SAN DIEGO, July 27, 2013 – How fast can you say rematch?
Nearly 2,200 punches were thrown in 12 rounds between lightweights Nihito Arakawa of Japan and Omar Figueroa, Jr. of Texas in Saturday’s “Knockout Kings 2” event in San Antonio, Texas. From the first bell, it was a full-on brawl and the fans couldn’t have been happier.
It didn’t matter that it wasn’t even the main event of the night. It barely even mattered what the scorecard said. Although the unanimous decision went to Figueroa, Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs) has many new American fans that can’t wait to see him fight again, hopefully against Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs).
This was a CQB (Close Quarters Battle), with the pair getting busy and staying busy. The younger, faster Figueroa put Arakawa down on the canvas twice in Round 2 and Round 4, but Arakawa kept coming back. Round 3 is possibly the Round of the Year so far, and the action-packed fight is on the short list for Fight of the Year, right up there with Rios-Alvarado II and Bradley-Provodnikov.
Whether or not the fight should have been stopped earlier because of the damage Arakawa suffered, it’s a legitimate question.
Raw courage and superhuman effort was on display not only for our entertainment, but for our inspiration. At the risk of making either fighter go through a bout like this again, fans can’t wait to see Figueroa and Arakawa go toe to toe again.
In the main event, Jesus Soto Karass of Mexico got his 18th knockout win in the final round (28-8-3, 18 KOs) against a resilient Andre Berto (28-3-0, 22 KOs). It was an important fight for both boxers. Berto refused to yield despite injuring his shoulder early in the fight, taking punishment while scoring enough shots to keep him in the bout until the bitter end including a questionable knockdown of Soto Karass in the 11th round. Soto Karass said it was a low blow. But Soto Karass made it a moot point with a sensational left hook countershot of Berto.
Soto Karass has turned a fading career around and this was a good win for him. Did it close the book on Berto’s career after three losses in his last four fights? It’s a distinct possibility, but Berto never gave up and deserves much respect for his effort. “I’m going to go out on my shield regardless… Every time I step in here, I put it all out on the line … I show the warrior spirit every time,” said a dejected Berto after the fight.
Welterweight Keith Thurman (21-0, 18 KOs) of Florida showed a lot of doubters he’s the real deal with his tenth round knockout of Diego Chaves of Mexico (22-1-0, 18 KOs). Thurman put Chaves on the canvas in the ninth round before sealing the deal at the start of the tenth round.
Thurman will probably be remembered more for his post-fight interview. He thanked the fans in “San Diego,” which would have been nice if he’d actually been in San Diego. Since he was in San Antonio, it didn’t go over too well. Boxing wits commenting on Twitter had a field day taking Thurman to task.
Not this writer. My hometown had a rough week, what with our Mayor being called out by multiple women as a predator and pervert for sexually harassing women. So a shout out on a national boxing telecast is welcome. Our last big fight was on Wide World of Sports, Ali vs. Norton in 1973. Stay classy San Diego, and #ThanksThurman. You’re welcome here anytime. Drinks are on me.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read Ringside Seat in Communities, follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter at @PRProSanDiego Gayle can be reached via Google +
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