No holiday break for Magsayo
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2020 - 12:00am

There’s still a lot to learn in the gym for WBC/IBF No. 4 featherweight contender Mark Magsayo who’s fresh from a split 10-round decision win over Mexican tough hombre Rigoberto Hermosillo in Los Angeles last weekend. Magsayo and wife Frances arrived in L.A. last July. It doesn’t look like they’ll be coming home any time soon.

Hermosillo, who’s never been stopped, pushed Magsayo to the limit. He was staggered at least five times but wouldn’t back down. In the ninth round, Magsayo landed a vicious left hook to the jaw and Hermosillo’s legs turned rubbery. Hermosillo struggled to keep his balance and bent down to touch the canvas with both gloves. Referee Jack Reiss should’ve called a knockdown but ruled it a slip. Mixed martial arts fighter and coach Franco Rulloda said “it had to be counted a knockdown…motion was after a flurry of punches, pace and timing are subjective but unfortunate it was called a slip.” Magsayo said, “I think knockdown, delayed lang reaction niya.” MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons concurred, commenting that it was “1,000 percent” a knockdown.

The three judges’ scorecards were conflicted. Rudy Barragan had it a 100-90 shutout for Magsayo which was an injustice to Hermosillo. Lou Moret, maybe a little jaded at 76, saw it 96-94 for Hermosillo and Zachary Young, 96-94 for Magsayo. If Reiss called a knockdown, Barragan would’ve had it 100-89, Moret 95-94 for Hermosillo and Young, 96-93 for Magsayo. The three judges gave the first, fifth and ninth rounds to Magsayo. Moret awarded six rounds to Hermosillo and Young, six to Magsayo. CompuBox stats showed that in the first round, Hermosillo outlanded Magsayo, 16-12 and in the ninth, the Mexican had more connections, 20-18 but despite the disparity, they were clear rounds for the Tagbilaran City slugger. In scoring rounds, quality is often more important than quantity and Magsayo’s shots had a lot more impact than Hermosillo’s.

Gibbons said the Magsayos will spend the holidays in L.A. and he’s working to schedule the next fight in January. “It was a good building performance,” he said. “I’m happy for Mark. Saw a lot of adaptations in the fight. Still a lot to work on but he got the W. Mark showed a lot of heart, determination and good stuff.”

Magsayo lost the statistical battle but won the fight because of more effective punches landed. In his corner were Freddie Roach, Marvin Somodio and the California State Athletic Commission designated cutman Mike Rodriguez. “Sabi ni coach Freddie, nakuha ko na ang mga turo pero hindi pa lahat,” said Magsayo. “Matagal kasi ako di nakalaban pero pag-balik namin sa gym, aral pa kami ulit para better next time. Matibay talaga si Hermosillo, expected naman namin yun kasi mataas na level ng competition. Not all the time makukuha natin ang knockout and I was able to adjust in the late rounds.”

Magsayo said he’ll meet with Roach, Somodio and strength/conditioning coach Justin Fortune to map out his training regimen moving forward. He said once IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas is booked for his next title defense in Las Vegas or wherever, he hopes to watch at ringside if live audience will be allowed. In the meantime, he and Frances are confined in L.A., staying home and keeping safe. “Malaki ang pasalamat ko kay Sir Sean sa opportunity na magpabago sa buhay namin,” he said.

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