By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Photos: Peter Amador/Top Rank
Saturday night at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, rising super welterweight Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (20-0, 12KOs) pummeled rugged veteran Elco Garcia (27-9, 13KOs) throughout, on his way to an explosive fifth round TKO stoppage of the scheduled ten round super welterweight main event of the card promoted by Top Rank Inc. The seven bout card featured impressive showings from some of the rising stars in the northeast, including explosive first knockouts from talented super middleweight Jesse “Hard Work” Hart (10-0, 9KOs) and debuting super lightweight Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez, along with a one sided fifth round stoppage by super feather prospect Toka “T-Nice” Kahn Clary (8-0, 6KOs).
It seemed to be a coming of age for rising super welterweight Glen Tapia who showed his well-rounded boxing acumen in steadily breaking down rugged veteran Elco Garcia on his way to crushing fifth round TKO victory.
Glen Tapia took control quickly in the first two rounds, constantly snapping the head of Garcia with lightning quick one two combinations up top. Garcia began to get frustrated, as he threw many wide counter shots that were blocked. Garcia want defensive as he backed up in the opening two rounds, looking like he wanted to take the fight into the later rounds in hopes that Garcia would tire. It was not to be, as Tapia was like a surgeon who continued to methodically break down Garcia, adding hard body shots, while still battering him with hard combinations up top.
“The Jersey Boy” looked to be in complete control late in the third as he battered Garcia with a lightning quick six punch combination. Garcia got angry and swung wildly with a wild flurry, but most of the shots were blocked as Tapia’s defense looked solid.
Garcia was withering in the fourth round as Tapia stayed in the pocket and pummeled with various combinations to the head and body. Garcia could not match the hand speed over Garcia and he was forced to back up throughout the round.
Tapia groundwork laid earlier showed its results in the fifth as he upped the attack and walking right through Garcia’s counters and landing vicious flurries. Tapia stunned the veteran with a hard right hand which forced Garcia to wobble backward. Tapia seemed to sense the ending was close and exploded with two big right hands up top that had Garcia holding on for dear life. Tapia’s mouthpiece came out while trying to escape the clinch, which gave a badly hurt Garcia some time to recover as he stumbled across the ring to a neutral corner. Tapia calmly walked him down moments later and floored him with a six punch combination, ending with a right hand on the chin. Elco Garcia barely wobbled to his feet at the ten count, but was clearly in no shape to continue as Referee Benjy Estevez, Jr. waived off the contest at 2:59 of the fifth round.
In the walkout bout of the evening, several fans in the crowd stayed to witness local middleweight and crowd favorite Thomas “Cornflake” La Manna from nearby Millville, New Jersey move to 13-0, 6KOs with a dominant one sided six round unanimous decision victory over Lynchburg, Virginia’s Joshua Robertson (5-3-1, 1KO).
The twenty one year old Thomas La Manna seems to be nurturing into a rising middleweight as he grows into his 6′ 1″ frame. La Manna looked confident throughout as he controlled both the inside and distance with sharp combinations and movement that Robertson just couldn’t match. Robertson made one last big effort to pull the upset with several hard swings in the opening moments of the sixth and final round. La Manna calmly rolled with and blocked the exchange before backing him up with a hard four punch combination. La Manna was in control from that point on as he boxed his way to the final bell. All three judges saw every round in favor of Tommy La Manna by scores of 60-54 across the board for the dominant unanimous decision victory.
Super lightweight David “2 Guns” Gonzalez remained undefeated at 3-0 with a razor thin four round unanimous decision victory over Ray Velez (3-4, 1Ko). Gonzalez appeared to win the opening two rounds by constantly capturing Velez on the end of exchanges with clean straight rights. It all changed in the third round when Velez timed a Gonzalez right and wobbled him with a right hand of his own. Gonzalez was able to gain his senses and made the round close late. Velez looked energized from his success in the third stanza and appeared to be the busier fighter in the fourth and final round, backing up Gonzalez throughout and appeared to earn a draw. Gonzalez did land fewer, but cleaner shots in the final round and that may have swayed the judges, who saw it in favor David Gonzalez by scores of 39-37 across the board. When the decision was announced, the crowd booed vociferously at the decision.
Middleweight Julian “Hammer Hands Rodriguez impressed in his debut, blowing away Kevin “TJ” Benson (1-2) in just fifty one seconds. The heavy hands of Rodriguez had Benson on the retreat with hard shots right from the opening bell. Rodriguez quickly trapped Benson in a corner and sent him to the canvas with two explosive right hands for the ten-count.
Undefeated super featherweight, Toka “T-nice” Kahn Clary (8-0, 1NC, 5KOs) continued his winning ways with a fifth round TKO victory of Victor “El Asessino” Sanchez(5-7-2, 1KO) .
T-nice controlled the bout with his superior hand speed in the battle of southpaws. Though Sanchez was game, he was taking a lot of punishment throughout the contest. Both fighters were trading in the fifth round when suddenly the ring side physicians instructed Referee Steve Smoger to waive the fight off, giving Toka Khan Clary the TKO victory. Sanchez was returning fire and did not look hurt when the fight was waived off. The official time of the TKO was 1:21 of the fifth round.
Lightning hot super middleweight Jesse “Hard work” Hart (10-0, 9KOs) had an easy time of it on this night as he dropped veteran Terrance Wilson (6-8, KOs) twice in the opening round for the quick knockout victory. Hart was sharp tonight and finished him off with a left uppercut that left Wilson on his hands and knees in the corner on the second knockdown for the KO victory at the 1:57 mark of the first round.
In the opening bout of the evening, highly touted lightweight prospect Damon Allen (4-0,1Ko) easily outworked a game but outgunned Tony Walker (5-3-1, 2KOs) on his way to a one sided four round unanimous decision victory by scores of 40-36 across the board.