The War Report: Come on home (Week 25, 2017)
In a week filled with local club cards, boxing got a bit of a break from an eventful year in the ring and, as it continues through the midway point, The War Report evolves with it. This weekend gave just about everyone involved in the sport to come on home and recharge themselves before a busy summer kicks off. For a few aged fighters, however, there were fights to be made and, without others overshadowing them, a couple of hometown fighters took advantage as they try and figure out where to go from here.
Fighting in front of his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson got the biggest win of his career at the age of 32 and did so after rising from the canvas. It was a crossroads fight for him and Kermit Cintron on Saturday night and, in the fourth round of an intense, competitive junior middleweight contest, Brunson was dropped twice. During an exchange, a left hook from Cintron dropped Brunson hard and things didn’t look good, once Brunson rose on shaky legs. That was confirmed just seconds later as Brunson was cornered and dropped again with a right hand.
“I had to win,” said Brunson afterward. “(Cintron) dropped me twice but my will to win is so much. He wasn’t going to beat me tonight.” Brunson eked out the fourth but quickly avenged the knockdowns by scoring three of his own in the very next round. Cintron, 37, looked worse after each one of Brunson’s right hands sent him to the mat and, after the third, he crumbled in front of a surging Brunson. “I see it in his eyes – he’s a bitch – he was ready to quit,” said Brunson after the first knockdown. “He’s a pussy. Everybody know that. Facts.”
Brunson jumped around the ring once referee Shawn Clark waved the bout off immediately after the third knockdown. Not only did he provide the most thrilling victory of the week, his career takes a step forward. Brunson proceeded to call out all the junior middleweight beltholders, hoping this knockout could get him his first world title shot. Perhaps a reach but it wouldn’t have been inconceivable had the name fighter gotten the win.
Over in Mexico, it probably took a lot for Nery “Pantera” Saguilan to dance his way to the ring, knowing he’s a shot fighter, but it might be easier to do it behind the lucha libre mask he typically wears. His persona wasn’t received well on Saturday night, at the packed Jesus Neri Santos Municipal Gym in Juarez, Mexico, and after getting flipped off by a child during his ring entrance, Saguilan continued his groove with one of the ring girls, as the boos grew louder.
The lights went out to calm those jeers and, once the spotlight was centered on Miguel “Mickey” Roman, Mexican fans erupted as their hometown fighter made his way to the ring looking to silence the flashy masked man. It had been about two years since he last fought in Juarez but Roman’s welcome was warmer, considering he was coming off a punishing 12th round knockout loss to Takashi Miura in a WBC junior lightweight eliminator last January. The 31-year-old’s dreams of fighting for another world title were dashed but he got a chance to examine himself as he entered the 69th fight of his professional career, or at least feed off the great atmosphere and recharge himself.
For about the first four rounds, the fight was a competitive slugfest, in which Saguilan charged forward and Roman stood his ground with right-handed counters. By the sixth, both men where visibly tired but the volume of punches didn’t wither all that much, and the crowd’s excitement may have spurred that on. In the last half of the fight, Roman pulled away and began to dish out a beating on the most hated man in the arena. Saguilan continued to relish the heel role by mocking the crowd throughout the fight but Roman provided what they all wanted to see: Pantera getting knocked out. It finally happened in the 12th round, thanks to a precise left hook on a bludgeoned face, and Mickey Roman basked in the praise by stepping up on the turnbuckle, raising his arms knowing he will be back for more.