Lara-O’Sullivan, Ramos-Santamaria added to Davis-Romero undercard

The SHOWTIME PPV undercard for Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero will feature three exciting, explosive matchups entering the ring in high-stakes action on Saturday, May 28 live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Two-division world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will defend his WBA Middleweight Title against hard-hitting, Irish crowd-pleaser Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in an all-action co-main event of the telecast, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Sensational young star Jesús “Mono” Ramos will put his unbeaten record on the line against rugged super welterweight battler Luke Santamaría in a 10-round showdown on the pay-per-view, while hard-hitting contender Eduardo Ramírez battles Puerto Rico’s Luis Meléndez in a 10-round super featherweight thriller that shapes up to deliver toe-to-toe action opening up the telecast.

Lara (28-3-3, 16 KOs) was the longest reigning 154-pound world champion before he lost a tough split-decision to Jarrett Hurd in a title unification match in 2018 that earned “Fight of the Year” from the BWAA. Lara returned from that fight and battled current 154-pound world titleholder Brian Castaño to an exciting draw in another narrow fight that could have gone Lara’s way. Lara most recently moved up to middleweight, capturing his WBA title with a first round knockout of Thomas LaManna in May 2021. Lara faced a slew of the top 154-pounders in the sport, including Canelo Alvarez, ahead of his middleweight debut.

 “I’m ready to get back in the ring and show the fans that I’m still a world class fighter,” said Lara. “Gary O’Sullivan has proven to be a tough opponent for everyone he’s faced, and his only losses are to champions. I’ve been in many great fights and it will be no different when I step into the ring at Barclays Center. Being on this stage always brings out the best in me and fans can expect to see my power in this fight.’’

A native of Cork, Ireland, O’Sullivan (31-4, 21 KOs) has won three of his last four fights leading into his title shot against Lara on May 28. O’Sullivan’s aggressive style has made him a fan-favorite each time he steps into the ring. He has faced a deep roster of top names, including David Lemieux, Jaime Munguia, Chris Eubank Jr., and Billy Joe Saunders. O’Sullivan scored a career-best victory in December 2017, as he stopped rising prospect Antoine Douglas during a five-fight knockout streak.

“From the very first time I watched boxing, I’ve always dreamed of being a world champion and from the first day I turned professional I’ve worked towards that goal,” said O’Sullivan. “I’ve had some setbacks, but I’ve gone back to the drawing board, regrouped, righted some wrongs and kept pushing forward. I’ve always known that one day the chips would fall in my favor. I’m coming to rip that belt back to Ireland and hear the words, ‘And the new!’”

A strong southpaw who at 21 has yet to come close to hitting his ceiling as a fighter, Ramos (18-0, 15 KOs) is the nephew of welterweight contender Abel Ramos, who was defeated in February by Santamaría via unanimous decision. Jesus knocked out tough contender Vladimir Hernandez in February on that same card. Prior to that impressive outing, Ramos had shown the ability to outpoint his opponents with back-to-back 10-round unanimous decisions over Brian Mendoza in September 2021 and Javier Molina in May 2021. Overall, the youthful Ramos has gained recognition with highlight-reel KOs, stopping six of his last eight opponents, showcasing a desire to end his fights early.

“Training out in Las Vegas has been going great so far,” said Ramos. “We’ve had some great sparring out here. We expect Santamaria to move around the entire fight, so we’re going to be ready to cut the ring off and land heavy shots. I’m going to win on May 28 because of the preparation I’ve been doing, but I’m not underestimating anyone and will prepare to the best of my ability.”

The 24-year-old Santamaría (13-2-1, 7 KOs) will look to continue his success against the Ramos family as he steps into the ring after back-to-back impressive victories, first defeating two-division champion Devon Alexander in August 2021 before defeating Abel Ramos in February on less than two weeks’ notice. Santamaría had previously dropped a decision to top prospect and SHOBOX: The New Generation® alum Paul Kroll in October 2020, following an August 2020 triumph over veteran contender Mykal Fox that saw him put Fox down in the first round. The Garden Grove, Calif. native also owns a decision over Willie Jones and a majority draw against SHOBOX® prospect Marquis Taylor in his 2019 contests.

“I’m daring to be great in this fight,” said Santamaría. “That’s the main reason I agreed to fight Ramos. I’ve shown that I’m willing to compete against anyone, because I believe in my training and my abilities. This is going to be a great fight for the fans and I can’t wait to step in there on May 28.”

Fighting out of Sinaloa, Mexico, Ramírez (26-2-3, 12 KOs) has risen up the rankings with four-straight victories, including most recently defeating Miguel Marriaga in December 2021. He previously had stopped then-unbeaten Leduan Barthelemy in November 2019 before blasting out Miguel Flores in December 2020. The 29-year-old is currently riding wins in six of his last seven fights since losing to then featherweight champion Lee Selby in 2017. He’s won 17 of his last 20 fights overall, including a March 2019 knockout victory at Barclays Center.

“I’m happy to be returning to Brooklyn for this fight,” said Ramírez. “I scored a big knockout last time I was there, even though I was the underdog going into the fight. My plan is to deliver a moment like that once again. I’m already in great shape and I will be prepared for a war on May 28.”

Originally from Puerto Rico and now fighting out of Miami, Fla., Meléndez (17-1, 13 KOs) has moved into contender status with an undefeated streak after dropping his third pro fight back in 2018 via split decision. The 24-year-old was busy in 2021, winning eight times, including six victories by knockout. Most recently, Melendez scored a career-best victory over Thomas Mattice in November, winning a unanimous decision after eight rounds. Melendez’s clash with Ramírez shapes up to be a classic Puerto Rico-Mexico ring war.

“I’m very excited to be on a big card like this,” said Meléndez. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’m coming to put my name on the map come May 28. The winner of this fight is going to be the fans. I’m going to make Puerto Rico proud once again and display my talents in the ring. I want to thank my team and say that I’m not going to disappoint, because this is just the beginning for me.”

Fox on loss to Maestre: ‘I was stunned by the decision’

In maybe the worst decision of the year, two-time Venezuelan Olympian Gabriel Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Mykal Fox (22-3, 5 KOs) to capture the interim WBA welterweight title at the Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

Fox, who took the fight on short notice after Cody Crowley pulled out due to a positive test for COVID-19, dropped Maestre with a counter left hand in round two. 

From there, the Maryland native used his jab to dominate the fight, but after 12 rounds, the unthinkable happened. Fox was robbed. All three judges saw the fight in favor of Maestre by scores of 114-113, 115-112, and 117-110.

Fox, 25, outlanded Maestre 157 to 131. However, Maestre did land more power shots(119-108), but again, the wrong guy won on Saturday night.

“I was stunned by the decision,” Fox said. “There’s no way he won more rounds than me. I knocked him down. I hurt him. I don’t know what else I was supposed to do. I don’t know what the judges were looking at. Look at his face and tell me he won that fight.”

The 34-year-old Maestre said he would give Fox a rematch.

“Fox fought very well, and he deserves a rematch,” said Maestre. “It was a very close fight. If my team says that’s what they want; I’ll be ready to fight him again.”

The fight started with a bit of controversy. Fox’s corner complained about the tape job done on Maestre’s gloves. Eventually, the gloves had to be re-taped, which delayed the fight.

It’s clear that Fox won the fight, and hopefully, something can be done to make this right. A fighter trains months for this opportunity, and to have it stolen from you due to incompetent judges is just wrong.

Here is a photo of the scorecards:

Santamaria decisions Alexander

In the opening fight on FOX, Luke Santamaria (12-2-1, 7 KOs) scored a unanimous decision victory over former two-division champion Devon Alexander (27-7-1, 14 KOs) after 10 rounds of super welterweight action.

“I want to thank Devon for giving me this opportunity,” said Santamaria. “He’s a great fighter. I got the opportunity and I showed up again.”

The younger fighter, Santamaria was able to control the bout with his legs and landed more impactful shots over the 10-rounds, including moments where he appeared to stagger the southpaw Alexander with counter left hooks in rounds one and nine.

“My legs were the key for me, he was trying to catch me with the left and I was able to anticipate it,” said Santamaria. “I was too quick on my feet for him. My footwork was the key. I’m ready to keep stepping up the competition.”

Those impactful shots made the difference as the two fighters each landed 82 punches throughout the fight. While Alexander had the 28-13 edge in jabs connected, Santamaria landed 69 power punches to 54 from Alexander. After the fight, Alexander revealed that a right bicep injury suffered in the first round inhibited his ability to land effectively. After 10 rounds, the judges saw the fight by scores of 98-92 twice and 97-93.

“I hurt my right bicep in the first round and it really held me back from getting my offense going,” said Alexander. “I tried to shake it out as the fight went on but I just couldn’t get anything going. I’m disappointed.”

Stanionis-Collazo ruled a no-decision

Unbeaten rising welterweight Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) and former world champion Luis Collazo (39-8, 20 KOs) fought to a no-decision after an accidental headbutt injured Collazo in the fourth round, leading to the referee calling off the bout that headlined FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday night from the Armory in Minneapolis.

The battle between the highly-regarded prospect and tough veteran contender delivered early, as Stanionis and Collazo fought at a close range and exchanged consistent power punches. Stanionis appeared to get the better of the early action, out landing Collazo 104 to 50 while connecting on over 52% of his total shots according to CompuBox.

“He was coming into me and I wanted to show that I’m strong too and I could fight him off,” said Stanionis. “It didn’t feel like a big collision, but it must have been worse for him.”

In the fourth round, which was again fought at a close distance, late action saw an accidental headbutt stun Collazo and put him on the canvas in obvious and immediate pain. While he took his time and attempted to gather himself, referee Charlie Fitch was forced to waive off the bout at the suggestion of the ringside physician, resulting in the no-decision 2:31 into the round.

“It’s disappointing of course,” said Stanionis. “He’s a tough fighter and he’s a warrior, so it’s unfortunate it had to be like this. I was just getting started. I knew he was going to come forward like that and that the headbutts would be a factor. It is what it is.

“I feel great physically. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible. Collazo always brings a great fight so I knew it was going to be a lot of action. He’s tested a lot of young prospects and taken them into deep waters. I wanted to entertain people and give the fans a great fight.”

“Coming into the fight, we knew that we could test him,” said Collazo, who reiterated his pre-fight statements that this would be his last fight. “We were both coming in at the same time and that led to the clash of heads. It happens a lot. I love this sport and I still have the passion for it, but it’s getting frustrating. I’m blessed to have the career that I’ve had. It’s on to the next chapter of my life.”

Photos from Sean Michael Ham/
Premier Boxing Champions

Jamal James: ‘I would like to get a shot at Manny Pacquiao’

Top welterweight Jamal “Shango” James won an exciting unanimous decision over Thomas Dulorme to capture the Interim WBA Welterweight Title Saturday night in the main event of of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

“I’ve been working so long for a title shot,” said James. “So being able to get this opportunity and then actually following through and winning, it just meant the world to me. It’s been a crazy journey, with this with COVID-19, and then the George Floyd incident and starting camps and then stopping and so forth.

“My grandmother ended up passing away when I was in camp for this fight. So it was a lot of mixed emotions for me. It just feels good to be able to bring this back home for my city. Now we’ll see how much farther I can go.”

James (27-1, 12 KOs) and Dulorme (25-4-1, 16 KOs) began the fight showing different styles, with James circling and fighting off his jab, while Dulorme looked to navigate the space and hit James with short power hooks. In round three, the action stepped up a level, with James landing a series of big combinations while bleeding from the nose after taking a big right hand from Dulorme at the end of round two.

“I landed a good shot on him in the second round, but I couldn’t land it again,” said Dulorme. “I couldn’t get inside on him the way that I wanted to after that round, and that made it a tough fight.”

Both men had good moments when the fight went to round six, with each landing dangerous combinations. First Dulorme who appeared to hurt James with body punches early in the round before James returned with a series of sweeping hooks that connected unanswered on Dulorme. The power punches from James would prove to be a weapon throughout, as he connected on 156 compared to Dulorme’s 99, according to CompuBox.

“Dulorme brought the heat tonight,” said James. “I thought I was going to be able to move around a little bit more but he caught me with a couple of nice shots. He caught me with a good shot on the nose and it started leaking pretty bad. He’s a strong fighter, so I just had to be careful not to get hit too flush with anything. Luckily, I’m able to take a hard shot.

“I knew that he kind of gets tired in the later rounds from the fights that we watched. So, I was really just trying to let him throw, stop the shots, then maybe catch him with something in between his shots. I kind of wanted to rope a dope him a little bit. But he was in shape. He was pushing in those later rounds.”

When the fight neared the championship rounds, James’ sharpshooting kept him in control as he moved away from Dulorme’s inside attack and landed his own power punches from distance. Dulorme’s best offensive weapon was his bruising body attack, which saw him out land James 57 to 45 on body punches.

Dulorme’s left eye began to swell from the onslaught of straight right hands as round 11 neared a close. James remained effective through round 12, clinching the victory and winning the fight by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. Both men were very active, each throwing over 770 punches, but it was James holding the advantage in both punches landed (204 to 115) and accuracy (26% to 15%).

“Obviously, I would like to get a shot at Manny Pacquiao, he’s got the WBA super title,” said James. “But I know he’s such a big name, so it really doesn’t matter. I want any of the big name welterweights, we can really put on a good show.”

In the co-main event, Cuban sensation David Morrell, Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs) captured the Interim WBA Super Middleweight Title with a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Lennox Allen (22-1-1, 14 KOs).

In just his third pro fight, Morrell went the distance for the first time and outworked his opponent through the middle and late rounds, on his way to a 207 to 90 advantage in punches landed. The early action saw Morrell establish his body attack, while Allen looked to setup big counter right hands that he threw often.

As the fight wore on, Morrell’s relentless attack wore down Allen, who seemed to lose some of the power on his punches that he needed to change the tide of the fight. Allen continued to push and tried to rough Morrell up on the inside to find a place for a counter and his own body attack.

Morell continued to put the pressure on in the closing frames, hurting Allen with power punches in both hands during round 10, although he was unable to score a knockdown. After the 12 rounds of action the judges all saw the bout in favor of the 22-year-old Morrell, by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110.

In a super lightweight special attraction on the FOX broadcast, rising prospect Omar Juarez (8-0, 4 KOs) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision against Willie Shaw (12-2, 8 KOs) after six rounds of action.

Juarez looked to stalk the evasive Shaw early, who moved around the ring seeking a counter opportunity against his aggressive opponent. Shaw had some success using his boxing skills, but as his movement decreased, Juarez was able to cut off the ring and land effectively.

After six rounds, Juarez was able to outland Shaw by a mark of 61 to 38, and his higher output and superior accuracy earned him the decision from the judges by the scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56.

In the FS1 telecast that followed FOX PBC Fight Night, welterweight Luke Santamaria (11-1-1, 7 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Mykal Fox (22-2, 5 KOs) by scores of 99-90, 97-92 and 96-93 after 10 rounds. Plus, sensational 18-year-old prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (6-0, 4 KOs) scored a TKO victory over Chris Rollins (3-2, 2 KOs) 2:19 into the second round of their welterweight bout. The opening bout on FS1 saw Michael Coffie (10-0, 7 KOs) stop previously unbeaten Luis Pena (6-1, 6 KOs) 1:35 into the fifth round of their heavyweight tilt.

Photo: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions