Photos: Ed Mulholland
By Kieran Mulvaney
Light heavyweights Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Yuniesky Gonzalez spent ten rounds exchanging heavy punches in the main event of Saturday’s HBO Latino main event, a rough, tough contest that saw the undefeated Russian emerge victorious by majority decision but both men end the evening likely feeling considerably the worse for wear. Gonzalez, 16-2 (12 KOs), coming off a disappointing and controversial loss to Jean Pascal, began the fight strongly, but Shabranskyy took the initiative with a third round that saw him rock Gonzalez with right hands. Both men were launching aggressive salvos with little subtlety, but the principal difference was that Shabranskyy’s punches were shorter and sharper and appeared to have greater effect on Gonzalez than the Cuban’s did on him. The explosive third round suggested it could be a short fight; if it was surprise that the bout made it to the fifth, it was more of a surprise that it lasted fully five beyond that. The likely reason, frankly, was that after that fifth round, in which Shabranskyy again appeared to have Gonzalez badly hurt, both men had all but punched themselves out; much of the rest of the contest was a war of attrition, and the winner seemed likely to be the one who had the most in the tank. That man was Shabranskyy, who had Gonzalez almost out on his feet toward the end of the tenth; despite being rattled badly, Gonzalez still attempted a last-moment charge, only to walk into another right hand. The scores were 95-95, and 97-93 and 98-92 for Shabranskyy, who moves to 15-0 (13 KOs).
Joshua Clottey started well enough in his middleweight contest against Gabriel Rosado, but by the halfway point had started to do what Clottey has done so often throughout his career: he fell in love with his high guard defense, and simply didn’t throw enough punches of his own. So even though Rosado, 22-9 (13 KOs), went long stretches where a number of the punches he threw bounced off Clottey’s arms and gloves, at least he was throwing them. Despite being at an apparent size disadvantage on the night, Clottey landed the sharper, harder punches early on, and Rosado appeared to be sucking wind for much of the contest, but the Philadelphian never stopped trying, and grew visibly in confidence as Clottey’s punch output dropped. A short right hand inside appeared to hurt Clottey, 39-5 (22 KOs), as Rosado staged a storming finish, and Rosado climbed the turnbuckle in anticipation of scoring the decision that did indeed go his way, by scores of 97-93 (twice) and 96-94.
Yuriorkis Gamboa opened up the HBO Latino card with a unanimous points decision over Hylon Williams in a lightweight ten-rounder. Gamboa looked as if he might end proceedings early when he wobbled Williams with a short hook early in the second, but Williams slowly grew into the contest, tagging Gamboa with a right hand in the fifth and a hook that stunned the Cuban in the sixth. But even as he grew more competitive, Williams, 16-2-1 (3 KOs) could not do enough to win more than a couple of rounds, even against a Gamboa who seemed a little off form. Indeed, the Cuban émigré regained full control of the bout in the final two rounds to secure a comfortable win by scores of 98-92 (twice) and 96-94. The win was Gamboa’s second since losing to Terence Crawford last year and lifts his record to 25-1 (17 KOs).