By Francisco Salazar
With the howling and cold winds blowing in from the Pacific Ocean onto the half-open venue, many fight fans wanted the main event to end rather quickly.
Heavyweight prospect Charles Martin obliged.
Martin dropped Rafael Pedro twice in the opening round of a scheduled 10 round bout, the final time for good at the Pier in Santa Monica, CA.
The bout headlined a three-bout "Big Fighters, Big Cause" Charity Boxing Night. The Sugar Ray Leonard and B. Riley and Company co-hosted the event, while King Sports Worldwide promoted the card.
Martin was coming off the biggest win of his career in his last fight on April 16th, when he knocked out Alexander Flores in the fourth round.
Pedro was at one time a prospect, but had lost seven of his previous nine bouts before the Martin fight. He had not stepped in to a ring in over two years while Martin has fought all of his bouts in over a year and a half.
Within 30 seconds of the opening bell, the southpaw Martin dropped Pedro with a left cross. The punch did not land to the chin, rather onto Pedro's left shoulder.
After Pedro got up from the knockdown, Martin utilized his awkward style landing with the left hand, while Pedro tried to load up with one punch.
Later in the round, Martin hurt Pedro with a left uppercut to the head. Moments later, Martin pinned Pedro against the ropes, landing a barrage of punches that ultimately dropped Pedro to the canvas. Referee Raul Caiz, Sr. stepped in and waved the fight over at 2:19. Pedro was upset with the stoppage, trying to convince Caiz and state commission inspectors he was able to continue.
Martin, who lives and trains in Carson, CA, goes to 17-0-1, 15 KOs. The Cuban-born Pedro drops to 21-11-1, 15 KOs.
Junior middleweight Luis Grajeda won an eight round split decision over Said El Harrak.
Grajeda (18-2-1, 13 KOs) controlled the tempo of the first half of the fight, which allowed him to beat El Harrak to the punch, especially with right hands to the head. El Harrak (12-3-1, 7 KOs) increased his punch output and aggression in the middle rounds, initiating the exchanges between the two and being first a majority of the time.
Grajeda began to throw and land more right uppercuts to the head of El Harrak in the fifth round. He did not follow a lot to the body, which allowed El Harrak to rally and land a number of punches in the sixth and seventh rounds. Just when it seemed El Harrak had all the momentum, Grajeda came on in the eighth round, scoring repeatedly with counter right hands to El Harrak's head until the final bell.
One judge scored the bout 78-74 in favor of El Harrak, while the other two judges (and Boxingscene.com) scored the bout 77-75 for Grajeda.
Light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy stopped Paul Vasquez in the first round of a scheduled eight round bout. Within the first 10 seconds, Shabranskyy (8-0, 7 KOs) hurt Vasquez with a left hook to the head. Shabranskyy pinned Vasquez against the corner where he landed another left hook to the head that dropped Vasquez (10-4-1, 3 KOs) to the canvas. Referee Raul Caiz, Sr. immediately stepped in and waved the fight over at 23 seconds.
Proceeds from the live and silent auction supports the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation to raise funds for research and awareness towards a cure for juvenile diabetes and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing