Wilson KOs Walker, Rodriguez Outpoints Lowther
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It was over almost before it started.
In a stunning upset, T.J. Wilson captured the International Boxing Association (IBA) Continental Americas heavyweight title with an unpopular, controversial 15-second, first-round knockout over previously undefeated Travis Walker Friday in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation.
The amazing run of streaking, vastly improved Jesus “Chuy” Rodriguez continued in the co-feature when he won his eighth in a row with a convincing, unanimous eight-round decision over previously unbeaten Omri Lowther in a good-action junior welterweight match.
The doubleheader, held outside at Raley Field, was promoted by Duva Boxing in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions. It aired on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
A mere seconds after the opening bell, Wilson backed Walker into a corner and began delivering punches with both hands. At least a couple connected solidly and seemed to stun Walker, who did not once attempt to retaliate, or even raise a glove. He did not land a punch.
Moments later, the referee, Raul Caiz Sr., stepped between the boxers and waved off the fight.
“He dropped his hands. His shoulders dropped and he did not try to defend himself,” said Caiz, a veteran referee and the third man in numerous world title fights across the years. “I hated to do it. No one wants to see a fight end like that, especially so early on. But it is my job to protect the fighter.”
Naturally, Wilson (12-1, 8 KOs), of Atlanta, agreed with the referee’s actions while Walker (25-1-1, 19 KOs), of Houston, Texas, by way of Tallahassee, Fla., thought it was, well, a travesty.
“He was ready to go,” said Wilson, a six-foot-six inch, 282-pound southpaw who was two inches taller than Walker and outweighed him by 42 pounds. “He just folded up in the corner. His head wobbled.
“If the referee doesn’t stop it, Walker is going down and getting knocked out anyway. I was not going to stop throwing punches.”
Making his second start since July 2004 and first since March 24, 2007, Wilson said he would welcome a rematch but would prefer a shot at a top-10 contender.
“I really want to thank Showtime for this opportunity,” he said. “They gave me a chance to show what I could do. I said I was going to apply intense pressure and I did. You saw what happened.
“Since I just beat the guy in 15 seconds, I would like to try and progress in my career and fight somebody in the top 10. But if the price is right, I’d fight Walker again.”
Walker, who was making his third appearance on Showtime, vehemently protested the ref’s decision to halt the proceedings. The boxer still was in disbelief several minutes later.
“You don’t stop a fight, a championship fight, like that,” an agitated Walker said. “He caught me with a couple shots, but I was never hurt. It was only the first round, a feeling out round. We knew he was going to come out and shoot his wad. That was the only shot he had at winning.
“This is unbelievable. I definitely want to fight Wilson again.”
Rodriguez (17-2, 5 KOs), of Salinas, Calif., performed intelligently and stayed poised throughout en route to triumphing by the scores of 79-73 twice and 78-74. There were no knockdowns.
“I am content with the win, but I am not entirely satisfied,” he said. “I pushed the fight but I think I could have been a lot busier. But it was great fighting on Showtime and having the fans behind me like they were.”
A third cousin to the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson, Lowther (9-1, 8 KOs), of Atlanta, Ga., had his stablemate, undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Paul Williams, in his corner Friday. It didn’t help.
“I won’t make any excuses,” Lowther said. “I knew what I was getting into when I took the fight. Fighting a guy in his hometown is not easy. My only complaint is that the referee warned Rodriguez for hitting behind the head something like six times but never took away a point.”
Fight Results • Jesus Rodriguez • Omri Lowther • T.J. Wilson • Travis Walker