By Keith Idec
ATLANTIC CITY – Glen Tapia started his fight Saturday night against journeyman Keenan Collins as fast as he started the first round of his ill-fated fight against James Kirkland six months ago.
This time, though, Tapia tore through his 37-year-old opponent in a scheduled 10-rounder that lasted just one minute and 22 seconds at Bally’s Events Center. The junior middleweight from Passaic, N.J., dropped Collins twice and referee Earl Brown stopped the domination with a disoriented Collins against the ropes, unable to defend himself.
The victory marked a successful comeback for Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs) from his first loss, a brutal sixth-round technical knockout against heavy-handed James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) in an entertaining fight HBO broadcast Dec. 7 from Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom.
Tapia trained for two months with Freddie Roach at the Hall of Famer’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood in preparation for Saturday night. Roach didn’t work Tapia’s corner because he was at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for WBO junior welterweight champ Ruslan Provodnikov’s title defense against Chris Algieri.
“Freddie knew that I was OK after that last fight,” Tapia, 24, said. “He saw it in sparring. I think he’s going to be happy when he finds out what I did in this fight.”
Collins, of York, Pa., dropped to 15-9-3 and is 2-4-1 in his past seven bouts.
If the small cut Tapia suffered on his left thumb while landing an uppercut Saturday night heals quick enough, Top Rank Inc., Tapia’s promoter, has arranged for him to box Boyd Melson (14-1, 4 KOs), of White Plains, N.Y., in a non-televised fight on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard July 26 at Madison Square Garden.
Junior welterweight prospect Julian Rodriguez, a Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., resident also promoted by Top Rank, is scheduled to appear on the non-televised portion of the Golovkin-Geale undercard as well. Rodriguez (4-0, 3 KOs), a 2013 national Golden Gloves champion at 141 pounds, scored an impressive technical knockout Saturday night at Bally’s, too. Rodriguez floored Angel Figueroa three times in the first round and Figueroa’s corner men stopped the scheduled four-rounder after the second round.
In the co-featured fight before Tapia won, Philadelphia super middleweight Jesse Hart (14-0, 11 KOs) landed a crushing left hook in the sixth round that left Shujaa El Amin flat on his back and referee Ricky Vera with no choice but to stop their scheduled eight-rounder at 1:36 of the sixth. El Amin, of Flint, Mich., fell to 12-6.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.