By Mitch Abramson
Madison Square Garden, New York City - Magomed Abdusalamov punished Jason Pettaway for the duration of their heavyweight bout for the WBC Silver heavyweight championship, stopping the previously undefeated Pettaway at 1:20 of the fourth round with a barrage of punches that had a ringside doctor running up the steps to get the referee’s attention to call a halt to the action to raise his record to 14-0 with 14 knockouts.
Pettaway built up that glistening record by fighting almost exclusively in West Virginia except for the time when he fought in Kentucky against a guy who was 4-21-1. No joke.
Abdusalamov also had an undefeated record entering Saturday’s bout, but his wins came against seemingly tougher opposition in different locales and he showed with Saturday’s performance that he’s someone to keep an eye on.
Not only was Abdusalamov fighting in the Eastern European style of holding his jab hand far from his face, he was also a southpaw, making his style extra difficult to decipher. It all made for a tough assignment for Pettaway, whose face began to start glistening with crimson blood toward the second round after taking a barrage of punches. Abdusalamov began to open up with short uppercuts and lead rights in the third when it became painfully obvious that Pettaway had stopped throwing back and was content to be a human punching bag. The end came quickly: Pettaway was sent to the canvas midway through the fourth round with a thudding right hand and the doctor waved for the referee to stop the fight seconds later.
The enormously popular Seanie Monaghan won a hard-fought unanimous decision against Eric Watkins to keep his unblemished record intact at 13-0 with eight knockouts. The former bricklayer won by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 (twice) in a mostly dominant performance that left his fans cheering his every punch and fully supporting the decision. The bout took a predictable pattern after the first round when Watkins was the aggressor. But that soon changed after Monaghan landed a thudding left hook midway through the first that snapped Watkins' head around. Watkins showed in that moment that he could take a good punch but he didn't really show much else. The shot changed the whole complexion of the bout. Watkins went from stalking Monaghan to now retreating. It was more of the same in the second round except that Watkins figured out that he should probably start fighting back if he was going to last the scheduled six rounds. Watkins was more apt to exchange shots with the hard-charging Monaghan in the second stanza, trading left hooks and even landing the occasional right hand, but nothing that came close to hurting Monaghan. By the fourth round, Watkins showed that he wouldn’t come close to winning the fight but perhaps he could show that he had a world class chin. Monaghan doled out enough punishment in the fourth to last several rounds, winging rights and lefts against the game Watkins. The only drama left in the bout was whether Monaghan would be able to stop Watkins. He couldn't but he did enough to show that he's ready for bigger and better challenges in the future. Watkins dropped to 6-2 with two knockouts.
Charlie Ota, who has the distinction of being from Harlem, New York and also living in Tokyo, Japan, stopped Gundrick King at 35 seconds of the seventh round in a scheduled eight-round junior middleweight bout to raise his record to 20-1-1 with 14 knockouts. The bout was for the most part an uneventful beatdown except for the sixth round when Ota sent King flying flying into the ropes with what appeared to be a right hand. King lost his mouthpiece in the process. That’s all normal, routine boxing stuff. What wasn’t routine was the site of the referee for the bout, Arthur Mercante Jr. also going down. Mercante seemed to trip over King during the knockdown so that two men were down in the sixth. King got up and fought back valiantly to survive the round, absorbing a barrage of punches but it was a formality. Ota was on his way to decisive victory. King, from the boxing outpost of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, dropped to 16-8 wkth 11 knockouts.
Danny McDermott suffered an upset loss to Carl McNickles (8-3, 6KOs), losing a six-round majority decision to drop his record to 9-4-2 in a junior welterweight bout. McDermott dropped his opponent in the second round but couldn’t finish the job and was actually dropped himself in the subsequent round, losing by scores of 57-55 (twice) and 56-56 in a contest that was an entertaining slugfest.
Kevin Rooney, the son of the former trainer of Mike Tyson, Kevin Rooney Sr., who was in Tyson’s corner during his prime, made short work of Anthony Shuff, stopping him at 1:27 of the first round when it appeared that Shuff no longer wanted to fight in a scheduled four-round middleweight bout. Rooney is not just the son of boxing royalty. He’s also promoter Lou DiBella’s publicist, and after most of his fights, Rooney can be seen slipping into a shirt and tie and resuming his duties as a publicist. Rooney improved his record to 4-1 with two knockouts while Shuff might want to think about another way of making a living. His record fell to 0-2.
Thomas Hardwick, an undefeated heavyweight from Yonkers, improved his record to 5-0 with two knockouts with a decision victory against T.J. Gibson of Deluth, Minnesota, who dropped to 1-2 with the loss.