After a thoroughly dull event last week, PBC benefited from a well-matched main event as Alexis Santiago slugged his way passed Erik Ruiz over ten entertaining rounds.
Santiago (20-3-1, 8 KO) and Ruiz (15-5, 6 KO) met in the center immediately, going to work with long combinations to the head and body. Though they seemed evenly-matched, it soon became clear that Santiago has just a little bit more; a little more power, a little more accuracy, a little more aggression.
On the outside, he worked well behind a jab and, on the inside, got the better of their protracted engagements. He threw more, landed more, and seemed to have a bigger impact with his punches, of which he threw ninety-four per round.
That said, Ruiz remained completely game throughout, shrugging off everything that came his way and coming back with some scoring shots of his own. They weren't enough to give him the decision, however, as the judges gave him zero, one, and two rounds, respectively. Bad Left Hook had it 97-93 for Santiago.
Unlike several fighters I've seen recently, I'd be more than happy to see either of these two in action again. Well done, gents.
Coming off a carer-first loss to fast-rising Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, cruiserweight Paul Parker won one for the B-sides with a narrow split decision over Lionell Thompson.
Thompson's (16-4, 10 KO) early inactivity proved his undoing, as the much taller Parker (8-1, 4 KO) pocketed rounds with a steady jab attack. When Thompson did decide to turn it up a notch and force his way inside in the third, he ran smack into a right cross that forced his glove to touch the canvas. "Lonnie B" did find success a couple rounds later, but by that time, he was too far in the hole, and Parker ultimately won on a 76-75 split.
It's worth noting that, in the sixth round, Thompson dropped an off-balance Parker with a check hook that was ruled a slip; there's an argument either way, but that could have been up to a three-point swing in his favor. Alas, spilled milk and all that.
The evening opened with a super middleweight bout between Lanell Bellows and Antowyane Aikens, the former of whom apparently missed weight by nearly two pounds. Aikens (10-1-1, 1 KO) was every bit as uninspiring as his knockout percentage would suggest, simply circling and clinching the hard-charging Bellows (15-1-1, 8 KO) while sending out the occasional jab.
In the early going, Bellows found success with a straight right to the body, but soon began headhunting as his frustration with Aikens' clinching mounted. He still found his mark, however, and Aikens wasn't offering nearly enough in return to punish this tactical lapse. Referee Tony Weeks finally seemed to warn Aikens in the fifth round, at which point Bellows sent him to his knees with a chopping right.
Aikens got to one knee, then stayed there for the full count.
Bellows has some power, but his fight IQ and ring cutting remain a work in progress and, considering he's already thirty, his ceiling might not be all that high.
For quick results and round-by-round coverage of the night's proceedings, click here.