By Reynaldo 'Papi Chulo' Sanchez & Premier Boxing Champions
Undefeated lightweight world champion Rances "Kid Blast" Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) defeated former world champion Mickey "The Spirit" Bey (22-2-1, 10 KOs) by split decision (117-110, 116-111, 110-117) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike Friday night at the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Following an exciting first round in which Barthelemy backed Bey up at the bell, round two came to a close with similar fireworks in the form of an accidental head butt. In the commotion, a stunned Barthelemy stumbled to the canvas and referee Sam Burgos ruled it an official knockdown, making it the first of Barthelemy's career.
Barthelemy said, "I really don't remember exactly what happened, but I felt it was more of a slip than anything. I was a little off balance and we butted heads so at that point that's when I went down, but that's okay. I don't mind that they counted it."
Bey had issues with the head contact also. "After I dropped him he got me again with a good head butt. The cut on my eye from that second head butt affected me for about four or five rounds, but it's a fight, so you have to do the best you can with the vision you have. But I would have liked to avoid all the head contact."
"It was the first time in my entire career, both amateurs and professionals, that I hit the canvas in any way," added Barthelemy. "It was just a little surprising, but after that I knew I had to come out strong and put pressure on him because I knew the judges might hold that against me. My mentality originally was to outbox but I had to change my plans and start putting pressure on him."
In a fight that saw a lot of competitive back and forth action during the middle and late rounds, neither fighter was able to take complete control or end the evening early.
Barthelemy believed he'd done enough to win unanimously arguing, "When I heard the judge who gave the score to Bey I thought he was either blind or he was bought. I felt that was disrespectful not only to me but to the fans as well.
"We knew what Mickey was prepared for though," concluded Barthelemy. "We knew he was going to be an evasive counter puncher and we knew that Bey came from the Mayweather school of boxing. So we knew what we were up against and he put on a tough fight."
Bey vowed to avenge the hard-fought loss soon. "I'm ready to get right back after it and chase another belt. I'm looking to stay busy and get back in the ring soon."
In the televised opener, undefeated Puerto Rican bantamweight Emmanuel Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KOs) beat experienced Mexican Alberto "Metro" Guevara (24-3, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision (99-91, 100-90, 99-91).
Rodriguez controlled the opening rounds with a variety of left hooks and overhand rights, backing Guevara up at will.
"My strategy was to come in and attack him because he is not your typical Mexican-style fighter," said Rodriguez.
An accidental head butt at the end of round four led to a cut that developed under the left eye of Guevara.
"We knew he was an awkward fighter," said Rodriguez of their heads colliding, "But he was even more awkward than we thought."
A highly decorated amateur, Rodriguez continued his calculated, methodical approach throughout the middle rounds.
Rodriguez added, "We weren't able to really decipher him in the first rounds but we were able to adjust eventually."
Guevara, who has fought in two world title fights, threw a change-up and came out fighting more wildly in round seven, causing Rodriguez some minor issues with the distance.
However, Rodriguez stuck to his game plan and used his superior timing to coast to victory in the later rounds.
Guevara said, "My plan was to box him and tap him when I had him, but things didn't come out that way. I'm not sure if it was a lack of focus or what it was, I'm just not sure. I feel good though. It was a hard fight, harder than I expected. He's a strong guy. I felt a little constrained and a little slow, but I tried my best tonight."
Rodriguez summed up the win adding, "I feel great, thank God. I'm really happy with this Victory, it was a victory that I needed to add onto my record and thankfully I was able to get it. Now I'm going to take a month off and wait until my management team tells us what fight date comes next so we can continue to pursue the goals we have set for ourselves."
The second televised bout featured unbeaten prospect Caleb "Sweet Hands" Plant (13-0, 10 KOs) getting a knockout victory over Columbia's Carlos Galvan (12-5-1, 11 KOs) in a middleweight bout.
Plant spent much of the first two rounds displaying his trademark showmanship and feeling out Galvan.
Plant said his strategy entering the ring was, "To be sharp and slick tonight, stay relaxed and patient. I didn't want to force anything or leave myself out there too long."
That's exactly what Plant did, ending the bout in the fourth with a devastating blow to Galvan's solar plexus.
A frustrated Galvan said, "He got a lucky shot, I threw a straight right and he slipped by it and landed a body shot to my liver so I wasn't able to continue with the fight after that."
"It was just about staying patient and waiting for him to make a mistake," said Plant. "I wanted to take advantage, and that's what happened. I took the body shot when I saw he was open and he went down."