Ronald Cruz Defends Title Friday in a Triple Header at Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA
Ronald Cruz Defends Title Friday in a Triple Header at Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 21, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Gary Purfield)
Ronald Cruz
Bethlehem’s Ronald Cruz, 17-0 (12), will defend his WBC Continental Americas title over 12 rounds Friday against Antwone “The Truth” Smith, 21-4-1 (12), of Miami, FL, at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA.  Cruz is ranked No. 10 in the WBC and No. 11 in the IBF rankings.  The show will be promoted by Main Events, Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., in association with Sampson Boxing and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

Cruz’s manager Jimmy Deoria once had Harry Joe Yorgey at 16-0 when he was held to a draw by Martinus “Magnificent” Clay.  It would be the young Cruz at 7-0 at the time matched with the same Clay at the Blue Horizon and this writer wondered if promote J Russell Peltz and Deoria put Cruz in over his head.  Though Clay had a losing record he had 40 fights under his belt.   He also had a draw with then 14-0 Tim Coleman.  Cruz made me a believer that night as he knocked out Clay in 3 rounds.  By the way Clay was stopped in 5 rounds in his last fight by Antwone Smith in 2011.

Two fights later, Cruz was matched with NJ’s Jeremy “Hollywood” Bryan then 14-1 in Atlantic City.  One of the other writers went to Deoria prior to the fight and questioned why he would put Cruz in such a tough fight.  I also felt it was a tough fight but I wasn’t going against the determined Cruz again.  In the 5th round Cruz had Bryan down twice and down again in the 6th round before the fight was finally stopped.  As Cruz was coming out of the ring the writer who went to Deoria was standing next to me.  “I assured Cruz I wasn’t that writer pointing to the other writer as both Cruz and Deoria let him have it!  

At the end of 2011 Cruz met Agnes Adjaho, 25-6, from Benin, AFR, and though having lost his last 5 fights his opponents combined records were 107-7-1, only losing to one by stoppage.  That being current WBC champion Antonio DeMarco in an eliminator fight for the title.  The fight was even after 8 rounds with DeMarco stopping Adjaho for the first time in his career in the 9th.  He then went the distance with Mark Melligen, 18-2, Brad Solomon 15-0, Shawn Porter 17-0, and heavy hitting Joel Julio 36-4.  The fight was in Atlantic City and Cruz would stop Adjaho in 5 rounds.

In February of this year Cruz would meet Allen Conyers, 12-5 who had a stoppage over Philly’s Derrick “Pooh” Ennis then 10-0-1 and a decision over James De la Rosa then 20-0. Cruz would win 9 out of 10 rounds.  In June Cruz met Prenice Brewer who was coming off of a win over Emmanuel Taylor then 14-0.  Brewer came in with a 16-1-1 record for Cruz and they would meet for the vacant WBC Continental Americas title.  Cruz would take the decision on all 3 judge’s cards by 118-110 and the title.

This brings us up to date for Friday’s fight with Smith whom this writer saw in war with Lanardo Tynar, 23-3, with Tynar ahead on 2 of the 3 score cards before being stopped in the 9th, being the only time he has been stopped.  Smith had former IBF welter champ Kermit Cintron cut in the 10th and final round before losing a decision a year ago.  His two biggest wins were over Norberto Gonzalez, then 16-0 and stopping NJ’s Henry Crawford, then 22-0-1.

Last week promoter Peltz had a press conference at the Allentown Boxing Club where Cruz trains.  “He’s the best fighter I have met so far.  In my last fight being on TV (NBC Sports) I was looking for a knockout to please the fans”, said Cruz.   “He’s going to look sharp for this fight,” said Lemuel “Indio” Rodriguez.  That’s from his trainer.  The two of them showed up Saturday night for an amateur show put on by Louie Melendez in Bethlehem.  Cruz was introduced in the ring and the fans certainly let him know he’s their favorite.  It seems like yesterday it was Cruz learning his trade at the same shows.  

“Cruz better be in shape because I am.  This is my last shot.  I’m going to put it all on the line; it’s do or die,” said Smith.   A confident Cruz and a desperate Smith should make for a great fight for the fans!  “We are excited about this fight with Antwone Smith.  Ronald is looking forward to putting on a good fight and showing everyone that he is ready to compete at a higher level of boxing against better competition,” said Deoria.

This “triple header” show includes Philadelphia’s light middleweight Gabe “King” Rosado, 20-5 (12), taking on Charles “Killa” Whittaker, 38-12-12 (23), out of Miami, FL, in a IBF light middleweight elimination bout over 12 rounds.  No. 1 is vacant with Whittaker No. 2 and Rosado No. 3.

Rosado has a new found confidence in winning his last 6 fights with the last 2 being knockouts over Sechew Powell for the WBO Intercontinental (ranked No. 9 in WBO) and Jesus Soto Karass.  Whittaker hasn’t lost since 2004 and is on a 14 fight winning streak.  He is originally from the Caymon Islands and has won numerous titles over the years such as USBA, WBO NABO, CABOFE and IBO Intercontinental.  

In the third bout of the triple header Russian light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, 18-0-1 (16), is pitted against Buffalo, NY’s Lionel Thompson, 12-1 (8), who is a decorated amateur champion and looking for a shot at the rankings with a win.  Kovalev is No. 13 in the WBC rankings and making his first appearance at the Bethlehem casino in his last fight.

There will be 4 additional bouts on the under card featuring Allentown’s William Miranda, 5-5-1 against Philadelphia’s Pedro Martinez, 6-6 (3), in a heavyweight bout over 6 rounds.  Trenton’s Jerome Rodriguez, 0-0-1, now fighting out of Allentown, will seek his first win against trial horse Kwayne Hill, 1-9 (1), of Philadelphia in a light welter 4.  Jason Sosa, 4-1-3 (1), of Camden, NJ, meets Estaban Rodriguez, now out of Reading in a lightweight 6.  Returning to the ring after 4 years is Alex Sanchez, 0-1 (1nc), of Camden, NJ, who meets Dominique Foster, 1-1-1 (0), of Hillard, OH, in a light middleweight 4.  

First fight starts at 7:15pm.  NBC Sports Network will start televising the triple header at 9pm.  This triple header should be a blockbuster show with any of the 3 considered main event level bouts.


E-mail questions, comments to Ken Hissner

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