Undercard report: Walters-Sosa ends in shocking draw
VERONA, N.Y. ÔÇö Nicholas Walters seems like one of those special fighters, the kind that even the simplest touch carries crippling tonnage. The kind whose punches make a distinct audible dull thud when they reach their destination. It’s the disillusion Jason Sosa made Saturday night. The courageous Camden, N.J. powerpuncher thought he could punch with Walters during their scheduled 10-round super featherweight co-feature of the Bryant Jennings-Luis Ortiz HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” show from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino.
And just when everyone in the arena thought Walters would be awarded an easy unanimous decision, more disillusion came after the scorecards were readÔÇöa majority draw on the scorecards of Tom Schreck, who had it 96-94 for Sosa, somehow, and Don Ackerman and Wynn Kintz each had it a 95-95.
Everyone ringside was stunned, obviously the stunned was Walters (26-0-1, 21 knockouts).
The final punch stats revealed what appeared to those watching live. Walters connected on 281 of 622 (45%) total punches, 56 of 188 (30%) jabs and 225 of 436 (52%) power shots. Sosa landed a scant 168 of 873 (19%) total punches, in comparison, connecting on 47 of 263 (18%) jabs and 121 of 610 (20%) power shots. Walters led Sosa 118-39 in body connects and out-landed Sosa (18-1-4, 14 KOs) in total punches in every round.
Walters’ intentions were immediate. Go to the body and weaken Sosa’s legs. He nailed rights and digging lefts to Sosa’s ribs in the first round, stuck with the game plan in the second, and stayed with that idea in the third, occasionally going up top to take advantage of Sosa’s steadily lowered hands.
Sosa, wearing what looked like blue basketball shorts than boxing trunks, didn’t have the speed nor power to stay with Walters. With each passing round, Sosa’s energy level was gradually zapped. Through four rounds, Walters out landed Sosa 109-74 in total punches.
Then in the fifth, with about 2:30 left in the round, Walters plowed a right through Sosa’s high guard and had him reeling backwards and looking bewildered against the ropes. When Sosa landed a punch in the last :30 seconds of the round, Walters just shrugged. At around 2:20 of the seventh, Walters pounded Sosa with a right to the jaw. Sosa, to his credit, still kept coming. He was still willing to endure punishment. In the ninth, Sosa slammed Walters with a straight right, his best punch of the fight, but it not have anything on it, considering the punishment his body took from Walters’ torso shots.
“I was shocked,” Walters said. “I want to move on and see what’s in the future. In in the ring, it’s Christmas, so I personally gave him a round. It’s Christmas, I gave him a round. Apart from that, there’s nothing that happened. I was the hurt him. He missed with a lot of shots. I was standing there all night. I thought I won the fight clearly.”
Gabriel Rosado (22-9, 13 KOs) may have just saved his career with a 10-round unanimous middleweight decision over Joshua Clottey (39-5, 22 KOs). It’s the first time that Rosado had won in over three years. Rosado, working under new trainer Fernando Vargas, looked impressive, ducking from Clottey’s sweeping left hooks and scoring with effective counters. He waded into Clottey, shouldered him up and his defense was far sharper than it’s ever been.
The victory snapped Rosado’s five-fight winless streak.
“Gabriel gave everyone a great performance today,” Vargas said. “This was our first training camp together and I think we are going to keep growing an make great fights together.”
Clottey won three of the first four rounds. He kept missing Rosado by fractions of a second with the left hook. It seemed a matter of time before he would connect and open up Rosado’s fragile scar tissue above each eye. But through five rounds, it didn’t happen. Making matters more interesting was that Rosado began making it competitive. He won the fourth and fifth rounds, it appeared, and the sixth was by far his best. In the last :20 of the round he connected with a right uppercut that caused Clottey’s neck to snap back. Then, Rosado, feeling a little confident, began playing around and lowering his hands.
“It has been more than a year since I have been in the ring, so I did feel a little rust,” Rosado said. “But I feel like this fight really helped me shake it off. Clottey is a tough opponent, former world champion, definitely a challenge for me in my first fight back, but I think that training with Fernando really helped me. I listened to him, made sure to do what he told me and focused on my hand speed. I think that I delivered an entertaining fight tonight and I was happy with my performance. I have great respect for Joshua Clottey, he is great fighter an African warrior. I am ready for my next big challenge, I would like a shot at Canelo (Alvarez) next.”
Rosado’s defense was far improved, forcing Clottey to swing and miss. After seven, Rosado’s face held together. His punch output increased, while Clottey didn’t do much of anything after the fourth round. Gradually, Rosado began getting stronger and the punch stats bear that out. According to punch stats provided by Lee Groves, “Rosado won with trademark hustle and it got stronger as the fight went on. He averaged 72.6 punches per round in the first five and accelerated to 83.6 in the final five. Clottey, known for accuracy but low output, averaged 48.8 in the first five but dropped to 42.2 in the final five.”
Rosado landed a total of 166 of 791 (21%) punches, 20 of 302 (7%) jabs and 146 of 489 (30%) power shots. Clottey connected on a total of 133 of 455 (29%) punches, just 18 of 99 (18%) jabs and 115 of 356 (32%) power shots.
“King” was rewarded with winning scores of 97-93 from judges Glenn Feldman and Wynn Kintz, and 96-94 from judge Don Trella.
“This was an off night for me,” Clottey said. “I do think that the fans enjoyed the fight. We are both fighters that do not like to back down. However, I don’t feel comfortable at this weight class, I want to go back down to 154 and continue to fight at junior middleweight.”
Another undercard fight served as a stark example of how the mighty can fall to fighting before thousands of empty seats. Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1, 17 KOs) looked headed to stardom at one time. Then the former Cuban Olympian got starched by Terence Crawford in the ninth round on June 28, 2014, and was knocked down in the fifth, eighth and twice in the ninth. He had an easy comeback fightÔÇöthen disappearedÔÇöpoof, he was gone for over a year.
Gamboa re-emerged Saturday, once a main event fighter now relegated to fighting before scant crowds on undercards and with the new management of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. He took on Hylon Williams (16-2-1, 3 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout. After a 13-month layoff, Gamboa showed flashes of what made him so formidable. And then, periods of time when he looked tired, which translated into a shoddy defense.
Still, Gamboa won the 10-rounder by unanimous scores of 98-92 from judges John McKaie and Glenn Feldman, and judge Don Ackerman had it 96-94. He landed a total of 137 of 572 (24%) punches, 41 of 257 jabs (16%) and 96 of 315 power shots (30%). Williams wonders why he lost. This could be a good reason why: He landed a total of 64 of 343 (19%), just 20 of 155 jabs (13%) and 44 of 188 power shots (23%).
In a real good 10-round light heavyweight bout, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (15-0, 12 KOs) won a majority decision over Yunieski Gonzalez (16-2, 12 KOs). Judges Ackerman (98-92) and Feldman (97-93) had it for Shabranskyy, while judge Tom Schreck scored it 95-95. Tangible fight stats show Shabranskyy as the busier fighter. He landed 261 of 821 (32%) total punches, 115 of 374 (31%) jabs and 146 of 447 (33%) power shots. Gonzalez connected on almost a 100 punches less, landing 178 of 603 (30%) total shots, 61 of 236 (26%) jabs and 117 of 367 (32%) power shots.
“I feel great,” Shabranskyy said. “This fight is the most important and most exciting fight of my career. I did feel a lot of Gonzalez’ punches but I also feel like I hurt him especially in the last round. He was beginning to sway. If I had a little more time, I feel I would have knocked him out. I am very happy to have won and now on to celebrate the holidays and have some ice cream.”