The rising 22-year-old lightweight wins a clear unanimous decision but not without some rough moments against veteran Berrio Saturday night on FS1.
Education can come in various ways. Unfortunately, in boxing, learning comes with lumps. Like the one rising southpaw lightweight Jose Valenzuela experienced Saturday night in taking on awkward, crouching veteran Deiner Berrio.
For the first time in young career, Valenzuela, 22, faced real adversity, though he piled enough early rounds to emerge with a 10-round unanimous decision over the feisty 30-year-old Colombian in the FS1 PBC Fight Night main event from the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California.
Valenzuela (10-0, 6 KOs) won on the scorecards of Rudy Barragan (99-91), Abe Belardo (100-90) and Ralph McKnight (98-92).
But not without a scare or two.
Valenzuela had stockpiled much of the first seven rounds using distance, a high-volume body attack and a steady southpaw jab. Boxing, however, is tricky. One punch can change everything, and in the eighth, it almost did.
Apparently with a commanding lead on the scorecards, Valenzuela, for some inconceivable notion, opted to stay in the pocket and exchange with Berrio, who was waiting to land a big right.
With his hands by his sides, Berrio dared Valenzuela to come after him. Gradually, slowly, Valenzuela took the bait. Then with :54 left in the eight, as Valenzuela was coming off the ropes, Berrio snapped his head back with a big left hand.
Valenzuela was hurt and hung on. He stayed away from Berrio the remainder of the round.
By the 10th, Valenzuela had some swelling around his eyes especially his left eye. He began the last round, again seemingly up on the scorecards, engaging Berrio. He poked Berrio with the jab and fired a few combinations to the body. Berrio got inside and tried landing the homerun punch, and even though he failed, the pair put on a show.
In the last minute of the round, Berrio caught Valenzuela with a right to the head, causing Valenzuela to raise his hands to encourage Berrio even more.
Valenzuela would have his hands raised again moments later, this time in victory. The punch stats revealed his superiority. He landed 250 (54 body shots)/888 (28.2%) to Berrio’s 98(6)/254 (38.6%). But he also took some risks deep in the fight that against a greater skilled opponent could lead to trouble.
Rajon Chance and Elon De Jesus battle to a majority draw
Rajon Chance and Elon De Jesus have a history. De Jesus lost to Chance as an amateur, even though De Jesus is six years older.
Both fighters entered the ring undefeated super bantamweights, and that’s how they left it. Chance (5-0-1 5 KOs) and De Jesus (3-0-1, 2 KOs) fought to a six-round majority draw.
The 21-year-old Chance started well, outworking De Jesus. But as the rounds went on, De Jesus closed the distance and began scoring, opening a cut on Chance’s forehead, which was caused by a punch according to referee Jerry Cantu. In the fourth, the sway of the fight seemed to be going in De Jesus’ favor.
That’s when the explosions went off.
With 1:34 left in the fourth, De Jesus clipped Chance with a right on the chin, which appeared to knock down Chance. His gloves clearly touched the canvas. That’s when Cantu deducted a point from De Jesus, without giving De Jesus a warning.
Cantu did not give De Jesus the knockdown. Then in the fifth, De Jesus had Chance in trouble again, as Chance seemed to be talking to Cantu during the course of the round. Cantu stopped the action and reset the fighters.
With 1:34 left in the fifth, De Jesus unloaded a right uppercut and clearly knocked down Chance this time. Cantu reached a count of eight and when Chance, blood spilling down his forehead, told Cantu he couldn’t see, Cantu called a timeout with 1:18 left in the fifth.
Judge Rudy Barragan gave the decision to Chance, 57-55, while judges Sergio Caiz and Zachary Young both scored it a 56-56 draw.
On the undercard, heavyweight Gurgen Hovhanissyan stopped Jayvone Dafney (2-5, 2 KOs) at 2:10 of the first round in his pro debut. Super featherweight Amed Medina (4-0, 3 KOs) won a four-round decision over Abdur Abdullah (4-5), featherweight Mikhail Montgomery (3-0, 21 KOs) stopped Marcos Rodriguez (0-3) at 1:03 of the second in a scheduled four-rounder, and super lightweight Hendri Martinez (3-0, 3 KOs) stopped Brennon Crow (0-5) at :36 of the third in a scheduled four-rounder.
For a closer look at Valenzuela vs Berrio, check out our fight night page.
- Valenzuela vs Berrio