NEW YORK – Jesus Cuellar defended his WBA Featherweight World Championship with a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature.
Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) was the busier fighter from the outset, throwing nearly 1,000 punches in the 12-round championship fight, compared to just 637 for the challenger. Cuellar initiated the action and pressed forward, but his Puerto Rican opponent would not engage for most of the bout.
“We knew the fight would be difficult but we accomplished everything we wanted to during training camp,” Cuellar said. “The only thing that was left was the knockout, but because of the movement of his head it was impossible.
Oquendo (26-5, 16 KOs), who was cut over his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in the fifth, was knocked down midway through the fourth. Replays showed that Oquendo tangled his feet with his southpaw opponent.
The win, which was scored 116-111 twice, 120-107, likely sets up a major fight at 126 pounds for the Argentine Cuellar in 2016.
“First we’re going to rest and then we’re going to determine what’s next,” Cuellar said.
“We’ll have two more fights at featherweight and then move up in weight. Hopefully we get Leo Santa Cruz next.”
After the fight, Oquendo acknowledged that he didn’t properly implement his game plan.
“I have to give credit to Cuellar. I never got to use my game plan and he fought a good fight and he’s a good champion,” Oquendo said. “I needed to start more aggressive but I started boxing. That was my mistake. The head butt made it hard for me to see as well.
“I have time to come back and get another world title opportunity. I am disappointed, but I will be back in the gym ready to get back to work soon.”
Long Island’s Chris Algieri defeated Erick Bone via 10-round unanimous decision (95-94, 97-92 twice) in a fast-paced, all-action fight the main event of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME.
The back-and-forth fight featured plenty of in-fighting in the center of the ring. Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs), who landed 49 percent of his power shots, floored Bone (16-3, 8 KOs) with 20 seconds left in the eighth round. However, upon replay, the knockdown looked more like Bone’s foot became tangled with Algieri. The ninth-round featured non-stop action, with each fighter throwing over 100 punches, but it was clear that the Ecuadorian Bone was gassed and had little left in his punches as the fight neared the end.
“Erick said that he was going to have surprises, but I had a few of my own in there,” Algieri said. “I boxed a little bit and slugged more than I should have, but I was just having fun. He’s got a good punch, he’s an underestimated fighter and you could tell he was in great shape.
“This is big. Bone is a real tough guy and I felt in control. I thought the fight was mine the whole way. I wanted to get the knockout, but he was in great shape. I’m looking forward to big fights in 2016.”
In the opening bout on SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME, Marcus Browne scored a fourth-round TKO over Francisco Sierra.
Browne (17-0, 13 KOs) thoroughly dominated the fight from the outset, landing an astronomical 64 percent of his power punches. The bout was halted after the third round upon request of ringside physician Dr. Barry Jordan due to significant swelling around Sierra’s (27-10-1, 24 KOs) left eye.
“I saw I cut him early, but I had to stay persistent and consistent,” said Browne, of Staten Island. “I had to work the jab and keep working it. I felt like I seized this opportunity to put my name out there.
“It is an honor to fight at Barclays Center for the 10th time. It was a nice stoppage – not necessarily the kind of stoppage that you want, but a stoppage is a stoppage.”
In non-televised undercard action, Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr. (20-1, 16 KOs) earned a hard fought unanimous decision over Brooklyn firefighter Will Rosinsky (19-3, 10 KOs) in their 10-round light heavyweight bout. Both men exchanged power punches throughout the fight, but it was Smith’s reach advantage that allowed him to control the action. All three judges scored the fight in favor of Smith by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.
Popular Brooklyn fighter Heather Hardy (15-0, 3 KOs) remained undefeated with an action-packed unanimous decision victory over Noemi Bosques (10-4-2, 2 KOs) in a rematch of their May fight won by Hardy. The judges’ totals for the eight-round super featherweight bout was 80-72 twice and 79-73.
Former super welterweight world champion Yuri Foreman (33-2, 9 KOs) had a successful return to the ring in his hometown as he defeated Lenwood Dozier (9-9-1, 4 KOs) 77-75 in the eyes of all three judges.
John Hernandez (6-1, 1 KO) shutout Jack Grady (0-2-1) over four rounds to win 40-36 on all three judges’ cards in their welterweight attraction. Cruiserweight Luis Garcia (13-0, 10 KOs) remained undefeated by knocking out Willie Williams (14-11-2, 4 KOs) 1:03 into the first round.
In a fight that saw both men hit the canvas in round one, Titus Williams (4-0, 2 KOs) recovered and cruised to a victory Emmanuel Castro (2-2, 2 KOs) by scores of 60-53, 60-54 and 59-54.
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will re-air on Monday, Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME while the SHOWTIME BOXING ON SHO EXTREME will re-air on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 11 p.m. ET/PT. Both telecasts will be available On Demand beginning this Sunday.
Mauro Ranallo called the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING action with Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and former world champion Paulie Malignaggi commentating and Jim Gray reporting. In Spanish, Alejandro Luna called the blow-by-blow with former world champion Raul Marquez serving as color commentator. Barry Tompkins called the SHOWTIME EXTREME action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst.
The fight was promoted by DiBella Entertainment. The Algieri vs. Bone and Rosnisky vs. Smith Jr. fights were promoted in association with Star Boxing. The executive producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is David Dinkins Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.