By: William Holmes
Gennady Golovkin’s drawing power has been slowly increasing over the past two years and tonight marked the first time he headlined a card at the main arena in Madison Square Garden. K2 Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions were the co-promoters for tonight’s card.
Freddie Roach’s boxer Glen Tapia was scheduled to compete on tonight’s undercard, but issues with his paperwork with the New York State Athletic Commission forced his bout to be canceled ten minutes before yesterday’s weigh in.
New Jersey native and Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner Julian Rodriguez (4-0) opened up tonight’s card against Yankton Southern (4-5) in the welterweight division. Rodriguez had a good sized following in attendance for his bout.
Both boxers came out in an orthodox stance and Southern quickly rushed forward towards Rodriguez but was halted in his tracks with a check left hook. Southern lands some ineffective body shots again Rodriguez, and Rodriguez answers with a left hook to the liver that sends Southern to his knees on the mat.
Southern was wincing in pain while on the mat and was not able to beat the count. Julian Rodriguez barely breaks a sweat as he wins by knockout at 0:43 of the first round.
Washington D.C. native Dusty Hernandez Harrison (22-0) met Wilfredo Acuna (15-14) in the junior middleweight division in the second bout of the night.
Dusty Harrison could be seen greeting his fans that took charter buses from Washington D.C. to see him fight outside of Madison Square Garden before the doors opened for tonight. They made their presence known as Harrison walked into the ring.
Acuna, a southpaw, was several inchers shorter than Harrison and was circling towards Harrison’s power hand in the first round. Both boxers didn’t press the action much in the first, but it was Harrison who was touching Acuna more often but neither landed any significant power punches.
Harrison dictated the pace in the second and third rounds and seemed content with picking him off one punch at a time. Acuna slipped to the mat in the second round after a wild punch, but Harrison was making it difficult for Acuna to land any punches of note by staying out of his range. Harrison was warned for hitting behind the head in the third round.
Harrison didn’t seem like he wanted to go for a knockdown in the fourth and fifth rounds and inexplicably was not taking any risks against an obviously inferior fighter. He stumbled Acuna in the fourth and fifth rounds with his straight right, but he didn’t follow it up with any combinations.
Harrison again sent Acuna stumbling backwards to the ropes in the sixth round with a two punch combination, but he didn’t show that killer instinct that makes boxers stars by going in for the finish. Harrison continued to pick Acuna apart one punch in the sixth and seventh rounds and almost looked like he was bored in the ring.
Acuna clearly needed a knockout to win in the final round to win the bout, but he was unable to get anywhere near Dusty Hernandez Harrison to even threaten him.
The judges scored the bout 80-72 for Dusty Hernandez Harrison on all three cards
The final bout of the undercard was a scheduled ten round cruiserweight bout between Ola Afolabi (20-3-4) and Philadelphia native Anthony Caputo Smith (15-3).
Afolabi had a few inches on Smith and had an obvious reach advantage, but Smith was more aggressive than Afolabi in the first round and was finding a home for his left hook upstairs. Afolabi was able to land several hard uppercuts in the first round, but neither boxer could claim they clearly won the first.
Afolabi came out firing at the start of the second round and landed heavy uppercuts and hooks to the face of Smith. He opened up a cut by Smith’s left eye and blood was pouring out of his nose, but to his credit Smith was showing a lot of heart and was firing back at Afolabi. Afolabi though was landing the more impactful punches.
Smith opened up the third round by smother Afolabi by the ropes and landing short shots, but Afolabi was able to spin out to the center of the ring and dig hooks into the body of Smith and connect with head snapping jabs. Afolabi landed a hard right uppercut to the chin of Smith that sent him to one knee. He was able to get up before the count of ten, but he continued to get pounded by Afolabi. Afolabi send Smith to one knee again as the round came to a close with a left hook. Smith was able to get back to his feet again and walk back to his corner, but he had taken enough punishment and the fight was waived off.
Ola Afolabi wins by TKO at the end of the third round.