“That was fuckin’ bullshit. The fuckin’ doctor couldn’t wait to come up there! Twenty fuckin’ seconds and the kid won. This is all this fuckin’ kid has,” thundered cornerman Tommy Gallagher after the up, up, and down career of young Felix Verdejo took a hard tumble, Saturday night in the Madison Square Garden Theater.
Top Rank promoted the show, in the small room. The small room, where his backers figured he’d be selling the hell out, and thrashing foes and graduating to big room parties, set around the Puerto Rican Day parade.
But the script went to re-write, and turnaround...
Whispers of too much having fun. A cycle accident. Injuries and when he gloved up, why wasn’t he dispatching guys whose records suggest he should dispatch?
But he’s only 24, and, he told us this week, he’d woken up. I’ve matured, and you will see.
We saw, we saw him backing up, working in retreat, and not laying it on a guy he should be torching if he’s to be the next big thing from Puerto Rico.
38-2 Antonio Lozada Jr had a skillfully crafted record, he had a record testifying to smart management. He wasn’t no bum, he came to the ring in shape, looking to win. He stalked Felix, but he was losing rounds, on my card. The judges saw it thusly: 87-84 from James Kinney; 86-85 from Robert Perez; and Waleska Roldan liked Lozada’s work, 86-85 after nine rounds. But then round 10.
Lozada was pesky. To this point, power shots from Felix missed, a lot, and what landed didn’t make Lozada blink twice. Down went Verdejo in the 10th. He got up, he looked the worse for wear. Fatigue wasn’t making a coward of him, but it was confusing.
Hold, slide, and move-move-move. How much time is there left, he had to be thinking, as Lozada stalked.
Felix got caught, got smacked a few times, and here came the doc.
He bounded up the stairs, reminding us this era is a “better safe than sorry” one, post-Mago.
“That fuckin’ doctor,” Gallagher muttered again. Verdejo, he didn’t look savagely distraught. He acted classy in the loss, taking time to raise Lozada’s hand, give due credit to the upset winner.
Now, even more, it’s mirror time. He will look hard, at himself, and sift. Is it me? Am I as good as I thought? As they thought? Do I need to make changes? To my team? To me? Now, maybe, probably, is the hardest part. Will it be the come back after the hard come down? Time will tell…