By Jake Donovan
Middleweight contender Marco Antonio Rubio squares off against Matt Vanda in the main event later this evening at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on a fight card held in conjunction with the 49th annual WBC convention.
In the evening’s chief support, rising Dominican prospect Javier Fortuna withstood a brave challenge from veteran Miguel Roman to take a unanimous decision in their ten-round super featherweight bout.
Scores were 96-92, 96-91 and 97-90.
Fortuna sprinted out to an early lead, as the southpaw scored an opening round knockdown on the normally undentable Roman. The sequence suggested a rout was in store, but Roman came roaring back the very next round, and never slowed down despite giving away considerable advantages in height, reach and age.
Referee Joe Cortez was forced to endure a much busier night than expected. Both fighters were warned for fouls throughout the bout and eventually penalized, with Fortuna losing a point in the third round and Roman in the seventh.
Frequent clinching in the second half of the bout marred what was developing into an entertaining scrap. Roman kept trying to work his way inside, but Fortuna constantly circled the ring from the moment he realized that the early knockdown was an anomaly and that Roman wasn’t going anywhere.
The final verdict was booed loudly by the crowd in expectation of more action taking place. Still, the win caps a breakout year for Fortuna, who wins his fifth bout of 2011 as he improves to 18-0 (13KO).
Roman snaps a four fight win streak as he falls to 37-9 (28KO).
Laura Serrano returned from a four-year break to return to the town that hosted her pro debut more than 17 years ago. As was the case on that night, her Vegas experience ended in a stalemate as she and Ela Nunez fought to a majority draw in their six-round special attraction.
The action was non-stop and arguably the most entertaining (and competitive) bout of the evening to that point. Serrano was the busier of the two, but Nunez fought with a flame-throwing mentality every step of the way. Any time Serrano threatened to surge ahead, Nunez would score with a timely right hand upstairs to remind her opponent that she wasn’t going away quietly.
Scores were 59-55 Serrano and 57-57 twice to result in a majority draw.
Serrano’s record moves to 17-4-3 (6KO). All four of her losses had come within her last six fights prior to the 44-year old returning to the ring Friday evening. Her pro debut came against then-still rising Christy Martin on the undercard of “Revenge: The Rematches”, considered by many to be – on paper – the best card in modern boxing history.
Nunez, who turns 34 in March, is now 10-11-2 (2KO).
Azael Cosio of Panama had his way with Oklahoma journeyman Ronnie Warrior Jr. en route to a sixth round stoppage in their welterweight battle.
Cosio (13-1-2, 9KO) scored a knockdown in the first round, and two more in the sixth round. The final knockdown came just before the bell, but had clearly beaten the fight out of the 35-year old Warrior Jr (13-6-2, 4KO), whose corner stopped the contest just prior to the start of the seventh.
The official time was 3:00 of the sixth round.
The 30-year old Cosio has now won five straight, with Friday’s verdict marking his second win inside of four weeks. Warrior Jr. has now dropped four straight.
Samuel Rogers boxed and brawled his way to a one-sided 10th round knockout over Jamar Freeman in a battle of unbeaten super welterweights.
Rogers (11-0, 6KO) was in control for the entire fight, with repeated jabs and left hooks causing Freeman’s eye to swell up and shut by the midway point. The fight seemed destined to go to the scorecards before Rogers found a power surge in the final round.
A series of uppercuts among other head shots had Freeman (9-1-2, 5KO) dancing around and his head bouncing up and down, prompting referee Russell Mora to stop the contest at 2:10 of the 10th and final round.
In the opening fight of the evening, local super middleweight Badou Jack scored a first round knockout of Adam Collins. Jack (9-0, 8KO) dropped Collins (10-5, 7KO) three times before referee Robert Byrd stepped in to put an end to the early massacre.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com