Eric Tudor survived a major gut check in his first official fight under contract with Golden Boy Promotions.
The 21-year-old prospect from Fort Lauderdale overcame a cut and a stiff challenge from Damoni Cato-Cain to take a well-earned, unanimous decision over eight rounds. Judge Dr. Lou Moret (80-72) missed a hell of a fight as he scored every round for Tudor. Judges Robert Hoyle (78-74) and Pat Russell (78-74) were much closer to reality as they had Tudor ahead in their battle of unbeaten junior middleweight prospects Saturday evening on DAZN from the Walter Pyramid on the campus of California State University-Long Beach.
Tudor has previously appeared on Golden Boy undercards but officially signed with the Los Angeles-headquartered outfit in January. He struggled to deal with the aggression and in-fighting skills of Cato-Cain, who worked his way inside Tudor’s significantly longer reach to control the pace. Cato-Cain repeatedly pumped his jab in round two after both boxers landed hooks to the body late in round two.
Cato-Cain continued to apply heavy pressure in round three. The Oakland native doubled up on his right jab, which forced a defensive adjustment on the part of Tudor. Cato-Cain was urged to not throw one punch at a time; enough got through to cause swelling around Tudor’s right eye.
A clash of heads early in round four left Tudor with a cut high above his right eye. The sight of his own blood seemed to energize the 21-year-old, who rocked Cato-Cain immediately after action resumed. Cato-Cain weathered the storm and avoided a knockdown when referee Jack Reiss ruled that he was thrown to the canvas, which resulted in a stern warning issued to Tudor.
The change in tide was of concern to Cato-Cain, whose left eye began to swell in round four and worsened in round five Both boxers continue to sit on their punches, but Cato-Cain landed perhaps the best shot of the round with an overhand right that briefly caused Tudor’s knees to buckle.
Tudor and Cato-Cain traded jabs in round. Tudor planted his feet and drove home a left hook which was partially blocked by Cato-Cain. Slick head movement by Cato-Cain caused Tudor to miss with nearly every punch thrown during a sequence where he worked his way inside. Cato-Cain smothered the taller Tudor and enjoyed modest success.
Cato-Cain walked directly into a long right hand roughly 45 seconds into the eighth and final round. Both fighters traded body shots at center ring, though Tudor mixed up his attack with straight rights over the top. Cato-Cain’s head snapped back but he remained on his feet. Tudor landed to the body but missed with a right hand upstairs. Cato-Cain went downstairs in kind, though Tudor responded and drew blood from Cato-Cain’s nose.
Former IBF junior lightweight titlist Joseph Diaz Jr. (32-3-1, 15KOs) faces San Diego-bred Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta (33-3-3, 17KOs) in a makeshift main event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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