By: William Holmes
If you called ticketmaster to buy a ticket at 2:00 PM, you would have been informed there was only one ticket left for $220.
Mikey Garcia has been touted by Top Rank as a top pound for pound fighter. His performances prior to tonight have made it important to argue otherwise, and at this stage of his career he is beginning to move the needle.
Fight fans who arrived early, and most of them did, were treated to a series of entertaining finishes on the undercard. Francisco Vargas started off the knockout parade with a first round knockout and Alberto Macahdo followed by stopping his opponent in the second round. Philadelphian Jesse Hart passed his first real test of his career with a clear decision sweep over Derrick Findley. Felix Verdejo got the fans out of their seats with a brutal first round knockout over the previously undefeated Lauro Alcantor in less than thirty seconds. Of course, Julian Rodriguez didn’t want to be left out of the knockout club and finished his opponent in the first round with a painful looking body shot.
Irish “Seanie” Monaghan had a loud a supportive following here for him, but his fight ended in a disappointing technical knockout in the first round when Matthew Vanda suffered a torn bicep and was unable to continue.
The fans of Polish heavyweight Artur Szpilka (16-0) could be seen by the bar singing and drinking the time away until their man stepped into the ring with Bryant Jennings (17-0) in the first televised bout of the night.
Szpilka’s supporters were loud, boisterous, and made it feel like Szpilka was fighting in Poland instead of New York City. In fact, they sounded like a boisterous European soccer crowd.
Bryant Jennings started boxing late, but he has shown improvement every time he has stepped into the ring and he never looked better than tonight.
The early rounds were a little slow with Szpilka attempting to catch Jennings with a counter left and Jennings looking to land a lead right hand. Szpilka was showing good movement early on but was using a lot of energy. Jennings used his lazy jab to find his range in the first four rounds and was landing the cleaner shots.
By the fifth round Jennings was beginning to throw more combinations and was pressing the action more. He was able to block most of Szpilka’s punches, but Szpilka did end the fifth round strong.
Jennings opened up the sixth round with a crisp cross jab combination and some short hooks. Szpilka appeared to be slowing down in the sixth round and was dropped to the canvas with a left hook to the body. Szpilka was able to get back to his feet, but it was obvious that some of the wind had been taken out of his sails.
Jennings continued his assault in the final rounds, but there were many wild exchanges with Jennings again landing the better shots. Jennings only continued to get stronger as the rounds progressed, and even though he was likely ahead on the scorecards in the last round he still went for the finish.
Jennings ended the fight in the tenth round when he landed a thudding hook to Szpilka’s chin that sent him sitting down on the bottom ropes. He got back to his feet but Jennings immediately jumped on Szpilka and connected with a body head combination that forced the referee to stop the fight.
Bryant Jennings wins by TKO in his most impressive victory to date at 2:20 of the tenth round.
Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2) came out first in the WBO Super Featherweight Title bout with reigning champion Mikey Garcia (33-0).
There have been talks for Garcia being a future opponent for Manny Pacquiao, he was able to win tonight’s fight but his overall performance tonight indicate those talks are premature.
The crowd was not nearly as loud for the main event was they were for the heavyweight co-feature. Burgos had the reach and height advantage over Garcia and he used it well early on. Garcia had problems with Burgos’ reach and he wasn’t really able to get inside and be as active as he usually known to be. Burgos staggered Garcia near the end of the second round with a left hook but Garcia did not go down to the canvas.
Neither Garcia or Burgos were able to land a any shots in the middle rounds that hurt either fighter, but it was Garcia who was pressing the pace and landing the cleaner shots. He was able to land a right cross to the chin of Burgos that forced him to hold on in the third round, but that was his best punch of the night.
Garcia’s punches were landing while Burgos’ punches were not. Garcia however was in no way dominant and many fans were leaving in the middle of the fight. In fact by the tenth round half of the theatre was empty.
Garcia cruised through the final two rounds but never came close to stopping Burgos. Garcia’s stock was on the rise prior to the fight, but his fight tonight may have hurt his marketability.
It’s never a good thing to hear boos from the crowd even though you won the fight.
The final scores were 118-110, 118-110, and 119-109 for Mikey Garcia.
Undercard Quick Results
Francisco Vargas (2-0) knocks out Eligio Lopez (1-1) at 1:59 of the first round in the welterweight division.
Alberto Machado (6-0) defeated Nuwan Jayakody (2-4-1) by knock out with a short right hook right at 1:34 of the second round in the featherweight division.
Jesse Hart (12-0) defeated Derrick Findley (20-12-1) by a wide decision with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards in the super middleweight division.
Felix Verdejo (10-0) stopped Lauro Alcantar (8-1) with a brutal knockout at 0:21 of the first round in the lightweight division.
Julian Rodriguez (3-0) stopped Neyeine Muang (1-1) at 1:51 of the first round in the super lightweight division.
Sean Monaghan (20-0) defeated Matthew Vanda (45-15) by TKO at 2:51 of the first round when Vanda suffered a torn bicep and was unable to continue.