By Bob Caico at ringside
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
Local light middleweight Nick “The Machine Gun” Brinson (15-1-2, 6 KOs) upset world-rated knockout specialist Jorge “Destroyer” Melendez (26-3-1, 25 KOs) of Manati, PR by ten round unanimous decision Friday night at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY. Brinson took the fight on one-week notice but was in fighting shape and came out confident and controlled the first two rounds over his tentative opponent. Melendez opened up in the third round and traded evenly with Brinson towards the end of the round. The fight turned nasty in the fourth as Brinson landed a left-right-left combination that dropped Melendez for a short count. Brinson landed a follow up five-punch combination and seemed to be ready to end the fight. The dangerous Puerto Rican though caught Nick with a right hand that had him reeling against the ropes which the referee ruled a knockdown. Brinson barely survived the last 20 seconds of the round.
The fifth started with everyone wondering if Brinson would make it and Melendez did try to end the fight. Brinson to his credit survived the first minute and actually regained some control as the round ended. In the sixth Brinson used his jab very effectively and won the round easily. In the ninth round Melendez landed a punch behind the head that had Brinson writhing in pain and the doctors came in to check on him. Melendez was deducted a point for hitting behind the head. The scores were 96-92, 98-91 and 99-90 in favor of the new WBC International Silver Light Middleweight champion.
Lightweight journeyman Jose Alejandro Rodriguez of Guadalajra, MX dropped unbeaten Jeffrey Fontanez of Caguas, PR in round seven but did not do enough to pull out the win. The crowd booed the scores when they were read, 76-75 Rodriguez, and 77-74, 78-73 for the winner Fontanez. Fontanez controlled the action for the first half of the fight but the Mexican began to even things out in the second half. Fontanez remains unbeaten at 12-0 while Rodriguez slides to 19-11. The bout was elevated to co-feature status after a scheduled match between Jonathan Vidal and Mario Muniz was cancelled by the Commission when Munoz could not make weight.
Super bantamweight John Franklin of Kansas City scored a unanimous 6-round decision over Joshua Reyes of Vineland, NJ. Franklin knocked Reyes down early in the first round with an overhand right and that proved to be the difference on the judge’s scorecards. Reyes fought back well in the second round but had his knees buckled on two occasions in the third from right hands. The knockdown had Franklin winning by 57-56 on two judges scorecards while judge Tom Schreck had him winning 58-55, the same as Fightnews. Franklin remains undefeated at 5-0 as Reyes loses his zero and slides to 4-1.
Lightweight Samuel Kotey of Ghana improved to 20-0 with an eight round unanimous over Guillermo Sanchez (13-9) of Buffalo. Kotey responded from a second round flash knockdown by applying constant pressure over the counter punching of Sanchez. Sanchez had a good fourth round, scoring with counter right hooks that had Kotey on his heels. Kotey switched to the body in the fifth round that shook the tiring Sanchez. Kotey kept the pressure on with shots to the body and head in the next three rounds while Sanchez occasionally countered off the ropes. He did just enough to earn the decision by scores of 77-74 and 76-75 twice.
Raynell Griffin of Las Vegas upset previously undefeated Jose Saenz of Kansas City in the opening bout at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY. Griffin won a 4-round unanimous decision in a lightweight contest by scores of 40-37 and 39-37 twice. The southpaw Griffin landed looping left hands at will in the second round that opened a cut over the right eye of Saenz. He continued to beat Saenz to the punch with the right hand and earned the decision. Griffin now stands at 7-15-2 as Saenz settles for a 4-1 record.