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Pirog stops Jacobs with one shot in fifth

31
Jul

Dmitry Pirog admires his work after laying out Daniel Jacobs with a single straight right Saturday in Las Vegas. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Sometimes the upward arc of a talented young fighter’s career plummets in an instant.

Danny Jacobs, the hot prospect from New York, and gangly Russian Dmitry Pirog were engaged in a competitive middleweight title match when – BAM! – a straight right from Pirog found Jacobs’ chin and ended both the fight and Jacobs’ considerable momentum on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz undercard Saturday at Mandalay Bay.

Pirog (17-0, 14 knockouts) won one of the 160-pound sanctioning-body titles in only his 17th fight. Jacobs (20-1, 17 KOs) must rebuild.



“I’m happy but there’s a little emptiness right now,” Pirog said through a translator. “I did the job but I’m restless. I think after I take a rest I’ll understand a lot more what happened. I’m happy, though, very happy.”

The fighters, both very good defensive boxers, fought carefully and on even terms for four-plus rounds as each proved to be very difficult to hit.

They both landed punches here and there but none did obvious damage, although Jacobs seemed to buckle under a short barrage in one corner in the second round. No one could’ve seen what would come in the fifth round, except perhaps Pirog.

Jacobs had his back to the ropes when the big punch found its mark and put the Brooklynite flat on his back, apparently out cold for a moment or two. Referee Robert Byrd started to count but stopped when it was clear that Jacobs couldn’t get up.

Jacobs seems to perk up after Byrd signaled the end of the fight, saying he wanted to continue, but it was too late.

He suggested he wasn’t at his best in the wake of his grandmother’s recent death.

“I know I can come back and become a champion,” said Jacobs, who was fine a few minutes after the fight. “I think if I were 100 percent, I could’ve done better. It’s [the punch] one of those things that happen in boxing. Everything happened so fast. I got caught with a punch I didn’t even see coming.”

Pirog apparently did see it coming.

“After the second round, I knew I had him,” he said. “I got him in the second round. I knew I could do it again. I hit him with a straight right [in the second] and I could tell I hurt him. I’m very happy to be taking the belt back to my fans in Russia.

“ÔǪ This is just the first step for me. I knew I’d get a title sooner or later, if not now, then later. I feel I was ready, though. That’s why I feel I deserve it. I put in the work.”

Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Jacobs, said the setback is not a catastrophe for the fighter.

Jacobs and his team hadn’t planned to fight for a world title this early in his career but took advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself. At 23, Schaefer said, there will be plenty more chances for a fighter of Jacobs’ ability.

“Is it a setback? Yes,” Schaefer said. “Is it the end for him? Of course not. He’s 23, well spoken, charismatic. I put this in the drawer of learning experience. There’ll be another night for him. I have no doubt that one day he’ll be a world champion.”

Guerrero dec. Casamayor: Robert Guerrero had little trouble with an aging, but still-capable Joel Casamayor, scoring a one-sided decision in a 10-round junior welterweight bout.

Casamayor, 39, appeared to be in over his head early in the fight as he lost a point because of holding and was knocked down in the second round. However, the old man, a former two-time titleholder, retains some of his craftiness even if his reflexes aren’t what they used to be.

Guerrero (27-1-1, 18 KOs) controlled the fight with effective aggression and landed some big shots — particularly several straight lefts — but he had to work hard to find openings even though Casamayor offered little in the way of offense.

Casamayor (37-5-1, 22 KOs) did provide a scare in the 10th round, flooring his stunned opponent with a clean left, but the Cuban was unable to follow up.

The scores — 98-89, 98-89 and 97-90 — seem to indicate that the fight was an utter mismatch but it was reasonably competitive.

Guerrero weighed in at 138¾ pounds, which is between the lightweight and junior welterweight limits. His ability to go either direction could work in his favor as he pursues opportunities to fight for another major title.

The resident of Gilroy, Calif., mentioned the possibility of fighting Marquez at 135 but would also move up to the deep 140-pound division if he receives a good opportunity.

Linares dec. Juarez: Rocky Juarez might be out of chances.

Jorge Linares of Venezuela thoroughly outboxed Juarez to win a one-sided decision in a 10-round lightweight fight and spoil the 2000 Olympic silver medal winner’s hopes of getting another opportunity to fight for a world title.

Juarez (28-7-1, 20 KOs) has failed in five title fights against some of the biggest names in the sport.

The 30-year-old Houstonian stalked Linares for most of the fight but it was the Venezuelan, the more athletic of the two, who did the most damage with crisp, accurate jabs and combinations. He also landed numerous left uppercuts, including one that put Juarez down in the fifth round.

The scores were 99-90, 97-92 and 99-90.

Juarez has lost his last three fights and is 5-8-1 in his last 13 fights.

Linares (28-1, 18 KOs), who injured his left hand in the fifth round against Juarez, has now won two fights since he was stopped in one-round by Juan Carlos Salgado last October, losing his junior lightweight belt, and is in good position to fight for another title.

“I feel good but he clearly won the fight,” Juarez said. “He fought a smart fight. I couldn’t catch my rhythm. I didn’t do what I worked on in the gym. I’m not sure what’s next. I have to seriously think about it.”

ALSO: John Paul Mendy of France defeated Sakio Bika of Cameroon when Bika was disqualified only 1:18 into the scheduled 12-round super middleweight fight for punching Mendy when he was down. Bika (28-4-2, 19 KOs) had knocked Mendy (29-0-1, 16 KOs) down to one knee and then landed a right hook that knocked him out cold.

Heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell (18-0-1, 12 KOs), a former Michigan State linebacker, needed only 1:45 of a scheduled eight-round bout to stop Derek Bryant (20-6-1, 17 KOs).

And Frankie Gomez (5-0, 5 KOs), the 18-year-old prospect from East Los Angeles, stopped journeyman Ronald Peterson (3-3, 3 KOs) 2:14 into a scheduled-round junior welterweight bout.