By Phil Doherty at ringside
Photos: Reynaldo Sanchez
Mexican junior middleweight Norberto “Demonio” Gonzalez (19-2, 13 KOs) scored an upset unanimous decision victory against WBC #7-ranked Michael “The Brazilian Rocky” Oliveira (21-2, 16 KOs) in the ten round headliner on Tuesday night’s “Knockout Night” from The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood FL.
In the co-feature, former WBA World light middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (32-2, 9 KOs) scored a shocking first round KO over Javier “Pelon” Gomez (14-12, 10 KOs).
In the main event, Gonzalez found a home for his uppercuts and left hooks as early as the first round, scoring at will to put Oliveira on queer street. Indeed, at times Oliveira seemed the embodiment of his movie character namesake, absorbing hellacious blows yet continuing forward to land his own shots.
Oliveira responded with a short right hand in the second to floor Gonzalez, who beat the standing eight count from referee Sam Burgos. Gonzalez put his punches together effectively during the third round, with effective combinations. By the fifth round, swelling appeared around Oliveira’s eyes due to the constant uppercuts and hooks from Gonzalez. The middle rounds saw a number of unintentional headbutts that caused Oliveira difficulty at the close of the sixth round and a cut under Gonzalez’s right eye in the seventh.
Oliveira continued to eat up everything Gonzalez dished out in the eighth and ninth rounds, firing back with body and head cobinations to slow the determined Mexican’s assault. The ninth round featured tremendous ebb and flow action from both men, setting the stage for the grand finale in the tenth.
Heads came together early in the final round and Gonzalez once again complained to Burgos and raised his hands to the crowd in appeal for what he took to be intentional infractions. He focused quickly enough to land a clean lead right hand that Oliveira walked straight into, followed by another right cross. However, it was the uppercuts that started the beginning of the end for Oliveira, who absorbed two more and backed into the ropes, where Gonzalez poured on the attack, finally flooring the tough Brazilian. Burgos started the count, which Oliveira looked unable to beat. Yet, once again true to his name, he rose and was standing again at the final bell. Judges scored the exciting slugfest 96-92 and 97-91 (twice) for Gonzalez.
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The scheduled eight round co-main event packed a surprising wallop as former WBA World light middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (32-2, 9 KOs) stunned the crowd and opponent Javier “Pelon” Gomez (14-12, 10 KOs) of Mexico with a lead left hand to lay Gomez flat on his back. Referee James Warring started a count from which Gomez couldn’t respond, earning Foreman his first knockout victory since 2006. Time of the stoppage was just 1:56 of the first round.
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Cuban southpaw super middleweight Vilier Quinones (6-0, 4 KOs) forced Marcus “The Gatekeeper” Brooks (7-16-1, 3 KOs) to quit on his stool prior to the start of the third round in their scheduled four-round contest. Quinones controlled the action from the start, causing damage under Brooks’ left eye in the early going. Brooks had no legitimate response to the sharpshooting and his corner wisely saved their man from needless abuse following the end of round two.
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Cruiserweight and former amateur standout Steve Geffard (1-2, 1 KO) of Boca Raton exorcised the demons of his first two career losses with a confidence-building TKO victory against Jamel Burnside (1-1, 1 KO) of Orlando. Geffard put his punches together well, with sharp uppercuts and hooks upstairs and down. Following his TKO loss last June, the questions around Geffard’s ability to take a good shot were answered as he weathered the storm from Burnside’s counterattack. In the third, Geffard stepped up the pace with heavy left hooks, landing two upstairs in rapid succession to wobble Burnside, forcing referee Sam Burgos to step in and wave off the action at 1:27 of the third round.
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Fearsome Cuban light heavyweight puncher Yunieski “El Diamante” Gonzalez (13-0, 9 KOs) did it again with an eight-round knockout against rugged Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6 KOs) of Ecuador in their scheduled ten-rounder. Gonzalez traded brain-rattlers from the opening bell, with Guerrero countering Gonzalez’s savage straight right crosses with lead left hooks of his own. Guerrero switched southpaw in the seventh to try to gain the advantage against the indomitable Gonzalez. However, Gonzalez kept pushing forward to gain the distance for his big right hand. He found the right distance as he came off the ropes with a huge right cross that floored Guerrero at 1:36 of the eighth round. Guerrero vainly attempted to beat the count to no avail as referee Sam Burgos reached the number ten.
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Undefeated Cuban featherweight Hairon “El Maja” Socarras (8-0, 5 KOs) fought off a spirited attack from the smaller, yet vastly more experienced Jhon Alberto Molina (32-27-3, 20 KOs) of Colombia to earn a unanimous decision victory in their six-round affair. Socarras exchanged in close with quick, sharp body and head shots in response to Molina’s overhand rights and left hooks. Molina seemed at times to be enjoying the blistering pace, smiling in response to Socarras’ attack. Unfortunately, the spunky Colombian couldn’t score enough damage of his own to sway the judges, who found it 60-54 on all three cards for Socarras.
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Cuban heavyweight Robert Alfonso (3-0) maintained his undefeated record by way of a unanimous decision victory against Jamal “Knockout” Woods (3-9-1, 3 KOs) in their four-round bout. Alfonso, the 2008 Cuban Olympian, landed the more authoritative shots throughout, evenly distributing damage to Woods’ body and head. Woods found himself in trouble on the ropes in the second and third rounds, but managed to work hiself out of it. Unfortunately he couldn’t muster enough sustained offense to beat back the battering blows from Alfonso as the three judges rendered identical verdicts of 40-36.
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Lightweight Valentino Knowles (2-0) earned a 4-round majority decision victory against Ruben “El Chino” Ozuma (1-1). Knowles, the 2011 Pan American Silver medalist of Bahamian descent, displayed good ring generalship–backing Ozuma to the ropes consistently. Early on, Knowles’ wide-swinging shots missed the mark more often than not but he started finding his range during the third round. Knowles capitalized in the fourth, repeatedly snapping Ozuma’s head back with sharp right hands. Judges scored the fight 38-38 and 39-37 (twice) for Knowles.