Antonio Cervantes vs Aaron Pryor
The bounding Pryor met Cervantes three-quarters of the way across the ring when the opening bell sounded and instantly went to work by swarming him with bunches of punches. Expecting this, Cervantes coolly snapped out jabs, maintained a high guard and kept his eyes peeled for countering opportunities. During those rare times when they were at long range, Cervantes cracked Pryor with long-armed hooks and crosses.
With 30 seconds remaining in an active opening round, Cervantes floored Pryor with a sneaky right to the jaw. Up at one, Pryor whirled his right arm in windmill fashion as Rozadilla administered the mandatory eight count, then proceeded to land the first hook he threw once action resumed. Cervantes affixed a tight clinch, then rode out the rest of the round.
Round two saw plenty of the long-range boxing that favored Cervantes, but it was fought at the kinetic pace that suited Pryor. “Kid Pambele” continued to connect with well-timed counters while the challenger pumped in quick flurries. Pryor then unveiled a wrinkle in his game by suddenly cutting wide circles around the champion and flashing swift, Ali-like jabs. A combination visibly moved Cervantes and Pryor showed off his superior upper body strength by using his shoulders to shrug off Cervantes in the clinches.
Pryor picked up his pace even more in the third and Cervantes had little choice but to do the same lest he be swallowed whole. The champion responded well to the challenge as he landed a meaty right that caused Pryor to fall forward into a clinch but moments earlier a left hand opened a gash under Cervantes’ right eyebrow. As if dealing with Pryor wasn’t enough, the crimson only added to Cervantes’ increasingly desperate situation. Once the blood started gushing into his eye his previously pinpoint punches had a flailing look to them. Not only that, the older champion looked weary, as if he had suddenly hit a wall.
Cervantes’ corner feverishly tended to the cut between rounds but their work did little to ease the crisis as the blood resumed flowing mere seconds into the fourth. The energized Pryor bounced around Cervantes and speared his gory face with jabs and crosses, content to pile up points and inflict ever-mounting damage. Pryor also showcased his underrated defense as he rolled under the champion’s blows.
A triple jab set up a heavy one-two to Cervantes’ face, which then ignited a torrent of punches. A thunderous right to the face floored the Colombian legend near one of the corner pads. Cervantes’ crumpled form turned his back to Rozadilla and Pryor, then tried to rise by pulling on the ropes. His attempts to clear the cobwebs were in vain as Rozadilla tolled the fatal 10.