By Jason Pribila – Ringside in Bethlehem: The latest installment of the Premier Boxing Champions Tuesday Night “Toe to Toe” fights aired live from the Sands Events Center in Bethlehem, USA. The main event featured a pair of super featherweights. Omar Douglas entered the ring with a perfect record. He was facing an opponent in Frank De Alba who had not tasted defeat since his pro debut in January of 2011.
The sacrifice of cutting weight over the holidays was behind them. They would now compete for ten rounds or less to see whose New Year’s Eve wine would taste the sweetest.
Early in Round 2 chants of “Frankie, Frankie” filled the arena. Fight fans from De Alba’s home town of Reading, Pennsylvania did not miss out on the opportunity to root for one of their own in person rather than watching on FoxSports1.
It’s hard to tell how chants affect a natural counter puncher, but what was obvious was that De Alba was on the top of his game. He continually landed a counter left when Douglas charged forward. De Alba would then choose to throw first when Douglas would come forward without first throwing his jab.
Douglas soon proved that he also put in the necessary work to preserve his perfect record. He seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd, and began to put together his own offensive attach. Fleet footwork allowed him to jab, step around and deliver left hooks to De Alba’s body.
De Alba fought with a sense of urgency in round 7. He began to let his hands go which created opportunities for both fighters to land and score. Round 7 turned out to be a true give and take round in which De Alba did just enough to win on my card.
Round 8 picked up where round 7 left off. Midway through the round as the fighters were trading, De Alba stayed in the pocket a tick too long and got caught by a big left hook from Douglas. De Alba shook it off and only the sound of the bell temporarily stopped the action.
There was a feeling that the fight was on the line when the fighters touched gloves at the start of the tenth and final round. The difference between the two was that Douglas looked as if he could continue to fight another ten rounds. De Alba was going to empty his tank in this round win or lose.
Douglas was the aggressor throughout the final round. He landed the heavier shots, and fought the round to win. De Alba was either suddenly tired, or he may have fought as if he thought he was protecting a lead. Either way, if In fact the fight was on the table in the final round, Douglas was a clear winner.
The Score Cards were read: 95-95, 96-94 and 97-93, and they revealed that Omar “Super O” Douglas did enough to protect his “O” on this evening.
Douglas had to dig deep, but in the end his record remained spotless at 16-0, 11 KO. With the loss, De Alba’s record fell to 17-2-2.
Welterweight Miguel Cruz took some time to close the distance against his taller opponent, Virgil Green. The first half saw little action as each fighter was cautiously trying to establish their jab. A few moans rose from the crowd whenever a single punch landed cleanly. Unfortunately, the styles of these fighters failed to mesh and therefore there were several lulls in the action.
Finally, during the closing seconds of the fourth round, Cruz landed a left hook to Green’s ear. The loss of equilibrium was apparent as Green stumbled toward the neutral corner on wobbly legs.
Cruz began distancing his opponent on the scorecards. Whenever he was to land upstairs, there was a disconnect between Green’s beard and his legs. Cruz showed great patience by not head-hunting. He instead stuck to his game plan until he was finally able to floor Green for the first time in round 7. Green beat the count, but he was unable to do anything to keep the charging Cruz off of him. Suddenly jabs were knocking Green backwards, and it was only a matter of time.
Fortunately for Green, referee Benji Estevez stepped in before a big shot was landed, and serious damage was avoided. The bout was waved off 1:26 of round seven.
With the victory Cruz improved to 12-0, 11 KO. Green’s record fell to 11-4, 4 KO.
The televised opener featured a light heavyweight battle between Detroit native Leo Hall (8-1, 7KO) and Christopher Brooker (7-1, 5 KO) of Philadelphia.
This was an odd fight to watch unfold. It was clear that Hall had the skill advantage. When he chose to let his hands go, his punches were more fluid and combinations were thrown fluidly. The problem for Hall was that he was reluctant to let his hands go. He continually allowed Brooker to force him to the ropes. Once there Brooker threw a lot of wide punches that were off target, but his activity seemed to smother Hall’s offensive output.
As the rounds continued to go by it was Brooker who made the adjustments. Now, instead of throwing wide shots he began to slip in uppercuts while Brooker’s back was against the ropes. Brooker’s confidence continued to grow to the point where he was even landing the bigger punches when they were in the center of the ring.
I have never seen Hall fight before, but to put forth such a non-effort on national television made me think that he may not have been 100% at the start of the fight.
That is to take nothing away from Brooker. He seized the opportunity and imposed his will on an opponent who could not find any answers.
The judges turned in cards that reflected the action in the ring. Brooker was their unanimous choice by scores of: 80-72, 79-73, and 79-73.