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Garcia Edges Stevenson; Szpilka, Sulecki KO Winners

By Jake Donovan

CHICAGO --For the second time in as many fights, Roberto Garcia climbed off the canvas to outpoint a visiting opponent at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.

This time around, it was James Stevenson who couldn’t figure out what to do with the veteran boxer once he had him hurt. Garcia rallied back to score an eight round decision in the opening bout of a Spike TV tripleheader. 

Stevenson came up with every intention of pulling off the upset, making sure to strike first in the opening round. A well-timed right uppercut forced Garcia to rock backwards and tip to the canvas barely 50 seconds into the fight. 

The tide briefly turned in round two, although the bout was sorely lacking in sustained action. Garcia did his best to make it a mauling affair on the inside, while Stevenson utilized lateral movement to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm.

Most of the early rounds featured extracurricular activity, from Stevenson hitting Garcia while he was down, to both fighters continuing after the bell in rounds three and four. It was the closest the fight came to controversy or anything really worth talking about for several rounds, as it was a labor of love in close quarters.

Garcia went from ineffective aggressor to successfully imposing is will in rounds six and seven. Stevenson struggled to adapt, moving more to get out of harm’s way than in using the space to set up his own punches as was the case earlier in the fight. 

With the fight seemingly on the table, Garcia plowed forward in the eighth and final round. The Texas-based gatekeeper targeted Stevenson’s body in efforts to slow him down, a tactic he probably should’ve employed much earlier in the fight. Stevenson was content with playing prevent defense, throwing very little and making sure to not get caught with anything careless. 

Scores of 77-74 and 78-73 (twice) came in for Garcia, who moves to 37-3 (23KOs). The win is his 9th straight since serving as the comeback opponent of choice for Antonio Margarito way back in 2010.

Stevenson drops to 22-2 (15KOs). The loss is his second in his past three fights, as he is now 0-2 in televised fights. The Baltimore native came up short in a Fox Sports 1-televised shootout with Sammy Vasquez last summer, suffering a 9th round knockout in his first defeat.

Also on the broadcast later in the evening: Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22KOs) faces Badou Jack (18-1-1, 12KOs) in a 12-round super middleweight bout; Daniel Jacobs (28-1, 25KOs) meets Caleb Truax (25-1-2, 15KOs) in a 12-round middleweight bout. 

NON-TELEVISED UNDERCARD 

Maciej Sulecki was placed in the final walkout bout of the night, but the crowd stuck around to get a glimpse of the unbeaten Polish middleweight making his U.S. debut. It was well worth riding out the 6 1/2 hour card, as Sulecki (20-0, 5KOs) delivered with a 2nd round knockout of late sub Darryl Cunningham (30-8, 11KOs). 

Sulecki floored the 40-year old Cunningham in round, then twice more in round two. A straight right hand put the aged veteran flat on his back, as he was counted out at 2:59 of round two. 

Artur Szpilka may not ever go on to become a contender, but he remains a huge favorite in the Chicagoland area. The free-swinging heavyweight from contender brought the crowd to life with his two round destruction of Ty Cobb. Szpilka (18-1, 12KO) scored a knockdown in the opening round and deposited the portly Cobb (18-7, 10KOs) twice more in round two before forcing the stoppage. The official time was 0:42 of round two.

Chicago's own Jose Quezada made quick work of Atlanta's Jamar Saunders, picking up a knockout at 0:58 of round two. A right hand to the body froze Saunders (5-12-1, 2KOs), as Quezada (6-0, 5KOs) followed up with two right hands upstairs followed by a left hook to the liver to put down his foe for the full ten count.

Local junior welterweight Eddie Ramirez preserved his undefeated record with a 5th round knockout of Jerome Rodriguez. 

The bout was one way for four relatively uneventful rounds, before Ramirez forced Rodriguez to take a knee in round five. Referee Geno Rodriguez was out of position and late to the action as Ramirez opted to protect himself at all times, landing two more shots while Rodriguez (the fighter, not the referee) was done. The action cost him a point, but proved inconsequential as the bout was halted seconds later.

Official time of the stoppage came at 1:07 of round five. Ramirez moves to 8-0 (6KOs); Rodriguez falls to 6-3-3 (2KOs). 

Keith Tapia remained unbeaten, scoring two knockdowns en route to a 1st round knockout of Jason Smith. Tapia (14-0, 9KOs) was nimble on his feet early on before imposing his will on the overmatched Smith (9-5-1, 6KOs), forcing a stoppage at 2:21 of round one.

Alex Martin (8-0, 5KOs) put in cruise control in taking an eight-round decision over Puerto Rico's Jonathan Garcia. Scores were 80-72 twice and 79-73 in a fight not really worthy of a recap. Martin remains a prospect to watch, but was content with winning rounds and moving on to his next fight. 

Ramiro Carrillo (8-0, 5KOs) remained unbeaten, scoring four knockdowns en route to a 2nd round knockout of Ramon Guevara (10-24-2, 6KOs). Carrillo - locally based after relocating from Mexico - floored Guevara with a counter left hook late in round one, and then with a variety of punches in flooring the journeyman three more times in round two. before the referee elected to stop the bout. The official time was 1:22 of round two.

Semajay Thomas was given quite a scare, forced to climb off the canvas to stop Jose Santiago in the second round of their welterweight bout. 

Thomas (6-0, 4KOs) was dropped hard towards the end of round one, missing with a 1-2 and leaving himself open for a counter right hand. Santiago (3-6, 3KOs) smelled blood in the water, but Thomas quickly recovered and returned the favor in round two. Potty mouthed referee Celestino Ruiz didn't like the fallen fighter's reaction, waiving off the contest midway through round two.

Opening the show, Rickey Edwards (6-0, 2KOs) cruised to a six-round decision over Tampa's Shiwone Gortman (4-7-1, 2KOs). Scores were 60-53 across the board for New Jersey's Edwards, who scored a knockdown in round three. 

FULL CARD
Badou Jack MD12 Anthony Dirrell (116-112, 115-113, 114-114)
Daniel Jacobs KO12 Caleb Truax (Truax down in rd. 12)
Roberto Garcia UD8 James Stevenson (78-73 x2, 77-74; Garcia down in rd. 1)
Maciej Sulecki KO2 (2:59) Darryl Cunningham (Cunningham down in rd. 1, twice in rd. 2)
Artur Szpilka KO2 (0:42) Ty Cobb (Cobb down in rd. 1, twice more in rd. 2)
Jose Felix Quezada KO2 (0:58) Jamar Saunders (Saunders down in rd. 2)
Eddie Ramirez KO5 (1:07) Jerome Rodriguez (Ramirez loses 1 pt in rd. 5)
Keith Tapia KO1 (2:21) Jason Smith (Smith down twice in rd. 1)
Alex Martin UD8 Jonathan Garcia (80-72 x2, 79-73)
Ramiro Carrillo KO2 (1:22) Ramon Guevara (Guevara down in rd. 1, three times in rd. 2)
Semajay Thomas KO2 Jose Santiago (Thomas down in rd. 1; Santiago down in rd. 2)
Rickey Edwards UD6 Shiwone Gortman (60-53, x3; Gortman down in rd. 3)

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by califo on 04-25-2015

Good show overall.

Comment by boxing maniac on 04-25-2015

Good fights on Spike tonight I got 2 out of 3 right tonight Garcia, Jacobs and missed on Dirrell

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
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