By Thomas Gerbasi
Welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison didn't deliver the showcase performance his fans and team might have expected against 35-year-old New York veteran Tommy Rainone at the Madison Square Garden Theater on Friday night, but he added another win to his unbeaten record by way of a less than thrilling 10-round unanimous decision in front of 4,253 fans.
The bout marked the first event of Jay Z'’s Roc Nation Sports, a night highlighted by the appearance of the aforementioned hip hop icon and mogul and other notable stars, as well as a performance before the main event by Fabolous. The only thing missing when it came to star power was the main event, with Harrison workmanlike but little more against Rainone, who was game but didn't have the firepower to put a dent in the confidence of the 20-year-old.
Scores were 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Harrison, now 25-0 with 13 KOs; Rainone falls to 22-6-1 with 4 KOs. Harrison picked up the WBC Continental Americas title with the win.
After a three-minute feeling out process to start the bout, Harrison began walking Rainone down in a more determined fashion in round two, ripping off a couple left hooks that got the New Yorker's attention as he did so.
The third round followed suit in the same fashion, the most exciting portion of the round coming in the final moments when the two got tangled and then tumbled to the mat.
Rainone began letting his hands go a little more in the fourth, and while he took some heated return fire from Harrison, the Long Island veteran's work rate was going to be key if he was going to pull off the upset. Harrison regained control in the fifth and sixth, but Rainone, while not winning the fight, was doing more than enough to keep the Washington D.C. product from looking good.
In the seventh, Harrison finally rocked Rainone, and moments later he unloaded as he trapped his foe against the ropes. Rainone, who has never been stopped, weathered the storm and made it through the round, though he was likely in a deep hole on the scorecards.
Things didn't brighten up much from there for Rainone, who was still too awkward and tricky for Harrison to get him out of there in the final three frames.
Former amateur star Dustin Fleischer got his pro career off to a good start in a welterweight swing bout, using a ferocious body attack to halt Frank Jordan in the second round.
The end came at 1:27 of the second round. The referee was Shada Murdaugh. Jordan falls to 0-3.
Middleweight up and comer Tureano Johnson was impressive in a sixth round stoppage of game but outgunned Alex Theran, earning himself the vacant WBC Silver and WBA international titles in the process.
“I was very disappointed that I started very late but a win is a win,” Tureano said. “I wish I could have showed the crowd what I could really do. Next time I will show what I can do.”
The first round was sloppy as the two wore off nervous energy, Theran landing some good counters while moving backward and Johnson on target with wild but thudding blows. This pattern continued into the third round, Johnson’s steady pressure dropping Theran’s workrate and forcing him into several clinches.
With a minute left in the fourth round, Theran took a knee after eating a hard right hand, and the result was become academic at this point, with Theran unable to get out of the way of Johnson’s rights and the Colombian not having enough firepower to get the Floridian’s respect.
Theran hurt his left ankle in the fifth, forcing him to the canvas a second time. There was really no reason for the fight to continue at this point, and wisely the bout was called at one second of the sixth round.
“I went back and twisted my ankle and the doctor said I couldn’t continue,” Theran said. “He was coming at me too much. When he got close he was hurting me with overhands. It was not my night.”
With the win, Johnson improves to 17-1 with 12 KOs; Theran falls to 17-2 with 9 KOs.
Bowie, Maryland's Jerry Odom lost his perfect record in controversial fashion, as he was disqualified in the fourth round of his light heavyweight bout against Phoenix’ Andrew Hernandez.
Hernandez got off to a fast start and had some success, but Odom’s body work was steadily wearing him down as the bout progressed. In the fourth, as Odom chased, Hernandez took a knee in the corner. Odom drilled him with two shots while he was down, and when Hernandez was unable to continue, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. called the bout at the 30-second mark of the round.
Hernandez moves to 8-0-1 with 1 KO; Odom falls to 12-1 with 11 KOs.
Chicago junior welterweight Kenneth "“Boss Man"” Sims was forced to go the distance for the first time against ultra-tough Christian Steele of Virginia, but the result was never in doubt, as Sims drilled out a six-round unanimous decision win via identical scores of 60-54.
Sims moves to 5-0 with 4 KOs; Steele falls to 4-12-2 with 1 KO.
South Africa's Chris Van Heerden picked up the vacant IBF international welterweight belt, pounding out a hard-fought 10-round split decision over previously unbeaten Cecil McCalla.
Scores were 97-93, 96-94 and 91-99 for Van Heerden, now 22-1-1 with 11 KOs; Maryland’s Cecil McCalla falls to 20-1 with 7 KOs.
Both fighters set a fast pace from the start, battling it out mainly on the inside. After a fairly even first four frames, Van Heerden began to pull away only to see McCalla get back in the fight just as fast. The action continued to be grueling down the stretch, but it was Van Heerden landing the more telling blows as the seconds ticked away.
Chicago-based Nicaraguan Eduardo Martinez kept his unbeaten record intact, holding off a spirited effort from the Bronx’ Rigoberto Miranda to win a four-round unanimous decision in featherweight action.
Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 twice for Martinez, now 5-0 with 1 KO; Miranda falls to 0-3-2.
The better schooled of the two, Martinez stuck to the fundamentals, particularly a stiff right hand that landed as well. Miranda did his best to turn it into a brawl, even having a solid third round, but as he slowed down, Martinez picked up the pace and secured his win.
Ohio'’s Leo Kreischer had no business being in with 2012 Dominican Olympian Wellington Romero, and Romero did what a prospect should do in such situations, knocking Kreischer out in the first round of the junior welterweight opener.
In control from the start, Romero (5-0-1, 3 KOs) took his time against outclassed foe, with a right hook from the southpaw sending Kreischer down and out in frightening fashion at the 1:24 mark. Thankfully, after some tense moments, Kreischer (3-7-1, 2 KOs) made it back to his feet and left the ring under his own power.