By Alex Pierpaoli
Last night junior middleweight Freddy Hernandez gave Delvin Rodriguez all he could handle in a 10 round contest that ended after 8 due to a severe gash over the left eye of Freddy Hernandez. Hernandez was coming off a 10 round decision loss in January, and losing efforts in four of his last five since being stopped in 1 round in November of twenty-ten by Andre Berto. Hernandez’ efforts however, were only temporarily validated as he saw an abbreviated Majority Decision loss turn into a Technical Knockout defeat after the State Athletic Commission reviewed video of the bout and determined the cut to Hernandez was in fact caused by a punch from Rodriguez and not a clash of heads as originally ruled. Despite being out of the ordinary and adding to a somewhat frustrating evening of professional prizefighting that saw four of six bouts end early due to cuts, the amendment did herald a change that should benefit the sport in the future.
With the vacant IBF North American title up for grabs, Delvin Rodriguez, 154 lbs of Danbury, CT, was cut in the very early going after a collision of heads with Freddy Hernandez, 154lbs, of Mexico City. Both fighters dug in early and were exchanging with force after a brief feeling-out round in which both got a look at the other’s defense. Hernandez was going to the guts of Rodriguez early and his hard body-punching was the difference in making what looked to be a sure-thing victory for Delvin Rodriguez into an interesting and grueling contest. Rodriguez drove a speedy jab followed by the hard straight-right into the face of Hernandez repeatedly in the fourth round in one of several momentum shifts in the night’s Main Event. But Hernandez seemed to re-exert himself in the following frame with several hard blasts to the ribcage of Rodriguez that wilted the Danbury fighter a bit.
By round seven both combatants were bleeding form cuts along their brows and another head clash at the start of the eighth seemed to really stun Rodriguez who was allowed a moment to clear the cobwebs by the referee. The bout continued but only for another minute or so when another bad cut, appeared to be caused by a clash of heads, opened up on the face of Hernandez. The referee had the ringside doctor look at it and the fight was stopped. The fight was in the middle of round 8 at the time of the stoppage so that round was scored, the totals calculated and then the official decision was announced; Rodriguez was tabbed the victor by 2 of the judges while a third had the fight even. For about 5 minutes or so the result was a majority decision win for D-Rod.
However, after reviewing the ESPN replay, CT Commissioner Mike Mazzuli overruled the decision and called the bout a TKO as a replay showed the gash which caused a halt to the bout was opened by a punch and not an accidental head-butt. Despite it being the correct call, unfortunately for the assembled, and especially for Freddy Hernandez, the bout ended just as things were getting interesting and a real gut-check for Delvin Rodriguez looked to be coming in the 9th and tenth.
With the TKO win Delvin Rodriguez improved to 27-6-3 (15) while Freddy Hernandez left CT with head held high at 30-4 (20).
In another cut-shortened bout, heavyweights Excell Holmes, 232 lbs of Buffalo, NY and Constantin Bejenaru, 217lbs, of Catskill NY, had to settle for a no contest after one and a half hard-swinging, sloppy, exciting, almost thrilling, rounds of big-men-brawling. The Mohegan Sun Arena crowd was loving the two-fisted assault Bejenaru launched at Holmes in round two which scored a knockdown and had Holmes in a retreat. But as Bejenaru was trying to finish him with power-punches, the fighter’s heads collided and Bejenaru’s face was split along the brow and the ringside physicians determined the gash was too severe to let go. As two rounds had yet to be completed the fight was determined a No Contest and both fighter’s records are unaffected by what took place, which certainly seemed to benefit Holmes greatly.
Excell Holmes remained at 2-1-1 (1) and Constantin Bejenaru remained at 3-0 (2).
In the first televised bout of the night, Chris Howard, 140lbs, of Crossville, TN, beat Issouf Kinda, 139.5lbs, of NY, NY, by split decision after their scheduled ten rounder ended after only six due to a severe gash over the eye of Howard. In a competitive, back and forth contest it looked to this observer that it was Kinda using a heavy overhand right and several ripping uppercuts to score the heavier more damaging blows. However when the fight was stopped due to the cut and the scorecards were read, the officials had it 58-56 & 59-55 in favor of Howard versus one score of 58-56 for Kinda.
In victory, Howard improved to 15-2-1 (7) while Kinda dropped to 16-1 (6).
Also, Michael Moore, 155lbs, of Cleveland, OH, defeated Doel Carrasquillo, 154lbs, of Lancaster, PA, by a six round unanimous decision. Moore dominated the bout despite a gritty effort from the rugged veteran. There were a few moments of trash-talking and rough-stuff as Carrasquillo switched back and forth from southpaw to orthodox, clutched and grabbed, and tried his best to derail Moore’s momentum. It was not to be.
After six the ringside officials tabbed Moore the victor by scores of 60-54 twice and 59-55.
Moore improved to 12-0 (6) while Carrasquillo fell to 17-24-1 (14).
New Haven, CT’s Jimmy Williams, 148lbs, defeated Marqus Jackson, 148 ¼ lbs, of Atlanta, GA, by TKO after 3 rounds of fighting. Jackson fought an excellent round one, using the oft-imitated but never-duplicated Floyd Money Mayweather shoulder-roll style of counterpunching. But Williams poured on the pressure in round two and squelched any Mayweather-aspirations Jackson had that night.
In victory Williams improved to 3-0 (2) while Jackson dropped to 2-10 (2).
And making his professional debut, Saul Almeida, 162 lbs, of Framingham, MA, dropped a 4 round decision to Michael Mitchell, 158 ½ lbs, of Paterson, NY. Mitchell was the heavier handed fighter throughout, while Almeida’s punches were plentiful and accurate but carried little mustard on them. The judges were unanimous is scoring it 40-36 in favor of Michael Mitchell who improved to 1-1-1 while Almeida became a pro at 0-1.