Yonkers resident Giovanni Lorenzo didn't get over the travelin'-man hump against Sam Soliman in an IBF middleweight eliminator in Australia, Soliman's homeland, but from what I gather, the Friday fight was a fan-friendly scrap.
Lorenzo, the Dominican-born New Yorker, dropped to 31-5 and went to 0-for-4 when traveling overseas for a meaningful tussle. The 31-year-old lost via UD12, by scores of 118-108, 118-108, 117-110, and was down in the 11th round. I asked his manager, Rich Ryan, for an unbiased report.
"The fight was a thriller," Ryan said. "The scores do not reflect how close the rounds were. Soliman (42-11) outworked Giovanni and took seven or eight of the rounds, but by no means was it a blowout. Gio had his moments and stunned Sam a few times. Sam was elusive. Gio was the the bigger puncher, Sam was just a little bit busier. Experience helped him steal the rounds. No disputes here."
With boxing leaning more toward the UFC model of "losses don't disqualify a fighter from getting opportunities if they engage in exciting fights," it sounds like Lorenzo met that criteria Friday night.
"The fans were on the edge of their seats," Ryan told me, "and treated to a good scrap.
"Gio suffered a flash knockdown in the 11th, reports say 12th, but it was in the 11th. Gio got up and fought hard. Soliman fought smart, stayed out of harms way.
"Soliman's team was a class act. I hope Soliman takes the title from either Felix Sturm, the IBF champ, or challenger Daniel Geale, when they fight September 1.
"It's back to the drawing board for Gio, but he learned a lot," Ryan finished. "It's tough fighting on the road, but fighting overseas is even harder."