After facing several touted prospects in a row from the blue corner, Arroyo shed the underdog moniker and entered his first ShoBox headliner from the red. This opportunity came after several impressive performances where he started slow but came on in the later rounds to impress. Tonight was no different.
The long jab and straight right of the 6-foot-2 Sanchez (19-2, 9 KOs) seemed to tell the story in the main event’s early rounds but Arroyo (12-1, 7 KOs) proved why he is one of the most determined prospects in the game as the fight unfolded from Grand Casino Hinckley in Hinckley, Minn.
Despite the lopsided scores, the two welterweights fought a close fight for ten rounds. Unfazed by a cut over his eyebrow from the early rounds, the 5-foot-8 Arroyo repeatedly jabbed his way inside to pin Sanchez against the ropes and rip shots to his head and body. Conversely, the Puerto Rican amateur standout tried to use his height, tag Arroyo from range and catch him coming in.
Both men achieved success at times but it was 24-year-old Arroyo who was the busier and hungrier fighter. The scrappy boxer-brawler from Buffalo landed the hardest shots in the fight and none more significant than an eighth round left hook that badly rocked Sanchez. Arroyo smelled blood and went for the kill with a barrage of everything he had left in the tank. Fortunately for Sanchez, Arroyo was running on empty by this point in the fight and Sanchez survived the round.
The tenth round drew cheers as the boxers exchanged tired but heavy blows until the final bell rang. Back in the red corner after three big wins in a row, Arroyo has proved himself a legitimate prospect and a TV-friendly fighter.
In an effort to become more of a boxer – instead of just a brute puncher, Kayode, (18-0, 14 KOs), of Hollywood, Calif., displayed more control than usual throughout the early rounds of the fight. After a head butt caused a cut on the left eye of Cora (22-6-2, 12 KOs), of Galveston, Tex., in the second session, Kayode began fighting in spurts. In the third round, the 6-foot-1 Kayode caught Cora, Jr. with a big right hand to the head but didn’t capitalize on the situation, a theme that continued throughout the 10-round cruiserweight tilt.
Instead of Kayode taking advantage of an opportunity to look good on his way to a world title shot, the 28-year-old Nigeria native stopped turning over his punches and began delivering looping slap punches that looked more like lazy right hooks than knockout shots. That, coupled with the lead left hand that Kayode carries dangerously low suggested to the SHOWTIME ring announce team that Kayode might have some trouble with championship level fighters.
Despite any fundamental issues, Kayode controlled the fight but Cora Jr., 31, made a late run by fighting more aggressively. Just before the final round, referee Steve Smoger deducted a point from Kayode for repeated low blows but it wasn’t enough to take away his points decision.
Tonight’s telecast will replay on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT and be available On Demand from Monday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 24. The Gary Shaw Productions-promoted event was the first of five ShoBox telecasts in eight weeks. The other telecasts – all Friday nights – are Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28.
Bernardo Osuna called the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http:// sho.com/sports.