By Boxing Bob Newman
“Pro Boxing Fight Night,” presented by Dave Escalet’s Stars-R-Out Productions at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY brought some much needed heat to a snow buried Upstate, New York, boxing starved crowd Friday night. It had been exactly four long years since boxing last graced the confines of the Event Center, and the crowd showed their appreciation during the seven-bout card. In the main event, Unbeaten Brazilian super middleweight Isaac Rodrigues, now living in West Berlin, New Jersey, won a hard fought majority decision over Contender reality series veteran Brian Vera over ten rounds.
Things looked dire for the undefeated Brazilian early on as Austin, Texas’ Vera’s experience showed in the wry grin of confidence on his face. He stalked Rodrigues, landing pot shots almost at will, with Rodrigues seemingly at a loss as to what to do next. Things changed in a close fight in the fifth however as Vera walked into a titanic right hand that sent him reeling to the center of the ring on unsteady legs. The bell prevented further damage though. In the sixth, another two punch combo at the round-ending bell sent a stream of blood flying from Vera’s mouth. The tide had turned, but Vera wouldn’t give in, as the last two rounds showed, both fighters going toe-to-toe to the delight of the crowd. With Vera bleeding heavily from the nose and Rodrigues from a cut over his left eye, the crowd willed both men on to the finish as they gave it their all, landing bomb after bomb. A majority decision depicted the closeness of the bout: Judge Wynn Kintz had it even at 95-95. Tom Schreck scored it 97-93 and Don Ackerman had it 96-94 for Rodrigues, who moves to 14-0, while Vera declines to 16-4.
The first Oscar Suarez Cup was awarded to Rodrigues as the winner in the fight of the night, as voted by this writer, and two other writers at ringside. The cup is in honor of the late promoter Oscar Suarez, a former asociate of tonight’s promoter Dave Escalet.
Opening the show, Schenectady, NY amateur standout Reggie Scott made his pro debut against DeMarcus Clark of Shrevesport, LA in a Light Heavyweight scrap. The fireplug Clark mauled and stayed in close during the first round, not allowing Scott any room to operate. In round three, an unintentional clash of heads opened a hideous gash over the right eye of Clark. Blood profusely poured down the right side of Clark’s face, prompting the ringside physician to recommend that referee Charlie Fitch stop matters. Since it was unintentional and before the fourth round, the bout went to the score cards, with the third round scored. A unanimous 29-28 score by all three judges was awarded to Reggie Scott, now 1-0, while Clark falls to 1-2.
Youngsters Markus Williams and Rondu Campbell went at it in a scheduled four at Super Middleweight. Campbell gave crowd fave Williams all he could handle with his long jab and movement for the entirety of the bout. A big right hand by Williams took the steam out of Campbell late in the third, but Campbell showed his grit in the final stanza, going to blow-for-blow with Willaims ’til the final bell. Another unanimous score, this time 40-36 by all three judges was awarded to Williams, who now moves to 4-0, 1 KO, while Campbell falls to 2-4-1.
Next up were journeymen welters Broderick Antoine and Norberto Frias in a scheduled six rounder that did not disappoint. Antoine utilized his southpaw slickness against Frias’ straight forward pressure style. For the first two rounds, it looked as if Frias’ pressure would be too much, but some heavy body work in the third softened Frias up. Sensing his foe was weakened, Antoine jumped on Frias , trapping him in the corner with a series of head shots, forcing referee Charlie Fitch to halt matters at 1:33 of the round. Antoine now moves to 10-8-1, 5 KOs, while Frias slips to 8-7-1, 2 KOs.
Female Feathers Amanda Serrano of Brooklyn, NY and Lucia Larcinese of Montreal heated things up in the fourth bout of the evening. At first, a blowout looked to be in order, in favor of the ever-pressing Serrano, but Larcinese had other ideas. After weathering an early storm, Larcinese began to counter to the non-moving head of Serrano with wide, telegraphed punches. Though lacking power, Larcinese’s punches seemed to pile up points, as Serrano pressed, fired her own and continued to eat a strady diet of blows to the face. In the end, judges Don Ackerman and Tom Schreck scored it 58-56, and Wynn Kintz saw it 59-54, all for Serrano. The crowd voiced calls for a rematch as Larcinese was in disbelief, feeling her work should have garnered her a much needed win. She falls to 4-5, while Serrano improves to 5-0-1, 3 KOs.
Mike Faragon of Guilderland, NY took on Fernando Basora, Bronx in scheduled six rounder at Lightweight. Less than thirty seconds into the opening round, a slashing right from Faragon openend a cut over Basora;s left eye. Sensing urgency, Basora picked up the pace in round two, landing his share of shots to Faragon’s head to even things up. Suddenly, a barrage of punches capped off by a right hand sent Basora to the deck in the third. Beating the count just brought more punishment from Faragon, finally sending Basora to the matt face first and for good. Referee Charlie Fitch waved it off at 1:42 of round three. Faragon continues unbeaten at 10-0, 5 KOs, while Basora slithers to 8-6-1, 7 KOs.
In the semi-main event of the night, Schenectady’s Brian Miller battled the Bronx’s Jose Guzman at Lightweight. It looked like an upset was in the making in the first round as Guzman connected at will with several clan shots to the unguarded head of Miller, buckling Miller’s knees on more than one occasion. Miller couldn’t seem to get untracked in the second either as the taller Guzman boxed behind his long reach and seemed to have the measure of Miller again. Suddenly, late in the third, Miller backed Guzman into the Miller corner, and as the ten second warning sounded, rattled off a series of blows that had Guzman out on his feet. Referee Dick Pakozdi stopped the action at 2:59 of the third. A disconsolate Guzman’s corner were irate, but it seemed the safe, if unfortunate call by the ref, as visions of Diego Corrales – Jose Luis Castillo came to mind. Miller rises to 7-0-3,3 KOs, and Guzman dwindles to 5-7-1.