At the Staples Center, in L.A., CA, Saturday night Top Rank Boxing brought WBO World Super Middleweight champion Bill Joe “Superb” Saunders, of the UK defended his title defeating Marcelo “El Terrible” Estaben Coceres, of Argentina. In the co-feature WBC World Lightweight champion Lightweight Devin “The Dream” Haney of Las Vegas, defended against Dominican Alfredo “Ojo” Santiago Alvarez, of Fajardo, PR, over DAZN (The Zone) in a JD Brown promotion by a shutout landing one knockdown in the fifth.
In the WBO World Main Event southpaw Billy Joe “Superb” Saunders, 29-0 (14), #167 ¼, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK, scored three knockdowns to stop Marcelo “El Terrible” Coceres, 28-1-1 (15), #168, Sante Fe, Argentina, at 1:59 of the eleventh round.
In the first two rounds Coceres forced the action as Saunders out boxed him for the most part. In the third round it was closer as Coceres got in some good body shots. Saunders seemed to take the round boxing well. In the fourth round , Coceres is a bit more active, he really doesn’t land too much on Saunders, who is content to box round after round, and build a lead on the cards.
In the fifth round southpaw Saunders does some good work, countering off the ropes. So far, been a very methodical, slow paced fight without much sustained action. Coceres did enough to win his first round. In the sixth round Saunders is not doing a whole lot, as Coceres is forcing the action. In the seventh round Coceres did enough to win the round pressing Saunders landing body punches when Saunders decides to stay in the middle of the ring. Saunders does little to excite the crowd.
In the eighth round Coceres countered a Saunders jab with a left to the chin. He has done better after losing the first four rounds of the fight and seems to have narrowed the score of the fight. In the ninth round Coceres contined to make a fight of it narrowing the earlier lead of Saunders.
In the tenth round Coceres with arms to the side is getting punches in on Saunders with the crowd showing their displeasure of Saunders showing. In the eleventh round a left uppercut right cross from Saunders to the chin drops Coceres. As he gets to his feet he drops to his knees. He beats the count only to get dropped again with a right uppercut on the chin. Upon getting to his feet Coceres is rushed by Saunders and dropped for a third time with a left to the head forcing the referee Ray Corona to stop the fight. At the end the left eye of Coceres was near closed while Saunders had abrasions under both eyes.
“First of all I want to thank God, and the Zone knowing that by round nine I had to get this opponent out of there. It wasn’t one of my best performance and not 100% tonight,” said Saunders.
Lightweight Devin “The Dream” Haney, 24-0 (15), #135, of Las Vegas, NV, defeated Dominican Alfredo “Ojo” Santiago, 12-0 (4), #135, of Fajardo, PR, easily scoring a knockdown in the fifth.
In the first round the taller Santiago uses his reach with his jab. Haney showing quicker hands counters well. Haney faked a right and landed a left to the chin of Santiago. In the final seconds of the round Haney landed a pair of chopping right’s to the head of Santiago. In the second round Haney used double jabs keeping Santiago from scoring with his right until halfway through the round when a looping right landed on the head of Haney. Santiago seemed to have an edge.
In the third round Haney missed with a lead right but landed a follow-up left hook to the chin of Santiago. He was quicker with his jab but Santiago was able to get looping rights in to the head. In the fourth round there were too many clinches. Haney landed several punches and seemed to land a right and pulled Santiago to the canvas. The referee called it a slip.
In the fifth round Santiago came out southpaw for the first minute of the round with little effect. In the final minute Haney scored well hurting Santiago with a flurry dropping him with a right uppercut followed by a left hook on the chin after a right from Santiago that fell short for an 8 count. Santiago was able to get to the end of the round holding.
In the sixth round Santiago fought back well considering being dropped in the previous round. Haney seemed to be loading up and being out worked by Santiago. In the seventh round too many clinches after each fighter landed several punches. Haney in the final seconds landed a right to the chin of Santiago hurting him. Upon following up Santiago grabbed him into a clinch as the bell sounded with his left eye showing some swelling.
In the eighth round Haney bloodied the nose of Santiago with a right hand after the first minute of the round. Haney had a good round but hasn’t shown a chance of dropping Santiago again. In the ninth round Haney has problems getting inside the long jab and three inch height advantage of Santiago. Halfway through the round after Haney landed a right to the chin he was countered by a Santiago right on the chin with more effect. Haney landed a low blow getting a warning and giving Santiago a minute to re-coup. In the final seconds of the round Haney landed a left hook to the head as Santiago tied him up.
In the tenth round Haney hurt Santiago early in the round with a right on the chin. Santiago kept tying up Haney for the last half of the round looking tired. In the eleventh round Haney kept the pressure on while Santiago looked more like wanting to go the distance.
In the twelfth and final round the twenty-year old Haney seemed to continue dominating the twenty-four year old Santiago who with only a dozen fights may have a good future but not tonight. The fans seemed restless in the final round due to the fifth round knockdown of Haney they wanted to see a knockout.
The scores were 120-107 while this writer had it 119-108.
“I hurt my shoulder early in the fight but overcame it tonight. In 2020 I want all the top guys including Lomacheko. Fighting Ryan Garcia (fought 5x in the amateurs and now ranked No. 8) would also be a nice fight,” said Haney.
Super Bantamweight Ronny Rios, 32-3 (16), #120 1/2, scored a knockout over Hugo Berrio, 28-8-1 (18), #121 1/2, of Santa Marta, Colombia, at 2:56 of the fourth round.
Middleweight Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy, 8-0 (6), 160 1/2, of Brooklyn, NY, won by DQ at the end of the round having scored a knockdown in the round over Jonathan Batista, 19-16 (12), of San Pedro de Macoris, DR,
In the first round halfway throgh the round Ababiy dropped Batista with a right hand on the chin for an 8 count. In the final minute Batista in a crouch got hit on the back of the head dropping Batista who seemed to be looking for a way out. After a minue of so rest by the referee who took away a point from Ababiy. At the end of the round Batista kept punching causing the referee to wave the fight off. Referee Ray Corona disqualifed Batista.