A packed house at BB Kings Blues Club in Times Square witnessed another night of Lou DiBella’s “Broadway Boxing,” that included stars, prospects, and upsets. DiBella’s four top prospects of the evening won their respective bouts, some more convincing than others, and the card saw upsets in two of the first three bouts.
Lou was clearly enjoying himself throughout the evening, despite a loss by one his fighters in the first bout of the card. Overall, the fights were well-contested and entertaining and the crowd seemed to have a great time. I briefly saw Lou and toasted my congratulations on a good show, to which he replied, “This is what a club show should be.” I can’t help but agree.
Junior welterweight Gabriel Bracero improved to 14-0 (1) and 9-0 since his return to boxing in 2009 by easily outpointing Chris Fernandez over eight rounds. The judges’ scores were 80-72 (twice) and 79-72. There no knockdowns but Fernandez was deducted a point for using his elbow.
Bracero is a classic “technical” fighter in the sense that he has solid boxing skills but no power. In his 14 wins, he has recorded only one knockout. Bracero, nicknamed “Tito,” from nearby Brooklyn, by way of Puerto Rico, has a sizable following that was present at BB King’s, where he has fought seven of his past nine fights. Even with his solid skills, if Bracero wants to make himself relevant in the crowded 140-pound division, he will have to improve his power.
In the second feature bout of the evening, light heavyweight Mark Tucker scored a unanimous decision against Little Rock, Arkansas’ Ray Smith, 9-5-0 (3). While all three judges’ scorecards were 59-55, the fight was much closer than those scores indicate. Tucker, 15-0 (7), had not fought since last June and was less than sharp throughout the fight. Fighting from the outside, Tucker was not quick enough to establish his jab and in many cases, his punches were reaching while he was lunging in, with little effect. As the fight progressed, Smith was able to connect against Tucker but as Tucker kept his distance, it was too infrequent to win the rounds.
Tucker was coming off a fight where he had trouble in an eight-rounder with veteran Billy Bailey, who was 10-7-0 (4) coming into the fight. This fight was both a step down in distance, to six rounds, and in opposition, yet Tucker did little to impress. After winning six of his first eight fights by first-round knockout, Tucker has gone the distance in his last seven bouts.
A very popular fighter in his hometown of Eldersburg, Maryland, Tucker will have to show vast improvement if he wants to move beyond “regional fighter” status.
He is reported to be fighting again on March 12th at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.
Two other DiBella prospects, lightweight Ryan Kielczewski, 9-0 (2), and junior middleweight Steven Martinez, 8-0 (7), both claimed victories but in very different fashion.
Kielczewski of Quincy, Mass. outboxed a tough-to-hit Willshaun Boxley, 6-8-1 (4), in a bout whose outcome was never in doubt as Boxley did little on offense while dodging and avoiding the punches of Kielczewski. Kielczewski is set to appear on the Sergio Martinez-Sergiy Dzinziruk undercard on March 12th.
Martinez, 20 years old, of the Bronx only needed 71 seconds to score the seventh knockout of his young career as he dominated Ishwar Amador, 11-9 (7). With manager Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants in the corner, this was never a fight. The overwhelmed Amador was in survival mode almost immediately after being dropped a little more than 30 seconds after the opening bell.
Brandon Jacobs brings a lot of enthusiasm to his role as fight manager; this was shown in Detroit last week as well at BB Kings. Time will tell if he can balance the demands of being a top NFL player with the time-consuming task of dealing in the sometimes-cutthroat world of the boxing business.
The evening began with newly signed DiBella featherweight Allan Benitez, with trainer Gabriel Sarmiento in his corner, losing his pro debut to Dominican Joseliz Cepeda by scores of 39-37 (twice) and 40-36. Cepeda was the aggressor and never let Benitez get comfortable in his first fight as a pro as he consistently beat Benitez to the punch.
Sidell Blocker scored his first victory in his fourth pro fight by dropping the favored Deano Burrell of Brooklyn, 1-1-2 (1), in both the first and second rounds to score a unanimous decision. Burrell clearly won rounds three and four but without knocking Blocker down, had little chance of winning, or so I thought. The judges’ cards all should have read an easy 38-36 decision for Blocker but strangely they read 38-37 (twice) and 37-36.
In the most exciting bout of the evening, light heavyweights Seanie Monaghan, 5-0 (4) and Angel Gonzalez, 2-4-0 (2), fired punches almost non-stop for three rounds before the ringside doctor halted the bout in favor of Monaghan, following the third round. Monaghan was clearly landing the better and harder punches and Gonzalez made no protest when the bout was called.
West Point graduate Boyd Melson won his second pro bout in a razor-thin majority decision over Marquise Bruce 0-1-1. Melson donated his purse, as he did for his first as well, to stem cell research. Following the contest, with several West Point cadets in the ring at his side, Melson made a plea for the attendees to support spinal cord injury research by donating to justadollarplease.org.
In the lone female bout of the evening, Keisher McLeod Wells, 4-1 (1), knocked Melissa McMorrow, 4-2-3, down once en route to a unanimous six-round decision.