. It’s refreshing to see body punch exchanges. Espino is crowding Pavlik and fighting without fear of his opponent or his surroundings. Pavlik is landing the better punches. Espino is looking good even though Pavlik is getting the better of it so far.
Pavlik is starting to land power shots on Espino as the challenger works to get inside. Espino explodes with punch output. Pavlik doesn’t seem to be too concerned with Espino’s power but many of this punches are landing for Espino. Good straight right from Pavlik. Body punches from Espino lead to a low blow. Smoger issues Espino his final warning for low blows. Both men are standing in front of each other, trading shots. Really good action. Pavlik, however, has a smile on his face. Espino did a lot of work in this round and I think it was enough to win the round.
They meet right in the center of the ring again. Pavlik is content to keep this fight on the inside. Right uppercut lands from Pavlik and Espino goes down. He takes a knee and rises at 9. Espino comes at Pavlik making himself an easier target. Espino goes down again, collapsing forward. Espino won’t go away and Pavlik lands another huge uppercut that somehow doesn’t put Espino down. Espino makes it to the bell but it’s not looking good. The fight could have been stopped with ten seconds to go.
Espino rushes to the center of the ring to start the round, as if he can’t wait to get pummeled some more. Espino slows down pretty quickly and Pavlik goes for the kill. Espino eats canvas one more time from a combo that started with an uppercut and beats the count. Smoger tells Espino that one more knockdown will stop the fight. Smoger is definitely giving Espino a figher’s chance here. Espino’s corner is trying to stop the fight but the ref doesn’t see it because he’s intently watching the action. Smoger calls it off himself seconds later.
Winner: Kelly Pavlik by TKO at 1:44 of R5
Kelly Pavlik proved to be too strong for Miguel Espino, who was a very game fighter but a perfect matchup for Pavlik. Espino made a good name for himself as a warrior based on his performance here.
Al Bernstein talks to Pavlik in the ring. He says he felt a little ring rust and used these rounds as a bit of a gut check. He said his hand felt good during the fight, although it feels tender post-fight.
Bob Arum tells Paul Williams’ camp to sign the contract that was laid out before and they can fight under the same terms at the first part of 2010. Arum adds that if they don’t sign the contract, then they need to shut their mouths.
Kelly Pavlik adds that if Paul ducks him, then Kelly Pavlik himself should be the most feared man in boxing. Nice way to end the show and throw the gauntlet down to Paul Williams. It’s a fight fans have been wanting to see and hopefully the deal can be resigned.
That concludes our live coverage. Thanks for joining Inside Fights tonight. Remember to check us out for the latest boxing coverage. You can also check out our live boxing show, The 13th Round, right here Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET. Follow us on Twitter @13thRound.
Tags: Boxing, Humberto Soto, Kelly Pavlik