ESPN2 results: Jason Quigley gets by Glen Tapia

Quigley-Tapia - Photo credit-Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos-Golden Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

Jason Quigley earned a unanimous decision over Glen Tapia on Thursday night but the wide scorecards didn’t tell its true tale. The middleweight contest was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card on ESPN2, and was hosted at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, California.

 

100-90, 99-91, 98-92 were the scores given to the Irish import fighting out of Carson, California, and, in a fight in which he was set up to win big, Quigley sputtered against an opponent many felt shouldn’t have been in there in the first place.

 

Quigley, Donegal, Ireland, started off great and was seemingly on course to deliver the stoppage of Tapia those had feared. Quigley’s straight right hand connected on Tapia’s chin in the final minute of the first round and it seemed like that would be the beginning of the end. The shot badly wobbled Tapia’s legs but was even more alarming was how rickety they were as he approached his corner once the round ended.

 

Tapia, Passaic, New Jersey, began to look like the apathetic fighter who was punished by David Lemieux last May and, as the early rounds wore on, Quigley continued to step on the gas in order to make quick work on a national stage and he simply couldn’t miss his left jab, lead left hooks, and those power right hands. What seemed to be an imminent, ominous beating quickly changed in the middle rounds, however, as Quigley may have punched himself out.

 

Beginning in the fifth round, Tapia got himself back in the fight because of Quigley’s fatigue. With his opponent’s hands down at his waist and his head rarely in movement, Tapia, 27, fired off right hands that weren’t all that tough to connect. With Quigley preemptive to strike back, Tapia gained a lot of confidence. Even then, Tapia wasn’t all that sharp himself throughout and the fight slowly became sloppy once it surprisingly became competitive. Tapia’s punches were far too wide, once he let his hands go, but Quigley’s lethargic punches didn’t seem to have much on them. By the eighth, both of their faces were marked up but neither of them were able to take control.

 

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

“I felt slow and sluggish this fight,” said Tapia, 23-4 (15), who has taken a downward spiral in his career, since taking a hellish beating from James Kirkland in 2013. “I feel like I didn’t even get to do to him what I trained in camp for. I was able to put pressure on him and hurt him a couple of times. This was not my best performance.”

 

“I’m taking this little bambino home with me, to my people in Donegal, and celebrate with my loved ones,” said Quigley, 13-0 (10), with a WBC/NABF middleweight trinket around his arm. “Then when I come back, I’m going to celebrate with my team. Everyone here has been on my team, since my performance under the Canelo (Alvarez)-(Erislandy) Lara card, and this is a steppingstone to many more belts that are coming my way.”

 

Randy Caballero earned a unanimous decision (96-94 twice, 97-93) victory over Jesus Ruiz in a perfectly matched, competitive fight between two junior featherweights.

 

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golen Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

It was a fight littered with inadvertent headbutts but it turned out to be a great action fight. In front of a home crowd, Caballero got off to a slow start as Ruiz’s sheer volume of punches slightly overwhelmed the 26-year-old from the Coachella Valley. Once attacking the body of his Mexican opponent, Caballero slowly started to turn the tide as he out-smarted Ruiz on the inside.

 

Ruiz, 36-8-5 (25), couldn’t get out of the way of the uppercuts Caballero smartly measured on the inside. Starting in the fifth round, Caballero clearly landed the more effective punches, as the two went toe-to-toe, but Ruiz never wavered to the action. Neither fighter was visibly hurt in the fight but Caballero did suffer a cut on his right brow in the ninth after one of many head clashes. Those accidents didn’t stop Caballero and Ruiz from giving the fans something to cheer about and, in the end of the competitive bout, the two smiled and hugged it out.

 

“I am satisfied with our performance in the ring and the better man won tonight,” said Ruiz afterward. “That’s boxing. We gave it our all and we are content with that.”

 

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

“This was the absolute best way to come back!” said Caballero after the victory. “My goal is to become a world champion and Golden Boy knows that. With the new NABF (junior featherweight) title, and coming back with that performance, I’m on a high right now. My opponent was tough but I stayed calm and was able to come out on top.”

 

In the opening bout of the ESPN2 telecast, Marlen Esparza easily won her pro debut over Rachel Sazoff with perfect scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards. The women’s flyweight bout went all four two-minute rounds.

 

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

Esparza, 1-0, didn’t waste any time letting her hands go and it also didn’t take long to realize her opponent was out-matched. Fighting out of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, Sazoff, 0-3, stood in the pocket and tried to trade with Esparza but could be seen throwing with her eyes closed. By the third round, Esparza was comfortable enough to fight with her hands down as Sazoff was clearly outclassed. Esparza, who won an Olympic bronze Medal in the 2012 London Games, had world-class trainer Virgil Hunter in her corner and, while this match-up was a tough one to measure her exact position currently, the 27-year-old is surely in good hands, when it comes to adjusting to the professional ranks.

 

“This was such a big stage and fighting in front of a crowd like this, for the first time, was something special,” said Esparza, Houston, Texas. “I’m glad we got the ‘W’ but I was honestly looking to knock (Sazoff) out. I’m glad that I got this fight out of the way. I have a lot to grow in. She was a tough fighter and she took a lot of my punches.”

 

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

 

You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2.

 

 

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