EVANS-ROJAS HEAT UP CLEVELAND
11/10/2017-Cleveland, Oh.—Watching that torrid featherweight main event between Yuandale Evans (19-1-14K) v. Luis Rojas (23-0-11K) had me thinking I was back at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, watching the great little flyweight from D.C., Mark (Too Sharp) Johnson and the many wars he had with all those bad ass Mexicans they kept hooking him up with. Matchmaker Tony Curtis seemed to have an endless pipeline. This card was actually a decent run up to the big action tonight. I wonder if I’ll see the all out madness I saw tonight, though. In a scrap for the vacant WBC Continental featherweight title, these two came in ready to go the whole ten. With the rash of high profile guys that can’t seem to make weight or perform at a high level (Bermaine Stiverne), it was good seeing Evans and Rojas showing how it SHOULD be done. Whatever they were paid, it probably wasn’t enough for all the hell THEY raised. They started out like this was a continuation of something that started earlier. Thirty seconds in, these two guys were on it. The muscular, once beaten Evans seemed to want to establish some ground rules early but Rojas had his OWN agenda which was ‘let’s compare cajone circumferences. The ring was a small one, even for these little guys but it didn’t matter, they seemed to be sharing breathing space as they snuggled up to each other and just did their jobs. The action made it hard for the judges because it went ‘to and ‘fro’ all night. There was no noticeable change until around the seventh round when Evans drilled Rojas with a powerful straight left, shaking him up. To nobody’s surprise, back came Rojas with both hands, driving his tormentor into the ropes. At the final bell with the ref having to literally jump in to stop the action, nobody really knew who had the advantage. After a lengthy delay, the final score was read as Evans winning a split decision and we ALL know there has to be a repeat of festivities on this and I’m sure both warriors will say, ‘damn right’. This was a goody, folks.
In a welterweight scrap, Radzhab Butaev (7-0-6K) from Romania but training out of the Wild Card gym in Hollywood, squared off against Janer Gonzalez (19-0-1D-15K). In the corner of Gonzalez was the man with THAT hat, THOSE shades and THAT plaid shirt, looking like he was straight outta’ Ramona Gardens, Ruben Guerrero, dad to former champ, Robert. There wasn’t a lotta’ action in this one, actually there was more stylin’ and profilin’ than anything else. Neither guy mounted anything resembling a heart felt attack. Plus, this went on for eight rounds with Butaev winning a unanimous decision. Just a so-so affair, really.
Shades of last week’s so-called title fight between heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder and the big, passive Haitian slob, Bermaine Stiverene. Heavyweight Junior Fa (12-0-7K) didn’t even break a sweat against an outta’ shape Fred (Too slick) Lathem (9-0-1NC-2D-5K). Lathem came plodding out in search of a cheeseberger but was immediately jumped on by Fa. Backed into his own corner, Lathem was under heavy duress as Fa, from New Zealand unloaded a barrage of shots rendering Lathem out on his feet and hungry. He never landed one punch. His nickname is ‘too slick’ but the only thing ‘slick’ about him was he was too slick to hit the canvas as he was literally out on his feet and propped up in his own corner. This was a brief affair, lasting just 67 seconds. That was about how long Stverne lasted. Maybe those two should fight to see who goes to sleep the fastest. It was too quick to tell, but at LEAST Fa was in shape.
In the opener, Olympian Charles Conwell (5-0-5K) the hometown favorite, came in as the hot prospect, was pitted against someone that was obviously there to polish his shine by becoming another ko victim. His opponent, one Rogue Zapata (4-1-3-0K) did everything BUT get ko’d as he was tormented for six lop-sided rounds. He didn’t win anything except respect . Course, he can always play his Daniel Jacobs card and say, ‘I didn’t get stopped, so I WON’, right? Conwell looked ok, but has some things to work on, like not being so right hand crazy. He had the perfect foil tonight, willing but not capable. Conwell was, suffice it to say awarded a unanimous decision with no further questions, your honor.