On a weekend that is set to honor the heroes and legends of the sport, a little down the road from the International Boxing Hall Of Fame, at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino Showtime brought us another edition of ShoBox.
The evening began with Jeffrey Fontanez (11-0. 9 KO) and Alejandro Rodriguez (18-10, 11KO) in a lightweight matchup. Scheduled for eight rounds the first began as a feeling out round, the younger Fontanez popping his jab and facing counterpunches from the older, more active Rodriguez. Fontanez landed a strong body shot followed by a left hook prompting some noise from the otherwise quiet crowd. The second round began much like the first, although Rodriguez started the round a bit more active than he did the first. However, Fontanez remained the more active fighter, landing effective, clean punches, and a few nice body shots. The third round was all Fontanez, using his speed and long reach he kept the slower moving Rodriguez at a distance, except for a quick moment where Fontanez paused on the ropes, allowing Rodriguez to land a few body shots.
Fontanez spent a lot of the fourth rounds sliding on the ropes, while this was allowing Rodriguez to land body shots, it left the Mexican opponent open for plenty of counterpunches from the young Puerto Rican. Rodriguez started off the fifth round with a bit of a faster pace, only for it to lag, and for Fontanez to take the shine heading into unfamiliar territory, having only ventured past five rounds once, where as Rodriguez has been there more than fifteen times. Rodriguez sustained a cut over his eye in the sixth round, but it doesn’t seem to affect the progress of the rather dull fight. Fontanez not showing any of the power and spark that has drawn attention thus far in this young career as he went down at the end of the seventh after being stung by an overhand right from Rodriguez. Fontanez recovered to start the eighth round, however, it seemed as though he was not a willing participant. The younger, taller, faster fighter spent the last round running and taking shots he otherwise wouldn’t have in the first or second round. The fight went to the scorecards with the judges scoring it 76-75, 77-74, and 78-73 giving the fight to Fontanez via a split decision.
The main event featured Jorge Melendez (26-2-1, 25KO) and Nick Brinson (14-1-2, 6KO) in a ten round middleweight contest. Both fighters take turns controlling the pace in the first round, Brinson, who reportedly rehydrated to about 180 lbs landed the harder shots. Both fighters turn up the speed for the second round, Brinson looking more relaxed in the ring, landing nice combinations and backing up Melendez, who seems to not be throwing many punches.
Melendez comes out of this shell in the start of the third round, landing some clean inside shots on Brinson, however, Brinson remains calm and brings the fight back to where he likes it, in the center of the ring. Round four starts with Melendez landing flush on Brinson’s face, only to be dropped quickly by a combination from Brinson. Brinson, not slowing the pace to admire his work, gets right to it and hurts Melendez with a straight right hand. Melendez turns Brinson around and hurts him on the ropes, prompting a standing eight count. Brinson, clearly wobbled by the punches, survives the round to fight on. Brinson starts the fifth round, seemingly recovered but keeping his distance. Brinson manages to survive, and win, the fifth round and continue to make an impressive showing in the sixth, having been the ten round distance substantially more times than Melendez, he is looking fresh. Brinson continues to fight a smart fight and lands a nice combination in the seventh round consisting of a left hook followed by a right hand. Brinson continues the combinations through the eighth round, hurting Melendez briefly on the ropes, stirring a roar from his hometown crowd. Round nine begins with Melendez holding, but it is not enough to deter Brinson from landing his well-used combinations. Brinson clearly shaken up by a rabbit punch, after a second illegal punch behind the head the referee takes a point from Melendez.
After a consultation with the doctors, Brinson pleads for them to not stop the fight. When the action resumes, Melendez continues the rabbit punches, and head buts Brinson after the bell, almost starting a riot. Melendez comes out for the tenth round, fighting dirty and desperate as the commentators call for a disqualification. Brinson, aware that he is ahead on the cards, fights as careful as he can, but still catches a few rabbit punches from Melendez.
Brinson ends with a flurry, and hops up on the ropes to celebrate what he assumes will be the upset of the night. For a fighter who took a fight on a weeks notice, Brinson sure did shine, the judges award him the fight with scores of 96-92, 98-91, 99-90.