By Thomas Gerbasi
In the junior welterweight opener at New York's Yankee Stadium, highly-touted Top Rank prospect Christian Martinez improved to 4-0 (4 KOs) with a fourth round TKO of game New Yorker Jonathan Cuba.
Martinez controlled the bout from the start, but Cuba wouldn’t go away, having some success when he made a brawl out of matters in the third. A knockdown scored by Martinez at the end of the third was the beginning of the end though, with two more knockdowns in the fourth forcing referee Sparkle Lee to halt the bout at the 1:18 mark of the final round.
Main eventer Miguel Cotto’s 22-year old cousin Abner upped his pro record to 8-0 (4 KOs) with a competitive, but fairly uneventful, unanimous decision win over Midland, Texas’ Edgar Portillo (6-5-1, 4 KOs) in lightweight action.
The six rounder was scored 59-55 twice and 58-56 for Caguas’ Cotto.
If iron-willed Korean Jae Sung Lee had more power, he might have scored an upset over New Jersey prospect Jorge Diaz. But his defensive deficiencies, coupled with Diaz’ power, led to a sixth round TKO loss at the hands of the power-punching “King”, who was lucky his own porous defense didn’t wind up costing him in the entertaining featherweight scrap.
The end came at the 1:54 mark of the final round, with referee Sparkle Lee halting the bout after a series of unanswered blows by Diaz, who scored the fight’s only knockdown in the first round.
With the win, Diaz improves to 14-0 with 9 KOs; Lee falls to 10-3-1 with 7 KOs.
Denver’s Terry Baterbaugh spoiled the home field advantage for Long Island welterweight Tommy Rainone, decisioning the local product unanimously over six rounds.
Scores were 59-55 twice and 60-54 for Baterbaugh, who improves to 6-3-1 with 3 KOs. Rainone falls to 12-4 with 3 KOs.
Puerto Rican lightweight prospect Juan Gonzalez was extended the full route for the first time as a pro against Texas’ Juan Lucio, but still emerged victorious via a four round unanimous decision.
Scores were 39-37 twice and 40-36 for Gonzalez, who improves to 8-0 with 7 KOs; Lucio, who was rocked in the second and fourth rounds but not dropped, falls to 4-1-1 with 2 KOs.
New Jersey’s Pawel Wolak was in James Moore’s face for 30 minutes in their
junior middleweight bout, and the unyielding pressure of the “Raging Bull” was
enough for the 28-year old to pull out a 10 round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Wolak.
Much of the cheers in the opening round were for pound-for-pound superstar Manny Pacquiao as he made his way to his ringside seat, but Moore and Wolak were certainly doing their part to earn kudos as they engaged at close range from bell to bell.
Wolak stayed in Moore’s chest for the majority of the second round, and while he certainly got his licks in, the Irishman scored enough with whipping uppercuts and hooks to keep his foe honest.
The speed of the close-quarters brawl didn’t change in round three, but Moore was having more success catching Wolak with long-range combinations as he bulled his way inside, with the result being a more methodical pace in round four that suited him.
Wolak got back to business in the middle rounds, and it looked like Moore was starting to tire under the relentless pressure, while the Poland native wasn’t even breathing heavy as he parked himself in front of Moore and fired away with both hands.
In round eight, Moore was warned by referee Benji Esteves for holding, and though he was falling behind, he kept throwing. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough steam on his fastball to halt Wolak’s forward motion, and his glances at the clock showed that his gas tank was close to empty.
Moore did make it to the final bell, though a victory was not to be his tonight.
With the win, Wolak improves to 27-1 with 17 KOs; Moore falls to 17-3 with 10 KOs.