‘PBC on FS1’: Cruz decisions Martin; Sparrow wins war and Booth stops Mercado
Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Premier Boxing Champions and FS1’s “Toe-to-Toe Tuesday”
Welterweights: Miguel Cruz, 16-0 (11) vs. Alex Martin, 13-2 (5)
This rematch got underway with both fighters wanting to box and establish their skills as superior. The first big punch of the fight, a nice straight left, was landed by Martin. As they continued to box, Cruz landed a huge left hook that dropped Martin along the ropes late in the round. Martin was lucky the bell sounded right as referee Gary Rosato was going to restart the action, since he was on unsteady legs when he got up.
Rounds two and three saw the both fighters try to settle in and once again utilize their respective skills. After Cruz rushed out to try and finish Martin, Martin was able to last through the onslaught and, once again, turn the fight into a boxing match. Things stayed that way until the midpoint of the fourth when another left hook landed on Martin and dropped him near the ropes. Despite Martin’s protest that the shot landed behind his head, it was ruled a knockdown.
Just as the fight started to heat up in the fifth, a low blow by Martin dropped Cruz to the canvas. After an extended break, action resumed as Martin finished the round strong by landing counters, as Cruz tried to press the action. Round six was the best for Martin, who kept landing the cleaner shots, as he countered Cruz. It was more of the same in round seven and in round eight, Cruz started to try to make adjustments by trying to counter Martin’s counters. While he had some success, Martin was still able to control the round.
As the final round started, the fight seemed to be a tale of two fights, pre-low blow and post-low blow. Martin started the 10th strong, with Cruz aware of Martin having to play aggressor. Both fighters decided to trade shots late in the round and, just as Martin landed a good left, Cruz landed rights and a double left to punctuate the round and the fight. In the end, Cruz won the rematch with identical scores of 96-92 on all three official judges’ cards.
Featherweights: Avery Sparrow, 7-1 (3) vs. Isaelin Florian, 6-1 (3)
Sparrow came out and threw a left hook instead of answering Florian’s gesture to touch gloves. A big right hand landed early and Florian was clearly stunned as he fluttered around the ring trying to stay up. A flurry of power shots floored Florian for the first knockdown of the round. While going in for the kill, Sparrow was caught off balance by a Florian right hook that pushed him into the ropes, counting as a knockdown.
Sparrow continued to power punch with his lead rights in the second round, not respecting Florian’s power. A second lead right caught Florian and dropped him for the second time. In the third, both fighters exchanged power shots, Sparrow’s lead right against Florian’s lead right hooks and left hands.
Florian’s straight left hand caught Sparrow in the fourth round and dropped him to even the fight in knockdowns. It landed just as Sparrow opened up to throw a left hook. The rest of the round consisted of power-punching exchanges, after a throwaway fifth round, in which Florian chose to be especially elusive.
Both fighters again traded shots to start the sixth and final round. Sparrow was the stronger fighter and landed a power straight right, followed by a left hook that almost put Florian down for the third time. After the final bell, all three judges identically scored the fight 58-54 in favor of Avery Sparrow.
Welterweights: Clarence Booth, 15-3 (8) vs. Anthony Mercado, 10-3 (9)
There was no warming-up round in this fight, as both fighters met in the center of the ring, happy to throw hard shots. As both circled each other, Mercado landed a sneaky left hook that visibly had Booth’s legs like spaghetti. He followed up with hard rights to clearly earn the opening round.
As round two started, Mercado landed a sharp right and decided to move behind a jab after Booth landed his own right hand over the top of Mercado’s left. This helped set up a big right hand as the second came to a close. Another good round in the third as Mercado circled and kept trying to land big rights. Except, this time, Booth landed the big right hand, drawing blood from Mercado’s nose.
Round four saw a great start for Booth, right were he left off in the third. A sharp right allowed Booth to close the distance and continue to move forward behind power shots. A second blistering right hand clearly hurt Mercado, who tried to hold on. A third and final right violently pushed Mercado’s head back, forcing referee Eric Dali to stop the fight at 1:30 of round four.
Junior middleweights: Nicholas Hernandez, 7-2 (1) vs. Grayson Blake, 6-5-1 (2)
Blake and Hernandez were game, willing to exchange power punches throughout the opening rounds. Several times, both fighters were rocked, as the action picked up in the third round and continued throughout the rest of the fight.
At the end of the sixth and final round, the three judges scored the bout 57-57 a draw and 59-55 and 58-56 in favor of the winner by majority decision, Nicholas Hernandez.
Lightweights: Jesus Lule, 11-22-1 (2) vs. Ismael Serrano, 4-2 (1)
What was supposed to be a stern test and nothing more for Serrano, turned into a nightmare. Lule looked as though he seriously trained for this fight and, to the shock of the ringside media, started bombing away on Serrano, who was unable to deal with Lule’s body attack. Serrano tried to get off punches but was pinned on the ropes from the second part of the first round through the time of the stoppage.
To the shock of everyone, Lule scored just the second stoppage victory in his career at the 2:10 mark of the second round.
Super lightweights: Jesus Perez, 3-0 (1) vs. Christian Molina, 4-3 (3)
In a high-paced battle for Allentown, Pennsylvania, bragging rights. Perez was able to score a crucial knockdown in the first round with a right hand. Molina was game and, after rising to his feet, battled with Perez, trading vicious shots. Molina was rocked again in the fourth and final round sealing the deal for Perez. All three judges scored the fight 39-37 for Perez.
Junior middleweights: Devin McMaster, 1-2 vs. Rick Pyle, 1-0
Pyle, who was making his professional debut, at the age of 37, was effective enough with his punches to win a unanimous decision, 40-36 on all three judges’ cards.
Super flyweights: Dylan Price, 3-0 (3) vs. Manuel Guerra, 1-3-1
This fight was over as quickly as it started. Price landed a booming right hand that was a one-hitter quitter on Guerra. Time of the stoppage after the 10-count was 1:09.