By Thomas Gerbasi
BROOKLYN, NY -– It took a while for 2008 United States Olympian Sadam Ali to make it to the big show, but in his first Fox Sports 1 headlining gig as a Golden Boy Promotions fighter, the local welterweight hero put on a memorable show against game and underrated spoiler Jay Krupp, rising from the deck to score two knockdowns of his own en route to an eight round unanimous decision win in front of 3,059 at Barclays Center.
Scores were 79-72, 78-71, and 77-72.
Ali was clearly the more conventional boxer of the two as the bout commenced, but Krupp’s wild swinging style not only got the crowd’s attention, but it produced some exciting exchanges throughout the opening round. One saw Ali rock Krupp briefly, but the Louisiana native got the last word with a left hook that put the Brooklynite on the deck at the bell.
Settling down slightly in round two, Ali was able to pick his shots better and use his superior speed, but whenever an exchange would take place, Krupp would find a home for his left hook, not a good omen for the hometown favorite.
But as soon as it looked like Ali was going to be in for a rough night, he fought brilliantly in the third, capping it off with a right hand followed by a left hook that put Krupp on the deck. He was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but Ali was clearly the fighter now in control.
Krupp had his legs back under him in the fourth, but Ali had now found his rhythm and began boxing patiently, not allowing Krupp to get his hook off like he had earlier, even if the Kevin Rooney-protégé was able to land a couple hard overhand rights in the fifth.
By the sixth round, there was still a sense of danger that something sudden and dramatic could happen, but mainly from the Krupp side, as his punches continued flying by with bad intentions as Ali calmly boxed and piled up the points.
Krupp was able to entice Ali into some crowd-pleasing exchanges late in the seventh, but in the eighth round it was Ali who finished the bout in style, scoring a knockdown with a right hand with 20 seconds left and making it clear that we will likely be seeing him in a headlining television spot once again.
With the win, Ali improves to 17-0 with 10 KOs; Krupp falls to 17-6 with 8 KOs.
In the walkout bout, Bronx junior lightweight Emmanuel Gonzalez upped his record to 13-0 (7 KOs) with a four round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Noel Echevarria (11-1, 6 KOs). Scores were 40-36 across the board.
Michael Perez may have received a late sub for Carlos Molina in his co-main event bout, but he didn’t get any easy mark, as he had to dig deep to win a grueling 10 round unanimous decision over Mexico’s Miguel Zuniga.
Scores were 99-91 twice and 96-94 for Perez, who picked up the WBA Fedelatin junior welterweight title with the win.
Perez was sharp from the start, walking Zuniga down and tagging him with practically everything he threw. Zuniga wasn’t deterred from his forward march though, and he got in enough thumps of his own to keep Perez honest.
At the end of the second, a Perez hook wobbled Zuniga, but the Tijuana product came back in the third, and this time he was in the role of aggressor as he stalked the New Jersey native. And as the round progressed, each exchange got a little more even, setting the stage for an interesting second half.
Newark’s Perez settled down a bit in the fourth stanza, using his jab and movement while picking his shots better, which kept Zuniga from goading him into a brawl. Of course that didn’t stop Perez from voluntarily standing in the pocket with Zuniga and ripping off hooks with abandon in the fifth, much to the delight of the crowd.
In round six, Perez continued to alternately pepper and pound his foe, but late in the frame Zuniga finally got even with two hard right hands – the first drawing a smile from Perez, the second forcing him back into a corner to shake it off.
Zuniga had a good seventh round as he bloodied Perez under the left eye and forced him to dig deep during exchanges that he had been initiating earlier in the fight. Perez’ accuracy stayed with him though, and in the eighth he was able to potshot, then tie Zuniga up, a tactic that visibly frustrated the Mexican battler.
Perez appeared to get a second wind in the ninth, but in the tenth, it was more trench warfare between the two junior welterweights, earning them a well-deserved ovation at the final bell.
With the win, Perez improves to 19-1-2 with 10 KOs; Zuniga falls to 13-3 with 8 KOs.
2012 United States Olympian Marcus Browne’'s first distance fight resulted in an ugly win over Sacramento’s Lamont Williams, but it was a win nonetheless, and certainly a learning lesson for the promising light heavyweight, who took an eight round unanimous decision.
“It was a good learning experience,” said Browne. “I went eight rounds for the first time. It’s okay that I didn’t knock him out; you can’t knock everybody out. I’m going back in the gym, back to work, and when I go another eight rounds I bet I’ll look a lot stronger.”
Scores were 79-72 twice and 76-75 for Staten Island’s Browne, now 7-0 with 6 KOs; Williams, who was fighting for the first time since 2011, falls to 5-2-1 with 2 KOs.
After a tame first round, a fight began to break out in the second round, complete with Browne eating a couple hard shots, the Olympian giving them back, and some creative infighting by both in terms of fouls that went unpunished.
Browne’s frustration was evident in the third and fourth rounds, as there were some more moments that didn’t come from the rulebook, and he seemed to be baffled by Williams’ potshots and patient style.
In the fifth, Browne was docked a point on the scorecards to a headbutt, but by late in the round he began to find his rhythm a bit, and he carried that momentum into the sixth frame.
By round seven, Williams had a knot over his right eye and he was beginning to fatigue, holding whenever Browne closed the distance. And while it wasn’t pretty, Browne did finish with more in the gas tank than his foe, allowing him to wrap up the victory.
Brooklyn super bantamweight Claude Staten Jr. experienced his first blemish as a pro, moving to 1-0-1 after fighting to a four round majority draw with Philadelphia’s Derrick Bivins in a fairly uneventful four rounder.
Scores were 40-36 Bivins (1-1-2) and 38-38 twice.
Super middleweight prospect D’Mitrius Ballard improved his pro record to 3-0, but in going the four round distance for the first time he also got a fight from Tarrytown, NY’s Lekan Byfield, who never stopped trying to win, despite being outgunned by the Temple Hills, Maryland native.
Scores were 40-36 across the board for Ballard.
Byfield (3-6-2) showed up to fight, tearing after Ballard at the opening bell and doing anything in his power to turn the bout into an ugly brawl. But after finding his range, Ballard began ripping off hard shots from long range, quickly taking the spring out of Byfield’s step. The second was one-sided in Ballard’s favor, with only Byfield’s chin and heart keeping him upright, and while the Maryland product banked another round in the third, Byfield was still sticking around, even making a surge in the final round that got the crowd roaring in appreciation for his game effort.
2012 United States Olympian Jamel Herring remained unbeaten in the junior welterweight opener, stopping Justin Robbins in three frames.
Coram, New York’s Herring took his time in the first round, patiently picking at Robbins, but in the second he began chopping the Springfield, Illinois product down, hurting him late in the stanza. Herring’s body and head assault continued in the third, with Robbins only able to hold in response, and following the round, the bout was wisely called off by the corner.
With the win, Herring improves to 5-0 with 3 KOs; Robbins falls to 2-4 with 1 KO.