By Sean Crose
HBO Latino gave fight fans who just couldn’t wait until the weekend some interesting boxing on Thursday night with a live card from Texas.
First up was a battle of undefeated light heavies. Hard hitting Ukranian Slava Shabranskyy (12-0, 10 KOs) battled Brazilian slugger Fabiano Pena (11-0, 8KOs).
It may have seemed like a good fight on paper, but the reality was that the first bout of the evening was a real mismatch. Shabranskyy used Pena as target practice for five rounds. Pena wisely sat out the sixth, opting instead to remain on his stool.
The second match, a junior lightweight affair, featured Australian slugger Wil Tomlinson (23-1, 13 KOs) against undefeated Mexican prospect Francisco Vargas (21-0, 15 KOs). It was a violent affair, which was no surprise, since each man walked into the ring with a history of standing and trading.
Vargas landed more cleanly and frequently during the first several rounds, his hand speed and power making the difference. Still, Tomlinson was game and took to trading blows. By the third round, it was hard to imagine the match going the scheduled ten.
By the midpoint, Tomlinson, who looked a lot like Edward Fox in “The Day Of The Jackal,” had turned into a picture of punishment, his face bloody and bruised. Yet the Aussie kept moving forward – and kept getting hit. Here was a guy who simply didn’t know what it meant to quit.
By the seventh, it was clear that Tomlinson’s corner should have thought of stopping the fight. Their man was simply taking a terrible amount of hard blows to the head, Tomlinson’s rugged chin possibly betraying his long term health. Tomlinson survived the round, but it was time for the fight to be halted.
Yet the man they call “Wild Wil” soldiered on, facing more and more of Vargas’ blows until he finally went down and watched as the fight was stopped in the eighth, his face dripping with its own blood. It was the kind of affair that gives boxing a bad name. Fighters – most fighters – don’t stop on their own. Those who are in the business of looking out for them are supposed to do the responsible thing.
Still, credit has to be given to Vargas, as the man looked very impressive indeed. Here, simply put, is a fighter to keep an eye on.