The main event was only scheduled for 4 rounds and the undercard lacked notoriety beyond the prospect level but that didn't stop fans from packing the Philadelphia National Guard Armory. BLH is unaware of the official attendance numbers but would hazard a guess around the 2000 mark, a third of which loudly cheered for headliner Milton Santiago. Santiago, a 17 year old making his professional debut, delivered on his hype against an opponent who was there to lose. It only took 76 seconds for Santiago to land a body shot and check Moses Molina out of the fight. Here's the breakdown directly from the 59-time amateur tournament champion:
On the undercard there were some equally spectacular finishes, some boring mismatches, and 2 competitive fights. The "red corner" was the favorite in every bout and ultimately never took a loss. Detailed results of the complete card ensue.
1. Sultan Staton  UD4 Mike Eroza [137.5] (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
This fight wasn't much to look at most of the time, but "Showtime" Staton had a clear technical advantage and passively counter punched his way to victory. Eroza often came forward with his chin hung out to dry and ate a lot of left hooks and overhand rights in the process. BLH agreed with the shutout the judges rendered. Staton improved to 3-0.
2. Antonio Dubose [TBA] UD4 Michael Haigood [125.5] (40-35, 40-35, 40-35)
In what could be better described as a mugging as opposed to a fight, featherweight prospect Dubose easily routed Haigood while scoring 1 official knockdown along the way. BLH agreed with the official scorecards. Haigood came to run and hide; Dubose came to fight. The punishment Haigood received increased round by round until he was finally dropped in the 3rd, courtesy of an overhand right, but then things got a bit easier for him. Ironically that happened when he began fighting back somewhat, so maybe he should have done that from the beginning. Be that as it may, Dubose was the superior fighter in every way and would have inevitably ascended to 4-0 no matter what version of Haigood showed up. Catch Dubose again in Fogelsville, PA on Feb. 20.
3. Anthony Flores [138.6] UD6 Ramesis Gil [139.2] (59-55, 59-55, 58-56)
Next we arrived at the first competitive fight of the night, albeit a clear win for Flores. Flores boxed and moved exceptionally for 4 rounds before slowly falling apart in the final 2. Flores arguably won round 5 regardless but was practically out on his feet at the end of round 6. Gil slowly found a home for the right hook but ran out of time to finish Flores off. Prior to fighting Flores, Gil was riding a 10 fight streak against unbeaten fighters (defeating 2 of them, drawing with Jamie Kavanagh, and taking the ultra-talented Karl "Dynamite" Dargan to a split decision). Prior to that, Gil was unbeaten himself. Subsequently this was the first time Ramesis lost to a previously beaten fighter. Flores advanced to 10-4-1 while Gil is now batting .500.
4. Frank Trader [130.8] D4 Israel Suarez [128.5] (39-37, 38-38, 38-38)
And then came the only fight on the card that could have gone either way. BLH had the fight for Suarez, the opponent, but was not outraged by the 1 judge that scored it for Trader, the hometown fighter. There was often little to choose from in the fight as Trader, aka "Nitty," waited too much behind a high guard while Suarez outworked him with combinations. Trader landed the best single shots of the fight but rarely strung them together. Going into the final round even Trader fans felt their man needed to pull it out of the fire. But he didn't and consequently the fight ended in a draw. Thus Trader added a draw to his 10 wins and 1 loss. Suarez moved to 4-3-2.
5. Emmanuel Folly  TKO1 Michael Varela [129.5] (2:52)
Following the Trader debacle, it was business as usual for the house favorites for the remainder of the night. One such favorite was "Manny" Folly, fresh off a TKO3 win in the previous month. Folly only needed 1 round on this night but finished the fight in much of the same way. Varela was swept up in a whirlwind and referee Steve Smoger struggled to save him in a timely fashion. Varela gradually crumbled after a body shot and Folly kept beating on him after the fight was waved off. Smoger found himself in a similar situation during the ending to Kirkland-Tapia. In any event Folly progressed to 4-0. Varela was a late replacement for Jose Luis Fernandez.
6. Derrick Webster [164.2] TKO5 Julio Garcia  (1:19)
Despite the brevity of the previous bout, the co-main event of the evening was underway merely a few minutes later. Unfortunately the fight started a lot faster than it was actually fought. Webster, out of the ring since a scare at the hands of Darnell Boone over a year ago, slowly jabbed Garcia to death through 4 rounds before turning up the heat (using his power hand) and "taking it to the bank" in round 5. But apparently it was only a coincidence that boos from the crowd preceded Webster changing gears:
According to Webster everything went according to plan. There was no ring rust. The people that booed him were his fans. Basically he was just playing a 6'4", southpaw possum. Next he wants Kassim Ouma and, apparently, is willing to meet him at the 160 lb limit. Records last show Webster making the middleweight division in 2010, in merely 1 of his now 15 wins. However, also apparently, that's only because he was "forced" to super middleweight and light heavyweight in the past.
Whatever the case may be, let's assume we see Webster vs Ouma down the line in 2014. Based on Ouma's last performance against Rahman Mustafa Yusubov, Webster should be a big favorite. He spars with guys like Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward for a reason...
7. Milton Santiago [138.5] KO1 Moses Molina [136.5] (1:16)
Lastly the night concluded on the much anticipated main event (previously detailed). Santiago, an amateur standout bolstering a 184-12 record, got the job done quickly with a left hook/uppercut to the body. It was quite the statement for the youngest pro boxing debut in Pennsylvania state history.
Additionally scheduled for the card was a light heavyweight bout between Angel Concepcion (5-0) and Brian Donahue (2-7-2), but, for whatever reason, Concepcion pulled out. When BLH reached out to Donahue for thoughts, he suggested that Concepcion "didn't want to ruin his pretty record" but was also unsure of the real reason Angel pulled out. Donahue claims he accepted the challenge on 3 days' notice and showed up at the weigh-in expecting to see his opponent. But Concepcion never came...
Also in attendance was super middleweight rising star Jesse Hart, who took a few moments to talk about the night's action and his future. Shots were fired at Ronald Hearns, Badou Jack, and Carl Froch. Add them to the "Hard Work" hit list.
"New Beginnings" presented by Power Productions (promoter) and GFL.TV (broadcaster) at the Philadelphia National Guard Armory took place on February 7, 2014. Matches were arranged by Renee’ Aiken. A photo gallery of the event, courtesy of Darryl Cobb Jr, is available atop this page.