MORONGO CASINO-World class fighters Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor and Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell both won their respective bouts impressively at the Morongo Casino on Friday.
Both Dirrell and Taylor had been out of the ring for more than two years but their pedigree showed immensely.
Former middleweight world champion Taylor (29-4-1, 18 Kos) had suffered consecutive knockout defeats as a super middleweight but returned to the 160-pound middleweight ranks and simply beat up rugged Jessie Nicklow (22-3-3, 8 Kos) every round that their bout lasted.
A right cross by Taylor strafed Nicklow flush on the chin and referee Ray Corona stopped the contest at 36 seconds of round eight for a knockout win by Taylor.
Though Taylor had few problems with Nicklow the smaller middleweight was able to absorb every punch by the Arkansas prizefighter. The problem was hitting Taylor back. He landed a few counters but not enough to discourage Taylor. The only upset, if any, was not being able to stop Nicklow earlier.
In a strange-ending bout between Michigan southpaws, Dirrell (20-1, 14 Kos) floored Daryl Cunningham (24-3, 10 Kos) twice in round two before referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight at 2:05 of the frame at Cunningham's corner. A left cross put Cunningham down in the first knockdown, then a right hook put him down a second time. A towel was flung into the ring not once but twice, however the chief second had not tossed it but another assistant had performed the act. It was not recognized but finally the actual chief second fired in a towel and the fight was stopped legally.
Dirrell looked much faster and was able to fire and land at will. Lefts to the body landed with thuds and right jabs were piercing Cunningham's guard freely. Once the lanky and taller Dirrell began to find the range he began opening up.
During the second round a right jab hurt Cunningham and during the break Dirrell tapped him with a right. It wasn't solid but Cunningham tried to use it to feign injury. He was already injured from the jab. He was still talking when Dirrell launched the left cross to knock him down the first time. It was good work by the referee to keep the super middleweight fight under control.
Two undefeated light heavyweights entered the ring but it was Ireland's Luis Garcia (12-0, 9 Kos) by way of Cuba who looked the part in sweeping every round over Maryland's Alexander “The Great” Johnson (12-1, 5 KOs) after eight rounds. Garcia toyed with Johnson who showed a sturdy chin but couldn't figure out the Cuban boxer. All three judges scored it for Garcia 80-71 and 80-72 twice.
Puerto Rico's Jose “The Sniper” Padraza (6-0, 5 Kos) delivered a five-punch combination to knock out Herbert Quartey (7-7, 4 Kos) and win the WBC Youth junior lightweight title. The stoppage took place at 1:20 of round five.
Bellflower's Alex Luna (7-0, 5 Kos) pounded out a six round unanimous decision over Denver's Marcos Herrera (6-8-1, 2 KOs) in a junior lightweight match up. Despite a cut alongside the left eye due to a clash of heads, Luna out punched the taller Herrera in every round.
An excellent junior welterweight clash saw Ukraine's Ivan “Junito” Redkach (9-0, 8 Kos) end the back and forth action with Florida's Dillet “Dynamite” Frederick (8-5-3, 5 Kos) after a six-punch barrage forced referee Tom Taylor to stop the fight at 1:58 of round four. Up to that point both were exchanging liberally and ferociously.
Ireland's Mike Perez (18-0 with 12 KOs) was steady and relentless in pounding out a 10-round victory over Las Vegas heavyweight Friday Ahunanya (24-9-3). Behind combination punching Perez kept busy throughout the fight that saw little Ahunanya seldom return fire. All three judges scored it 100-90 for Perez.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV