By Mariano A. Agmi and Matt Richardson at ringside
Former 2008 Olympian Sadam Ali picked himself up off the canvas to defeat Jay Krupp in the main event of a Golden Boy-promoted card on Monday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Ali (17-0, 10 KO’s) won a unanimous eight-round decision via scores of 79-72, 78-71 and 77-72, in front of a hometown crowd of 3,059. After exchanging knockdowns (Ali was down in the first, Krupp in the third), the fight settled into a pace of Ali boxing from the outside while Krupp looked for one shot to repeat his success from earlier in the bout. Krupp went down again toward the very end of the fight after taking a hard right.
Krupp (17-6, 8 KO’s) came out aggressively in the first and landed a good left hook. Both men exchanged wild hooks that landed on their mark. Krupp appeared to be hurt worse than his opponent and it caused the crowd to roar for the Brooklyn-based Ali. Ali got cocky in the last ten seconds of the round, however, and tried to put Krupp away. Krupp responded by landing a beautiful left hook that deposited Ali on the canvas. Ali rose with a smile on his face and the bell rang shortly after to conclude the frame, preventing Krupp from reengaging with his opponent.
Both men came out more cautiously to start the second round. Krupp looked for an opening to connect with his left hook but often missed and instead took leather in the form of a right from Ali. Krupp walked into a big right and was put down on a left hook in the third. The crowd jumped to it’s feet in anticipation of an abbreviated ending but once the action continued, Krupp largely held his own. He absorbed a series of hard punches but continued to throw hard shots back in return. Ali ended the round by connecting with a straight right to the jaw of Krupp along the ropes.
The action in the fight fell off significantly from there but the two fighters exchanged decent punches in the final minute of the seventh. It looked like Ali was going to box his way through the remainder of the last round but a hard right dropped Krupp again toward the end of the eighth. Krupp rose and tried to return the favor but there was not enough time to wipe out the deficit he had incurred up to that point. – Matt Richardson
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In the co-main event, Newark’s Michael “The Artist” Perez won a hard fought unanimous decision against tough Mexican Miguel “Dinamita” Zuniga. With the win, Perez picks up the WBA Fedelatin junior welterweight title. Perez showed superior speed from the opening frame, catching Zuniga with quick left hooks and left uppercuts. Zuniga began to pressure in round two, looking to get close to land short left hooks and right hands. For his part, Perez elected to circle and counter with quick combinations as the fighters trade left hooks at the bell. Perez switched tactics in round three, launching lead right hands and using movement to avoid the majority of Zuniga’s shots. Zuniga began to focus on Perez’s body to slow the Puerto Rican down.
Zuniga occasionally closed the distance, only to be greeted by a series of quick shots. Perez came alive in round five, landing a flurry of combinations that scored points bud did not hurt Zuniga, who continued to plod forward. Perez over-relied on his left hand, landing hooks and uppercuts whenever Zuniga trapped him but not throwing enough right hands. Zuniga’s pressure finally began paying dividends in round six, as he absorbed Perez’s punches to land a great right hand followed by an uppercut towards the end of the round. Zuniga continued plodding forward in round seven, focusing on Perez’s body and occasionally landing upstairs. By the end of the round, Perez was bleeding from a cut below his left eye and one above his right eye.
Thanks to Zuniga’s pressure, the fighters collided more and more in the later rounds. Perez seemed to hurt the Mexican in round nine, but he did not press the action and Zuniga recovered to stalk Perez in the final stanza. The judges scored the bout 99-91 (2x) and 96-94 for Perez. – Mariano A. Agmi
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The swing bout of the night featured two undefeated lightweights, as Manny Gonzalez (13-0, 7 KOs) of the Bronx pounded out a four round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Noel Echevarria (11-1, 6 KOs).
Gonzalez landed a huge counter right hand at the end of round two that caused blood to spew out of Echevarria’s mouth. Echevarria walked into another straight right hand in round three and was almost dropped, but the Puerto Rican was able to recover. Echevarria’s best moment in the bout came when he spun and dropped Gonzalez in round four, earning a warning from the referee. Noel showed lots of energy but not enough effective aggression, dropping the decision and his perfect record by scores of 40-36 (3x) – Mariano A. Agmi
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Former 2012 Olympian Marcus Browne continued to advance in the professional ranks but he had his hands full with Lamont Williams on the undercard. In a light heavyweight affair, Browne went to the scorecards for the first time to win an eight-round unanimous decision against the tough and unintimidated Williams. Judges scores read 79-72, twice, and 76-75 for the still unbeaten Browne.
Browne (7-0, 6 KO’s) came out tentatively in the opening round, perhaps looking to put some rounds under his belt (the southpaw had never fought past the third round). The fight got a little messier in the second round when referee David Fields had to break up some nasty clinches as both men tried to hit and hold. Fields had to talk to both men again in the third after Browne slipped a shot in between the guard of Williams as the referee was breaking another clinch. Williams (5-2-1, 2 KO’s) went down at the end of the round but the touch to the canvas was ruled a slip. Browne was deducted a point in the fifth round for head butting his opponent.
Browne appeared frustrated by his inability to land anything of consequence and he fought dirty in the clinches, which were often. Williams was unable to put together a significant series of punches together himself, however, and appeared to initiate much of the holding. By the final round, Browne was in full control, landing a left hook in the last ten seconds before the bell rang.
“It was definitely a dirty fight but it was a good learning experience,” Browne said directly after the fight ended. “You can’t knock everybody out.” – Matt Richardson
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In a mild upset, Derrick Bivens (1-1-2) held Claude Staten Jr. (1-0-1) to a four round majority draw in a junior bantamweight bout. Bivens, of Philadelphia, PA, was able to match the well regarded Brooklynite in speed and ability. Staten Jr. could not do enough to separate himself from his opponent after four competitive rounds. Judges scores read 38-38 (2x) and 40-36 for Bivens. – Mariano A. Agmi
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In the opening bout, Jamel Herring improved to 5-0 (3 KOs), with a technical knockout over Springfield, Missouri’s Justin Robbins (2-4, 1 KO) Herring, a lightweight out of Coram, NY, employed a steady body attack in round two that significantly slowed down Robbins. Taking advantage of his much longer reach, the southpaw landed stinging right hooks and long left hands in round three that had Bevens holding on to catch a breather. Just as the round was coming to a close, Herring landed a big left hand to the head that convinced Bevens not to come out for round four. – Mariano A. Agmi
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In a super middleweight bout, D’Mitrius Ballard won his third professional fight with an easy four-round beatdown of Lekan Byfield. All three judges submitted identical scores of 40-36 for the unbeaten Ballard. Byfield started the fight by sprinting out to the center of the ring but was soon met with a combination that put him in a backward direction. That would be the way the lanky Byfield was forced for the remainder of the bout as Ballard seemingly landed any punch he wanted to, wobbling his opponent regularly. Byfield came out aggressively in the final round, seeming to know he needed a knockout to secure a victory. He actually connected with some decent shots in the corner but Ballard was able to slip his way out of the predicament and was soon punching back himself to secure the shut-out decision. Ballard is now 3-0 with two wins via stoppage while Byfield dropped to 3-6-2 overall. – Matt Richardson