De Leon hits the canvas (pic Tom Casino)
By Michael Norby: Super middleweight contender Allan Green can now finally look forward to an almost assured world title shot after he powered his way to an explosive second round knockout victory over Puerto Rican tough guy Carlos De Leon Jr on Saturday night at The MGM at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA.
Fighting as chief support to the Froch vs Taylor world championship bout on Showtime, Green 28-1 (19) desperately needed a statement sending performance to reignite his sputtering career. Before tonight’s bout, the Oklahoman had rattled off four straight victories against so-so opposition since losing his only fight to Edison Miranda in 2007. Against De Leon Jr 21-3-2 (14), however, he proved he belonged at the very top by sending the 29-year-old to the canvas four times in the second before referee Joey Lupino stepped in.
Green fought in a deliberate fashion to open the contest and he backed up his opponent with his jab before shooting straight right hands upstairs and digging hooks to the body. De Leon took a while to get going but, when he did start fighting, he looked good and he thumped Green with body sequences throughout the final minute to tighten the round.
A little over thirty seconds into the next frame, however, Green fired a right hand, left hook sequence that sent his opponent crumbling to the deck. De Leon got up and, even though he was on jellied legs, he responded with two tasty looking left hooks of his own but, seconds later, he was forced to rise from the canvas again as Green assaulted him with both hands.
At this stage, with so much time remaining on the clock, it was clear that De Leon would not make it out of the round. He tried to hold on but his legs looked like they belonged on a new born foal and, after two further trips to the floor, Lupino wisely stopped the contest.
Time of stoppage: 1:54 RD2
Former junior welterweight world champion Paulie Malignaggi made a winning return to the ring with a largely routine eight round unanimous decision victory over Chris Fernandez.
Malignaggi 26-2 (5) just five months removed from suffering a demoralizing stoppage defeat against Ricky Hatton, controlled the fight from the opening bell by employing his jab and firing fast, accurate combinations into the face of his opponent. Rodriguez 16-7-1 (9) tried to battle his way to the inside but the former champion rattled off consistent multi-punch sequences to pile up points and subsequently pocketed round after round in a one-sided contest.
Things were progressing swimmingly for Malignaggi but, after cruising through much of the sixth round, he was forced to hold on in the final seconds after Rodriguez found a rare moment of success. The former champion, toying with his opponent at times, was badly stunned by a thunderous left hook that crashed against his jaw and prompted the New Yorker to grasp Rodriguez desperately until the bell.
That served as a wake-up call for Malignaggi who got back on his toes and spoiled Rodriguez’ game effort to capitalize on his earlier success through the final two rounds of the fight.
Scores: 79-73; 79-73; 79-73
In a brief heavyweight encounter, former contender Dominick Guinn scored a first round stoppage victory over the previously unbeaten Johnnie White.
Guinn 31-6 (21) was pushed to the ropes shortly after the opening bell sounded as White 21-1 (18) pressed forward aggressively looking to send an early message. The former champion remained calm and knocked his opponent to the deck with a perfectly thrown short right hand counter that almost sent White through the ropes.
Guinn pounced on the wounded fighter and forced him to the canvas for a second time midway through the round before finishing off White with a series of heavy right hands against the ropes.
Time of stoppage: 2:01 RD1
Danny O’Connor 6-0 (2) w.ud.4 Travis Hartman 9-12-1 (7) – junior welterweights
Sadam Ali 3-0 (2) w.ud.4 Bryan Abraham 1-1-1 (1) – junior welterweights
Jonathan Nelson 9-0 (4) w.ud.6 Eddie Caminero 5-1 (5) – middleweights.