Antoine Douglas and Michel Soro fought to a majority draw (96-94 Soro, 95-95 twice) in a bout that was a tale of two halves in the main event of Friday’s ShoBox: The New Generation from Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, Calif.
The undefeated Douglas (14-0-1, 9 KOs) dominated the first half of the fight, controlling the action with a plethora of jabs against the vastly experienced former world title challenger. A rip in Soro’s gloves caused a halt in the bout midway through the fourth, but it was more of the same once the bout restarted with Douglas controlling the action.
Soro (23-1-1, 13 KOs) had a solid sixth that gave him a bit more confidence, but as he took more risks it allowed Douglas to land his power shots. A right hand followed by an onslaught of punches from Soro had Douglas dazed in the seventh, but the Frenchman stepped off the gas and allowed Douglas to escape the round. Douglas was still struggling as he entered the ninth for the first time in his career and stayed in survival mode for the remainder of the fight.
“I feel bad,” Douglas said. “After the first couple of rounds I wasn’t feeling myself. I would like to fight him again. I had to respond and find myself in the eighth round, but I made it through to the end.”
Experience was certainly the difference for Soro, who had gone 12 rounds three times and 10 rounds twice but was fighting in the U.S. for the first time in his career.
“In the first rounds I was stressed because I wasn’t at home,” Soro said. “I relaxed in the fourth and fifth rounds and I was never hurt. I know experience was the difference down the stretch. I need to be more precise and accelerate what I was doing in the eighth. This is not my real weight and I am better than that.”
Expert analyst Steve Farhood agreed with the judges’ scorecards.
“We all felt a draw was reasonable,” Farhood said. “It was a tale of two fights and there was nothing in the first half of the fight that would suggest what we’d see in the second half of the fight. To Soro’s credit, he hurt Douglas with one punch and to Douglas’ credit he survived the two last rounds while being hurt. I’d like to see them do it again.”
Jerry Odom overcame the first cut of his career and knocked out previously undefeated prospect Vilier Quinonez in the seventh round (2:25) of a matchup of undefeated super middleweights.
Odom (12-0, 11 KOs) leaned in and fought from close quarters to start the bout and a heabutt opened a deep gash over the left eye of his opponent. Quinonez (8-1, 5 KOs) rallied back and had Odom tired and backing up in the ring, but a big right hand set up by repeated shots to the body in the fourth sent Quinonez to the canvas.
Quinonez again worked his way back into the fight and landed a powerful shot that opened a deep gash over Odom’s left eye – the first cut of his professional career. But the blood seemed to rejuvenate Odom, who came out blazing in the seventh and staggered Quinonez against the ropes. Sensing he was about to score his 11th KO in just 12 fights, Odom continued the onslaught and referee Charlie Fitch stopped the bout as the Cuban was falling into the ropes.
“I said I was going to come out and do whatever I had to do to win,” Odom said. “I got cut and I kept fighting. Blood doesn’t discourage me or make me back down; I just keep pushing no matter what. I could have stopped him a couple of times but I paced myself like a true champion.
Welterweight prospect Cecil McCalla kept his perfect record intact with a dominating eight-round unanimous victory (79-73, 80-72 twice) over previously twice-beaten Oscar Godoy.
McCalla (19-0, 6 KOs) controlled the pace and tempo from the opening bell, landing over 50 percent of his power shots and 87 body shots to Godoy’s (13-3, 6 KOs) seven. It was an impressive performance by McCalla, who went eight rounds for just the third time. It was his first time going the eight-round distance in five years.
“He was tough and he took a lot of my shots,” McCalla said. “I dominated like I said, I had my way. I knew the right hands would come. I know I have things to work on, but I am ready to take over.”
Late-replacement Godoy couldn’t’ figure McCalla out and didn’t disagree with the decision.
“I couldn’t adjust to his jab and he beat me fair and square,” Godoy said.
In the opening bout of the telecast, lightweight Tony Luis handed Wanzell Ellison the first loss of his career with an eight-round unanimous decision scored 77-75, 79-73, 78-74.
Effective aggressiveness and power punches to the body were the difference for the naturally bigger Luis (18-2, 7 KOs), who’s most damaging and impressive punch was a brutal left hook to the body landed that with ease. Ellison (10-1-1, 5 KOs), who picked up the pace in the second half of the fight, went eight rounds for the first time in his career and clearly tired in the middle rounds.
“I did what I had to do to win,” Luis said. “The body shots were what worked – they slowed down his attack. I’m happy that I boxed him from the outside and fought him on the outside.”
Ellison became the 121st fighter to suffer his first loss on ShoBox.
“I don’t’ know what the judges saw but it was a good learning experience,” Ellison, said. “The world got to see it. I came up in weight and I feel I won the fight.”