Saturday night I was in attendance for a Top Rank card. However, it's probably not the one you watched. If you're looking for a recap of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Bryan Vera, Scott Christ covered the HBO Boxing After Dark card from Carson, California, here and here. If you'd rather read about the UniMas Solo Boxeo card from Atlantic City, New Jersey, remain on this page. I promise it delivers!
OK, not really. Six of the seven total bouts were mismatches, including the main event where Glen Tapia beat up a 42 year old man. So maybe I'll just let my videos do most of the communicating. Let's begin!
Despite winning every minute of every round the 23 year old unbeaten junior middleweight prospect still wasn't pleased with his performance. Tapia stopped Elco Garcia in 5 but as far as he's concerned that took too long. To Tapia's credit no one has stopped Garcia in fewer than 5 rounds since his prospect days, way back in the 1990s...
Anyways, here's the other showcase fights of the night, in chronological order:
1. Damon Allen UD4 Tony Walker (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
In the opening bout of the evening lightweight prospect Baby Dame advanced to 4-0 with the most impressive performance of his professional career to date. He was sharper, busier, and much better at counter punching. He nearly stopped Walker in the 4th round but ultimately cruised to a shutout decision. Check out his thoughts below:
2. Jesse Hart TKO1 Terrance Wilson (1:57)
In perhaps the least competitive bout of the night Wilson led with his head, ducked down, and clinched his way to almost lasting 2 full minutes. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr halted the bout after the 3rd knockdown. Here's an exuberant interview with super middleweight prospect "Hard Work" Hart, now 10-0 with 9 KOs:
3. Toka Kahn Clary TKO5 Victor Sanchez (1:21)
In the first bout to later make the tape delayed "Solo Boxeo" broadcast, the unbeaten super featherweight Clary battered Sanchez over 5 rounds before the ringside physician advised the referee to stop the fight. Sanchez took a good punch, but wasn't good for much else. Clary was faster, busier, and more elusive. Angered that the bout was stopped Sanchez stormed out of the ring early but was talked back in by his corner. Clary advanced to 8-0 [1 NC].
4. Julian Rodriguez KO1 Kevin 'TJ' Benson (0:51)
In the second bout to later be televised junior welterweight "Hammer Hands" Rodriguez made a spectacular pro debut and stopped his opponent with basically the first few hard shots he landed, even if the last one happened while Benson was already down. The legal and most devastating shot that put Benson down was a counter overhand right. Referee Steve Smoger rendered a full (and practically extended) 10-count before waving the fight off. Check out what Rodriguez had to say afterward:
5. David Gonzales UD4 Ray Velez (39-37, 39-37, 39-37)
In by far the most competitive bout of the night, also picked up by UniMas, unbeaten light welterweight prospect "2 Gunz" Gonzales was nearly pushed to the limit against Ray Velez and fortunate to not be ruled down in round 3. Overall Gonzlaes was clearly the more polished boxer but Velez brought the pressure and punching power. Personally I had Velez edging the final 2 rounds live and those sentiments were probably shared by those in attendance that booed the decision. However, round 4 was close enough to not make this the robbery I saw against Evincii Dixon. When I went home and watched it again I actually gave it to Gonzales for landing the cleaner punches (easier to see on TV, note to boxing commissions). After the fight I caught up with 2 Gunz, now 3-0, to discuss his last 2 controversial decisions and what's next for him:
6. Glen Tapia TKO5 Elco Garcia (2:59)
As previously stated the night's main event was a whitewash. Tapia youth, speed, and power were too much for Garcia to overcome. It was amazing how long Garcia lasted before he was finally put down, and even then he beat the 10 count. Ultimately he had to be saved by the mercy of referee Benjy Esteves Jr. Tapia improved to 20-0 and remains the NABO light middleweight champion (although the title was not at stake here). He can see himself in a world title fight by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.
For those of you who watched the complete post-fight interview posted near the top of this article, you may be wondering if I ever bothered to look up Tapia's fight at Bally's from 3 years ago. I nearly forgot, but I did. He won a 6 round unanimous decision over Quinton Whitaker with a broken jaw (59-55 on all scorecards). From our conversation he seems to rate that as his hardest fight over his recent war with then 19-0 Abraham Han.
7. Thomas LaManna UD6 Joshua Robertson (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
Since I actually caught up with LaManna before his fight let’s start out with the interview:
In the walkout bout of the evening (and even the UniMas crew walked out by this point) 2 middleweights threw down in 1 of the better fights of the night (which isn't saying much). "Cornflake" LaManna, the far superior technician, pitched a shutout but Robertson gave a good account of himself in the final 2 rounds. Robertson plodded forward with his hands high and did his best work on the inside. But overall he was too basic, too slow, and too predictable to land much clean on Cornflake. When all was said and done Millville, New Jersey's LaManna improved to 13-0 while Lynchburg, Virginia's Robertson fell to 5-3.
Notes: The order that the TV bouts aired differs from the order in which they transpired. Also, rapper turned promoter 50 Cent and Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings were in attendance. I didn't get an interview with 50, but I did get one with Jennings. We discussed how the Adamek fight well apart, his overall satisfaction with his new manager James Prince, and more. This actually should probably be transcribed and get its own post, but I don't have time for that...