By: William Holmes
The legendary Madison Square Garden had six preliminary bouts before the televised broadcast began. The venue was almost completely empty during the first bout, but the crowd slowly trickled in throughout the night.
The first bout of the night was between the undefeated John Thompson (9-0) and Eli Agustama (6-5) in the middleweight division. It was a good thing that this was the first bout of the night in a nearly empty stadium because it was a rather dull bout. Thompson only had 3 KO/TKO’s on his record, and he failed to score one tonight against an opponent he should have been able to stop. The final scores were 60-54, 59-55, and 59-55 for John Thompson.
The next bout of the evening was in the super welterweight division between two undefeated prospects, Eddie Gomez (11-0) and Luis Hernandez (9-0). On paper this looked to be the most competitive bout on the undercard, and it was certainly more exciting than the opening bout. The first round was close but Gomez was pressing the action and landed several lead left hooks on the incoming Hernandez. By round three it was clear that Gomez had the speed advantage and was the more confident fighter. Gomez had a decent crowd of supporters in the building as they began chanting his name in the fourth and fifth rounds. Hernandez needed to go for the knockout in the last round, but he was unable to step on the gas pedal and press the action. Eddie Gomez won the battle of the undefeated prospects with scores of 58-55, 59-54, and 59-54.
The next bout of the night was between Jorge Diaz (16-1) and Victor Sanchez (3-4-1) in the featherweight division. Diaz dropped Sanchez in the first round with a perfectly timed right hook. Sanchez was able to get back to his feet, but was unable to hit the extremely elusive Sanchez throughout the rest of the bout. Diaz picked Sanchez apart from the outside and made him miss nearly every punch. To his credit Sanchez stayed aggressive throughout the fight, he was just unable to land anything meaningful. Diaz had to be disappointed that he did not stop Sanchez, but he won the bout with scores of 60-53 on all three scorecards.
Michael Perez (17-1-1) and Fernando Carcamo (10-4) fought next in the lightweight division. Perez, a Newark, NJ native, had a large contigent of fans in attendance and he wasted little time in knocking Carcamo down with a double left hook in the first round. Carcamo looked wobbly when he got back to his feet but he was able to recover and landed a solid left hook of his own that stunned Perez. Carcamo landed a combination in the beginning of the second round that sent Perez to the ground. Perez was able to recover from the knockdown and get back to simply boxing and outworked and outpointed Carcamo. Perez scored a late knockdown in the 8th round with a right uppercut to seal the victory. The final scores were 78-71, 77-72, and 77-72 for Michael Perez.
Hard hitting Jeffrey Fontanez (8-0) and Pedro Arcos (12-2-1) fought in the lightweight division. Due to the fact that none of the earlier fights ended in a stoppage this bout was only scheduled for four rounds. Fontanez landed a hard left hook in the first round that knocked Arcos to the ground. Arcos never looked comfortable after the knockdown, and fell to the ground again after he got tagged but a hard straight right hand in the second round. Another left hook knocked Arcos down when he got back to his feet, and this time the referee didn’t even bother counting. Jeffrey Fontanez scored the first stoppage of the night and wins by TKO at 1:23 of the second round.
The last bout on the preliminary card was between Jorge Melendez (24-2-1) and James Winchester (15-6) in the super welterweight division. Jorge Melendez was visibly in much better shape than Winchester and Winchester looked like he didn’t even want to be in the ring. Melendez knocked Winchester down in the second round and once again in the third round. Winchester slipped in the beginning of the fourth round and began to complain to the referee about a leg injury. The bout continued and Melendez pounded on Winchester by the ropes and the referee stepped in to stop the bout to give Melendez the TKO victory at 0:54 of round four.