Middleweight contender Willie Monroe Jr. earns dominant decision over Javier Francisco Maciel in co-main; and unbeaten heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba picks up another quick win in the most bizarre fashion.
James (24-1, 11 knockouts) needed just six minutes to dispatch game gatekeeper Mahonry Montes (35-8-1, 24 KOs) with a thudding body shot that it took Montes several minutes to get up from. James landed a killer combination to the head in the final thirty seconds that setup a left hook to the body, and Montes was counted out at 2:58 of the second round.
“I came out here to make a statement and I’m even happier to be able to do it right here at home,” James said. “The support in Minnesota is amazing and it gave me the extra motivation to get the job done in spectacular fashion. Everyone knows I attack the body and tonight I was able to use it to get the finish.”
At 30, James is trying to establish himself as a legitimate welterweight contender, and getting rid of the Mexican veteran as easily as he did is quite the statement.
James used the jab in the opening round to set up his shots, snapping Montes’ head back a number of times. Montes didn't really engage much as James kept him at the proper distance.
James was coming off a majority decision win against Abel Ramos at the same location four months earlier, but was happy to end his night early this time. It's his fourth win in a row since losing a clear 10-round decision to tough Cuban fighter Yordenis Ugas in August 2016.
James has cultivated a solid hometown following in his home state of Minnesota and could lure some big-name opponents there for the right fight. He's looking for a title opportunity sooner rather than later.
“I feel like I’m ready for the elite welterweights and tonight proved it again,” James said. “I’m going to keep working hard and taking down anyone they put in front of me. It’s time for me to make my mark in the division.”
The welterweight division is a crowded one. Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will contest for the vacant WBC title on September 8 on Showtime. Terence Crawford and Errol Spence have belts, as do Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao. James came into the match ranked in the top 15 by two organizations.
Middleweight contender Monroe earns dominant decision
Monroe had no trouble with Maciel—who was a late substitute for Immanuwel Aleem, but didn't press the action—was dominant with his jab, movement and an array of offensive attacks. He was able to vary his punches enough to keep the aggressive Maciel from landing anything that caused damage.
Maciel looked to score with power punches and body shots, but the former title challenger Monroe was comfortable on the outside and mixing it up inside, hitting him with combinations all fight long.
Ajagba picks up another quick win in the most bizarre fashion
Boxing is the theater of the unexpected. That was never more true than when unbeaten heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba (6-0, 5 KOs) was set to face veteran Curtis Harper (13-6, 9 KOs). As soon as the bell sounded to start the fight, Harper exited the ring through the ropes and walked back to the locker room.
While it's unclear exactly what Harper's motives were, Ajaba was declared winner by disqualification one second into the fight.
Truax victorious at home; Stanionis scores UD win over Ghvamichava; Clark loses for the first time; and trio of prospects stay unbeaten
Former super middleweight champ Caleb Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs) picked up his 30th career win with a third-round TKO of Fabiano Pena.
The 34-year-old from nearby Osseo, Minnesota delighted his hometown fans with a strong showing from the start. A big uppercut dropped Pena to the canvas and even though he stood back up the ref waived off the bout.
The opening bout of the telecast featured fast-rising prospect and 2016 Lithuanian Olympian Eimantas Stanionis (7-0, 5 KOs) as he earned a unanimous decision over Levan Ghvamichava (18-4-1, 13 KOs)in their eight-round welterweight matchup.
Stanionis rode a powerful jab and sharp combination punching to the dominant victory as he faced the toughest opposition of his pro career to date. Ghvamichava was game and tried to counter the hard-charging Stanionis but was too often taking the worst of exchanges on the inside. At the end of the action all three judges saw the bout in favor of Stanionis by scores of 80-72 and 79-73 twice.
Rosario scored a highlight reel knockdown with a counter right hand in the third round that saw Clark tumble out of the ring. Clark was able to return to the ring and beat the count, but he took more damage throughout the bout before losing the decision by scores of 99-90, 98-91 and 97-92, all in favor of Rosario.
Prelims on FS1 and FOX Deportes saw rising super welterweight prospect Sebastian Fundora (10-0, 6 KOs) stop Antonio Urista (10-3, 2 KOs)at 2:22 of the fourth round, undefeated super welterweight Leon Lawson (8-0, 4 KOs) win a unanimous decision over Brandon Adams (4-7-1, 2 KOs) in their six-round fight and unbeaten prospect Gary Antonio Russell (12-0,10 KOs) score a first round knockout of Nick Otieno (31-15, 13 KOs) just 1:18 into the round.
For a complete look at the PBC on FS1 card, check out our fight page.