Jason Pribila at Ringside from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City: The biggest fight of the weekend between featherweights Yuriorkis Gamboa and Daniel Ponce De Leon meant more to the landscape of boxing than it did to a division that Gamboa is about to outgrow. This would be the first fight card staged between promotional super-powers Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions since Sugar Shane Mosley knocked out Antonio Margarito in January of 2009.
The 2000-plus fight fans that filled the Adian Phillips Ballroom in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall were treated to six meticulously spaced out fights prior to the main event.
The co-feature featured a pair of welterweights that put on a thrill a minute slugfest that was called a bit early, which caused the raucous crowd to change their cheers to jeers. Wale Omotoso (19-0, 17 KO) dusted himself off from a first round knockdown to rally to stop the slick Calvin Odom (15-11, 11 KO) midway through round five.
Omotoso of Nigeria is a stalky version of Joshua Clottey that is willing to let his hands go. His aggression backfired when Odom dropped him with a perfect counter left hand. Omotoso survived the scare and slowly began to turn the tide before scoring a knock down in round four.
Omotoso kept the pressure on against the ropes that caused referee Sparkie Lee to wave off the bout 33 seconds into the round.
Omotoso showed a lot of heart by not letting the opening round set-back to discourage him, and he also showed why he was a fighter who had promoters engage in a bidding war to represent.
The final bout prior to the televised main event featured the return of local fan favorite Jorge Diaz. The New Brunswick, New Jersey native returned to the scene of his professional loss to the hands of Teon Kennedy. The always aggress Diaz was beginning to impose his will on Rafael Lora until a punch to the back of the head floored Lora at 2:49 of round three. As Lora turned into Diaz to absorb a left hook, Diaz landed a right hand squarely to the back of his opponents head. Lora fell to the canvas and was given plenty of time to rise. When the fighter could not continue, the fight was called off.
Fans were displeased not only because they felt that Lora could continue, but replays showed that their fighter was facing a disqualification.
However, nothing could be assumed in the state of New Jersey, and the fight was ruled a TKO in favor of Diaz. I have been unable to hear an explanation, but replays left me and others at ringside scratching their head.
Luis Cruz (19-0, 15 KO) beat up and hurt veteran Antonio Davis (28-7, 13 KO) before finally putting him on the canvas with as pretty of an uppercut as any artist could paint.
The 25-year old Cruz seems like the latest prospect to watch from the boxing rich island of Puerto Rico. Cruz scored two knockdowns earlier in the fight before closing the show at 1:39 of Round 6.
Super Bantamweight prospect Miguel Cartagena (3-0, 2 KO) entered and left the ring with the superior confidence that only an 19 year old with a nearly flawless amateur pedigree could possess. The Philadelphia product dropped Cristian Cruz (3-3-0-1, 3 KO) with a single left uppercut that forced a referee stoppage at 2:20 of round 2.
In the opening bout of the evening Terrance Crawford (15-0, 11 KO) dominated Angel Rios (9-7, 6 KO) en route of a unanimous decision by scores of 80-72 twice and 80-71.
September 10, 2011