J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Every so often, Rochester boxing rises like Brigadoon from the memory of the Carmen Basilio, Mike DeJohn, Bobby Scanlon (and more recently, Charles Murray) eras. Backed up by local legend Steve Nelson, Pretty Girl Promotions (Mercedes Vasquez-Simmons) and Team Snooki (Nicole Polizzi) brought boxing back on Aug. 8 after a two-year absence, with an outdoor show at the soccer field, Sahlen’s Stadium. Nelson strolled casually around, seemingly unconcerned despite the threat of rain that had ringsiders nervous. A problem with the ring delayed the start. Announcer “Discombobulating” Jones had to work from among the crowd in order to get the cordless microphone within range of the pickup. Commissioner Melvina Latham had to repeatedly track him down in order to impart critical information. The card girls walked around outside the ring. The evening turned out beautiful, the card was good, a crowd of about 1200 had a swell time, and there weren’t even any bad decisions!
The main event was a doozie! Hotshot Patrick Hyland, 129, Dublin via Marlboro, NY, 27-0 (12), had well-traveled Carlos Fulgencio, 126, Santo Domingo, 18-8-1 (12), on the hook more times than a mackerel, but couldn’t land him and settled for a unanimous win in an all-action eight. The two immediately began trading, not wild slugging but crackling combinations, until Carlos was beaten to the punch with a right that spun him chest-first into the ropes late in round one. Patrick poured on punishment until a left underneath to the body folded Fulgencio just shy of the bell. Hyland took a cheap shot for good measure, with referee Hubert Earle letting it go as the round ended.
Hyland came out to end it in the second, with a crushing right quickly dropping Fulgencio like he’d been shot. It appeared the fight was over, but no! Carlos somehow got up, fought back in sizzling action, and by round’s end was holding his own. After that, the action settled a little…but only a little. They still mixed it up in solid combination trading, with the favorite holding only an edge. The wear tolled on the underdog, however, and in round seven, a slick right uppercut-left hook had Carlos rocked again. Hyland worked at a controlled pace, got him in a corner, nailed him with a solid right and dug the left under the ribs to drop Fulgencio for the third time. The bell rang. Patrick finally tried going lefty in the last round, but couldn’t open Carlos up, and the fine contest went the distance. Wynn Kintz and Tom Schreck scored 79-71, Eric Marlinski 79-70.
“I was stuck in the airport for two days,” Hyland explained. “I just coasted through eight rounds…got the rounds…that’s all I wanted.”
For a one-sided bout lacking sustained trading, yet riveting the crowd’s attention, it would be hard to beat the co-feature eight. Local favorite Kenny Abril, 147 ½, Rochester, 13-5-1 (7), faced spoiler Doel Carrasquillo, 150, Lancaster, PA, 16-21-1 (14), for the second time. Early in his career, Kenny had been stopped by Doel in a sensational slugfest that saw both of them on the floor. Not this time. The stylish southpaw outboxed Carrasquillo every minute of every round to gain a unanimous shutout. Yet the crowd was into it! The power-punching invader’s only chance was the one-shot KO. Accordingly, Doel mocked Kenny throughout, dropping his hands, grimacing and shaking his head to the ref, ringsiders and the crowd, to indicate, “This guy can’t hurt me.” In late rounds, he even tried the pointing to the floor trick! Kenny didn’t bite. That’s what boxing is all about. At the end, they hugged. “I told him I couldn’t just go in there with him doin’ all that clownin’ around,” Kenny advised. “I had to be sharp; I had to pay attention to my coach…and just execute the game plan, which was to box.”
Returning Willie Monroe, Jr., 159, Roch., 11-1 (4), had a tough nut to crack in crafty Mark Anderson, 161, Columbia, SC, 3-8-1 (2), six. Anderson’s game was mostly the smokescreen; pawing jab, hands high, step in but don’t commit. The southpaw Monroe timed him nicely with a right uppercut-straight left in round two. But it wasn’t until the fourth before Willie abandoned all subtleties and threw a homerun right that caught Anderson behind the ear and crumbled him. The underdog got up and managed to escape the round, though, to go the distance. All scores 60-53.
For once, the women’s bout wasn’t the best fight on the card. It was a good, honest contest, though, scheduled for six two-minute rounds. Natasha Spence, 131, Mississauga, ONT, 5-0-1 (4), proved too strong and purposeful for Lucretia Meacham, 130 ½, Little Rock, 3-9. The frail, spindly Meacham preferred to box at mid-ring, but couldn’t stop Spence from walking her onto the ropes and working her over. Trapped in her own corner in the fourth, Lucretia folded from a left hook to the body just shy of timer Bob Caico’s gong. She arose, but was visibly distressed and referee Dick Pakozdi waved it over, at 2:00.
In a sensational six, Bryan Acaba, 133, Brooklyn, 3-0 (2), pulled out an even contest by stopping hard-luck Jamell Tyson, 132 ½, Roch., 3-8-2 (1), at 1:12 of the final round. A surprise short right dropped Tyson in the first, but he was unhurt in an otherwise close round. Then for four furious sessions, it was the game and willing Jamell’s work rate versus Bryan’s sharper hands, as the crowd went crazy. Tyson was rocked into the ropes in the third when he tried a big combo but was nailed by a short right. Acaba failed to capitalize, and going into the sixth, Terry Beecher-Johnson had Tyson ahead 48-46, Kintz had Acaba up 48-47, and Schreck had 47-47. That was all wiped out when Acaba threw a right, Tyson bent, then stood up into a sweeping left hook that sprawled him on his back. He got up dazed and walked into more shots when Pakozdi rescued him, over the game fighter’s protest.
In a good scrap, Raul Andres Lopez, 126 ½, Bronx, 7-1-1 (3), gained a unanimous shutout over Harvey Murray, 127, Roch., 4-4-1 (1), four. Despite the score, the counterpunching Murray hung in against the aggressive and hard-hitting Lopez, while surviving numerous vicious lefts well below the belt, that drew warnings from ref Charlie Fitch.
This was a good card. Let’s hope it’s not another two years!