By Cliff Rold, Keith Idec, Bill Emes
Madison Square Garden, New York City - In the last bout before the main televised portion of the evening began, 23-year old Jr. Middleweight Jorge Melendez (25-2-1, 24 KO), 155, of Manati, Puerto Rico, laid a one-sided battering on 34-year old James Winchester (15-7, 5 KO), 155, of Greensboro, North Carolina, to score a stoppage in the fourth.
After scoring knockdowns in rounds two and three, Melendez looked to close the show in the fourth. A body tangle at mid-ring sent Winchester to the floor. No knockdown was scored. Winchester motioned that he had hurt his leg or ankle and was given a moment to walk it off. The crowd booed nastily at Winchester who nodded, in pain, that he could go on. It didn’t last much longer, Melendez trapping him on the ropes and ripping with both fists, referee Ricky Gonzalez saving Winchester at :54 second of round four.
20-year old Lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez (9-0, 8 KO), 134 ½, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, wasted little time in impressing the Garden crowd, scoring three knockdowns to earn a second round stoppage of 25-year old Pedro Arcos (12-3-1, 9 KO), 134 ¾, of Tijuana, Mexico. It was the second knockout loss in the career of Arcos.
Delivering a jolt of electricity to a growing crowd, Fontanez scored knockdowns in the first and second rounds. Arcos tried gamely to fight back in the latter round, landing some winging left hooks off the ropes to no affect. A final left hook turned Arcos’ legs to spaghetti, sending him kneeling involuntarily along the ropes, only his left arm keeping him from melting into the canvas. Referee Tony Chiarantano waved the fight closed at 1:23 of round two.
22-year old Michael Perez (18-1-1, 10 KO), 135 ½, of Newark, New Jersey, scored two knockdowns and shook off a trip to the floor to win an exciting eight round war by unanimous decision against a game 22-year old Fernando Carcamo (10-5, 7 KO), 135 ¾, of Obregon, Mexico.
Perez began the fight in explosive fashion, rocking Carcamo and then dropping him hard with a left hook. Carcamo beat the count and landed some hard rights as the round progressed while also suffering two pushes to the floor. Round two was an immediate reversal of fortune, Carcamo storming out and dropping Perez with a left. Shaken, Perez went to the neutral corner shaking his head to clear the cobwebs as the referee proceeded with his mandatory eight count. Carcamo would stalk Perez for the rest of the round.
There were no knockdowns in rounds three or four, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Both men aware they could hurt and be hurt, they picked their spots to land echoing leather. Perez almost had Carcamo ready to go again in round five, a right hand badly damaging a Carcamo whose legs still looked rubbery for most the next thirty seconds. Perhaps wary based on previous experience on the night, Perez never went all out to see how close to the edge Carcamo really was.
The fight, while still rugged, slowed considerably in the next two rounds. Exhausted, battered, both men went more to the trenches, grinding and working through blue-collar paces.
As the eighth round and final round progressed, Carcamo seemed to hurt Perez to the body. Perez evened the score near the minute mark with a vicious left the head. With only seconds to go, Perez landed a rollicking right uppercut to send Carcamo to his back. Carcamo beat the count, and avoided being hurt again before the bell, but the punctuation mark on his defeat had been posted.
Perez, to the delight of an enthusiastic cheering section in the rafters, was announced the winner at scores of 78-71 and 77-72 twice.
Fans who arrived for a full night of boxing got a high quality show in the evening’s third contest. 25-year old Featherweight Jorge Diaz (17-1, 10 KO), 122 ½, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, earned a hard fought shutout over six rounds against 20-year old Victor Sanchez (3-5-1), 126, of Houston, Texas. Diaz scored a knockdown with a massive right hand in the first and the bout looked on the way to an early finish. Sanchez dug in and made it the route, both men giving the fans exciting exchanges. The best action came in the final minutes of round four, Diaz working over Sanchez on the ropes and Sanchez firing back with everything he had. Final scores came in at 60-53 across the board.
20-year old Jr. Middleweight Eddie Gomez (12-0, 8 KO), 150, The Bronx, New York, lost a point for low blows in the final round but otherwise found little struggle en route to a unanimous six-round decision over now once-defeated Luis Hernandez (9-1, 5 KO), of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Final scores were tallied at a shutout 59-54 twice and 58-55. The referee was Tony Chiarantano.
The non-televised portion of the show opened in the Middleweight division. Undefeated 23-year old John Thompson (10-0, 3 KO), 156 ½, of Newark New Jersey, won a lopsided six-round unanimous decision over 27-year old Eli Agustama (6-6, 3 KO), 158, of Port Au Prince, Haiti. Agustama was able to win the final round on two of the three judges cards to mark an honest effort but scores came in clear at a shutout 60-54 and 59-55 twice. The referee was Tony Chiarantano.
The card was televised in the U.S. on Showtimeas part of its “Championship Boxing” series, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]