Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. Steve Cunningham II: A Beautiful Absurdity
How was the fight? It was terrific, even if it was absurd.
The first two rounds were pensive — and it was the pensiveness that favoured Hernandez. Cunningham, 35-years-old, showed visible signs of slowing down. You got the feeling that, if only he fought this fight one year earlier, his reaction time would be faster. Hernandez was able to pick his shots artfully.
It was in the 3rd Round that Hernandez picked up the pace. He began tearing into Cunningham with devastating body shots. Shot after shot landed, with Cunningham backing up. Clearly, it looked like Hernandez was going to slowly dismantle Cunningham.
Then in the 4th Round, the absurd happened. Hernandez delivered a hard hook to Cunningham's jaw. Cunningham was dropped. His legs shaking uncontrollably, somehow he found his way back up.
After nearly being counted out, Hernandez knocked Cunningham down immediately. Cunningham got up again. There was 40 seconds in the round.
Hernandez unloaded shot after shot — trying to keep Cunningham from finishing the round. These were big shots, being delivered to Cunningham's head and body. Cunningham continued to wobble; the referee was about to stop the fight, but the bell rang to end the round. Somehow Cunningham survived.
What followed was an admirable display of guts. In Round 5, Hernandez tried to close the deal, when Cunningham suddenly clocked him hard with a counter right. Hernandez staggered. From Rounds 5-9, Cunningham outboxed and outfoxed Hernandez — forcing the younger man to respect him.
Hernandez knew Cunningham could have stolen the fight from him. In Round 10, he adjusted his strategy and made it a dogfight. Both men exchanged punches — becoming more desperate as time went on.
The dogfight reached a crescendo in Round 12. Hernandez delivered a big left hand. Cunningham once again had his legs wobble, but he fought back. Cunningham then teed off — causing Hernandez to stagger. Seemingly dizzy, and with little more than desperation, Hernandez mustered enough strength to blitz Cunningham yet again.
Somehow, both men remained standing. Both men refused to stay down or out. Either man could have been the winner.