Alberto Palmetta pulls off mild shocker by stopping Erik Vega in 10 on ShoBox
Erik Vega, making his U.S. debut, and 2016 Olympian Alberto Palmetta are a pair of college graduates. Vega has his degree in business administration, while Palmetta has his in physical education. Too bad neither have degrees in mechanical engineering to do something about the wood planks that got a workout with each bounce the welterweights made in the small, matchbox ring in the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa.
In the early rounds, the ring seemed to make more thunder than Vega and Palmetta did Friday night in their scheduled 10-round main event of Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation.
It took some time, but southpaw Palmetta (13-1, 9 knockouts) turned up the volume, beginning with a right and followed by a barrage of flush punches that forced a stoppage of Vega (16-1, 9 KOs) at 1:03 of the 10th.
At the time referee Mark Nelson waved it over, the judges had Palmetta up, two with 87-84 scores and the other had it 86-85.
Vega was the A-side and was disappointing. The fighter from Tijuana, Mexico, got off to a slow start and never recovered against the decorated Argentinian amateur. Palmetta outlanded Vega with 170/668 total punches (25%) to Vega’s 157/698 (22%), and in power shots, 148/461 (32%) to Vega’s 124/465 (27%).
Houston’s Joe George (10-0, 6 KOs) pulled off a minor upset, of sorts, with a 10-round split-decision victory over Marcos Escudero (10-1, 9 KOs) in a good back-and-forth light heavyweight bout.
Judges Carlos Sucre (Florida) had George 97-94, and Bob Lafratte (Iowa) also had George, 97-93, while Gloria Martinez-Rizzo (Florida) had it 96-94 for Escudero. Sucre gave George the 10th, though he had George ahead by a few rounds, so Escudero would have had to knock George down for a draw and stop him to win.
“I’m not surprised at all by the decision,” George said. “I knew he was a front runner; I knew he was going to get tired. We wore him down. I made the fight a little harder for myself by staying on the ropes a little too long, but we got through it. That’s something that we can work on and improve in the gym.
“I’m really a 168 pounder so that’s where we want to go next. But if he wants the rematch, we’ll give it to him. But we already beat him.”
If you liked volume, you had Escudero winning. George was the more accurate puncher, according to the punch stats that revealed Escudero connected on 146/579 (25%) power shots to George’s higher accuracy of connects of 119/377 (32%). For the fight, Escudero landed 177 of 911 total shots (19%) to George’s 161/545 (30%).
The eighth round of this tilt held some intrigue. It looked as if Escudero, who had previously never been more than seven rounds, had George teetering, and just when it looked like the Argentinian was whittling George down against the ropes, the 30-year-old fighter from Houston fought back and caused problems. He landed a good, looping overhand right, which Escudero reacted to with a smile.
In the ninth, George appeared to hurt Escudero with a right hand within the first minute, forcing Escudero to hold. George, however, let the movement slip. A George right uppercut did gain Escudero’s respect with :14 left in the round.
With 1:50 left in the 10th, Escudero had George pinned against the ropes again with eight unanswered blows.
“No excuses,” Escudero said. “I didn’t do my job. I won the fight 100 percent, but no excuses from us. That’s boxing. I never give up. It’s all part of the game. I want a rematch, 100 percent. I didn’t tire in there. I kept throwing punches. Every time I step in the ring, I give my life. When I’m starting to get tired, I’ll think about my family and get through it.”
In a scheduled eight-round middleweight bout, Uruguayan Amilcar Vidal Jr. (10-0, 9 KOs) made a very successful U.S. debut with a first-round knockout of Zach Prieto (9-1, 7 KOs). Vidal used a left hook, which looked more like an uppercut, on the chin to knock down Prieto, of El Paso, Texas, the first time. Vidal used a barrage of punches to force referee Mark Nelson to wave it over at 2:59 of the first.
“I won the fight in the gym,” Vidal said. “The ring was easy tonight, because of the work we did in the gym. I had a game plan and I executed it to perfection. I had a plan to use the left hook. I waited for the right moment to open up, and when I saw it, I threw it perfectly.”