Quijano: Premature stoppage mars Villanueva loss

Jingo Quijano

ABOUT a week ago, Pinoy fighter Arthur Villanueva put up a gallant stand against Luis Nery, but fell short and the fight was stopped in the 6th round.

I’ll give all the props to “Pantera” Nery as he got up from a knockdown scored by “King Arthur” in the fourth, gathered himself and mounted a relentless assault that had the ALA pug on the defensive, but what marred the ending was, to me, a premature stoppage.

THE FIGHT. In the very first round, furious exchanges were made and Nery got the better of Villanueva especially in the last few seconds of the first.

Nery continued being the aggressor in the second, but Villanueva also landed some counters and was boxing on even terms at the end of the round.

In the third, Nery started targeting Villanueva’s body successfully and the latter started to slow down.

In the fourth with about 30 seconds to go, Nery seemed on the verge of knocking down Villanueva with furious combinations while the latter gamely fought back. One of those right hand counters landed smack on Nery’s chin and he went on his knee for a flash knockdown.

In the fifth, Nery showed that he wasn’t hurt at all and was the aggressor all throughout. Villanueva was backing up but countering well.

At the 1:30 mark of the sixth round, Nery caught Villanueva with a beautiful combination but the latter covered up while his back was against the ropes. While Villanueva appeared temporarily helpless, he didn’t appear hurt at all and was in fact covering up when the referee stepped in to call for the denouement of the fight.

PREMATURE. Of course, we all know that the primary job of the referee is to protect the health of the fighters , but every fight is a different fight, and it’s all about context.

For this fight, while Villanueva was fading, he didn’t appear hurt or in serious trouble at all and was intelligently defending himself when the fight was stopped.

Plus, you should consider that Villanueva scored a knockdown two rounds prior while he was being pummeled by Nery which should account for something when the referee makes his judgement call.

At the end of the day, we are glad that Arthur is in good health and he can potentially still bounce back from this loss, but to me he should have been given the benefit of the doubt in that fight.

It’s on YouTube guys, you be the judge.

PROGNOSIS. Nery is the reigning WBC bantamweight champion after he defeated Shinsuke Yamanaka. However, after that fight, Nery was initially found positive for a banned substance but subsequent tests yielded negative results.

The fight with Villanueva was a non-title fight. With that win Nery climbs to 25-0, with 19 KOs . Villanueva suffered the third loss of his career, and drops to 31-3, 17 KOs.

To me, Nery is still an enigma and the jury is still out on him. There will always be cloud of suspicion hanging over him as a result of that Yamanaka fight. He has a very crowd-friendly style and doesn’t mind getting into exchanges. But he appears to be chinny as can be seen in the Villanueva fight and it remains to be seen how he fares against the top-tier fighters in his division.

Villanueva on the other hand needs to make some crucial decisions about his career. At 28 he is young enough to regroup and make a title run, but he has lost to some of the best fighters in the bantamweight division (Zolani Tete and Nery) so maybe a move back down to junior bantamweight should be considered.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on my sister in-law Atty Renelda Chanco, my kumpare Roger Lee and my kumare, Trina Zosa-Tan who recently celebrated their birthdays. Cheers!