By Rick Scharmberg at ringside
Victor Vasquez (11-4-1, 6 KOs) and Paul Fernandez (5-2-2, 3 KOs) fought to a gory split draw in the six-round lightweight main event last night at The Arena in Philadelphia. Vasquez battled with a mask of blood after suffering a terrible cut on his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in round two. In the co-feature, Ardrick Butler (5-1, 2 KOs) destroyed Norman Allen (6-4, 3 KOs) 44 seconds into the opening round of a scheduled six round junior middleweight bout. Andre Kut’s KEA Boxing promoted the eight-bout card.
The main event between Vasquez and Fernandez was a grudge match of sorts. Vasquez was considered to be too experienced for Fernandez, but when Paul called him out, it was “game on” between the two Philadelphia fighters.
Fernandez came out fast against a slower starting Vasquez, and took the first minute of the opening round with jabs, followed by rights and lefts to the body. Vasquez came on like a freight train, landing three-punch combinations and some big left hooks over the last two minutes to win the round.
Round two was being fought on even terms, when in the final minute the boxers clashed heads and Victor emerged with a bad cut over his left eye. Knowing he was in trouble, Vasquez came on strong. The round was extremely close and could have gone either way.
Cut man Joey “Eye” Intreiri, who apprenticed under the fabled Eddie “The Clot” Aliano, did his best to stem the flow of blood between rounds. Still, the cut would spout crimson for the rest of the fight. Round three was another tight round with no clear winner.
Fernandez had a solid round in the fourth, landing right hands on the cut that opened it even further. Vasquez dug deep in the fifth and sixth rounds, winning both with his power punching. At the end, both fighters, and the referee, were tainted with blood.
PA Athletic Commission’s executive director, Greg Sirb, would say later, “The main event is supposed to be the fight of the night, and that was exactly what it was.”
The near-sellout crowd, and the fighters, buzzed in anticipation as the scored were read. They were 58-56 for Fernandez, 58-56 for Vasquez, and even at 57-57.
The decision was a fair one, as neither fighter deserved to lose. The followers of both fighters had difficulty seeing it that way, however, as several fistfights broke out inside and outside the Arena.
Butler overwhelms Allen
Ardrick “The Hitman” Butler, of Philadelphia wasted no time in the junior middleweight co-feature. He battered Norman Allen, of Laurel, MD from the opening bell, pinning him along the ropes and unleashing a series of right hands and left hooks. When the ropes appeared to hold Allen up, referee Shawn Clark ruled it a knockdown.
When the round continued, Butler landed a left hook-right hand combination that buckled Allen’s knees, and ref Clark stopped the bout at the :44 second mark.
Caputo Smith mauls Moore
Anthony Caputo Smith (4-0, 3 KOs), of Kennett Square, PA continues to improve, stopping Donnie Moore (0-3), of Wilson, NC at 1:10 of the opening round of a scheduled four round light heavyweight bout.
Caputo Smith, owner of the proverbial “heavy hands”, came out fast and aggressive, landing two left hooks, a left-right combination, some more left hooks, and then went to work on Moore’s body.
A left hook-right hand combo backed Moore into a corner, where Caputo Smith relentlessly punished him until referee Gary Rosato pulled him off and declared him the winner.
Rodriguez too much for Denby
Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs), of Union City, NJ had too much speed for Mike “Strictly Business” Denby (2-5-3, 2 KOs), of Felton, DE, flooring him twice and stopping him at 2:51 of the opening round of a scheduled four round welterweight bout.
Rodriguez, a southpaw, opened with a left-right to the body followed by two lead left hands to the head of Denby. The normally durable Denby seemed to leave his defense behind, as he was sent back with a big straight-left from Rodriguez a minute into the round.
Rather than regroup, Denby sought to engage Rodriguez, and was caught with a counter left that sent him down. After several more rapid-fire combinations from the New Jersey-based prospect, Mike was sent down again from another booming left hand. Referee Shawn Clark then stopped the bout without a count..
Campbell stops Allen
Jamie Campbell (3-1, 2 KOs), of Ridley Park, PA overcame a first round knockdown to stop Darrick Allen (2-6, 2 KOs), of Wilson, NC at :26 of the second round of a scheduled four round heavyweight bout.
Campbell landed two stiff jabs in the opening seconds, but was caught with a counter right from the shorter and muscular Allen that sent him half way through the ropes for an official knockdown. After referee Gary Rosato waved them back in, Campbell landed several right hands and two more hard jabs before the bell.
The end came suddenly in round two. Campbell set Allen up with two sharp jabs before hurting him with a combination. Allen backed to the ropes, and Campbell hammered away with left hooks and right hands. With Allen nearly defenseless and not firing back, referee Rosato had no choice but to stop the bout..
Yoder outboxes Barnes
Anthony Yoder Jr. (2-0), of Vineland, NJ took a four round unanimous decision over Andrew Barnes (0-2), of Wilson, NC in a four round lightweight bout.
The opening round was close, as Yoder, with faster hands, and Barnes, a southpaw, traded on fairly even terms. Yoder might have had the edge based on harder punching.
Round two was all Yoder, and he nearly got Barnes out of there. Yoder found a weapon in his right uppercut, and stunned Barnes with several of them in the final minute, and closed the round with a sustained flurry over the last 30 seconds.
Barnes recovered between rounds, and tried to ambush Yoder with a series of rights and lefts over the first part of round three. Barnes took this round, as Yoder seemed to be saving energy for a big finish.
Yoder started fast in round four, moving his hands and landing soft but clean shots throughout the round. Barnes was still trying to ambush Yoder, but Anthony was now waiting for it. Yoder won the final round big.
The scores were 40-36, and 39-37 (twice) in favor of Yoder.
Farah frustrates Colvin
Southpaw Khalil “Bad Intentions” Farah (6-4, 1 KO), of Philadelphia rode his straight left hand to a unanimous decision victory over John “Jaw Breaker” Colvin in a four round light heavyweight bout.
Farah easily won the first two rounds, as he continually landed a punishing lead left hand to the constantly pursuing Colvin. The power of that punch, along with his right jab, intensified as Colin advanced right into them.
After a close third round, which Colvin may have won with his aggressiveness, Farah went back to work in the fourth, bringing blood to Colvin’s nose. He went right back to landing his left hand, and easily took the round.
The scores were 40-36 (twice) and 39-37 in favor of Farah.
Jennings finishes Albino
Heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings (3-0, 2 KOs), of Philadelphia made quick work of fading veteran Zeferino Albino (3-11-2, 1 KO), of Philadelphia, stopping him, after scoring three knockdowns, at 2:59 of the opening round of a scheduled four round bout. The two met previously, last February, in a bout that Jennings won by unanimous decision.
Albino landed a nice right cross, followed by a quick one-two, to open the bout. That proved to be the extent of his offense, as Jennings sent him down with a solid left hook in the opening minute.
After working the body of Albino, Jennings came upstairs with a hard right. Albino had his left glove by his cheek and blocked the shot, but the punch was hard enough to drop Albino for the second time.
Jennings set Albino up with several more body shots before finishing him with a straight right to the head.