ShoBox results: Devin Haney outclasses Mason Menard
Teenage lightweight prospect Devin Haney showcased his talent in the proverbial step-up fight on Friday night, by outboxing Mason Menard to an eventual ninth round stoppage victory in his first televised main event. The fight headlined a “ShoBox: The New Generation” card on Showtime and was hosted at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
After nine complete rounds of being outgunned, outwitted and outclassed, Menard’s trainer waved off the fight with one round to go, telling his charge it just wasn’t his night thus confirming Haney’s dominance.
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Haney, 19-0 (13), started out by establishing distance. Haney’s jab was a thing of beauty throughout the fight and maintained the advantage of its length against Menard, 33-3 (24). His footwork and speed made it nearly impossible for the fringe contender out of Rayne, Lousiana, to get around it, nor was he able to cut the ring off and trap Haney into an exchange. Haney outskirted the ring all night to prevent that from happening but never was there a moment in which one could say he was on the run.
In the fifth, Haney was clearly in full control and, for the first time, he really started to sit down on his punches, in order to try to hurt Menard. Right hands up the middle were his best but Menard braced himself behind his guard, reluctant to even try to counter for safety’s sake. In the same round, Haney fascinated the crowd with swift lateral movement that had Menard looking foolish with a lunging miss, while he was on the other side of the ring. Haney used uppercuts and left hooks to try to hurt Menard as the rounds progressed but the 29-year-old was too defensive-minded to let that happen. After the ninth, the fight seemed destined to be a shut-out win for Haney but that’s when the abrupt stoppage happened, giving the 19-year-old a bonus TKO win in an otherwise flawless performance.
Joshua Greer Jr. had his third impressive performance on the ShoBox series after stopping Glenn Dezurn Jr. in the eighth round in the co-feature. The junior featherweight contest was scheduled for ten.
Greer, 17-1-1 (9), found himself in a competitive fight to start after Dezurn came out of the first round, looking to bully and outwork him. That strategy was maintained through most of the second and created a fun, action fight but until Greer landed a big right hand that buckled Dezurn into a stumble, the Chicago, Illinois, native put together a string of moments that carried the win. Greer, had very little respect for Dezurn, despite the good fight he gave him. Often times you could see the brash 23-year old laugh at Dezurn’s return fire and even bark at his foe’s trainer Barry Hunter during the action. In the third, another right hand buzzed Dezurn and sent him reeling against the ropes as Greer let his hands go.
Dezurn, 9-2-1 (6), a 30-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland, couldn’t escape Greer’s web in those moments after he got buckled. It happened again in the fifth round, and it looked like he was out on his feet for a moment but Dezurn showed tremendous toughness by eking his way to the bell and let off a flurry just prior to the round’s end. Greer took his breaks in the fight and, in those instances, willed Dezurn to try to up his volume but Greer wasn’t letting any good shots land clean. By banking work to the body in rounds six and seven, it set up the ultimate breakdown of Dezurn. In the eighth, a right hand flopped Dezurn onto the canvas for the fight’s only knockdown and, after Dezurn rose, he was trapped on the ropes, with Greer smelling blood and unleashing combinations. It wasn’t too long until referee Benjy Esteves Jr. finally waved it off at the 1:47 mark.
Charles Foster remained unbeaten after earning a unanimous decision (79-73, 77-75, 78-74) over Alvin Varmall Jr., after eight rounds of monotonous light heavyweight action.
In a match-up between a tall southpaw and a short bulldog of a fighter coming down from cruiserweight, Foster and Varmall performed in a frustrating fight, in which neither man could really get anything going offensively. Varmall, 15-1-1 (12), had the style of Mike Tyson but not nearly the pedigree, in every aspect of combination punching as a short-armed fighter. He landed a few good right hands in the second round – in which the fight had its best moments of back-and-forth action – but he had trouble getting into position on the inside and many of his shots missed wildly. Foster, 16-0 (8), threw his jab out there consistently all night but it wasn’t much of an offensive threat, and his lack of sharp punching helped make it a sloppy affair to start.
In the fifth, Foster, New Haven, Connecticut, had some of his best moments, once standing his ground and using lateral movement to avoid the lunging opponent but Varmall managed to land a big right hand by the end of the round, to keep the fight from getting out of reach. Really the only drama in the fight happened when Varmall landed that right hand but his offensive moments were too few and far between for him to win rounds. All things considered, Foster caught the shots well and even though he wasn’t able to create those types of moments, his consistent boxing won him the fight.
In the opening bout of the Showtime telecast, Arnold Khegai earned a unanimous decision over Adam Lopez after eight rounds of junior featherweight action.
Khegai, 12-0-1 (8), a Ukrainian of Korean descent, showed a strong jab to start off his American debut and, by the end of round one, he fired off lead right hands and left hooks that greatly showed their disparity in power over Lopez’s efforts. Near the end of the second, a big right from Khegai caught Lopez on the chin and stumbled him across the ring but the 27-year old managed to stay upright and even compete in the third. Khegai’s jab remained the most consistent punch of the fight but he let Lopez back into the bout after slowing down the pace of his attack in the middle rounds. Lopez, 16-3-2 (8), was able to get into an offensive rhythm, once Khegai’s jab lost its touch, and soon he’d become a threat to spoil his opponent’s debut.
In the sixth, Lopez stunned Khegai with an uppercut to start the round and it turned him into a frantic fighter looking to land anything, even shots to the back of Lopez’s head. Referee Benjy Estevez Jr. gave a him a stern warning the first time but, just a few seconds later in that sixth, he docked a point from Khegai in a round that was perhaps his worst of the fight. Khegai, 26, sputtered in the next round and seemed to only fight well when confident. After landing a nice right hand in the final round, Khegai showed flashes of what he showed in the first few rounds. A big counter left by the end of the fight sealed not a round he necessarily needed, according to the scorecards (77-74 x2, 78-73), but one to prevent it from being a dubious win.