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Vernon Paris Smokes Tim Coleman in Seven

By Gabriel Montoya

When all the trash talking and post-weigh-in skirmishes were said and done and the first bell rang, junior welterweight prospects Vernon Paris, 25-0 (15), vs. Tim Coleman, 19-2-1 (5), lived up to expectations on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights,” live from the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, CA. The two men provided this truncated fight weekend with a full-course meal complete with high level boxing/punching, reversals and knockdowns. When the smoke cleared, Paris, whose sometime-trainer is Floyd Mayweather Sr., came away with a seventh round TKO at :27. There was irony in that after Coleman claimed Floyd Sr. would not be in Paris’ corner because of Paris’ lack of commitment. Coleman’s own trainer, Roger Mayweather, was absent from his corner as well.
It didn’t matter either way.

Coleman got to the body early and tried the find a home for his right hand. Paris came back with a right hand to the body. A right over the top by Paris landed but Coleman dug into the body and worked inside, landing a left hook in the process. Paris responded with a left uppercut inside to the head and both traded right hands but Coleman’s landed better. Coleman got in a nice jab and right hand along with another right hand as Paris lunged in. Coleman seemed to be fighting his fight while Paris was looking to find a rhythm. That would change at the bell as Paris landed a couple rights and a left uppercut that froze Coleman.

Coleman seemed to recover between rounds, getting in shots early on in the second. However, Paris smelled blood and had to have his confidence raised by knowing Coleman could be hurt, getting in a right to the body, then a flush straight right. Coleman would strike first blood by landing a right hand counter that made Paris bend off balance, touching his gloves to the canvas. Paris did rise quickly and seemed clearheaded and hardly affected. Coleman got in a crisp left hook inside late while Paris worked in combination to answer after a clinch. It was a tight round despite the knockdown.
The fight went inside in the early going of the third with both men digging hard to the body. Coleman seemed to get in the better left hooks inside but Paris rocked some nice uppercuts to his opponent’s dome in return. Paris decided to get some space, backing out of the phone booth a bit and began to mix up his shots, landing a double left hook, then mixing in the right. He also got in a good right hand that was answered by a Coleman right hand down the stretch. The intensity and skill that both men were fighting with was admirable.
Paris seemed to take some measure of control in the fourth while Coleman was backing off a bit in a defensive counterpunching posture. Paris took a hard left hook and right on the ropes from Coleman but touched his own chin in defiance and waved him in, which prompted referee Dan Stell to order Paris to “stop talking.” Paris’ speed and length seemed to make the difference in this round as he landed the harder, cleaner blows. Coleman appeared a bit unsure what to do.
The pace slowed a bit in the fifth round as both men looked to land their lead hooks, doing so. The problem was that the jab was too scarce to set up anything for either. Coleman began to use it midway through to play cat-and-mouse as he jumped in and out of range looking for a big counter. Paris got his rhythm late, landing a couple nice right hands off his jab. Coleman answered with a left hook that landed well. Down the stretch, neither man landed in succession long enough to edge it. Perhaps Paris’ early work landed him this one.
In the sixth, a hard left hook by Paris, followed by some short shots, had Coleman seemingly hurt as he tied up. A long right by Paris rocked Coleman, who froze in his tracks. Somewhere in there, a right to the body hurt Coleman and he began to show signs of depletion. Paris saw the end was possible and began to unload a long series of shots to the head and body that had Coleman hurt and retreating. However, after tying up, Coleman recovered to fight back on the inside but Paris would not take no for an answer and landed a hard left to the body in the corner that put Coleman down on his knees. Coleman would rise but he was clearly hurt to the body. Another left to the body and down went Coleman right before the bell.
It was mop-up duty in the seventh as Paris pressed and moved in on Coleman who was still hurt to the body. Another left ripped into Coleman, dropping him once more, prompting Stell to call a halt to the fight.
In the co-feature, junior lightweights Cristobal Cruz, 39-12-3 (23), vs. Art Hovhannesyan, 14-0-2 (8), fought to a technical draw when in the fourth, a clash of heads opened a cut in between the eyes of Cruz. It was a bummer for fight fans and the fighters because the match was just heating up. Cruz seemed to take control in the middle two rounds off the strength of a sneaky right hand that looped or shot straight into Hovhannesyan’s face time and again.
In the fourth, a right by Hovhannesyan grazed Cruz but as he lunged in to follow up, both fighters’ heads clashed. Cruz complained to referee Raul Caiz Sr., who did not see the initial butt and told him to fight on. Cruz did so but once the fighters circled out to center and back, Caiz saw the blood streaming from Cruz’s face and stopped the action.
While the first was tight, the middle two rounds seemed to be Cruz’s. The fourth was somewhat inconclusive. Still, the judges saw it completely different from one another with scores of 39-37, Cruz, from Judge Ray Corona. Judge Gwen Adair had it for Hovhannesyan, 39-37, and Max DeLuca saw it even at 38-38 for a technical split draw. The time of the stoppage of action was 2:37.
Junior lightweight Mikey Faragon improved to 16-0 (7) by taking out Ira Terry, 24-6 (14), in two rounds off solid body work of his own in a scheduled six-rounder.
The first round skipped the “getting to know you” process and featured both men letting their hands go in economical, intelligent and entertaining fashion. Faragon seemed to get the better of it as the round went on, going to the body, stalking Terry and moving him around in a tight, competitive round.
Faragon rolled right over Terry in the second. He moved forward and hurt Terry to the body early on. From there, he just dug in with hard body shots and some nice work upstairs. Faragon took control and dominated through and through until referee Raul Caiz Sr. called it off at 2:32 of the second.



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