For weeks, B.J. Flores emphasized that his pursuit of a chance at a WBA, WBO or WBC cruiserweight championship belt would rely on a total destruction in his October homecoming.
After all, the Willard native and former Golden Gloves champion is trying to convince iconic boxing promoter Don King to make his dream come true.
But Flores’ fight Saturday night arguably cast doubt on whether that will happen anytime soon.
Flores needed all 10 scheduled rounds to score a unanimous decision against cruiserweight Paul Jennette before a crowd of roughly 3,000 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
Jennette is 43, has not won a fight in two years and is not ranked within the top 100 of any of the top three world sanctioning bodies.
“It was the best I could do tonight,” said Flores, now 26-1-1. “I’d grade it a B-plus. I wanted to knock him out, but I didn’t get the knockout.”
The fight came two months after he signed with King, whose company could breathe life into Flores’ stalled career.
Flores, 32, is nearing his ninth year as a pro, and his fight Saturday was his second independent matchup since ending a contract last year with another promoter.
By signing with King, Flores conceivably could land his dream bout: A shot at a cruiserweight championship belt in either the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization or World Boxing Council.
King controls the rights of several cruiserweights, including WBA champion Guillermo Jones.
But two months after announcing Saturday’s fight — promoter Wes Slay said he couldn’t have anything less than a knockout — Flores may still have work to do.
Jennette avoided several of Flores’ roundhouses midway through the bout — it was for the WBA Continental Americas cruiserweight title — by adjusting his body angles and maintaining quality footwork.
It threw off Flores, who said he was forced to shift strategy and began to sense the fight would go deep — despite the crowd cheering for a knockout several times.
“I was very surprised that he was that tough,” Flores said.
Jennette, from Greensboro, N.C., wanted no part of a moral victory.
“I really didn’t feel like I won anything. I wish him the best. I wish he gets the championship fight. He deserves it,” Jennette said.
Flores and Slay for weeks had been adamant that a victory would “guarantee” Flores such a prized matchup.
But their public comments conflict with a representative from Don King Productions, Allan Hopper, who recently told the News-Leader that Flores must work his way to a No. 1 ranking in the WBA, WBC or WBO in order to challenge Jones or one of the other cruiserweight champs.
In boxing, three sanctioning bodies require a mandatory fight every six months to a year between its champion and its No. 1-rated boxer. Flores is ranked No. 4 in the WBO but No. 19 in the WBC and No. 13 in the WBA, in which Jones is champion.
“Maybe that’s what they’re going to tell you (the News-Leader),” Flores said, saying he could be in the top four to face Jones.
Article by: Kary Booher