Filipino fighter Jhack Tepora (23-1, 17) entered his 24th bout as a 1/16 betting favourite, an unbeaten man with a lot of expectations on his shoulders. He was expected to continue his winning run as he faced out of form Colombian Oscar Escandon (26-6, 18).
It was expected to not only be an easy win for Tepora, but an early win, with the Filipino being 2/7 to win inside the distance.
What no one expected was for Escandon to press the action from the off against the bigger, younger man, and beat him up with some big head shots. Tepora took them well to begin with, but then started to leave holes downstairs in his defense, a hole for Escandon to target.
A shot right on the floating rib sent the Filipino down in agony where he took the 10 count with no attempt to get up. The shot was a beauty from Escandon, who breathes life into his career all of a sudden.
For those wondering about shock of the year, this result was priced at 100/1 with Bet365 making it one of the biggest betting shocks of the year!
It's frustrating to see one, very good, looking bout cancelled on a show, but to have 2 bouts is a really bad sign of the lack of professionalism of those involved. Tepora has, reportedly, been having issues with his promoter, but he has still thrown away a fantastic opportunity here. As for Buitrago this is a real mystery given he has typically fought at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. His ambition, which was being questioned before this fight, appears to have totally vanished.
At the moment it's unclear when Tepora will return to the ring, though given what seems like a genuine frustration with his promoter, it may well be some time before he fights again, and given how he has messed up such a big opportunity, he may struggle to find fighters willing to fight him, just in case he shows this lack of unprofessionalism again. Missing by 1lb, or less, is bad but coming in above the limit for the next division, in a title fight, is disrespectful to the sport, his opponent, the promoter of the event and the title body involved.
Had it been 1lb or even 2lbs then we suspect Tepora would have given it a go, but at 5.5lbs, and with rumours of him struggling badly with weight all week it seems almost certain that the bout will be stripped from the Filipino. It's unclear, at the moment, if the bout will go ahead, though we would be surprised if it does given how badly over weight Tepora is.
Given the huge opportunity this is a major mistake from Tepora, and we really have to wonder quite how badly his preparations have been for this bout. He didn't just miss the Featherweight limit, but also the Super Featherweight limit, a staggering misjudgement, and something that is clearly disrespectful to Ruiz and to the sport.
They could give Tepora 2 hours, or 6 hours, there is no way for him to make weight and be healthy.
Tomorrow we'll WBA "interim" Featherweight champion Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17) defending his title, for the first time, and taking on big punching Mexican Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33), in what could end up being the bout of the weekend. Despite looking like a very competitive match up on paper the UK bookies have got Tepora as a very clear favourite in what is a dangerous first defense for the Filipino.
The hard hitting Filipino is best priced at 1/8 to win the bout and retain his title, whilst Ruiz is available as high as 13/2. The draw is 33/1.
As well as the "To win" market the bout has a variety of other markets available.
Those include the "Method of victory" market. The favoured result here is a TKO/KO/DQ win for Tepora, which has been priced at 5/11. A decision win for the Filipino is 11/4, and it would be his first decision win since he was taken 10 rounds by Andrew Palas more than 3 years ago. A stoppage win for Ruiz is best priced at 9/1 whilst a decision for the Mexican is 22/1.
The bout is 4/11 to go the distance and 28/11 to not go 12 rounds. Interestingly it's 5/6 to go over 7.5 rounds and 11/10 to not last 7.5 rounds.
Related - Tepora looks to make first defense of "interim" crown, takes on hard hitting Ruiz
Earlier this year we saw Filipino fighter Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17) announce himself on the world stage, winning the WBA "interim" Featherweight title in Malaysia by stopping Edivaldo Ortega in 9 rounds. He's been out of the ring since that win, in July but now looks set to defend the title in January.
The unbeaten Filipino will be part of the January 19th PBC card as the MGM Grand, which will be shown on Showtime and headlined by Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) facing off with Adrien Broner (33-3-1-1, 24).
Until today Tepora's opponent was totally unknown, though Linea Directa have now reported that the front runner is big punching Mexican Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33), who is just waiting to get his visa sorted before being confirmed for the bout. Ruiz is training for the bout and has signed to fight Tepora on the card, with the bout agreed in principle.
Ruiz is a former WBA "interim" Bantamweight champion and WBC "super" Bantamweight champion, who has lost to Koki Kameda, Julio Ceja and Hozumi Hasegawa and will be looking to become a "3-weight champion". It's also been revealed that he really struggled to make the 122lb Super Bantamweight limit, hence moving up in weight for this bout.
It's also been reported that Filipino hopefuls Jayar Inson (18-1, 12) and Genesis Libranza (17-1, 10) will be on the card, though their opponents haven't yet been confirmed.
The Spanish article about Ruiz challenging Tepora can be read here on the Linea Directa website.
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