David Morrell, Jr. ends Showtime’s 37-year run with a blast

David Morrell, Jr. ends Showtime’s 37-year run with a blast


by Joseph Santoliquito | 

David Morrell, Jr.’s upward trajectory is far from trivial, though his two-round demolition of Sena Agbeko on Saturday night at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will one day, regrettably, be a trivia question: Who won the last fight on “Showtime Championship Boxing?”

Morrell did what he was supposed to do against Agbeko before a soldout crowd of 5,347, the largest gate for boxing and most attended boxing event ever at The Armory.

Morrell (10-0, 9 knockouts) closed out Showtime Championship Boxing’s final show after 37 years at 1:43 of the second round. Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) hardly had a chance. Morell, The Ring’s No. 3-rated 168-pounder, was all over him and called out Ring No. 1 super middleweight contender David Benavidez.

“Thank you to my fans for coming to the fight,” Morrell said. “Teaching everyone who is the number one. I’m ready. I tell everybody my team, my family…I’m looking forward to next year. For now, I feel happy. Right now, I’m going to go my house for Christmas and focus on next year.

“Everybody came for my fight, I’m so excited. The first time my dad and my mom came to watch me fight, so I’m really excited to have them here… it’s my night. It’s my time. It’s my year, and I’m looking forward to a good 2024.

“In 2024, I want to fight Benavidez. One hundred percent.”

Morrell was the headliner, but it was 24-year-old lightweight southpaw José Valenzuela (13-2, 9 KOs) who stole the show with his devastating sixth-round knockout of Chris Colbert (17-2, 6 KOs) in a WBA title eliminator.

Valenzuela had been stewing for nine months to get back at Colbert, after the 10-round controversial decision “Primetime” was awarded over Valenzuela back in March.

A Valenzuela wide right hook marked the first time Colbert suffered a knockout loss. The fight was officially stopped at 1:46 of the sixth round. The knockout was so emphatic referee Joel Scobie did not even bother to count, immediately waving the fight over as he kneeled to aid Colbert, lying prone out cold over the bottom ropes.

“As soon as I went home I went straight to work,” said Valenzuela, who knocked Colbert down in the first round as he did in the first fight. “I want to thank Chris, he’s a hell of a fighter. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here. It takes two to tango so I’m grateful for him. I want to say thank you [Chris] to you and your father. The bet is off, that’s childish. Have a good holiday, man.

“I got to tip my hat off to him because he brought out the best in me. He made me adjust …Throw my combinations but go back to work. I wasn’t concerned, I knew I was conditioned to go 12 rounds, so I just was being patient. I didn’t want to rush it and punch myself out.

“I was just teeing off on him. I was throwing combinations to the body and to the head, mixing it up. You know, he was tough he was holding up. The second time he turned left he saw I was gonna make a jab so he could catch it up front, but I dipped a little bit and shot the right hook.”

José Valenzuela knocks out Chris Colbert in six avenging a controversial loss to Colbert back in March (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime).

Valenzuela foresees a larger picture ahead.

“Everything happens for a reason. I got to thank God. I was patient for a reason,” he said. “But you know, I beat him twice now. This was a title eliminator and I want to fight for the title. So, Tank Davis let’s get it on man. Let’s give these people a great show … I think I’m ready. I put my heart and soul into this and I beat him twice now so I think I deserve it.

“I don’t think the fans want to see [a rematch]. I beat him twice.”

Colbert, obviously, disagreed, countering, “It’s 1-1 now. Let’s run it back.”

On the undercard, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Andre Berto were looking for some semblance of the past. The 40-something former titlists went at it for 10 rounds, with Guerrero (38-6-1, 20 KOs) winning a 10-round welterweight decision over Berto (32-6, 24 KOs) in a rematch of their 2012 bout.

“I felt great. I felt great in the ring,” Guerrero said. “I said in the fighter meeting that I was going to box a little more and work on my jab and foot work. Berto is a tough character. He’s fast, he’s strong. He tied me up a lot. I wasn’t trying to hit him in the back of the head he kept turning. But I’m pumped and I’m excited. Let’s see what’s next after this. I’m excited to close out SHOWTIME. SHOWTIME, we out!

“I had to fight smarter. Last time I had a chip on my shoulder when I fought Berto. I wanted to walk him down and bag it out with him. This time I used my boxing skills. You’ve watched me since I was 122 pounds you knew I could box and be on the outside. So that’s what I did today. I’m excited. You know, as my father says I’m 40 years old, the older the bull the stiffer the horns baby!

“SHOWTIME’S always been good to me all the way from SHOBOX to now, I’m glad I got to close it out. Thank you very much SHOWTIME. I appreciate it.”

Berto was gracious in defeat, saying, “I came off a long layoff to try to avenge one of my losses and I was really trying tonight. My timing was off, but I tried my best. I love this game, but I came up short.”

Joseph Santoliquito is hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.Follow @JSantoliquito


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