By Keith Idec
ATLANTIC CITY — Glen Tapia competed in his first scheduled eight-round fight Saturday night.
The junior middleweight from Passaic feels as though he is ready for 12-round fights, but matchmakers for his primary promoter, Bob Arum’s Top Rank, want to move him incrementally as the talented Tapia attempts to make the transition from top prospect to legitimate contender at 154 pounds. But they even believe it is time to test Tapia against higher-caliber opposition.
Tapia, 22, welcomes the challenge, especially after tearing through late replacement Franklin Gonzalez (15-11, 10 KOs) in just 2:05 at Bally’s Events Center.
“I feel like I’m going to be ready to fight anybody soon enough,” said Tapia, who improved to 15-0 and recorded his ninth knockout after flooring Gonzalez twice in the first round. “I feel like I’m ready to fight 12 rounds now because I’m training so hard. But whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I’ll take my time and once I get these rounds in, in two more years I’ll be ready to do it at the highest level and be in that top spot.”
Tapia has more motivation than ever to reach boxing’s elite level. His first child, Isabella, was born Aug. 5.
“It’s just always in the back of my mind now that I can’t slip up,” Tapia said. “I have to do it now because I have somebody depending on me. Before if I slipped up, it was like I could bounce back and just come back hard. I just feel like now I can’t slip up. It has to work now.”
Also on the Bally's show, rising super featherweight Joel Diaz Jr. (11-0, 10 KOs) stopped Guillermo Sanchez (13-7-1, 5 KOs) in two rounds. After getting hurt at the end of the second, Sanchez's corner stopped the fight prior to the start of the third round.