By Keith Idec
Miguel Cruz overcame two cuts and some swelling on his face to out-point a game David Grayton in a competitive welterweight fight Tuesday night.
The 27-year-old Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs), a 147-pound prospect from Lake Mary, Florida, won their 10-round fight by the same score on all three cards (96-93) to take a unanimous decision. Cruz scored a knockdown in the sixth round and fended off an often aggressive Grayton in the first fight FS1 aired as part of a “Toe-To-Toe Tuesdays” telecast from The Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The 30-year-old Grayton, a southpaw from Washington, D.C., fell to 15-2-1.
Cruz fell to the canvas with just over a minute to go in the bout, but it was the result of a trip, not a punch, and wasn’t counted as a knockdown. The action intensified late in the 10th round, so much that both boxers continued to throw punches even after the final bell sounded to end the fight.
For the second time in the fight, a jarring jab by Cruz buzzed Grayton, this time with 13 seconds remaining in the ninth round.
Cruz snapped back Grayton’s head with separate left and right hands during the final 30 seconds of the eighth round. A straight right hand by Cruz backed up Grayton a little less than a minute into the eighth round, during which an accidental clash of heads caused a second cut across Cruz’s face, this time a long gash over his right eyebrow.
Cruz dropped Grayton with a stiff jab just 25 seconds into the sixth round. Grayton got right up and smiled, as if to indicate he wasn’t hurt badly by that punch.
Grayton landed two straight left hands later in the sixth to show he was back in the fight.
Grayton grew angry toward the end of the fifth round because Cruz hit him when referee Sam Burgos was separating them during a break. Earlier in the fifth, noticeable swelling began forming around Cruz’s left eye.
Grayton clipped Cruz with a right-left combination late in the fourth round that forced Cruz to hold him.
Cruz connected with a right hand that buckled Grayton’s legs with just over a minute to go in the third round. Grayton began throwing hard shots later in the round, but Cruz hurt him again with a left hook that made Grayton hold Cruz tight, so tight that they went crashing to the canvas together.
That entanglement enabled Grayton to buy the time he needed to finish the round. A cut also developed under Cruz’s right eye in the third round.
Grayton landed a right hook that knocked Cruz off balance with about 1:20 to go in the second round. An aggressive Grayton kept coming forward and Cruz began holding near a corner.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.