Boxing isn’t for everyone.
And even those who enjoy the art might only like a certain type of fight.
Bouts can be anything from a highly technical matchup, down to a sloppy slugfest.
And then there are fights like the one between undefeated Alex Saucedo (28-0, 18 KO’s) and Lenny Zappavigna (37-4, 27 KO’s).
An instant and very bloody classic.
This co-featured match from Oklahoma City (Saucedo’s hometown) was not for the squeamish.
There is a scene in “Raging Bull” in which Jake LaMotta (played by Robert De Niro) gets pummeled by Sugar Ray Robinson, but LaMotta refuses to fall.
Jake gets beaten bloody, and each blow sends a sanguineous spray onto anyone at ringside.
That’s the way it went in Oklahoma…literally.
Three lesser titles were on the line in the Junior Welterweight/Super Lightweight division, in a bout that offered the biggest media exposure either fighter has ever enjoyed.
This match was pivotal for both boxers.
A win for Saucedo would likely lead to a world title fight before year’s end.
Zappavigna lost a world title bid back in 2011 and has been working to get back into contention ever since.
In December 2016, he lost to Sergey Lipinets. Since then Zappavigna fought two hamburgers, which he devoured by the 3rd round.
But Saucedo is a much tougher piece of meat, possessing knockout power in both hands. That didn’t bode well for Zappavigna, who cuts easily and often.
He’s begun bleeding during some of his ring-walks.
It was an all-out effort from the first bell, with lightning fast jabs and crisp combinations in the opening frame.
In a small ring, they stood directly in front of each other and let the leather fly.
Saucedo kept a slight edge with his aggressive attacks, but he lingered too long on the inside and got tagged with counterpunches.
To no one’s surprise, Zappavigna was bleeding by the end of Round 2.
He landed consecutive headshots at the top of the 3rd, but he left his guard down and Saucedo whipped in a right hook that put Zappavigna on the seat of his satins.
Zappavigna took the mandatory 8-count and went back at it with renewed vigor.
The seams really came off the ball in the 4th in what could be the “Round of the Year”
Zappavigna put Saucedo in a corner and had him in trouble.
They went toe-to-toe for a full minute, in which Saucedo suffered a gash over his right eye.
Blood splattered across the camera’s lens as they exchanged violence.
Round 5 was more of the same. Saucedo followed in behind rapid jabs, targeting the head.
By the 6th, Zappavigna was bleeding from cuts over both eyes and another on his left cheek.
The canvas looked like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Moments into Round 7, Zappavigna’s face was again covered in blood. His left eye was purple and swollen so badly it resembled Mick Jagger’s lips.
With a crimson stream flowing from his right eye, Saucedo relentlessly peppered Zappavigna’s peeper.
Those swollen lips began singing “Gimme Shelter”…appropriately from the Let It Bleed album.
Zappavigna’s corner had to face the music; and they tossed in the towel.
Alex Saucedo remains undefeated, scoops three more belts, and makes himself the likely challenger for Maurice Hooker.
After the bout (but before the swelling could go down) Zappavigna announced his retirement.
We wish him well, and a retirement full of blessings.
The main event, for the WBO World Super Middleweight title, paled in comparison.
In the fourth defense of his belt, undefeated Gilberto Ramirez laced them up against equally undefeated Roamer Angulo.
Angulo, usually a tough competitor, was lugubrious…at best.
Ramirez also lacked sizzle, but pitched a virtual shutout for all 12-rounds to win by unanimous decision.
Gilberto Ramirez improves his campaign to 38-wins against no loses, with 25 victories coming by way of knockout.
God Bless and always
get back up.
Mark Felicetti cannot stand people who refuse to stand. Reach him at email@example.com.