Vasquez, Baker and Marrero score wins in ShoBox tripleheader

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“ShoBox: The New Generation” made its 2015 debut Friday night on Showtime with a Goossen Promotions card held at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.


The headliner of the show was a local welterweight prospect, Sammy Vasquez Jr., who made easy work of Emmanuel Lartei Lartey by earning a wide unanimous decision victory (99-91 twice, 100-90).


Vasquez, nicknamed “The Who Can Mexican,” was ready for war as he was brought to the ring in a United States Military Hummer, fitting considering he was an Army Cavalry Scout and served two tours in Iraq. Once the first bell rang, it was clear that his ring intro was no fabricated masquerade as he quickly went to work on Lartey. Vasquez established a jab early and kept his left-handed opponent at a comfortable distance for a majority of the night with it. Working off the jab, Vasquez mixed in all facets of his game by throwing clean shots to Lartey’s head and body. Lartey began to show frustration mainly because there wasn’t much room to sneak away from Vasquez’s onslaught for the ring was much smaller than usual. This made many situations in which Lartey was trapped either against the ropes or in a corner. He may have shown his biggest frustration (and cleanest punch for that matter) in the fifth round when time came to a halt. Lartey landed a hard low blow on Vasquez and it didn’t help that Vasquez came back like a bat out of Hell looking to do something no one had ever done – and that’s stop Lartey. There was a moment or two in the closing rounds when you may have thought Lartey’s corner would throw in the towel but he showed toughness, surviving a brilliant display of boxing shown by Vasquez.


Vasquez, 18-0 (13), stays unbeaten in his first fight of 2015. Because of his service in the United States military, he has been fighting at an extremely fast pace after a late start to his pro career. The 28-year old has fought 11 times over the past two years and with more performances like this, he may get himself into contention quickly as well. Lartey, 16-3-1 (7), showed that fighters out of Ghana are tough as usual but the 33-year old was beaten rather handily.



Baker upsets Savigne


Although unbeaten, Craig Baker, 16-0 (12), was still an underdog against the highly regarded Umberto Savigne of Cuba but “El Gato Negro” stunned his opponent enough for referee Ernie Sharif to wave off the light heavyweight bout in the second round, resulting in a TKO win.


Despite the defeat, Savigne, 12-2 (9), started off well, hurting Baker early in the first round by way of big overhand rights but he couldn’t land enough of them to stem his surging opponent. Baker finished the first round nicely despite looking like a mess to start it and he managed to counter those big rights from Savigne by simply sticking his jab out there. Within the first minute of the second round, Baker landed a big right hand of his own that immediately forced Savigne to the ropes. From there, Baker unloaded shots with bad intentions and after a couple of body shots and a straight right hand, Savigne flailed to the canvas face first. He may have tried to get up too quickly as he bounced up and lost his footing. Savigne’s body fought gravity as the ropes caught him in a corner. As the Cuban tried gaining his bearings by holding onto the ropes, Sharif started his count but Savigne’s legs were still buckling. That’s when Sharif made the right decision to wave the fight off in the middle of the 10-count. Exuding excitement, Baker and his corner jumped for joy in the ring as Savigne stood there with a look of disbelief. It may have been true repudiation as he later asked his corner while on the stool if he actually lost.



Marrero sends Rizo to the canvas four times en route to a win


In the midst of a four-knockdown performance, Claudio Marrero got the unanimous decision (78-71, 78-70, 80-68) victory over Orlando Rizo in an eight-round, featherweight match-up.


Both southpaws came out of the gate looking for a fight upon the sound of the opening bell and the round had plenty of action with little defense. By the second round, Marrero started to consistently find a home for his left hand and, a minute into the stanza, dropped Rizo with a left cross on the chin. After beating the 10- count, Rizo recovered nicely by stunning Marrero twice before the round ended as he went for broke throwing wild hooks. Anticipating a game challenger, Marrero went on to send Rizo to the canvas twice in the third round by flashing the left hand on both occasions. Marrero continued to control the fight and following another knockdown in the fifth, Rizo’s right eye began swelling badly from those big left hands. Marrero took his foot off the gas pedal in the final two rounds but with a seemingly wide lead on the scorecards, he rewarded himself with the break in action.


A 25-year old Al Haymon-advised prospect from the Dominican Republic, Marrero, 18-1 (13), continues to get back on track after suffering the first loss of his career to the respectable Jesus Cuellar in 2013. Rizo, 18-6 (11), fighting out of Nicaragua, was likely the most severe test for Marrero since then.



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