By: William Holmes
Showtime followed up their All Access: Canelo vs. Lara debut with a very solid Golden Boy promoted card from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The first televised bout of the night was between Nick Brinson (16-1-2) and Dominick Wade (15-0) in the middleweight division. This was Wade’s first ten round bout and his toughest opponent to date.
Wade had a four and a half inch reach advantage and established it in the first round. His jab was on point early, and he was able to land an occasional right cross. Brinson was peppered by Wade in the first round and the difference in technique was apparent early.
Brinson began to attack the body of Wade in the second round, but none of his punches looked to be hurting Wade. Wade’s left hooks were landing. Brinson had a good showing in the third round when he connected with a left hook right to the middle of Wade’s mouth, but Wade was able to recover and reestablish control which was punctuated by a combination as the bell sounded.
Wade continued to control the fight in the middle rounds with his long jab and ability to avoid most of Brinson’s hard punches. Brinson did land a large number of body shots in the sixth round, but he was landing mainly arm punches.
Brinson could never really hurt Wade but never stopped coming. Wade was tiring by the final rounds, but he was playing it safe and soundly out boxed Brinson.
The final scores were 96-94, 97-93, and 97-93 for Dominick Wade.
The main event of the night was a welterweight bout between Pennsylvania native Ronald Cruz (20-3) and 2012 US Olympian Errol Spence Jr. (12-0). This was Cruz’s first bout against a southpaw and on paper Spence’s biggest test of his professional career.
Spence was patient in the first round and was pawing his jab to find his range against Cruz. Cruz was throwing looping right hands, but Spence was poised and able to easily avoid them. Spence land landing crisp combinations in the first and was staying very patient.
Cruz had only landed four punches in the first round, and he barely landed any more than that in any remaining rounds. Spence picked up the pace in the second round and was landing punishing body shots. His jab was also landing at will. An accidental head butt opened up a cut over Cruz’s left eye in the second.
Cruz was sitting on his combinations in the third round and pushing the face and body of Cruz. The punishment only continued to get worse as the fight progressed. Spence’s punches were coming from all angles and Cruz’s punches were only glancing blows.
Cruz was able to land a good left uppercut in the fifth round that tested Spence’s chin, but Spence settled down and continued a high pace and accurate combinations.
Cruz’s corner told him to take risks and get in close before the start of the seventh round, but he was unable to get in tight and be effective. Cruz’s corner asked him if they wanted him to stop the fight in the eighth round and probably should have stopped it in the ninth round, but Cruz refused to allow the fight to be stopped and continued to get pummeled.
Cruz, to his credit, remained on his feet for the entire bout but was out landed in power punches 282 to 65.
Errol Spence won in an impressive performance with scores of 100-90 on all three scorecards.