The rising, undefeated super middleweight put on a power-punching display Saturday night on FOX PBC Fight Night.,
Excuse David Morrell Jr. Excuse his boyish enthusiasm and baby face. Excuse the high-pitched way in which he speaks after a victory; try to peel away all of those layers.
The numbers say the Cuban expatriate is a 22-year-old, 6-foot-1 southpaw with extensive amateur experience.
So far, Morrell’s short pro career shouts much more.
On three weeks’ notice, Morrell (4-0, 3 KOs) took the fight against veteran Mike Gavronski. He then proceeded to make easy work of the battle-tested 34-year-old with a third-round stoppage Saturday night in the 2020 season finale of FOX PBC Fight Night, from Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California.
“This is the beginning of my career as a professional, and in the professional game, I’m only a kid, I’m 22 and I’ve only been doing this for a year-and-a-half,” said Morrell through an interpreter. “I learned tonight that regardless of who you fight, you have to be 110-percent. I feel like a kid in the candy store. I still have a lot ahead of me.”
That’s a frightening thought, considering Morrell already has a secondary title as WBA interim world super middleweight titlist with only four fights on his ledger.
The fight was a scheduled 10-rounder, though immediately, Morrell showed he was the superior fighter. Within the first 20 seconds, Morrell had punished Gavronski (26-4-1, 16 KOs) with some bombs. A Morrell right uppercut had Gavronski backing up. About midway through the opening stanza, Gavronski was hanging on for dear life. Morrell had mixed his shots beautifully, using right uppercuts, lefts to the body, and overhand lefts.
A straight Morrell left sent Gavronski down with 10 seconds left in the first. Referee Jack Reiss told ringside officials to sound the bell. Between rounds, Gavronski’s corner told Reiss to watch their fighter.
Gavronski tried fighting back at the outset of the second, but Morrell pummeled him with a right uppercut and lefts to the head. Gavronski tried holding his hands up in a tight defense, and that did enough for him to last through two, although Gavronski appeared barely able to stand.
With just under 2:00 left in the third, Reiss was looking closer and closer at the fighters. Morrell was continuing to pressure Gavronski, who continued to take punishment. A strafing right uppercut by Morrell forced Reiss to step in and wave it over at 2:45 of the third round.
Morrell dominated. He landed 102/208 total punches thrown to Gavronski 12/128 over three rounds.
Juan Maćias Montiel derails James Kirkland’s comeback
Five years ago, the outcome may have been far different. But that was five years ago. That was when James Kirkland had the wherewithal to get up from knockdowns and attack. The 36-year-old version of Kirkland (34-3, 30 KOs) can’t seem to take a punch like he once did. Within the first 32 seconds of the first round of their scheduled 10-round middleweight bout, Juan Maćias Montiel (25-4-2, 22 KOs) dropped Kirkland with a short, blunt left hook to the chin.
Referee Jerry Cantu reached a count of eight and gave Kirkland another chance. A pair of Montiel rights had Kirkland backing up. Another right sent Kirkland to the canvas again and Cantu let him go once more, then Montiel finished it at 1:56 of the first after a series of rights, punctuated by a crushing left uppercut.
Jesus Ramos stops Naim Nelson in four
On the first TV fight, rangy 19-year-old southpaw Jesus Ramos (14-0, 13 KOs) looked impressive in a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight bout with a fourth-round stoppage over tough Philadelphian Naim Nelson (14-5, 1 KO). Ramos knocked Nelson down twice, once in the third with a left to the face, and once in the fourth.
Nelson’s corner saw enough after four and wisely saved their fighter from more punishment.
Super middleweight Alantez Fox (27-2-1, 12 KOs) won for the first time in over a year by winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Mark Hernandez (14-4-1, 3 KOs), while Russian welterweight Radzhab Butaev (13-0, 10 KOs) handed Terry Chatwood (9-1-1, 5 KOs) his first defeat, winning by stoppage at 1:01 of the third round with a left hook to the body.
Chavez Barrientes (5-0, 4 KOs) continued his winning ways, stopping Paul Carroll (4-2, 4 KOs) in three of a scheduled four-round junior featherweight bout. But the real stunner of the night came when Travon Lawson (4-0, 3 KOs) handed Angel Barrientes (3-1, 2 KOs) his first loss as a pro, stopping Chavez’s twin brother at :55 of the fourth round of a scheduled six-rounder.
With 2:25 left in the fourth, Lawson landed a left-right combination that forced Angel to the ropes. A series of overhand rights to the side of Angel’s head sent him down for the first time as a pro. Barrientes struggled to get up and finally got to his feet at seven. When Angel approached referee Edward Hernandez Sr., he did not appear okay. That was enough for Hernandez to wave it over, despite the vehement protests of Angel Barrientes.
For a closer look at Morrell vs Gavronski, check out our fight night page.