By Steve Bateson: Tevin Farmer successfully defended his IBF Super Featherweight Title with a dominant unanimous decision win over Francisco Fonseca on the Fielding/Alvarez undercard at Madison Square Garden, New York on Saturday.
Farmer was classy from the outset and used his excellent jab to snap away at the head and body of his challenger. Fonseca was happy to plough forwards but he was struggling to pin Farmer down or predict his next move, the quickness of the champion’s hands just too much to handle.
Farmer began whipping right hands to the body in the second round and then punctuated the round with two straight lefts upstairs followed by another body blow. Fonseca was already looking a little weary from the punishment that he was taking.
The champion turned it up again in the third round with double jabs and then a stinging straight left. He drove hurtful hooks into the body of Fonseca, who was sucking in deep breaths, and it looked like only a matter of time before the Costa Rican folded.
Farmer was bullying his man and happy to stand his ground whilst putting a beating on him to both head and body. But Fonseca was taking the punishment and toughing it out; all of a sudden he looked a lot more sturdy and able to stick in there.
The champion began to look a little too gung ho through the middle stages, loading up on his blows, and his work became a little sloppy. He was still racking up the points, Fonseca not doing enough to win rounds, but he didn’t seem as controlled and measured as he had done early doors.
Fonseca, stopped in eight by Gervonta Davis, was having a little more success as the championship rounds approached but then Farmer raised his gears again to seize back complete dominance. A sharp uppercut snapped Fonseca’s head back in the ninth before two more in the tenth and a series of hooks to head and body had the challenger on unsteady legs for the first time. By the end of the tenth Farmer was pitching a near shutout and although Fonseca’s effort was admirable he needed the most unlikely of miracle knockouts.
The challenger continued to pound forward, cuts around both eyes, but he could not find a way to dent the confidence or defence of Farmer, whose upper body movement was outstanding throughout. Farmer bounced around the ring in the twelfth, confident he had the decision in the bag, and put on a little showboating to see out proceedings.
It was a dominant display from the champion, at times he looked sublime, but he may be disappointed in his inability to get the knockout. He lulled around midway, perhaps from the effort exude in the early stages, but came back strong down the stretch to put the exclamation point on his second defence.
Farmer (now 28-4-1 with 6 KO’s) is likely to meet Jono Carroll next on St Patricks Day in New York before targeting the other champions at Super Featherweight. There is plenty of bad blood between Farmer and Gervonta Davis and that is a fight the boxing public will want to see sometime in 2019.
Scorecards read: 117-111 x 3
Sadam Ali scored a points victory over Mauricio Herrera in a dreadful Welterweight contest, the styles of both men refusing to gel into anything watchable.
A potential "dullest fight of 2018" that will not live long in anyone’s memory. Herrera has never been an entertainer but Ali is a former world champion at 154lbs and looked afraid to let his hands go throughout the contest, happy to throw single blows and minor raiding tactics. Once or twice there was a glimpse of talent or an inkling of a potential fight breaking out but it soon descended back into a borefest that sapped the life out of the crowd.
It is hard to compile a few paragraphs of the fight but the most noticeable punch came in round eight when Herrera seemed to momentarily stun Ali with a right hand as the latter was trying to duck and dodge an attack. Aside from that it was hard to distinguish clear rounds for either although Ali probably was the busier throughout and landed more shots than his foe; nobody will be calling to revisit this one.
Neither of these men are going to mount a threat at 147lbs and although paydays at this stage of their career should not be begrudged they are going to be little more than an "opponent" for rising stars in the division if they choose to continue.
Scorecards read: 100-90, 99-91, 98-92 (the cards suggest a dominant display when in reality it was anything but)
Ryan Garcia’s impressive rise continued with a fifth round TKO victory over Braulio Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was looking to unsettle the young prospect with unorthodox movement and tactics but he almost came undone in the first round with an inside left hooked uppercut that sat Rodriguez down for an eight count. The Dominican Republic fighter’s eyes were glazed and he looked finished but the referee allowed him to continue and somehow he survived the round, clinging on at every opportunity.
Garcia remained patient behind his jab whilst Rodriguez mounted wild and awkward attacks, taunting Garcia at every turn and desperate to lure him into a firefight that may allow him to land one big bomb. A long left hook stung Rodriguez in the second before a rangy right hand and left hook combo in the third had him scrambling into the ropes
Rodriguez was docked a point for two blatant low blows, yet more attempts at goading his younger opponent, but Garcia was not fazed and continued to chip away at his foe. A blistering barrage on the ropes had Rodriguez backing off again in the fourth before Garcia closed the show in the fifth.
He rocked Rodriguez with a stiff right hand, pushing him to the ropes, and followed up with a solid right to the temple. he then drove through with a left hook to the jaw that sent his man down and out under the bottom rope. Rodriguez managed to find his feet but he was in no position to continue the fight.
Garcia (now 17-0 with 14 KO’s) is a big prospect in the Super Featherweight division and could have a huge future in front of him, his handlers at Golden Boy Promotions certainly see him as the poster boy of their operations for years to come so it will be interesting to see if he can step up to that level.