Jessie Magdaleno wanted to prove to the world that he’s ready for a second title run. Whether his latest performance delivered that message, the end result keeps him very much in the running.
The former 122-pound titlist had his way with Dominican Republic’s Yenifel Vincete, scoring two knockdowns en route to a 10th round disqualification win Thursday evening in front of a crowdless MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vicente was floored in rounds one and five, while losing four points for low blows before the featherweight fight was finally stopped at 2:38 of round ten.
Magdaleno remains the number-one contender to the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight title currently held by Gary Russell Jr. Thursday wasn’t the message he wanted to send, although he did the best with the hand he was dealt.
“He was just a dirty fighter,” Magdaleno told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna. “He didn’t know how to handle the power.”
Magdaleno immediately went on the attack in the opening seconds of the contest, if only as a warning shot to his heavy-handed foe. Vincente rode out the early storm, but merely stood in front of his foe. Magdaleno took advantage, setting a trap in the corner before connecting with a combination upstairs to floor Vincente two minutes into the round.
The exchange set the tone for the rest of the fight. Vicente—who now trains out of Miami—struggled to come out of his shell in round two and three, walking forward but failing to let his hands go once he managed to work his way inside. Magdaleno was content with the slowed pace, moving back and then connecting with the jab and occasional left hand from his southpaw stance.
Vicente finally let his hands go in round four, ironically which nearly cost him the fight. Magdaleno turned to referee Robert Byrd after getting hit with a low blow. Byrd stepped in to break them apart, but Vicente decided he still had more fight left in him. A follow-up right hand sent Magdaleno crashing to the canvas, requiring more than three minutes to fully recover from the intentional foul.
Action eventually resumed, but not before Vicente was docked two points from his score. He would lose another point after landing a second low blow later in the round, flirting with disaster as he was already down eight points after just four rounds of action.
Magdaleno added to his already wide lead with a second knockdown on the night, this one coming late in round five. Vicente sought to be the aggressor, but his wide stance and leaky defense left him open for a counter right hook with less than 0:30 to go in the round.
Vicente flirted with disqualification in round six, as he was warned for another low blow. Magdaleno continued to fight in reverse, all but daring the Dominican slugger to move to him in hopes of catching the him with a check hook. Vicente didn’t take the bait, but also didn’t land the type of game-changing punch to change the direction of the one-sided affair.
Round seven saw the fight’s pace slow to a crawl. Vicente was clearly at a point where he needed to land a home run shot; Magdaleno was never within range to allow it to happen, nor did his Dominican foe manage to cut off the ring to bring his foe within desired punching distance.
Vicente enjoyed his best sequence of the fight late in round eight, scoring with a series of body punches. It came as Magdaleno chose to remain in close quarters rather than use lateral movement, perhaps content to coast down the stretch in a fight where he never threatened to fall behind.
Round nine played out in similar fashion. Magdaleno boxed for most of the frame, but found himself trapped in a corner long enough for Vicente to connect with a pair of right hands upstairs. His corner demanded a lot more of that in the 10th and final round, bluntly stating that he had to go for the knockout.
Instead, he went back downstairs. A right hand just below the belt forced Magdaleno to his knees, for which a referee with less patience would have called for a disqualification. Vicente was issued a fourth point deduction as the fight was permitted to continue, but clearly didn’t learn his lesson. A right hand to Magdaleno’s thigh was the final straw, as Byrd stepped in to stop the contest.
Magdaleno led 87-79 on the scorecard of Patricia Morse-Jarman and Max DeLuca at the time of the fight stoppage. Judge Dave Moretti was in a far more charitable mood, scoring the contest 85-81 though nine, giving Vicente the final three full rounds of action.
Vincente falls to 36-5-2 (28KOs), his second loss in his last three fights and—given his dirty fighting style—perhaps his last chance at a televised opportunity.
Magdaleno picks up his third straight win since a heartbreaking 11th round knockout at the hands of then-unbeaten Isaac Dogboe in April 2018. Wins over Rico Ramos and Rafael Rivera in 2019 were enough to restore his confidence, though neither particularly telling the tale of a former titlist back on the rise.
Thursday evening’s win was far more dominant, even if not a convincing case that he can dethrone the sport’s longest-reigning active titlist in Russell. Still, he’s game for the cause regardless of whatever titlist is standing in the opposite corner.
“All of them,” Magdaleno bluntly stated when asked which champ he wants next. “I don’t give a s*** who it is, I want all of them. I’m at the door of the WBC (title) for Gary Russell.
“Gary Russell, I’m coming baby. Be ready, because I’m coming.”