Delvin Rodriguez Loses to Courtney Pennington In Star Boxing Facebook Broadcast
By: Sean Crose
If there’s one thing the forces behind Thursday evening’s Star Boxing fight card at the Mohegan Sun Casino in eastern Connecticut wanted made clear, it’s the fact that card was being broadcast live on Facebook. Not Fox Sports1. Not ESPN2. Not Bounce. Not beIN. Facebook. While fights have streamed live – and for free – before, Star Boxing is on the more significant side of the promotional scale, which made Thursday’s card a memorable event. Was it the beginning of something significant? Time will tell – though the odds may be in its favor.
The night opened with local (by way of Hartford) fighter Rich Rivera beating on newcomer Marco Parente in the Canadian’s pro debut. The 180 lb catchweight fight was halted in the final seconds of the sixth and final round, giving Rivera a record of 2-0. New Jersey’s Jonathan Rojas was up next, facing fellow lightweight Omar Bordoy in a four round bout. Like Rivera, Bordoy was a Connecticut fighter and the crowd was enormously in his favor. Both he and Rojas, in fact, were making their pro debuts. It was a close, fairly sharp fight for two newcomers to the pro game. The UD win went to Bordoy, who landed the harder punches.
Another Hartford fighter, Jose Rivera, 2-1, then entered the ring to face Long Island’s Marcus Beckford, 3-6-3, in a six round junior middleweight affair. A thunderous, and I mean thunderous, shot by Rivera in the fourth ended things abruptly. Beckford was able to get to his feet, but the referee knew better than to let matters continue. New York City welterweight Sydney MacCow, 4-5, was up next to face East Hartford’s (noticing a theme here?) Anthony Laureano, 3-0. Laureano may have been the obvious crowd favorite, but it was MacCow who dominated the first few rounds by sharp punching and by throwing Laureano’s timing off. Laureano’s pressure, however, began to take effect in the third.
Things got close and heated in the fourth, with Laureano landing the more effective shots. MacCow was definitely there to win, though. Although Laureano was now able to land, the New Yorker kept things razor thin. In the sixth, MacCow was visibly hurt by Laureano. The East Hartford native couldn’t finish his man off, though. Still, the two men closed the show firing away at each other. Indeed, it was a great fight. Laureano took the UD win, but there’s no reason – none – these two couldn’t meet in the ring again.
Former WBC World Female Middleweight titlist Kali Reis, 10-6-1, then faced 7-10-4 Ashleigh Curry. Reis may not have been from Connecticut, but she hailed from right next door in Rhode Island, making her about as close to a local fighter as one could get without actually being local. The first few rounds were somewhat slow affairs, with Reis walking Missouri’s Curry down. The third and fourth rounds presented the audience with more of the same. As the fight wore on, it became clear that – although Curry had her moments – she simply wasn’t of Reis cailber. Curry’s inability to put her punches together, for instance, was particularly telling. The final round showed no significant or sustained change of pace. The easy victory was awarded to Reis, courtesy of a majority decision (how anyone could have ruled it a draw, as one judge did, is a great mystery).
In the co-main, welterweight Samuel Amoako, 21-14, of Ghana, fought undefeated New Yorker Danny Gonzalez, 13-0, in a scheduled eight round affair. Gonzalez dominated the first two rounds, but the fight did not start off being a barn burner. By the fourth round, the bout had developed into a familiar pattern: Amoako would be walked to the ropes and Gonzalez would fire way, hoping to land effectively. Amoako was able to land an occasional solid shot, but those weren’t nearly enough to change the tide. Gonzalez was clearly trying to look impressive, but it can be hard to beat an opponent who isn’t doing much more than surviving.
In the fifth, Gonzalez started landing effectively to the body. Amoako looked like he might be hurt, but held on. And, sure, enough, the sixth was a replay of numerous previous rounds, with Amoako deciding to take it to the ropes with Gonzalez pursuing him. Amoako took a considerable amount of punishment, but, sadly didn’t have much to dish out to his aggressive foe. Needless to say, Gonzalez went home with a comfortable UD win.
It was time for the main event. Danbury, Connecticut’s Devlin Rodriguez, 25-8-4, had been around for a while, but he was clearly looking to work his way back into the upper hierarchy of the junior middleweight division. His opponent was Brownsville, Brooklyn’s Courtney Pennington, 10-4-1. The bout was a scheduled ten round affair. Things started off slow, with Rodriguez stalking and Pennington landing clean on occasion. By the third round, however, it was clear that Rodriguez was the one landing the more effective punches. Or was he? By round 5, Pennington was pot shotting and pot shotting clean. It was a tougher fight for Rodriguez than perhaps some had expected. The truth is that Pennington was looking to keep things slick. That can be problematic for fans who want red meat, but it can also be a very productive strategy. Throughout the middle rounds, the fight was rather close.
The later rounds were similar to the earlier ones. Rodriguez was able to land clean, but his inability to cut off the ring on his man remained problematic. This , though, had as much to do with Pennington’s effective game plan as it did Rodriguez’ own skill set. In the end, the judges saw it in Pennington’s favor, as he walked away with a UD win