By Francisco Salazar (photos by Stephanie Trapp)
Lightweight Devin Haney dominated Mason Menard through nine rounds, earning a knockout victory over the fringe contender Friday night at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The fight was a crossroads clash between the young, unbeaten Haney and Menard, who is best known for his highlight-reel knockout of Eudy Bernardo in March of 2016.
Haney (19-0, 13 knockouts), who lives and trains in Las Vegas, spent the early part of the fight fighting from the outside, landing one-two punch combinations behind a jab.
By the fourth round, Menard (33-3, 24 KOs) closed the distance, landing lead right hands to the head of Haney. The rally was short-lived, as Haney returned to keeping his distance and repeatedly connecting to the head and body of Menard.
As the bout proceeded into the second half, Haney made key adjustments by mixing his attack. Menard would initiate exchanges or would counter Menard with right hands to the head.
The pace of the fight slowed considerably going into the final two rounds. Menard attempted to walk Haney down, but the 19-year-old continued to rip punches to the Menard's head.
After the end of the ninth round, Menard's corner told referee Gary Rosato to stop the fight, sparing Menard from further punishment.
The punch shat numbers reflected the one-sided action. Haney landed 143 of 425 total punches, while Menard connected on 50 out of 218 punches.
In the co-main event bout, junior featherweight Joshua Greer, Jr. stopped Glenn Dezurn in the eighth round.
From the opening bell, Greer was on the attack, backing Dezurn up against the ropes, throwing and landing vicious punches. A hard right hand momentarily staggered Dezurn midway through the second round, but Greer was unable to follow up.
Dezurn (9-2-1, 6 KOs) began to hold his ground midway through the fight, choosing to fight on the inside in an attempt to smother Greer's punches and to connect to the body.
The tactic worked until round eight when Greer hurt Dezurn with a right hand to the head, dropping him with another right hand to the head moments later. Dezurn attempted to fight back off the ropes as Greer went in for the kill. Greer landed at will, prompting referee Benji Esteves at 1:47.
Greer (17-1-1, 9 KOs), who resides in Chicago, Illinois, has now won his last 14 bouts.
In a battle of unbeaten light heavyweights, Charles Foster (16-0, 8 KOs) won an eight round unanimous decision over Alvin Varnall, Jr.
The southpaw Foster, who resides in New Haven, Connecticut, was the more effective boxer throughout most of the fight.
Varnall (15-1-1, 12 KOs) spent most of the fight attempting to walk Foster down, but would get countered repeatedly, eating numerous uppercuts to the head in the process. Varnall did find some success on the inside, but he would fight in spurts as the bout progressed.
Scores were 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75 in favor of Foster.
In the opening bout of the 'ShoBox' telecast, junior featherweight Arnold Khegai remained unbeaten with an eight round unanimous decision over Adam Lopez.
Khegai, who is of Korean descent and resides in Odessa, Ukraine, was the busier and more effective fighter early on. A counter right hand to the top of the head in round two staggered Lopez back into a corner, but Khegai was unable to follow up.
Lopez, who is trained by former world junior lightweight titleholder Carlos Hernandez, seemed to swing momentum his way in round six, increasing his punch output and missing his attack to the head and body. Referee Benji Esteves deducted a point from Khegai for repeatedly landing punches behind Lopez's head.
Lopez was at his best when he closed the distance and initiated exchanges during the second half of the fight, but he had dug himself a hole early on in the fight after losing the first five rounds of the fight.
Scores were 77-74, 77-74, and 78-73 in favor of Khegai, who improves to 12-0-1, 8 KOs. Lopez (16-3-2, 8 KOs) is now winless in his last four bouts.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing