Alan Dawson – London
American welterweight Vincent “Vinsanity” Arroyo prevailed in a battling ten round non-title contest against rangy Puerto Rican Hector Sanchez at the Grand Casino, Hinckley, Minnesota on Friday, September 9. Sanchez boxed well in the opening rounds yet, once Arroyo figured out how to attack his taller and leaner opponent, he punched in bunches and stormed his way to a unanimous decision win.
Judges verdict: 98-92, 98-92, 96-94 unanimous decision to Arroyo
Arroyo was on strong form having taken the zeroes off of his past three opponents in Mike Dallas Jr, Jeremy Bryan and Willie Nelson. An aggressive welterweight from the Bronx, New York City, Arroyo relinquished a considerable height disadvantage to Sanchez, who also had a greater wingspan by over seven inches. Arroyo, though, had experience punching upwards having beaten Nelson – 6’3 – by way of majority decision in April.
Sanchez was sprightly on his feet, skipping on the spot as he darted in and out of the pocket while firing hard hitting hook shots on the inside. When mid-range, he’d use his jab effectively. Arroyo had to be warned for two lowblows – one of which was a hook square on the bollocks – and there were also warnings for clashing of heads.
In the second stanza, Sanchez controlled the distance and began to perturb Sanchez with both his right cross and also his hook punch. Arroyo needed to keep his right glove chin-high as Sanchez’s left hook landed, again, direct on the target. Arroyo danced around the periphery of the ring but, when on the offensive, would flurry – without accuracy. Arroyo shook his head at Sanchez when the rangy Puerto Rican caught the New Yorker with another left hook. The hook punch is, traditionally, a shot designed to fire from the inside, yet Sanchez’s reach was so extraordinary for a 147lb campaigner that he could unleash it from distance and still land.
Arroyo was far more tentative in the third as he had learned to respect Sanchez’s arsenal the hard way. Taller fighters can often give you their body, but Sanchez negated this by keeping his elbows tucked in and minimising the areas that Arroyo could reach.
At the beginning of the fourth round, Arroyo sought to trap Sanchez against the ropes where his long arms would do less damage. Arroyo landed a solid combination move onto the frame of Sanchez but he refused to stay stationary and pivoted away from the ropes. Arroyo finished the fourth round well with an impish hook punch.
The fifth round, like the fourth, Arroyo backed Sanchez against the ropes at the start of the round but instead of angling away from the danger zone like Sanchez had before, he covered up with a shell defence but Arroyo was still able to land a good 20 to 30 percent of the punches from his unrelenting flurrying. Arroyo had wrested the momentum away from Sanchez by taking the fight to the inside which took the control of the distance away from his 6’1 opponent.
The fight displayed two alternative styles between Sanchez’s smart boxing skills and desire for distance control, the jab and the counter-punching ability compared to Arroyo’s aggression, combination-punching, double-jab and his success in trapping Sanchez against the ropes. For the first time in the contest, Sanchez was wobbly-legged for the first time due to a right cross and left hook move from Arroyo.
Toward the end of the seventh, Sanchez was again forced onto the ropes where he lowered his guard and was clobbered by an Arroyo left hook. Considering his natural physical assets, any fluidity to Sanchez’s jab had completely dissipated since round four.
Vincent Arroyo, nicknamed Vinsanity, began the eighth round like he had finished the seventh by flurrying with a clear aggression when Sanchez was against the ropes. Sanchez’s only good piece of work was a well-timed uppercut when Arroyo stepped inside. Having clipped Sanchez with a left, Arroyo sensed the finish and began working Sanchez over to the head and the body. Sanchez resorted to constant spoiling as Arroyo landed overhand rights, left hooks to the body, more overhand rights and more hook punches.
Sanchez counter-punched his way back into contention in the ninth as his jelly-legs had stiffened enough to protect himself and use his jab to keep Arroyo off of him. A powerful exchange of right crosses ensued in the final round. Sanchez may have had the energy sapped out of him due to the torment his body had endured in the middle rounds and Arroyo sought to finish the round – and the fight – in the ascendancy. With Sanchez fighting tired while Arroyo kept the pace, the 24-year-old American had done enough to sneak a very close victory on On The Beak‘s card.
With the unanimous decision win, Arroyo saw his record rise to 12-1-0, 7ko while Sanchez dropped to 19-20, 9ko. The competitive nature of the bout, though, was not reflected in the one-sided nature of the judges’ scorecards.