By Shamus Young at ringside
Photos: Brian Halquist Productions
After a 30-month layoff, welterweight Zahir “King” Raheem (32-3, 19 KOs) is back in the ring in pursuit of a world title. Raheem scored a spectacular second round TKO over Santos Pakau (28-8-2, 11 KOs) on Saturday night in the main event of Battle at the Boat 91 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. After a feeling out first round, Raheem came out in the second and smothered Pakau with blistering combinations. A minute in, Pakau stumbled backwards and fell to a knee. Pakau complained of a rabbit punch. Replays showed that it was a right cross to the temple that stunned Pakau, with a follow up left hook grazing the top of the head as Pakau staggered. After Pakau beat the count, Raheem pinned him on the ropes and sent him down again with a left hook to the body. The third knockdown came when Raheem caught Pakau on the ropes again and landed a right uppercut. Referee Louis Jackvony waved off the count. The time of stoppage was 2:20.
The fight of the evening featured Welterweight Dave Petryk (4-3-1) taking a majority decision from Virgil Green (4-2-1) over six rounds. Green is reminiscent of Diego Corrales: he’s wiry and tall for his weight, but gives up his reach advantage to fight inside whenever possible. Green lacks the punching power that let Chico get away with fighting like that. Every round of this fight featured frantic infighting that was difficult to score. Did the judge prefer the clean, accurate volume punching of Green, or Petryk’s wilder, heavier hands? Green went to the jab for the first part of the third round and was having success, but couldn’t resist getting into a brawl, setting up a round of the year candidate in the fourth with non-stop toe to toe action. Green never revisited a jab-heavy strategy. Both men were spent by the end of the sixth, but Petryk seemed the fresher of the two. The fight ended with a standing ovation and calls for a rematch. Scores were 57-57, 58-56, and 59-55, the latter two for Petryk. Fightnews scored the fight 58-56 for Green.
The undercard was a bevy of professional debuts. Junior Middleweight Zachary Cooper went to 2-0 with a third round stoppage of Josh Solis, who was making his debut. To call Solis awkward would be an understatement. Solis lurched around the ring like Naseem Hamed trying out for the UFC. Cooper was frustrated in the first round but recovered to demonstrate why traditional boxing style is usually preferred, patiently deflecting Solis’ wild attacks and looking for spots to inflict punishment. He found a spot in the third round with a huge overhand right that connected on the temple. Solis staggered back to the ropes and tried to cover up, but Cooper soon found the point of his chin with a right cross. Two more rights connected as Solis sagged on the ropes. Solis collapsed and referee Louis Jackvony waved off the count. Time of stoppage was 1:40.
Welterweight Ricardo Maldonado won his debut over Dex Montenegro (1-2). Both fighters preferred a constant stream of power punches to using the jab, which made for an exciting fight. In the close first round, Montenegro’s seemed to have the edge with his straighter punches. From the second round on, Maldonado’s advantages in hand speed and accuracy overcame his wide punching to give him control of the fight. Judges had it 40-36. Fightnews had it 39-37.
Welterweights Kevin Medley and Julian Dutkel both made their debuts, with Medley taking a majority decision. Dutkel was a come forward puncher and Medley preferred to fight going backward and walking Dutkel into shots. Medley’s footwork was shaky in the first round, which let Dutkel trap him on the ropes on several occasions. Towards the end of the second round, Medley got his rhythm and was able to create distance, and Dutkel started following him around and not moving his hands. Medley controlled the last two rounds of the fight. Scores were 39-37 twice and 38-38. Fightnews had it 38-38.
In the opening bout, Antonio Neal and Robert Yager both made their debuts at Welterweight. Seconds into the match, Neal landed a left hook / right cross combination that dropped Yager. After he beat the count, Yager completely squared up and went to the ropes. Yager was tough and managed to last for another minute. Neal showed good patience for a first timer and selected his shots. A right cross to the temple sent Yager down face first and referee Paul Field waved off the count. Time of stoppage was 1:28.