Fernando David Saucedo was defeated by Emmanuel Tagoe last night, but the real losers were the loyal Ghana boxing fans who paid to watch.
Tagoe dropped his overmatched opponent thrice en route to a strange tenth-round stoppage spurred by Saucedo’s chief second standing on the apron. Watch here:
It was Tagoe’s first defense of the IBO World lightweight championship, a belt not yet recognized as a major world title. A bout such as this one adds little to their credibility.
As expected, the 36-year-old Saucedo (61-7-3, 10 KO’s) offered little resistance. In his prime, the Argentine was a feather-fisted journeyman. Even those days are well behind him.
Saucedo came into this bout riding a nine-bout winning streak, but a closer look at that reveals a startling lack of quality competition. In his last bout, he defeated a Ramon Elizer Esperanza who had lost seven of his last nine fights.
Perhaps Tagoe (28-1, 14 KO’s) took on this soft touch to shake off the ring rust that has accumulated since he first won the title versus the ancient Mzonke Fana in December 2016. If so, he’d been better served just working out in the gym, because Saucedo resembled a heavy bag with limbs.
A left hook to the body introduced an off-balance Saucedo to the canvas toward the end of the second. He rose complaining bitterly, even pushing referee Roger Barnor at one point. His actions earned him a point deduction.
The old boxer spent more time lamenting to Barnor than he did trying to win the fight. To be fair, many of his issues were warranted, but at no point did he attempt to retaliate with his fists.
Tagoe dropped him again in the fourth, this time courtesy of a right. Another right sent Saucedo to the canvas at the start of the fifth, but the shot was ruled a rabbit punch. When Tagoe fired a few more rabbit punches midway through the stanza, he was docked one point.
Tagoe spent the ensuing rounds showboating against his mismatched opponent, landing at will, but never seriously hurting Saucedo. It may have been one-sided, but it wasn’t impressive.
Tagoe fought from a southpaw stance in the tenth, allowing Saucedo to pin him against the ropes and wail away. The Bukom native responded with three consecutive rabbit punches that dropped Saucedo to a knee. The shots warranted another point deduction. Instead, referee Barnor began counting, to the dismay of the challenger. When Saucedo’s corner stood on the apron in protest, the fight was called off.
Fans at Bukom Boxing Arena expressed their disgust at the decision.
“I won and yet you are not happy,” Tagoe exclaimed afterward. “What do you people want me to do again?”
For starters, fight fans would like to see Tagoe test himself. Saucedo was not a deserving challenger, nor did he fight like it. And the 43-year-old Fana, who fainted in the ring during their encounter, hasn’t been considered a serious opponent in nearly a decade.
We recently witnessed a baby-faced Isaac Dogboe test himself against a world-class opponent in only his 18th pro bout—and win in convincing fashion. Richard Commey, Duke Micah and Fredrick Lawson are three boxers who traveled abroad to test themselves against the world’s best.
Tagoe, on the other hand, appears content to remain in Ghana, taking on boxers who offer the path of least resistance. That must change if he wants to garner international respect, and based on the crowd reaction last night, maintain that respect among his countrymen.