Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |


Marquis Taylor pulls off the upset in beating Yoelvis Gomez on the Ennis-Villa Undercard

Fighters Network

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Marquis Taylor caught himself a few times. He buried his forehead into the crux of his right arm. And he tried talking again, fighting back the emotion. He had to take a breath just after the scorecards were read Saturday night on the Jaron Ennis-Roiman Villa undercard.

The 29-year-old middleweight, a cut on the far end of his right eyebrow, just pulled off the biggest victory of his career, upsetting undefeated Cuban southpaw Yoelvis Gomez on a PBC event on Showtime from Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Theater.

Taylor (15-1-2, 1 KO) knocked down Gomez in the second towards a 10-round unanimous decision, winning 96-93 on the scorecards of Ronald McNair and Paul Wallace, and 99-90 on Robin Taylor’s card.

“Only through God’s grace am I able to do this,” Taylor said. “I want to thank everyone who put this together. Mom we did it. This is what I wanted to do my whole life. It took me a long time and a lot of battles to make it here. But it was all worth it.

“I proved to myself that I can be in here with anyone and overcome and prevail. This is my second weight class in nine months. I proved it to myself. It’s not about the weight. It’s about skill and hard work and trusting my team.”

At the outset, Gomez (6-1, 5 KOs) was the aggressor. Coming off a 13-month layoff, the longest of his career, the Cuban southpaw went immediately after Taylor, cutting him in the far corner of his right eyebrow in the first round.

“Of course, I’m frustrated,” Gomez said. “The ref kept getting in the way and wouldn’t let me work in the range I wanted, short distance and making Taylor feel me. This is professional boxing. It’s not too much to ask for him to let me go do my job.

“I know that my team is sad right now, but I refuse to mope or hang my head. I’m going to keep working hard and come back even better. You can count on that.”

With 2:01 left in the second, Taylor landed a right on the off-balance Gomez coming off a break, sending Gomez down for the first time in his career.

“I lost my balance when I got knocked down,” Gomez said. “He threw his punch trying to see if it landed and I got caught. I hurt him too, but I couldn’t take him down.”

Gomez did not seem to be hurt, but the shot imbued a wealth of confidence in Taylor, who could not help but catch Gomez with every right he threw.

“I was working inside and staying close and boom,” Taylor said. “Luckily when he threw his shot he kind of fell off balance and I helped him. After I dropped him I was like, okay, the body shots are going to get to him and I knew I had to keep him moving back. I’m going to keep him on his heels.

“He’s kind of a bully in the ring and bullies don’t like to be pushed back like that. I started to get him to second guess himself which took away his confidence in throwing power shots. It’s dangerous when a power puncher has a lot of confidence because you can make only so many shots miss. Some will get through.”

Marquis Taylor could not help but land his right in upsetting undefeated Cuban southpaw Yoelvis Gomez (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime).

The third round went back-and-forth, but Gomez appeared to have problems keeping up with the awkward Taylor. Again, Taylor kept dropping the right on Gomez.

For the most part, however, Taylor was effectively wild, throwing wide shots that landed before Gomez could counter.

Midway through the fourth, Taylor was smothering Gomez, landing body shots, and landing shots as he retreated. After the fourth, Taylor returned to his career with a confident nod and a wink.

In the fifth, Taylor was pushing Gomez back with body shots, and working at a distance more conducive to him than to Gomez.

In the sixth, Taylor went back to punishing the body. Gomez did land a right hook, which was his best punch at that point in the fight. It did not deter Taylor. He kept leaning in and he closed the round by slipping in a quick combination that let Gomez off balance.

“At first I’m not going to lie at the beginning of the fight it was hard because he’s really strong,” Taylor said. “He was doing what he’s supposed to do and that’s use his weight and push me down, so I had to get into his midsection and break him down, so I started tapping that belly and pushing in.

Through six, Taylor looked like he was going to pull off the upset.

Taylor went back to leaning forward with his left shoulder, leaning in to Gomez, and smacking him to the body. When inside, Gomez missed often. With 44 second left in the seventh, Gomez popped Taylor with a left.

Once again, a very confident Taylor returned to his corner and nodded his head to the crowd.

With 1:21 left in the eighth, Taylor pinned Gomez against the ropes and worked well on the inside. When they were inside, Taylor wacked Gomez’ head with tight rights and lefts.

For the first time in his career, Taylor fought into the ninth round. In the last minute of the ninth, Gomez awoke. He landed a straight left that had Taylor stumbling back into the ropes. He spent the rest of the round stalking Taylor.

Before Gomez left for the last round, Gomez’s trainer, Hall of Famer Joe Goossen, told Gomez he wanted to see a knockout. Taylor was clearly hanging on in the last minutes of the 10th. His priority seemed to get out of the round upright than doing anything offensively. Gomez, meanwhile, was trying desperately finish Taylor.

As the final bell rang, Taylor jumped on the ropes, his arms raised in victory.

“We’re fighting at 154 and 160 to keep the window of opportunity as wide as possible,” Taylor said. “Right now we’re calling myself a two-weight division fighter.

“Tim Tszyu – if he wants to stay busy I’ll fight him. Because he’s not going to get that Jermell Charlo fight because of Canelo. I would like to fight him or anyone in the top 5 or top 10 at 160. It’s time for me to fight the best.”

Dominican southpaw Edwin De Los Santos looks great in dismantling Joseph Adorno (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime).

Dominican southpaw Edwin De Los Santos looks great in dismantling Joseph Adorno

Edwin De Los Santos put in the best performance of his career in absolutely dominating the game, though overmatched Joseph Adorno in easily winning a 10-round lightweight decision.

The 23-year-old De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) was coming off a 10-month layoff, the longest hiatus of his career. He was coming off a three-round stoppage over undefeated Jose Valenzuela, getting off the canvas to do it.

No ring rust was apparent.

Judges Robin Taylor and Paul Wallace each had it a De Los Santos shutout, 100-90, while judge Ronald McNair generously gave Adorno a round, scoring it 99-91 for De Los Santos. Only 24, Adorno (17-3-2, 14 KOs) is now 3-3-2 over his last eight fights.

“Adorno came to basically survive in this fight,” De Los Santos said. “We came prepared to show our boxing skills in this fight tonight. I can’t tell you all the tricks we did in training. But we did a lot of hills, climbing, swimming, a lot of boxing, sparring. Again, I don’t want to reveal all of the secrets but that’s some of what was done for this fight.

“I have the potential to be more disciplined and to do more boxing and wait for the big names. I have to just talk to my promoter (about what’s next). But I don’t care. Anyone at 135 I’ll take care of.”

De Los Santos was the more active fighter in the opening round. He got his jab off, while Adorno was left to reacting and not letting his hands go.

In the second, De Los Santos was coming forward, and forcing Adorno to back up. De Los Santos was measured and in the last minute of the round cleaved Adorno’s defense with a straight left. By the end of the round, there was some swelling below Adorno’s left eye.

Edwin De Los Santos simply took apart Joseph Adorno (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime).

Midway through the third, De Los Santos bounced a three-punch combination off Adorno. With 1:06 left in the round, De Los Santos stabbed Adorno with jabs to his face. De Los Santos unfurled his whole arsenal on Adorno in the round, dropping to the body, nailing Adorno with uppercuts, and slicing straight lefts.

Through three, De Los Santos was in firm control and getting seemingly stronger as the rounds progressed.

With his father screaming at him ringside, Adorno landed a body shot, but was countered by De Los Santos early stages of the fourth. When Adorno did land, it seemed to have no effect on De Los Santos. Other times, he blatantly missed, while his left eye continued to swell.

With 2:00 left in the fourth, De Los Santos crashed Adorno’s face with a straight left. Adorno simply could not keep up with De Los Santos.

By the sixth, it was becoming apparent that Adorno would need a knockout to beat De Los Santos. The fighter from the Dominican Republic was pitching a shutout through the first five. De Los Santos was patient, accurate and in command.

Adorno was fighting on guts by the seventh. He had not won a round through six. His face was being turned into mulch. He also wasn’t getting much help from his corner. He would return to his corner and look at his brother for feedback, while his trainer was trying to get his attention and his father was yelling directions at him from ringside all at the same time. He had no clear direction.

De Los Santos, meanwhile, was in cruise control, fighting behind the jab, using right hooks to the body, and landing counters from distance.

By the eighth, Adorno’s corner was telling him that he needed a knockout to win.

De Los Santos had only been eight rounds once. For someone coming off the longest layoff of his career, De Los Santos looked brilliant.

As he approached his corner after the eighth, it looked like Adorno’s corner wanted to stop it. The ringside doctor asked Adorno if he was okay to continue. Before he entered the ninth, Adorno was asked where he was and correctly answered “Atlantic City.”

It really did not matter. De Los Santos kept coming forward and kept pounding away on Adorno’s face and body.

“The strategy was to box him, but he’s a southpaw and he was hard to figure out,” Adorno said. “He’s the best southpaw I’ve faced. He was well-prepared and knew how to manage the ring. Moving down in weight did play into my performance a little, but I really do not want to make any excuses. I should not have taken this fight right away. I should have fought at 137-pounds first. It is what it is though, he was the better man. He did his job.”

On the off-TV undercard, Middleweight Euri Cedeno (5-0, 5 KOs) looked impressive stomping out previously undefeated William Townsel (5-1, 4 KOs) with a first-round knockout at 1:41 of a scheduled eight-rounder. Heavyweight Steven Torres (6-0-1, 6 KOs) remained undefeated by stopping James Evans (6-1-1, 6 KOs) at 1:08 in the third round of a scheduled eight-rounder. Coming back off a 10-month layoff, junior middleweight Dwyke Flemmings Jr. (4-0, 4 KOs) stopped the rugged Henry Rivera (2-1, 1 KOs) at 1:57 of the third round of a scheduled four-rounder. Junior welterweight Ismail Muhammad (2-0, 2 KOs) opened the night with a stoppage at 1:45 third-round stoppage over winless Texan Parker Bruno (0-2).

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito