Zou Shiming still isn’t a puncher, but he’s more than willing to trade shots, and with every fight the notion of him facing a top 10 flyweight gets more credible. Saturday on tape delay on HBO2 from Macau, China, he took a sizable leap upward in competition against Luis De La Rosa, who only has lost to elite 112-pounders, and beat him by decision.
It was just his fifth bout, his debut in a 10-rounder, and one of the first in which he lost multiple rounds on any scorecard, with one judge deeming it a 97-93 verdict. The others had it 99-91. He might’ve lost a couple, in truth. But he landed more combinations than De La Rosa, who as the fight went on became more tentative for some reason (Shiming’s power probably isn’t the reason). He bloodied De La Rosa with a head butt during one of their wild exchanges, which were frequent — Shiming is more than willing to get punched, a brave trait for a fighter with just one knockout to date. HBO’s Larry Merchant saw a cooler, more collected, less frantic and more controlled Shiming. Maybe, but he also was slugging like a madman at times. Shiming told Merchant he thought he was ready for an alphabet title.
On the HBO2-televised undercard, super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez scored a 1st round knockout over Junior Talipeau. It was a less impressive victory than some of his recent conquests, like Giovanni Lorenzo or Derrick Findley, but if you’re going to take a step back for some reason, you could do worse than dispensing with an opponent quickly. He dropped Talipeau three times, first with a lead right uppercut, then with a combination along the ropes and then a right-left that put Talipeau down for good. It looked impressive, even under the circumstances.
Off HBO2 — and slated for rebroadcast on UniMas Saturday evening — junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (above left, via @trboxing) scored a cheap 1st round knockout that did him no favors. After a head butt, Sod Kokietgym (above right) was struggling to orient himself, and the referee pressured him to continue too quickly. Rigo went to meet him at center ring and feinted like he wanted to apologetically touch gloves, then let loose with a right hook/left hand combo that ended Kokietgym’s night. Rigo’s contract with Top Rank is up, which is probably for the best for both sides, since Top Rank wanted nothing to do with him, really, and as such did nothing to promote him. So, knockout: good for a talented free agent lineal champ, generally speaking. This KO didn’t impress anybody; if anything it deepened fan animosity. He won under the rules, but it wasn’t exactly sportsmanlike. Good luck on the promoter hunt, Rigo.
Televised nowhere, top 10 flyweight Brian Viloria took a couple/few rounds to get going against Jose Alfredo Zuniga in a fight of little consequence, before scoring a 5th round knockout. Viloria has been inconsistent his whole career, flashing brilliance at times, sleepwalking other times. Once he got going in this one, he was putting together hard body shots with accurate head shots, and a left hook to the liver did Zuniga in. Viloria still fancies a rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada. It’s a worthy bout, not that anything Viloria did Saturday points to a likelihood that he’d win the second encounter.