Late substitute and hometown favorite Nick "The Machine Gun" Brinson (15-1-2, 6 KOs), of Rochester, N.Y., scored one knockdown en route to registering an upset, 10-round unanimous decision over Jorge "Destroyer" Melendez (26-3-1, 25 KOs), of Bayamon, P.R., Friday on ShoBox: The New Generation from the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y. Brinson, who took the fight on one week's notice, dominated from the opening round and won by the lopsided scores of 99-90, 98-91 and 96-92. Both fighters went down in an exciting fourth round.
Early in the middleweight fight, Brinson seemed to surprise Melendez with his power. Brinson's body language showed control and relaxation while Melendez seemed uncomfortable and unsettled.
In the fourth round, a sure candidate for round of the year, Brinson hit Melendez with a two-punch combination, a right and quick left hook, which dropped Melendez to the canvas. Melendez recovered quickly and scored a knockdown of his own, knocking Brinson down against the ropes with a left hook of his own.
In the later rounds Brinson continued to put together combinations that visibly hurt Melendez. In the ninth round referee Charlie Fitch took a point away from Melendez after repeatedly warning him for landing shots to the back of Brinson's head.
SHOWTIME® analyst Raul Marquez was impressed with Brinson. "Brinson was more aggressive,'' Marquez said afterward. "He was intelligent. He kept the fight in the center of the ring. In boxing you take risks. He pulled out the upset and now he is a guy to look at."
In the co-feature young prospect Jeffrey Fontanez (12-0, 9 KOs), of Caguas, P.R. scored an eight-round split decision win over Jose A. Rodriguez (18-11, 11 KOs), of Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico in a lightweight bout. Fontanez, going a full eight rounds for the first time, won by the scores of 77-74, 78-73 and 75-76.
The Fontanez-Rodriguez bout was elevated to the telecast after a scheduled match between Jonathan Vidal and Mario Munoz was cancelled Thursday by the New York State Athletic Commission after Munoz could not make the weight.
It should be noted that Fontanez-Rodriguez was a very questionable decision, as Fontanez controlled the early rounds and then pretty much gave the fight away. It was a strange performance.
(All photos by Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)