By Lindy Lindell
Former Junior-Middleweight Champion, Bronco McKart, Monroe Michigan’s Favorite Boxing Son, pounded out a shutout 10-round win over a reluctant, soft-hitting Jose Rodriguez Berrio, who was making his US debut last night in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Monroe Communiuty College. The 52-9-1 McKart started slowly and was continually tied up by Berrio in rounds three and four. It looked like a long evening of clinches when the fourth round concluded, but, unaccountably, Berrio stopped clinching. He then smothered McKart’s best punches without mounting anything of an offense himself.
McKart was reduced to fighting inside and was far the busier fighter, but his offense was stymied in this posture and in the seventh he found himself against the ropes for a full minute. Father Eugene pleaded for his son to take the action to ring-center and, finally, the 39-year-old McKart, winless since 2007, was able to land one of his winging right hooks in the eighth, a blow that rocked Berrio, now 20-4, and enlivened the partisan locals, as they yelled for a knockout.
The knockout was not to be. A spirited flurry pushed Berrio into a corner, but overanxious for the kill, McKart missed two haymakers and his chance for a kayo died at that point. All three judges had the fight a shutout, a very easy fight to score. One of the judges asked how this reporter scored it and I could only comment, “No way anyone could have given Berrio a round.” After excessive grabbing in rounds three and four, he did attempt to fight, but his punches were so softly thrown that one had to wonder about the caliber of the 12 foes he kayoed in his home country of Columbia.
It was a frustrating evening for McKart, given that he had nothing in front of him in the way of a threat, but he got a much-needed win in this fight, billed as the WBF Intercontinental Middleweight Title and apparently he is set up for a World Title Fight (WBF) contingent on a fight in Australia next week. On this pro-am show, two four rounders led to the main go. Monroe’s Wade Tolle, now 4-0, inactive two years, easily belted out a game MIke Walthier in a middleweight bout, and the hapless Jamaal Kahn (0-5, and now four straight one-round stoppage losses), was easy meat for junior-welterweight Brandon Little of Toledo, 2-1.