By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Underdog Reynaldo Lopez (31-8-3, 22 KOs) needed just 81 seconds to destroy former WBO bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez (35-10-1, 23 KOs) in a battle for the New York State super bantamweight title on Saturday night at the Aviator Sports Arena in Brooklyn, New York. Lopez floored Martinez three times in the abbreviated encounter, all with right hands.
Unbeaten super middleweight Lennox Allen (12-0-1, 7 KOs) and spoiler Darnell Boone (17-15-3, 7 KOs) fought to a methodical eight round draw. Scores were 78-74 Allen and 76-76 twice
Featherweight Gary Stark Jr. (23-3, 8 KOs) barely got past journeyman Leopoldo Arocha (10-13-2, 6 KOs), taking a majority decision by scores of 57-57, 58-56, 58-57. Arocha was docked a point for a low blow in round four.
Full Report: Former WBO bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez and former WBA Fedelatin super flyweight champion Reynaldo Lopez laid it all on the line for the New York state junior featherweight title and a rejuvenation of their careers at the Aviator Sports Arena in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night. After an hour long wait due to the unexpected use of the ambulance, Lopez (31-8-3, 22KO’s) made up for lost time by dropping Mauricio Martinez (35-10-1, 23KO’s) three times in a minute and twenty seconds for the stunning first round knockout. The seven bout card promoted by Havoc Boxing Promotions had several other interesting bouts featuring local and international fighters.
Martinez and Lopez both contained explosive punching power, having entered the ring with a combined forty four knockouts in their eighty six fights, so it looked like there would be fireworks a flying throughout the main event. If there was anything that could cool down the power, it was a delay and it happened for almost an hour as the ambulance on duty had to take an injured person outside of the venue to the hospital. The ambulance returned and the remaining fans went to their seats to witness this crossroads battle of journeyman junior featherweights. Hopefully they didn’t delay their way back to their seats too long as the fireworks happened almost immediately, as just moments into the opening round, Mauricio Martinez, went for it and swung away reckless abandon. Reynaldo Lopez saw an opening and put Martinez to the canvas with a right hook on the button. Martinez was badly hurt and swayed around as he rose to his feet, but referee Steve Willis took a good look and said he was able to continue.
Martinez tried to gain his wits as he went partially back on the attack trying to land a big shot of his own while skirting away. Lopez cut off the ring and another right hook on the chin sent the Panamanian to the canvas for a second time. Martinez rose to his feet, but just moments later Lopez ended the show with a body shot and a picture perfect right hook up. The hook caught Martinez flush on the chin and he crashed to the canvas with his head bouncing violently off the mat. Referee Steve Willis immediately stepped and covered Martinez, as it was clear he had no chance to make the ten count at 1:21 of the first round.
Also on the card promoted by Havoc Boxing Promotions, was the long awaited return of Staten Island New York junior lightweight Gary Starks Jr. (23-3, 8KO’s) and he had all he could handle, before pulling out a scrappy six round majority decision victory over tough Panamanian Leopoldo Arrocha (8-12-2, 6KO’s).
The hometown hero Gary Starks Jr. of nearby Staten Island looked to shake off almost sixteen months of ring rust in his long awaited return to the ring against Panama City, Panama journeyman Leopoldo Arrocha.
The bout started quickly as both fighters took turns diving in and attacking. Arrocha did his best work on the inside and the fight got rough as both wrestled in the clinches. It was clear though the that Starks was the quicker puncher and his hooks found their mark in the early going.
The Staten Island native had some of his best moment in round two, landing several heavy hooks to the body and head as he backed Arrocha to the ropes. The crowd rose to their feet as their hometown hero started to overpower Panamanian as both traded in the closing moments of the round. Arrocha was crafty though and timed his lunges which made it tough for Starks to put a lot together.
The lunges and the rough tactics continued in round three as the lunges by Arrocha seemed to cause accidental clashes of heads. A cut over the right of Starks occurred in a clinch, but much of the damage could have been inflicted by the earlier accidental head butts. “He kept butting throughout,” said Starks afterward. “I still feel the pain from those butts.”
Starks tried to fight more from the outside, which allowed Arrocha to land some left hooks on the cut eye and it swelled a bit. His corner was able to keep the cut from bleeding, though it was clear that it was bothering him.
Arrocha stunned Starks in the fourth with a right hand, but the New Yorker was resilient and fought a back and forth battle in which neither wanted to give ground in the fourth. Late in the round, Arrocha was deducted a point for diving in with his head, which caused the butts.
Arrocha stepped up the pace and appeared to win the fifth as Starks seemed to take the round off to gain his second wind.
The final round was a pivotal round and Starks seemed to be ahead, so he went on the outside and safely boxed his way throughout to take the round.
One judge had the bout even at 57-57, but was overruled as the other two judges saw it 58-57 and 58-56 in favor of Starks for the majority decision victory.
Allen Draws with Boone
Undefeated super middleweight prospect Lennox Allen (12-0-1, 7KO’s) fought a methodical and almost non committal six round battle with dangerous journeyman Darnell Boone (17-15-3, 7KO’s) and it cost him, as he was forced to settle for a draw.
Allen of Guyana, now residing in Brooklyn, controlled the fight on the outside with his long rangy right jabs and right hands early in round one. Boone of Atlanta, Georgia was slick and slipped many of Allen’s combinations, finding a spot or two for harder combinations of his own when he got inside.
Allen used his height advantage, fighting tall, but his punches seemed to lack the the power which had given him seven knockouts in his previous twelve bouts. As each round passed Boone seemed to gain more confidence and took more chances. Boone appeared to win a close fourth round just by his heavier shots and movement.
The taller man from Guyana finally let his hands go in the fifth, digging heavy hooks to the body and it seemed to take the wind of Boone. The hooks appeared to be the first showing of his heavy hands in the fight.
Allen was winning round five, but two hooks on a badly separated break, angered Boone who went on the attack late. Boone forced the action in the closing moments.
Round six through eight were close as each fighter had their moments. Allen seemed to methodically box his way from the outside, while Boone had landed fewer but harder shots on the inside to make the rounds close. The lack of commitment to his exchanges seemed to put the crowd in a lull throughout the final two rounds. It may have been due to the slickness of Boone who constantly swiveled and ducked to avoid getting hit clean throughout.
One judge saw the bout 78-74 Allen as did this reporter, but was out voted as the other two officials saw it even at 76-76 for the majority draw.
Smith, Jr. quits on Caminero
Heavy handed light heavyweight prospect Joe Smith Jr. (6-1, 6KO’s) had a harsh taste in his mouth after being stopped in the fourth round of his scheduled six round bout due to a possible broken jaw and a tongue laceration caused by Eric Caminero (7-3, 6KO’s).
Caminero of Lawrence Massachusetts, came out of the corner swinging away wildly in an effort to dissuade the much bigger Smith Junior from unleashing his fury. Smith easily weathered the stormed and began to work behind his left jab and a couple sharp right hands. Late in the opening round the Long Island native shook Caminero with a short left hook. Caminero gamely fought back while hurt and clinched to get out of the round.
Smith doubled up on the left jabs as round three opened and then began to set down on his punches. He dug three successive left hooks to Caminero’s midriff which put him on the retreat. Caminero seemed to be tiring and his punches were losing steam. Smith unloaded a beautiful uppercut that sent Caminero on the ropes and then went to the body with two hooks. Caminero was smart though and clinched to stop the onslaught.
The output in round three had taken its’ toll on Smith Jr. who seemed to be fighting with his mouth open. Caminero went on the attack with shorter shots to the body. Smith was willing to trade with him. Caminero found the mark with several right hands on the chin of Smith Jr. The left side of Smith’s jaw swelled and he had trouble closing his mouth in the final seconds. Caminero jumped on him with another right hand and blood shot out of Smith’s mouth as he turned away and walked to his corner. The referee went over to him and waved off the fight at 2:58 of the fourth round. It was later revealed the Smith had possibly broken his jaw and cut his tongue which caused him to turn away from the fight. Another report had surfaced that he forgot to take out his tongue ring which added to the lacerated tongue.
Collado clobbers Ledezma
Queens New York junior lightweight Joselito Collado raised his record to a perfect 11-0, 3KO’s, with a one sided unanimous decision victory over rugged veteran Andres Ledesma (15-18-1, 10KO’s).
Collado appeared the opening two rounds with his heavy hooks as he constantly forced Ledezma to the ropes.
Ledezma of Miami of Florida, by way of Columbia, would throw his share of counters as he stopped retreating in the third, but Collado was still strong on the inside and make the round close.
Rounds four and five could have gone either way as both fighters took turns mixing up combinations in an effort to control the ring.
Collado regain control in the sixth and final round with heavy left hooks and right hands as he placed Ledezma in the corner. The crowd rose to their feet as both fighters stood toe-to-toe and swung away in the final fifteen seconds of the fight.
All three judges saw the bout easily in favor of Joselito Collado by scores of 60-54 x 2, and 59-55 respectively.
Ruiz overwhelms Garcia
Merrick, New York junior middleweight Mike Ruiz (9-4, 5KO) looked impressive in scoring a one sided unanimous decision victory over Noel “El Loco” Garcia (2-5-1, 1KO) of Springfield MA.
Ruiz looked strong right from the opening bell as hurt Garcia with an overhand right. Garcia looked intimidated as he retreated and barely put his jab out there hard, fearing counters from Ruiz. The stronger Ruiz continually snapped back the head of Garcia with straight lefts and big right hands.
In round two it was more of the power of Ruiz which had Garcia backing up from the big right hands. Garcia though seemed to realize he could survive Ruiz’s power and began to fight back as the round came to a close.
The fight went inside in the third where Ruiz did some of his best work. Ruiz began to load up on his right hand which Garcia took advantage of with a couple of nice combinations. Ruiz played it safe in the final minute of the round and picked his spots for his left jabs and right hands under tight guard
Garcia finally forced Ruiz into the ropes in the sixth and final round with a sharp combination. Ruiz blocked many of the shots and a short uppercut forced Garcia to let him off the ropes. Garcia kept looking for one big shot to turn the fight around but Ruiz was able to easily fight his way to the final bell
All three judges gave every round two Mike Ruiz by scores of 40-36 x 3 for the unanimous decision victory.
Mejias Stops Zapata in two rounds
In a battle of New York super middle weights, Utica’s Andy Mejias knocked out the Bronx’s Juan Zapata in round two dropping him twice in the round.
Zapata was game in the early going as he wailed away; looking for the knockout but Mejias weathered the storm and found his spots in the opening round.
Zapata tried the same thing in round two but he dropped his hands and Mejias Seized the moment with a big left hook on the chin. Zapata fell to the canvas in the corner, but rose at the nine count. Zapata looked hurt and tried to retreat. Mike Ruiz would not let him off the hook as he cut the ring off and uncorked a heavy body shot. Zapata collapsed to the canvas and made no attempt to get up. The referee mercifully waved the bout off at 1:55 of the second round.