By: Paul Yates
Greg Vendetti steamrolled an outclassed but game Michael Anderson last night to win an easy 12 round decision. The final scores were 120-106, 120-108, and 120-108. The Boston super-welterweight unleashed a bruising, relentless body attack throughout the match and, as a result of the win, moves his pro record to 22-3-1 with 12 KO’s. Although Anderson survived until the final bell, he struggled desperately to survive in most rounds, and reached the finish line with both eyes badly swollen. Vendetti simply buried his opponent under an avalanche of non-stop punching.
But in spite of Vendetti’s dominant performance – throughout which he resembled a vicious bulldog tearing away at his quarry – he did not quite achieve the signature win expected of a fairly high-profile fighter being groomed for world class, big TV bouts in the near future. Given the huge difference in ability levels between the two fighters, one gets the sense that Vendetti should have stopped Anderson well within the distance.
Photo Credit: Emily Harney c/o Fightography
At the end of the second round, Vendetti looked well on his way to a knockout victory. Roaring forward with his head lowered and pumping both fists to the body, Vendetti pinned Anderson against the ropes and shifted his attack upstairs, ripping the New Jersey fighter with hurtful punches. The look on Anderson’s face at that moment signaled pain and despair and he buckled under Vendetti’s short left and right hooks. In flashes, Anderson’s body looked limp, as if he were struggling to remain upright even though he efficiently covered up and clinched to survive.
Vendetti, who weighed 150 lbs., continued his merciless pounding of Anderson over the next few rounds. By the end of the fourth, Anderson’s left eye was swollen and bruised, and his facial expression showed signs of fatigue and dejection. Several times in the fifth the end seemed near, as Anderson wobbled after taking Vendetti’s left hooks to the head. But the elusive New Jersey fighter weathered the storm and never looked to be in serious trouble for the remainder of the fight.
Over the final six rounds, Vendetti kept up the pressure, looking at times like a human windmill as he swung huge overhand rights at his foe, who could do little more than use his considerable ring savvy to hold, run, and cover up on the ropes. Indeed, Vendetti resembled a small version of Joe Frazier or Jake LaMotta, using his stocky, powerful frame to ruthlessly bull and batter Anderson around the ring. But as the rounds passed, it became disappointingly clear that Vendetti could not close the show with a spectacular knockout or inside-the-distance stoppage win.
Besides falling short of achieving the expected knockout win, Vendetti’s performance yielded no answers to the deeper question of how – if at all – his self-confidence may have been affected by his brutal knockout loss to France’s Michel Soro last December. That is because Anderson simply lacked the firepower and punch necessary to trouble a boxer of Vendetti’s calibre.
Numerous times Anderson, who scaled 148.6 lbs., did smack Vendetti with long, straight rights to the jaw. But Vendetti barely blinked. And, for a moment in the ninth round, Anderson took the offensive and backed Vendetti against the ropes, during which Vendetti stopped punching momentarily. However, once Vendetti resumed his forward movement, Anderson immediately recoiled in a speedy, wholesale retreat. Therefore observers did not have an opportunity to assess Vendetti’s instincts while fighting on his backfoot, under fire from a dangerous foe.
In all fairness to Vendetti, Anderson may be a much better fighter than anyone realized. Now 17-3-1 with 12 KO’s, Anderson – who has been fighting professionally for 12 years – showed ring guile and savvy survivor skills as he ran, defended, held, and employed other tricks to stay on his feet. He demonstrated courage and tenacity too, given that the beating he took would have been enough to compel many other boxers to quit on their stool. Possibly, then, Vendetti should not be judged too harshly for failing to finish Anderson within the distance.
On the undercard, junior-welterweight Luis Arcon Diaz scored a brilliant third round knockout over Argentina’s Mario Ezequial Sayal Lozano. Diaz demonstrated near-perfect balance, timing, and boxing skill, calmly stalking his fitful, retreating opponent throughout the match. Diaz, a Venezuelan with an accomplished amateur pedigree (he fought in the Olympic Games, World Amateur Championships and Pan American Games), showed a style reminiscent of 1970s great Alexis Arguello, standing tall, wasting no body movement, feinting with skill and packing maximum power into each punch. A long, straight right to the jaw dropped Lozano face first to the floor, where he took the full count. The victory moves Diaz’s record to 8-0 with 8 KO’s. Lozano falls to 18-4-1 with 9 KO’s. Diaz weighed 140 lbs against 145.8 lbs for Lozano.
Mansfield’s James Perella scored an impressive four round decision over Bryan Goldsby in a welterweight bout. Both boxers weighed 149 lbs. Perella, a four time New England Golden Gloves champion who ranked among the nation’s best amateurs, simply overwhelmed his foe with a blazing display of punching power that made the bout one-sided from start until finish. Perella appeared to be the hardest hitting fighter on tonight’s promotion, the sonic boom of his heavy punches resounding throughout the venue in each round. Perella is an unusually tall welterweight with exceptional reach and decent speed. Showing an intense, wide-eyed facial expression, Perella demonstrated the instincts of a hunter as he swung relentlessly to the head and body of Goldsby, who was dropped to one knee in the second round. The win moves Perella’s record to 4-0 with 3 KO’s, while Goldsby – who showed good staying power – falls to 5-12 with zero KO’s. Scores were 40-35 on all three judges’ cards.
Ireland’s Barry Fryers barely escaped disaster in winning a second round TKO over Bryan Abraham in a welterweight contest. Fryers, now 11-1 with 4 KO’s, absorbed several slow but heavy overhand rights in the opening seconds of the first round, suffering two knockdowns in the process. Fryer arose from both knockdowns looking stunned and unsteady, but by the end of the first, was able to turn the tide by peppering Abraham with speedy, accurate combinations to the head. Abraham, who was hurt by every solid blow he took, was pinned to the ropes and battered mercilessly by Fryers in the second, prompting the referee to end matters at 1:06 of the round. Abraham falls to 6-34 with KO’s. Fryers weighed 147.2 lbs against his opponent’s 148.2 lbs.
The card opened with a super-welterweight contest, in which Belgium’s Antoine Vanackere used his hugely superior height and reach to batter Francisco Medel into a TKO defeat at 2:14 of round three. Vanackere moves to 11-1 with 6 KO’s, while Medel, who hails from Mexico, falls to 13-20 with 8 KO’s. Weights were 140.2 lbs for the Belgian against 142.3 lbs for Medel.
In other action, South Boston’s Joey Farina, won a wide decision over Jose Angel Ortiz. The scores were 40-36, 39-37, and 39-37. The 46 year old Ortiz, a muscular fighter from Puerto Rico, tried hard, but lacked the speed, stamina, and punch output of the much younger Farina. Both fighters weighed 152.2 lbs. In an exciting six round welterweight bout, Bridgeport’s Carlos “Bam Bam” Hernandez Jr. scored an upset decision over local fighter Mike O’Han Jr. Hernandez forced the action throughout, swamping his tall, orthodox-boxing opponent with overhand rights, left hooks, and right uppercuts in nearly every moment of the bout. O’Han boxed well, catching many blows on his shoulders and gloves in addition to sometimes staggering his foe with sharp left hooks, but had trouble with Hernandez’s strength. The decision could have gone either way, but overall, the judges were impressed with Hernandez’s aggression and turned in scorecards of 59-55, 58-56, 57-57. O’Han’s record falls to 9-1 with 5 KO’s. Hernandez moves to 4-3-1 with 2 KO’s. Weights were 146 lbs for O’Han against 146.4 lbs for Hernandez.
Tonight’s promotion marked the first pro boxing card staged at Everett’s Encore Casino, and drew a large crowd of 2,700 fans, all of whom were roused by Vendetti’s 12 round display of non-stop punching. Promoted by Murphy’s Boxing, it can be truthfully said that the promotion marks the death-knell of Boston as a clubfighting city. Without question, the promoter – relying on local heroes such as Vendetti and others – has moved Boston’s pro boxing scene upwards a level or two, something closer to national importance in the sport. Murphy’s Boxing plans important bouts on a consistent basis in the future.