2016 Argentinian Olympian and welterweight prospect Alberto Palmetta put a late exclamation point on an impressive display, scoring a final-round TKO of undefeated Mexican prospect Erik Vega in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation Friday night from WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa.
Palmetta (13-1, 9 KOs), who came out of the amateur ranks billed as one of the top prospects in Argentina’s boxing history, broke open a close fight by producing a massive rally that stunned Vega (16-1, 9 KOs) and ultimately led to referee Mark Nelson intervening at the 1:03 mark of the 10th and final round. Entering that round, Palmetta was leading 87-84 on two of the judges’ scorecards and 86-85 on the other.
Capping off his display in stylish fashion, the 29-year-old southpaw Palmetta led 30-3 in overall punches and 28-1 in power punches in the tenth, increasing his final leads to 170-157 in overall punches landed and 148-24 in power punches landed.
“I knew we were up on the scorecards,” said Palmetta. “We didn’t need the knockout, but we wanted it. I had him hurt a couple times in the fight but I didn’t follow up. In the 10th, I had him out on his feet. It was a good stoppage. He was done.”
“We don’t make excuses,” said the 24-year-old Vega after his first career professional loss. “I believe the referee was right in stopping the fight. I think I need to practice more and I needed to throw more combinations. This was a great learning experience. We’ll go back to the drawing board and come back stronger.”
In an entertaining and crowd-pleasing co-featured bout, Houston’s Joe George (10-0, 6 KOs) won a controversial split decision over the much busier Marcos Escudero (10-1, 9 KOs). The judges scored the fight 97-94 (George), 97-93 (George) and 96-94 (Escudero).
Argentina’s Escudero began the fight with a bang as his 135 total punches thrown was tied for the seventh most ever recorded by CompuBox in a light heavyweight fight. He kept his blistering pace up throughout the entirety of the fight, throwing 106 punches in the final round and 911 total punches, but the judges were more impressed by George’s heavier punching and superior accuracy. George stunned Escudero in the ninth round and was accurate on 34 percent of his total punches, compared to just 19 percent for Escudero. The total numbers landed were close, as Escudero landed 177 total punches while George landed 161.
SHOWTIME’s Hall of Famer analysts Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood, along with former world champion Raul Marquez, all had Escudero winning the fight comfortably on their scorecards.
“I’m not surprised at all by the decision,” said George, who is co-managed by seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams. “I knew he was a front runner. I knew he was going to get tired. We wore him down. I made the fight a little harder for myself by staying on the ropes a little too long, but we got through it. That’s something that we can work on and improve in the gym.
“I’m really a 168 pounder so that’s where we want to go next. If he wants the rematch, we’ll give it to him but we already beat him.”
Escudero, who was riding a six-fight knockout streak entering the fight, was disappointed in both his performance and the judges’ interpretation of the fight.
“No excuses. I didn’t do my job,” he said. “I won the fight 100 percent, but no excuses from us. That’s boxing. I never give up. It’s all part of the game. I want a rematch, 100 percent.”
In the televised opener between two power punchers who had combined for 10 first-round KOs, undefeated knockout artist Amilcar Vidal, Jr. (10-0, 9 KOs) improved his knockout rate to 90 percent by dropping previously unbeaten Zach Prieto (9-1, 7 KOs) twice en route to another first-round stoppage. (Vidal KO: https://twitter.com/ShowtimeBoxing/status/1195550064225198081)
The 23-year-old Vidal, from Montevideo, Uruguay, floored El Paso’s Prieto with a flush left hand with 30 seconds left in the opening round. With Prieto hanging on, Vidal finished the job just before the bell sounded in the opening round, unleashing a flurry of punches capped by a hook to the side of the head that prompted the stoppage from referee Mark Nelson at 2:59. The blow closed out a fight in which Vidal led 22-14 in overall punches and 16-9 in power punches, including margins of 13-1 in overall punches and 10-1 in power punches in the final minute.
“I won the fight in the gym,” said Vidal, who was fighting in the United States for the first time. “The ring was easy tonight because of the work we did in the gym. I had a game plan and I executed it to perfection. I had a plan to use the left hook and I waited for the right moment to open up, and when I saw it I threw it perfectly.”
Friday’s fights were promoted by Sampson Boxing in association with Paco Presents. The full telecast will replay on Monday, November 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available on SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and SHOWTIME on DEMAND®.
Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside with fellow Hall of Famer Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.