Subriel Matias Drops, Stops Jeremias Ponce to Become 140 lb Champion
In a phone booth kind of a fight, power punching jr. welterweight Subriel Matias (19-1, 19 ko) dropped Jeremias Ponce (30-1, 20 ko) at the end of the fifth, causing his corner to stop the fight before the start of the sixth to win the vacant IBF title and ending a thirteen month stretch of inactivity. It seemed to be a premature stoppage of a fight that was highly competitive up until the knockdown.
Ponce came out very aggressive in the first, stepping right to Matias and letting go of hard combinations, taking advantage of what looked like a feel out round for Matias. But in the second, Matias started to find his rhythm with some hard body shots, mixing in touch shots and power punches on the inside. Matias offense has more finesse than he gets credit for, and he blocks and rolls a lot on the inside as well; he is not JUST a power puncher.
While Matias seemed to slightly get the better of most of the rounds, the stoppage came as a surprise. Matias might be one of the best punchers in boxing, but Ponce hopped right up from the knockdown and had been highly competitive in every round. In boxing, opportunities are far from abundant, and while I am usually a “protect the fighter” kind of guy, it is usually in instances of one sided fights or when a fighter looks like they can’t protect themselves. Neither was the case in this one. Regardless, this was a fun one while it lasted, and Ponce was making a really good accounting of himself, which was part of the disappointment in the stoppage.
In winning this bout, Matias becomes the IBF jr. welterweight champion, which means that if Regis Prograis (WBC champ), Josh Taylor (WBO champ) or Albert Puello (WBA champ) want to become undisputed, at some point they will have to fight Matias. Taylor recently agreed to terms for a fight with Teofimo Lopez in New York June 10th, but neither Puello or Prograis have anything scheduled. A fight between Prograis and Matias could be one of the most entertaining fights in boxing between the two best punchers the division has to offer. There are also interesting matchups with Arnold Barboza Jr., Jose Ramirez and Jack Catterall. Jr. welterweight is one of the hottest divisions in boxing right now, and Subriel Matias is right in the mix, having beaten three unbeaten fighters and avenging his only loss to Petros Ananyan in his last four fights. He should get big name or a unification fight next.
Former welterweight champion Jamal James (28-2, 12 ko), also coming off a long layoff, outboxed a game Alberto Palmetta (18-2, 13 ko) over ten rounds in his first bout back since getting stopped by Radzhab Butaev in October of 2021. Palmetta was competitive in most of the rounds, but for the most part James was able to keep the fight at his range, outboxing and outworking Palmetta by scores of 99-1 and 98-92 (twice). ITRBoxing scored the fight for James 97-93.
James admitted that he felt some ring rust and perhaps the effect of multiple bouts with COVID-19, and he didn’t look quite as fluid or reactive as we are used to seeing him. He also looked visibly effected by some of the punches from Palmetta, though I don’t think he was hurt, meaning his reacting to the shots looked worse than they were. Nonetheless, he boxed a smart fight and is still a legitimate contender at 147.
In the opener, jr. welterweight prospect Elvis Rodrgiuez (14-1-1, 12 ko) twice dropped the skilled Joseph Adorno (17-2-2, 14 ko) and won a majority decision by scores of 94-94 (which was surprising), 97-91, and 95-93 for Rodriguez. ITRBoxing scored the fight 97-91 for Rodriguez, who seemed to win the fight clearly.
The fight took a few rounds to heat up, with both fighters feeling each other out and jabbing from the outside. But in round five things started to heat up as Rodriguez started upping his pressure. Then in round seven, Rodriguez dropped and badly hurt Adorno, changing the tide of the fight. Adorno responded well, but Rodriguez took over in the final three rounds, scoring another official knockdown in round ten, though it didn’t look like a legitimate knockdown. It was Rodriguez’s third straight win since his lone defeat to Kenny Simms.