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Mike Jones, Seeking A Career Definer With Berto, Takes Care Of Irving Garcia

BY George Kimball ON July 09, 2010
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ATLANTIC CITY --- Unbeaten Philadelphia welterweight contender Mike Jones knocked out Irving Garcia in the fifth round of Russell Peltz’ ShoBox Card Friday night at Boardwalk Hall, flooring the not-so-game Puerto Rican with a body shot, after which Garcia took referee Randy Neumann’s 10-count on his knees.

Jones, who ran his record to 22-0, is ranked second among the world’s 147-pounders by the WBO, third by the WBA, and seventh by both the WBC and IBF.

The veteran Garcia (17-5-3) was exhumed for the occasion after 14 months of inactivity. He had been knocked out by Luis Abregu (Tim Bradley’s impending opponent) in his only fight of 2009, after being credited with back-to-back technical draws in ’08 with Hector Munoz and Yurih Nuszhnenko.

Jones pretty much had his way as long as it lasted, hitting his stride in the second round and dominating Garcia thereafter. Several hard shots in the fourth had already softened up the opponent for the critical barrage in the fifth, when he tattooed Garcia with a series of unanswered punches, the last of which, Garcia’s handlers claimed, might have strayed low.

Although he had ruled the punch a legal one, Neumann seemed prepared – indeed, disposed -- to let the bout continue for just a bit longer, had Garcia made even the slightest attempt to regain his feet. Instead Irving resolutely remained in place, fixing the referee with a baleful look as if he hoped he might change his mind. Neumann just kept counting, and reached the count of ten at 1:22 of the fifth.

“I felt like I was breaking him down with every round, said Jones, who hopes to be fighting for a world title before the year is out. (Andre Berto’s WBC version would be his preference.)

With the NABO’s welterweight belt already up for grabs in the main event, the organization created an even more ridiculous title for the co-feature, the result of which was that 34 year-old Lanardo Tyner apparently left the ring the NABO’s new “Youth champion on the strength of his 9th-round TKO of Floridian Antwone Smith. Youth is wasted on the young, anyway.

Eleven years Tyner’s junior, the highly regarded Smith had in his last outing knocked out Frankie Gonzalez on DiBella’s “Fighting for Haiti Andre Berto-Juan Quintana card at the BankAtlantic Center back in April. Tyner, a Motown product who now lives in Houston, was 23-3 coming in, albeit against a higher caliber of opposition. (Tyner’s three career losses were to Mike Arnaoutis and then-unbeatens Lamont Peterson and Saul Alvarez.),

Tyner, after demonstrating his willingness to take the best his younger adversary could muster in the early going, steadily pulled ahead by outworking his opponent. Smith’s right eye was closing by the midpoint of the bout, and the longer the fight wore on, the less firepower he seemed to have at his disposal to discourage Tyner’s relentless march. Tyner shifted his attack downstairs in the ninth, and eventually an accumulation of hard body shots sent a weary Smit, who battled a virus during fight week, sliding down the ropes to the canvas. Even though he made it to his feet, Smith showed no eagerness to resume hostilities, leading Earl Morton to wave it off at 1:15 of the round.

At the time of the stoppage Tyner led 78-74 on the cards of George Hill and Joseph Pasquale. Donald Givens had Smith leading by a point. Smith fell to 18-2, while Tyner is now 24-3.

The most devastating knockout of the evening came in the final undercard bout preceding the ShoBox telecast, when Puerto Rican-born Lancaster (Pa.) welterweight Manuel Guzman bounced back from a first-round knockdown to flatten Artick Butler at 2:53 of the second round. Butler (5-2) had been knocked out by Eddie Caminero in his pro debut at the Roxy in Boston, but had won five in a row since. He appeared on his way to a sixth when he knocked down Guzman seconds into their scheduled six-rounder, but before the first was over he had tasted the canvas himself, courtesy of what appeared to be a Guzman jab.

Guzman, now 7-9-1, has something of a reputation as a spoiler (two years ago in New York he upset then-unbeaten ticket-seller Tommy Rainone at the Aviator Arena in Brooklyn), and he reinforced it in his second-round performance. Butler actually went down again earlier in the round, but was given the benefit of the doubt by referee Steve Smoger, who ruled a slip. There was no ambiguity to the final knockdown: An overhand right from Guzman left Butler motionless for well over a minute; he revived just about the time the EMTs reached ringside with a stretcher. Butler managed to leave the ring under his own steam, but was later hospitalized for observation.

Twenty year-old Bronx prospect Steven Martinez 20 TKO’d Brooklyn’s Jason Thompson two rounds into their all-New York junior middleweight bout. After a battering from Martinez, Thompson had gone down, more or less as the result of attrition, earlier in the round. Martinez had landed a big right hand and driven Thompson to the ropes, where he continued to fire away without response. A left Martinez hook immediately preceded referee Ricardo Vera’s intervention at 2:37 of the second. The win was Martinez’ fifth in as many pro bouts, all inside the distance. Thompson, who has won just one of his last seven, is now 5-6-1.

Philadelphia super-middle Joe Dunn probably looked at Rafael Jastrzebski’s 2-6-1 record and figured he’d drawn a soft touch for his pro debut. Wrong. Jastrebski, a rugged 29 year-old Polish émigré from Krakow now domiciled in Lakewood, N.J., might have started off his career 0-6-1, but he dominated Dunn in their 4-rounder to register his third straight win. Lynn Carter, Emil Conforti and Luis Rivera all scored it 40-36, as did TSS. Jastrzebski is now 3-6-1, Dunn 0-1.

In another early bout, Camden welterweight Miguel Corcino staggered Epi Rodriguez with a thunderous right seconds into their bout, following with a fusillade of punches that put his Harrisburg opponent on the deck. Although Rodriguez was allowed to continue, the moment he was turned loose, Corcino nailed him with a left hook so devastating that Smoger had stopped the fight even before Rodriguez hit the canvas. Total elapsed time: 58 seconds. Corcino is now 2-0, Rodriguez 0-3.

Cape May welterweight Josh Mercado improved to 5-1 with a unanimous decision (39-37, three times) in his 4-rounder with Philadelphian Kywayne Hill (1-5). In his January, 2001 pro debut at the Blue Horizon, Hill scored a first-round knockout over one Harold Council. Now 32, he hasn’t won a fight since.

Kennett Square (Pa.) light-heavy Anthony Caputo (5-0) scored a second-round TKO over North Carolinian Walter Edwards (1-5) when Smoger rescued Edwards, dazed and perched in a sitting position on the ring ropes, with Caputo taking target practice, at 2:44 of the round.

Although Camden junior lightweight Jason Sosa and his Philadelphia opponent Clinton Douglas had engaged in a dozen aggregate fights prior to their meeting on Friday’s undercard was somewhat misleading, since neither had beaten an opponent who had ever won a fight, a curiosity that would inevitably be rectified should their 4-round prelim produce a verdict – which it did. Sosa prevailed via a unanimous decision (40-36, Conforti and Carter, 39-37 Rivera) to remain unbeaten at 3-0-1. Douglas is 3-4-1.

Wilmington (Del.) junior welter Ryan Belasco (12-4) snapped a two-fight losing streak, winning a unanimous decision over Philly journeyman Kevin Carmody (10-13-3) in their six-rounder. Conforte scored a shutout at 60-54, while Rivera and Carter each gave Carmody a round at 59-55. Carmody has lost seven in a row, although his December 2007 knockout by Vernon Paris in Detroit was later changed to no contest.

BOARDWALK HALL

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.

July 9, 2010


WELTERWEIGHTS: Mike Jones, 146 ½, Philadelphia KO’d Irving Garcia, 146 ½, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico (5) (Retains NABO title)

Lanardo Tyler, 148, Houston, Tex TKOd Antwone Smith, 145 ½, Hollywood, Fla.. (9)

Josh Mercado, 145, Cape May, N.J. dec. Kywame Hill, 143 ½, Philadelphia (4)

Manuel Guzman, 146 ½, Lancaster, Pa. KO’d Ardrick Butler, 148, Philadelphia (2)

Miguel Corsino, 145, Camden, NJ, TKO’d Epi Cosme Rodriguez, 145 ½, Lancaster, Pa. (1)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Anthony Caputo, 179, Kennett Square, Pa. TKO’d Walter Edwards, 173 ½, Wilson, N.C. (2)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Rafael Jastrzebski, 167, Krakow, Poland dec. Joseph Dunn, 162, Philadelphia (4)

JUNIOR MIDDLES: Steve Martinez, 152 ½, Bronx, NY TKO’d Jason Thompson, 151 ½, Brooklyn, N.Y. (2)

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS: Ryan Belasco, 137, Wilmington, Del. Dec. Kevin Camody, 138 ½, Philadelphia (6)

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Jason Sosa, 128 ½, Camden, NJ. Dec. Clinton Douglas, 129, Philadelphia (4)

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