By Jake Donovan
Felix Verdejo either really loves The Theatre, or really hates it. For the second time in as many appearances, the Boxingscene.com 2013 Prospect of the Year needed less than a minute to take care of business, this time drilling Lauro Alcantar in just 21 seconds.
The bout was the highlight of a full undercard in support of an HBO-televised doubleheader Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York City. In the main event, Mikey Garcia defends his 130 lb. belt versus Juan Carlos Burgos. The co-feature pits unbeaten heavyweights Bryant Jennings and Artur Szpilka in a scheduled ten-round bout.
As far as Verdejo's purpose on the show, a left hook was enough to bring a sudden ending to the fight. Alcantar was flat on his back and sprawled out on the canvas as referee Gary Rosato immediately signaled for medical attention.
Verdejo rolls to 10-0 (7KO). His accomplishment on the night is identical to his previous appearance at The Theatre - scoring a 21-second knockout of Tony Archambault, with Rosato as the referee and serving as a supporting bout to a Mikey Garcia title fight in the main event.
Alcantar's first fight outside of his native Mexico results in his first official loss, falling to 8-1 (1KO).
REST OF NON-TELEVISED UNDERCARD
'Irish' Sean Monaghan was the toast of the town, selling more than 1,200 tickets for Saturday's Garden party. His paying patrons were given an anti-climactic ending to their interested portion of the evening, however. The Long Island-based light heavyweight barely had a chance to get going as Matt Vanda was forced to quit after tearing his bicep late in the opening round.
Monaghan was hoping to use 2014 as a launching pad for a run towards title contention in the light heavyweight division. Vanda was supposed to represent a modest step in class, even though the Minnesota native was out of his element at light heavyweight.
The action was relatively tame for as long as the fight lasted, with Vanda eventually turning away in pain after his left bicep suffered a tear. Time was immediately called to tend to the injured fighter, with referee Michael Ortega left with no choice but to stop the fight.
The official time was 2:51 of round one.
Monaghan advances to 22-0 (14KO) with the win, his fifth at Madison Square Garden. Vanda falls to 45-16 (25KO), suffering his first stoppage loss in more than eight years.
Julian Rodriguez needed just a little bit more time than Felix Verdejo but managed to match the line result with a 1st round knockout of Neyeine Muang (1-1-2, 0KO). A right hand had the Myanmar transplant in trouble, before a pair of body shots produced the knockout result.
The official time was 1:51 of round one of their scheduled four-round super lightweight bout. The 19-year young Rodriguez, who turned pro just last September improves to 3-0 (2KO).
Unbeaten super middleweight Jesse Hart cruised to a six-round shutout over Derrick Findley in the lone bout of the undercard to go the full scheduled distance. All three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Hart (12-0, 10KO), who boasted a nine-inch height advantage. Hart threw punches non-stop for five rounds before coasting in the final round as Findley (20-12-1, 13KO) exhibited an iron chin.
Rangy super featherweight prospect Alberto Machado remains perfect as a pro after scoring a 2nd round knockout over Sri Lanka's Nuwan Jayakody. Machado (6-0, 4KO), a rail-thin Puerto Rican fighting in New York City for the first time in his young career, was an instant hit in his preliminary bout.
An easy first round paved the way for an explosive finish - befitting of his 'El Explosivo' nickname - as a right hook dropped Jayakody (2-4-1, 2KO), leaving him loopy enough to disallow the fight to continue. The official time was 1:36 of round two.
In the opening bout of the evening, Francisco Vargas scored a 1st round knockout over Eligio Lopez (1-1, 0KO) in a matchup of welterweight novices. Vargas, a promising southpaw from Puerto Rico, has barely registered three minutes of ring time in two fights as a pro (2-0, 2KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBoxTags: Sean Monaghan , Jesse Hart , Felix Verdejo , Julian Rodriguez