BROCK-BLANCO RINGSIDE REPORT by special correspondent Alex Caveda — Last night (Friday, Nov. 18) the regular “Knockout Night At The D” took place in a specially built indoor tent to keep away the unusually cold weather that hit the city this weekend. Las Vegas fight fans, plus plenty of tourists in town for tomorrow’s Kovalev vs. Ward superfight, were treated to a nice card that was for the most part action-packed. Promoter Roy Jones Jr. was in attendance, new boxing stars like Shawn Porter were spotted at ringside, and the atmosphere was festive.
In the main event, American Demond Brock and Dominican born Reynaldo Blanco went ten tough rounds with Brock prevailing with a split decision. In my view the verdict should have been unanimous. At stake was the regional NABA lightweight belt.
Brock has a menacing appearance reminiscent of a young Marvin Hagler, with perhaps a touch of Howard Eastman thrown in due to his unusually long beard. The 35-year-old Brock started professional boxing late due to a 14 ½ year prison stay. It was the familiar story of a man trying to turn his life around through boxing, and Brock made good with an impressive win. Blanco was taller, and more agile but Brock’s relentless pressure won him the bout.
Officially judges Robert Hoyle and Tim Cheatham had it 96-94 (twice) for Brock, while judge Ricardo Ocasio surprisingly favored Blanco with a 97-93 score. My unofficial scorecard favored Brock 97-93. It was a competitive bout for about eight rounds and then Brock took over.
Entering the ring with a metal chain around his neck, like a ravenous dog, Brock drew slight swelling around Blanco’s cheeks during an entertaining first round. There was no feeling out as Brock started aggressively, catching Blanco off guard. Round 2 was a total role reversal with Blanco clearly having the upper hand. Ironically Brock’s nickname is “Body Shot,” but it was Blanco who appeared to hurt him with body shots in the second round. Round 3 was Blanco’s for most of the round as he boxed from a distance. But in the final minute Brock closed the distance again.
In round 6 Brock opened a terrible cut on Blanco’s left eyelid. The cut was in a bad spot but it seemed to inspire Blanco somewhat as he had probably his best round in the seventh, but the surge was short lived. A bit of controversy took place at the start of round 8 when Blanco’s cutman kept attending to the cut even when the bell had rung and the break between rounds was over! A shouting match erupted between the insubordinate cutman, who still would not leave the ring, and members of the commission. Finally, Blanco’s cutman left but he had successfully delayed the start of the round.
It still didn’t work. Round 8 was the last round where Blanco was competitive. They had gone eight tough rounds, but the difference was that after these eight rounds Blanco looked cut and worn out, while Brock was comparatively fresh. In the 10th and final round Brock landed some punishing shots but Blanco stayed the course. It was a workmanlike performance by Brock with his better stamina winning out. The win moved Brock to 13-3-1 while Blanco tumbled to 13-3. Jay Nady was the referee.
A six-bout undercard preceded the main event. Five of these bouts had sizzling action while the other was a wholesale dud. The dud was the co-main event where Puerto Rican Daniel Rosario blew a winnable fight by showing no desire. Rosario floored Mexican Norberto Gonzalez in Round 2 with a delay reaction hook, then did virtually nothing for the remainder of the 8-rounder.
Rosario came in with 11 wins in his 12 bouts, 10 knockouts, but he was a big disappointment. Little happened of note but at least the 23-8 Gonzalez was trying and he was rewarded with a split decision win.
The other bouts were far more exciting. The evening started with a fight between two middleweight debutants. Roy Jones Jr., who promoted the event, handles a newbie named Shady Gamhour, who impressively won his debut by halting David De La Cruz at 1:54 of the third round. The stoppage from referee Russell Mora appeared a tad quick, but Gamhour was winning easily when it was halted. No knockdowns.
Another rising prospect, Las Vegas’ own Randy Moreno, dominated Daniel Perales for a 4th round TKO win. Moreno, who was five inches taller, moved to 7-0 with 6 knockouts.
Junior featherweight Juan “Cyclone Junior” Sanchez took a close unanimous decision over hard luck Javier Cepeda in a rugged 4-round go. Sanchez, who wore a mink coat into the ring, had to work every step of the way. I personally had the bout even, but Sanchez’s flashier punches caught the eyes of the judges.
The two most memorable moments of the evening, for me at least, came with two early but explosive knockouts on the undercard. Entering the ring winless, Puerto Rican cruiserweight Kenny Ortiz is winless no more as he blasted out former college football star Jason “Blaze” Beauchamp at 1:11 of the opening round. Beauchamp came in with “the story” as he was trained by famous referee Richard Steele, and had an athletic build. But Beauchamp had no amateur or professional boxing experience, and it showed. As he entered the ring Beauchamp tried to leap over the ropes but tripped, and took a funny spill to the canvas. Things were not so funny for Beauchamp when about a minute into the bout he was blasted out with a brutal combination from Ortiz near the corner.
A classic one-punch knockout occurred in a female light flyweight bout. Natalie “Tuffie” Gonzalez knocked out Marina “Rockie” Ramirez with a single right hand to the chin at 1:18 of the second round. The punch left Ramirez flat on her back. She somehow beat the count but referee Kenny Bayless wisely stopped it. Oddly Gonzalez and Ramirez physically looked almost like twin sisters. It was interesting to see a tiny girl like Gonzalez punch so hard.
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