Jared Anderson cruises to easy win over punching bag Ryad Merhy

Jared Anderson cruises to easy win over punching bag Ryad Merhy

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Jared Anderson won a boring 10-round decision over disengaged Ryad Merhy (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

by Joseph Santoliquito | 

Before he was about to get into the ring for the 17th time as a pro, Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson was loose, even giddy, fooling around taking pictures, with a beaming smile, really enjoying himself.

The most promising American heavyweight even went a step further, deciding to don a race car helmet and racing motif during his ring walk Saturday night on the Top Rank ESPN show from the American Bank Center, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The attire was a flippant gesture toward Anderson’s out-of-ring speeding run-ins with law enforcement.

Apparently, no one woke up Belgian Ryad Merhy for the fight. He never stepped on the gas.

Anderson (17-0, 15 knockouts) went the distance for only the second time, winning a convincing, yet tedious 10-round unanimous decision.

The 31-year-old Merhy (32-3, 26 KOs) was an embarrassment. He safely received a payday, though lost any respect he had. Merhy was once a WBA cruiserweight titlist, and he did beat Tony Yoka, the French 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, in December.

That did not matter. Merhy made no attempt to win.

Regrettably, Anderson was not served well in winning by 100-90 shutout scores by judges Ruben Carrion and Ellis Johnson, and somehow 99-91 on David Sutherland’s card.

The end arrived with a chorus of boos. Somehow referee Lee Rogers was able to finish standing, considering the sedative he had to officiate.

Merhy’s 144 punches were the third-fewest ever thrown in a 10-round fight in CompuBox history.

Anderson came out as the aggressor. He was steady, relaxed, poking away with the jab. Merhy did little to get inside the jab, opting to hold a high guard and take the shots. It was more of the same in the second, and the third, and the fourth, as the round progressed, a spattering of boos began spilling more from the crowd.

Merhy did almost close to nothing in the third. Was he trying to bore Anderson into making a mistake? He spoke about being patient before the fight. This was a little too patient. The only reason anyone knew Merhy was not asleep was because he was standing.

As each round passed, more boos could be heard from the crowd. Anderson seemed to be content staying on the outside, jabbing and coming forward, occasionally dropping to land a right to the body.

It was becoming monotonous. But it was not Anderson’s fault. Merhy was not engaging while eating Anderson’s jabs.

Halfway through the fight, Anderson was pitching a mundane shutout.

Through six rounds, Anderson had thrown 389 to Merhy’s pitiful 78 output. After eight, the difference grew to Anderson’s 463 punches thrown to Merhy’s mere 86.

In a fight for their relevance, Efe Ajagba won a 10-round split-decision over Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello by scores of 96-94 (2) over the 96-94 score for Vianello.

The two 29-year-old heavyweights that were once sparring partners. They put on a good show, with Vianello starting well, and Ajagba countering to win the middle rounds.

Ajagba (20-1, 14 KOs) outlanded Vianello in total punches 186/583 (32%) to 177/622 (28%), winning mostly with his jab, 93/310 (30%) to 59/299 (20%), while Vianello won on power punches, 118/323 (37%) to 93/273 (34%).

What started slow quickly picked up near the end of the second, when Vianello landed a right over Ajagba’s lowered left hand and had the former Nigerian Olympian in serious trouble in the final nine seconds. Ajagba survived, though not before walking to the wrong corner.

Ajagba found his legs in the third, however, he was once again caught again in the last 10 seconds of the round. In the fourth, Ajagba began using his jab more consistently. With 1:28 left in the round, Ajagba caught Vianello (12-2-1, 10 KOs) with a right uppercut. It was Ajagba’s best round, so far, in the fight.

In the fifth, Ajagba struck Vianello with a straight left to the body, pushing back to former Italian Olympian back into the ropes. What momentum Vianello had built in the final 10 seconds of the second was dissipating.

Vianello began looking lethargic in the sixth, getting hit more easily and showing little resistance.

In the first 30 seconds of the seventh, Ajagba landed a right uppercut, then a left uppercut that had Vianello’s head twisting. Vianello tried mounting some offense in the final 20 seconds, though could not connect on anything substantial.

Through seven, Ajagba had a 129-121 connect advantage.

In the first minute of the eighth, Ajagba switched to a southpaw stance. With Ajagba’s stronger hand closer, Vianello did not have answer. As Vianello came forward with 1:00 left in the round, Ajagba reeled off two right uppercuts in a row that had Vianello backing away.

Entering the last round, Ajagba outlanded Vianello, 167-152. Fighting out of the southpaw stance, Ajagba was getting pushed back by Vianello. With 35 seconds left, Vianello plowed Ajagba with a right, and few seconds later, another right. With 26 seconds left, Vianello caught Ajagba with a sweeping right.

Robson-Conceicao lands a left on Jose Guardado (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Junior lightweight Robson Conceicao, a three-time world title challenger, began the TV portion of the card by stopping Jose Ivan Guardado (15-2-1, 5 KOs) at 2:27 of the seventh round in a scheduled eight-rounder. Conceicao (18-2-1, 9 KOs) knocked down Guardado twice in the seventh with a left to the body, and the second time with another left.

On the undercard, featherweight Ruben Villa (22-1, 7 KOs) won a 10-round decision over Cristian Cruz (22-7-1, 11 KOs).

Welterweight John Rincon (9-0, 2 KOs) remained undefeated with six-round majority decision over Yainel Álvarez (3-4-2, 1 KO), rising lightweight star Abdullah Mason (13-0, 11 KOs) stopped Ronal Ron (14-6, 11 KOs) at 2:00 of the fourth round in a scheduled eight-rounder. Other results included junior lightweight Alejandro Guerrero (13-4, 10 KOs) pulling off an upset by stopping previously undefeated Jalen Walker (12-1-1, 10 KOs) at 1:35 in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-rounder, and undefeated junior lightweight Charly Suarez (17-0, 9 KOs) winning an eight-round decision over Louie Coria (15-7, 7 KOs).

Joseph Santoliquito is an 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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