Click for larger image © Jim Everett / Saddo Boxing
Saturday night went pretty much as expected for Gary Shaw Productions and Showtime as they closed out their 2007 season with a triple-header on Showtime Championship Boxing at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket , CT.
Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver 26-4 (19) retained his IBO Light Heavyweight strap by stopping Danny Santiago 29-4-1 (19) at 2:53 of the fourth round.
Tarver started out the fight measuring his opponent as he typically does. By the end of the second round many of the fans were booing from the lack of action in the ring.
The action picked up in the third round with both fighters trading punches. Tarver took over the round landing a clean three punch combination and straight left that found its mark on Santiago .
As Santiago tried to fight inside during the fourth round Tarver kept him at bay with his jab which eventually sent Santiago to the canvas and somewhat tied up in the ropes. After getting back to his feet it only took Tarver a few more seconds to send him back to the canvas for a final time where the referee called the fight.
WBC Light Heavyweight champion Chad Dawson sat ringside to watch Tarver’s performance and make his presence known as a possible future opponent for the “Magic Man”.
Many of Dawson ’s entourage began chanting “stop duckin’ Dawson ” as Tarver was celebrating his victory in the ring and continued their chants into the post-fight press conference. Promoter Gary Shaw made quick work of the hecklers and let them know they would be removed if they continued.
As far as any comments regarding a future match-up between them it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. Gary Shaw who promoted Tarver for this particular fight and is the promoter for Dawson said the fight still needs to be built up more to make it worthwhile to both fighters.
In the other co-features Vernon “The Viper” Forrest 40-2 (29) retained his WBC Super Welterweight title with an eleventh round stoppage of Michele Piccirillo 48-4 (30).
Forrest dominated only loosing two rounds on each of the judges’ scorecards before the stoppage. He was easily able to land at Piccirillo who continually backed up while standing straight up.
Although there was not a lot of action in every round “The Viper” knocked Piccirillo to the canvas with a right hand that appeared that it could of hit him behind the head but was not ruled as such. Forrest could not finish him in the seventh but was able to land another big punch that knocked him off balance.
Piccirillo came back in the eighth winning the round on all three judges scorecards. His performance wasn’t particularly strong as much as Forrest was inactive seeming to take a breather.
The break did Forrest well as he came back in the ninth putting Piccirillo to the canvas again with another straight right.
Forrest continued to pressure Piccirillo and finally stopped him at 2:21 of the eleventh round with a two-punch combination that put him to the canvas for the last time. Piccirillo seemed to have an ankle injury and was taken to the hospital for examination.
Forrest has won five in a row since his return to the ring in 2005 after a two year lay-off.
At the post-fight press conference Forrest listed many possibilities for his next opponent mostly from the Welterweight division including the winner of Hatton and Mayweather, Cotto and even De La Hoya, but in the same sentence advised any fight made would have to be at the 154 limit.
Considering many of the fighters would not be ready to move up in weight Forrest would like the opportunity to get revenge on Ricardo Mayorga who is the only fighter to beat him, defeating him twice in 2003.
Finally, probably the most anticipated match of the evening the “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire 19-1 (12) proved to all the critics that he is not a one-punch wonder by dominating tough Luis Maldonado 37-2-1 (28) with a TKO victory at 1:16 of the eighth round retaining his IBF and IBO Flyweight championship.
True to his name the “Filipino Flash” started early and cut Maldonado over the left eye with a clean right hand. Maldonado was bloodied and suffered another cut in the third round above his right eye from an accidental clash of heads. Although his corner controlled the bleeding in between rounds the blood could be seen spattered all over the canvas.
The next few rounds Maldonado remained game and came in jabbing which Donaire would counter with left hooks. Although this slowed down the bloodied challenger it did not stop him from coming forward.
In the seventh round you could hear Donaire’s corner yelling instructions to him to feint and counter. Listening exactly to their instructions he would land a counter left hook that dropped Maldonado at the end of the round.
Donaire finished off Maldonado early in the eighth round with the same feint and counter that he dropped him with in the previous round but this time used an uppercut to seal the deal.
At the post-fight press conference the well-spoken Donaire advised he is interested in being the first Filipino fighter to unify the Flyweight division.