Set in the middle of the week in the “center of the world” ; Times Square, Lou DiBella brought to New York a good lineup of boxing showcasing the return of Iris Andy Lee. Lee who was making his second appearance since his brutal loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last June, was taking on tough contender Darryl Cunningham in a middleweight fight in the main event. There would also be bouts by other DiBella fighters at B.B. Kings most notably the debut of impressive Puerto Rico amateur Angel Suarez along with other prospects trying to rise through the ranks.
Starting off the eight bout card was a Junior Welterweight match up between the Bronx native Louis Cruz (2-0 2KO’s) and Michael “El Negro” Carreras (0-2) in a four rounder. The first round was cautious as both men circled with Cruz trying to work his jab but he finds a rhythm in the second stanza landing at his range, and connecting with some left hooks that stagger his opponent. Carreras, noticing he was behind came out wild in the third round as the patient Cruz picked off his shots, a good right hand landed on Cruz but he responds with a left hook that has his man reeling, he follows him but a low blow seems to buy enough time to save Carreras. Ahead on all the cards Cruz pot shotted most of the round behind a jab as he “cruzed” to a unanimous decision rising up to 3-0 as a professional.
In what was a good chance to possibly see a future force in boxing as Angel “El Gallo” Suarez of Puerto Rico made his professional debut after having over 200 amateur bouts. His opponent, Elizier Agosto (1-2 1KO); had different plans than most of the crowd as he looked for the upset. The first round began with both fighters trading power shots but wit Suarez easily picking off most of the shots with his gloves as he landed several powerful left hooks to the head. Suarez came out body hunting as Agosto backed up and landed a few short uppercuts, but “El Gallo” fires back with a left hook to the body that hurts his foe and follows up. This is where the story goes wrong, after a low blow stops the action for a few seconds they go back to fighting I’m close quarters, Suarez ducking low to land body shots and avoid head shots gets caught with a perfect left uppercut as Agosto pivots out and lands, knocking his opponent out. In a minor upset Suarez is unable to beat the count and Agosto is awarded the victory as he showed what the pro ranks are about.
In another debut, Queens, NY’s Jay Rodriguez turned pro against Andre Ward (1-1-2 1KO’s) of Washington D.C. in a Cruiserweight bout scheduled for four rounds. Rodriguez who’s nickname is “Breezy”; looked to establish his jab in the first two rounds but the wiley Ward was able to get inside with his own shots and clinch to frustrate “Breezy”. The second half would be very close with both men looking to counter with hooks and Rodriguez landing the better punches in the last round after seeming very tired in the second and third. Finishing up the bout the Queens fighter lands hard right hands and uppercuts to make up for his activity earlier but comes up with a majority draw much to the dismay of the hometown fans.
With the crowd starting to get into the fights, Washington Heights Neuky “El Platano Explosivo” Santelises (4-0 3KO’s) was matched up against Vero Beach, Florida’s Aaron Chavez (3-2-1 0KO’s) in a Junior Lightweight fight. The patient Santelises who had the crowd alive with cheers;landed a sharp jab along with some quick shots as Chavez tries to get inside. With Chavez almost being lulled to sleep with his opponent’s pace, an explosive left hook hurts him and a follow up right puts him on the canvas, moments later a sweeping left hook puts Chavez out cold on his back. Santelises lives up to his name “El Platano Explosivo” once again as his record moves up to 5-0.
Tor Hamer (19-2 12KO’s) a strong heavyweight from New York, NY continued the action as he took on Maruenzo Smith (11-5-2 8KO’s) from Houston, TX who was on a vacation more than in a fight. Hamer started the bout with a jab and followed up with hooks to the heavier body of Smith, by the end of the first round it was as if Smith didn’t want to be there. If there was any doubt in Smith, Hamer exposed it to the audience as a looping right hand set him up to land hard left hooks that stun Smith as he gets on his bicycle. The third and last round would be a walk in the park as the New York native’s arsenal was on display and almost all landed before a tired Smith asks the ref to stop the fight at 1:31 of the third round.
The most exciting fight was about to take place when North Carolina prospect Lamar “the boxing que” Russ (12-0 7KO’s)squared off against rugged Rochester native Russell Jordan (15-9 10KO’s) in a super middleweight contest over eight rounds. A southpaw, Jordan tries to jab and then exchange with Russ but he starts to land a hard jab to pepper his opponent as he discovers an opening for his straight right that gets the crowd alive. Jordan would have success in the third as left hands land for him upstairs and down and Russ goes inside to land short shots as well as deliver an unintentional head butt that causes a small cut on Jordan. Russ looks to be tired in the sixth round and generally loses the round as he takes a breather but a fire is lit under him as he pushes through the last two rounds trying to finish his opponent with hooks on both sides and wicked uppercuts. The resilient Jordan would not go down without a fight and does enough to stave off Russ but loses a decision when scores of 78-74 79-73 79-73 are read out by the judges. Russ showed his heart in dealing with adversity and coming back strong over the last few rounds while Jordan showed he can still hang with good fighters.
In another upset, Brooklyn local fighter Deven “Sniper” Parsley (10-0 3KO’s) was on the wrong end of a decision after facing tough California fighter Louis “Unknown” Rose (6-1 2KO’s). The taller man, Parsley started off the bout with a sniper’s jab, using his full reach to keep Rose “unknown” to the inside quarters during the first two rounds. Rose would begin to find success in the third by leaping in with a jab while following up with body shots as he tried to slow the slightly faster Parsley down, the slick Rose was able to bob and weave out of danger for the most part. Parsley who’s record might indicate a lack of punching power, couldn’t deliver anything hard enough to ward off Rose who kept trying to push forward and made an angry “Sniper” abandon his Mayweather-like stance for a couple of rounds in search of landing something meaningful after having a slip ruled a knockdown early in the fourth round. Even for pretty much the whole fight the two boxers look to trade one two’s back and forth with Rose only slightly getting the better of Parsley who lands some good body shots to end the fight. The judges had a tough decision ahead of them as they came up with a decision win for “Unknown” Rose who gained notoriety as he put the first blemish on Parsley’s record in front of his hometown crowd.
Finally upon us was the main event, the packed venue was anxious to welcome Andy Lee (29-2 20KO’s) who made the trip from Limerick, Ireland to try and gain another title shot against the capable Darryl “The People’s Choice” Cunningham (28-4 11KO’s). Starting the fight possibly a bit too cautious, Cunningham pawed with his southpaw jab but Lee wastes no time crash landing a left hook that discombobulates his opponent’s senses. The follow up barrage topped off with a left hook forces referee Benji Esteves to wave it off at 1:27 of the very first round. With his 30th win, Lee positions himself just one step closer to another shot at the middleweight title, and redemption.