By J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Promoter Manny Rivera and matchmaker Will Ruiz (Hard Hitting Prom’ns) have established a thriving club scene in Philadelphia geared toward the Latino community. Once again, an SRO crowd filled the ballroom at the Sugarhouse Casino, on 2/3/17. The card will be shown on Telemundo with 1-week delay. Patrick Michael Fattore was ring announcer and Kurt Wolfheimer publicist.
The favorites swept the opposition without much resistance, although they had some help from the matchmaking. Actual KOs are rare on most cards, as the fallen combatants gamely try to struggle back into the contest no matter what. But this show had five, as the underdogs thought the better of valor and remained on the canvas for the count. While it wasn’t one for the purist, this is a forgiving crowd and they love seeing their heroes dominate. The intimacy of the room adds to the excitement, and fans got an early exit so they could go home happy with their winnings in the casino.
Calling himself “The New” Ray Robinson in deference to his comeback, the local southpaw, 150 ¾, 22-2 (11), had a brief but explosive encounter in a scheduled eight with Edwin Palacios, 150 ¼, Leon, Nicaragua, 12-5-1 (8). Well, there was Arguello, but Nicaraguans generally don’t loom large outside of home. With this his first encounter outside of Nicaragua, the visitor put up a wild skirmish that entertained fans but was gone in 2:39 of round two. Most of round one was a feelout, with both fighters tall, standup and rangy.
Palacios seemed unable to adjust to Robinson’s lefty stance, and also threw punches wide. Robinson’s main advantage was that he was sharper. Ray put a cap on the opening session with a strong finish, dropping Edwin with a long left as the Nicaraguan tried to slide away along the ropes. Palacios didn’t seem terribly hurt, and the round ended. The second was rugged and awkward, with the two long-armed boxers trying to measure each other. Again, the favorite finished strong, getting the range for a crisp left to drop Palacios. Edwin got up but was immediately dispatched with a two-hand volley, going down and staying there as referee Gary Rosato counted him out.
Touted Christian Carto, 118 ½, Phila., 7-0 (7), had a game opponent in a scheduled four with Sergio Najera, 123, Tijuana, 12-29-2 (6). The two mixed it up from the start, with the underdog hanging in through a brisk opening round. But the writing was on the wall. The switch-hitting Najera was confused and swung wild punches while the experienced amateur Carto answered with straight, sharp shots. Christian relentlessly increased the punishment in a good if one-sided contest, with the game Najera becoming more and more a punching bag but refusing to fold. At 2:06 of the third, referee Blair Talmadge made the decision for him, over Sergio’s protest, the only TKO on the card and a good call.
Fans loved it as popular Branden Pizarro, 136 ½, Phila., 3-0 (2), dished out two hands of relentless punishment with short combos in an all-action first, until a hopeless Abdiel Padilla, 137 ¼, somewhere in Puerto Rico (nobody seems to know), 1-1 (1), collapsed in his own corner after a solid body combination. Wanting to continue pleasing his fans, Pizarro motioned him to get up, but he didn’t. Abdiel was counted out at 2:42 of round one of four.
After the show opened with three one-round blitzes in fours, a six was next, between Hairon Socarras, 130, Miami, 15-0-2 (10), and German Meraz, 128 ¾, Agua Prieta, MX, an incredible 55-41-1 (32)! This one looked about to continue the string when Meraz faded back onto the ropes, got reached on the end of a long right, and went down by way of escape, early in the first. But the wily vet, who entered the ring without a mark on his face, circled away with a loose, junk style that precluded solid contact. A mock cheer went up when the round ended, but there was little to cheer thereafter in a comparatively dull pitty-pat encounter. Socarras followed Meraz around, made use of a long jab, and landed enough to consistently prevail. The underdog tried to close the show with a mock rally late in the sixth, but got tagged on the chin with a jolting left hook and ran to the bell. The only bout to make use of the judges (Allen Rubenstein, John Gradowski, Anthony Lundy) was unanimous for Socarras, all 60-53.
In a match of debutees, Harold Lopez, 117, Phila., needed one combo to get rid of timid Argenis Armando (who was somehow announced as “Argenis Lugo Perez”?), 119 ½, Arecibo, PR, in 57 seconds of a scheduled four. Armando circled tentatively until Lopez froze him with a combination to the body and solid left hook to the head. The underdog flopped onto all fours and quit while Talmadge counted him out.
In the worst of the opponents’ efforts, Victor Padilla, 136 ¾, Vieques, PR, via Berlin, NJ, 2-0 (2), had little in front of him in a scheduled four with hapless Tony Wilson, 141, Alexandria, VA, 0-2. Wilson was KO’d in 30 seconds. The southpaw favorite landed a booming left-right combination, although the right was blocked, and Wilson collapsed like a piece of lawn furniture, ending up face down in fetal position, and made no further attempt while referee Robert (Ronald) Ali Bashir counted him out.
But there was nothing ersatz about a spectacular KO by Joseph Adorno over Jonathan Hernandez that ended the scheduled four in just 18 seconds! In the opening exchange, Hernandez, 127 ¾, a Puerto Rican of no known whereabouts, 0-4, set to fire a left-right, but the combo was stillborn when Adorno, 131, Allentown, 2-0 (2), drilled him with a short right. Hernandez’ head snapped sideways and he spun into the canvas with a crash. He was down for several minutes but left under his own power.
Timekeeper Fred Blumstein counted the final 10 for James Binns, Jr., the son of the former commissioner, and also for the father of ubiquitous trainer/cutman Joey Eye. But missed was the passing of George James, esteemed local trainer for decades, including the late stages of the career of
In memory of K.O.J.O.