Former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor (30-4-1, 18 KOs) had to survive a ninth-round knockdown, but otherwise outclassed a solid, but unspectacular Caleb Truax (18-1-1, 10 KOs) en route to a unanimous 10-round decision in Showtime's ShoBox main event.
It was mostly a lackluster affair for the first 8 1/2 rounds, with Taylor going through the motions and Truax just doing enough to save face in each losing round.
The only real excitement in the bout was generated by the Minnesota native via sharp right hand that sent Taylor to the canvas about a minute into the ninth round. A buzzed Taylor beat the count and held on desperately until the bell.
By the beginning of the tenth and final round, it was apparent that Truax had let his one opportunity pass and the fight ended with Taylor re-establishing his tepid superiority.
At the end of 10, the judges' scorecards read: 98-91, 97-92, and 97-94. The Boxing Tribune also scored the fight 98-91 in favor of Taylor.
-- Was it a new attitude from a fired-up Erislandy Lara (16-1-1, 11 Kos) in his first bout after the Paul Williams robbery? Was it a poor, overmatched Ronald Hearns (26-3, 20 KOs)?
It was likely a little bit of both that led to Lara's half-round destruction of the second-generation fighter.
The Cuban was stalking and timing Hearns from the opening bell and it didn't take long to find an opportunity against his fatally flawed opponent.
A lightning-quick and perfectly-timed straight left hand sent Hearns to the canvas mid-way through the opening round. Hearns would beat the count, but was clearly buzzed and on unsteady legs. Another left hand would hurt Hearns again and force a standing eight count. Seconds later, Lara would close the show with a pait of left hands that put Hearns down and out at the 1:34 mark of the first round.
For Lara, possible opportunities abound in the entertaining junior middleweight division, but politics will likely continue to be the former Olympian's most difficult foe. Lara is too good to just be an opponent, yet not known enough to be a "must" fight for the division's top dogs. But with a skill set that has purists salivating and a more aggressive
mindset in the ring, Lara has the potential to be a real star and force some big fights to happen.
Off-TV, middleweight prospect J'Leon Love (11-0, 7 KOs) stopped Ibahiem King (10-7, 4 KOs) in the third round of a scheduled eight-round contest.