By winning, Jean becomes the No. 1 contender in the IBF 140-pound division. He entered the scheduled 12-rounder ranked No. 3, four spots higher than Pendarvis.
In a battle of unbeaten middleweights in the co-feature, John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson (12-0, 4 KOs) of Newark, N.J., dropped left-hander Geovanni “Tarantula” Rodriguez (8-1, 5 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, four times en route to taking a unanimous eight-round decision. Thompson, making his second start for trainer, former world champion James “Buddy” McGirt, triumphed by the scores of 78-70 twice and 78-71.
Jean, who was cut after an unintentional clash of heads in the third round, dropped Pendarvis the first time with an overhand right hand flush on the chin. Pendarvis gamely made it to his feet, but Jean continued to attack with both hands until the referee stepped in and stopped the bout at 2:16 of the fourth.
“It couldn’t have gone better for Jean because he scored a one-punch knockdown and with the severity of that cut he very well may have needed a knockout,’’ said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood. “Dierry was a virtual unknown to American fight fans before this bout and now fight fans are responding with one word: Wow!”
Jean was making his second start in the United States and first on SHOWTIME. He was ahead on two of the three scorecards after three rounds, 30-27 and 29-28, and losing on the other, 29-28. Blood was streaming down the right side of his face for much of the third round.
“The cut was bad,’’ said the 31-year-old Jean, who was born in Haiti but has lived in Canada since he was 10. “I couldn’t see anything. But my corner did a great job with it, and then I caught him with a perfect right hand. I was very surprised the referee let it go so long after the first knockdown but I knew I had to keep fighting and finish the job.
“I’m just so excited to finally be in a position to be getting a shot at the world title. I don’t care who it comes against. I feel I’m ready for anybody.
“Pendarvis was a good fighter and he surprised me a little bit with his counter-punching. But I thought I was winning all the rounds. So the fact he was ahead on one scorecard is surprising to me.’’
The loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for Pendarvis. “This is very disappointing,’’ he said, “but I just got caught with a great punch. I went into a shell after I got up and felt I was blocking most of his punches, but there are no excuses. I’ll be back.’’
Thompson, an upcoming 6-foot-1, 24-year-old, decked Rodriguez twice in the fourth round and two more times in the eighth.
“I’m happy with the win but I know I can do better,’’ he said. “I still need to jab more. I should be able to dominate with the jab. But he was a good fighter. I definitely felt I had him out in the final round, but once he started to hold I knew the fight was going the distance. My speed and defense were the keys to my win tonight.’’
Southpaw Rodriguez was making his first start in eight months.
Barry Tompkins called the ShoBox action from ringside with Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Friday’s doubleheader will re-air this week as follows:
Thursday, May 16, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME EXTREME
The twinbill will be available ON DEMAND beginning today, Saturday, May 11.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please visit the website at http://sports.SHO.com