The Showtime TV opener on Saturday night from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida got made as a showcase for power hitter Brandun Lee, though by no means an egregious one. Foe Will Madera came in a dangerous type, someone looking for a meaningful win, knowing his career could use that kickstart.
After ten rounds, the 23 year old Lee, campaigning at 140 pounds, kept his unbeaten mark and momentum, via scores of 98-91, times three on this PBC/Showtime event.
Ah, but Madera did as presumed he might, and pushed Lee, now 26-0. More than that, actually, Lee went down in round three. A right hand landed flush on his chin, causing him to crash to the mat. But Lee passed the test, getting his wits about him, and moving on from that.
By round nine, watchers wondered if Madera would hold up under the fire of Lee, actually. The loser’s right eye puffed up, and his demeanor in the corner leading to the tenth suggested maybe he too wondered.
Madera, from a family of ten, went boxing full time three years ago. He gave what he could, but after absorbing lots of Lee attacks, he couldn’t flurry in a sustained manner in the last session. It was Lee who punctuated the frame with a showy right, and to the cards we’d go.
Sho analyst Raul Marquez, the former 154 pound ace, said that Lee will learn from this one. The Albany, NY rep Madera is more of a 135 pounder, he said, so yes, Lee isn’t on an inevitable track.
Lee went 168-673 to 127-538 for Madera.
Colleague Al Bernstein noted in the tenth that the 31 year old Madera (now 17-2-3) will look back and think about his opportunity lost in the third.
Brian Custer handled blow by blow duties, in for Mauro Ranallo, and he did swell. He’s familiar with that seat, having done thousands of rounds on Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing.
Note: Lee has a good personality. He’s humble, and quick witted. When El Grande Interrogato Jim Gray shared to Lee that Lee’s dad said his kid doesn’t have his man strength, the boxer basically said shit, hope it comes real effin soon.
Garcia Takes Title From Gutierrez
Hector Garcia came in without the strap, but you wouldn’t have known that as he battled Roger Gutierrez, the WBA super featherweight titlist, on the Omar Figueroa v Sergey Lipinets topped PBC/Showtime card.
The UD title switch came about via scores of 117-111, 117-111, 118-110. Those tallies don’t indicate, however, the fact that the title holder came on late and pressed the winner Garcia to play smart defense to secure the triumph.
Garcia, holding a 15-0 mark, took the early rounds but stayed smart, knowing Gutierrez had a sharp right hand. Not so much on this night, though, til late.
The callers agreed that the Venezuelan looked to be more so in survival mode rather than in it to win it mindset after the halfway mark.
The 30 year old southpaw from the Dominican Republic looked calm and on control of the real estate through six, seven, eight. He started late, at age 25 as a pro, after a military stint. In the ninth, Garcia ramped up, seeking a KO. It woke up Gutierrez, actually. The loser threw some errant haymakers, maybe he realized how deep his hole went. In the tenth, the action sizzled, Gutierrez had woken up. He wanted that swift right to connect and disconnect Garcia’s circuitry. To the home stretch—“the last two rounds of the fight have been very entertaining,” analyst Al Bernstein said as the tenth played out.
It was speculated that ring rust and/or having had COVID diminished Gutierrez’ sharpness. It wasn’t age, he’s just 27. In January 2021, Gutierrez had snagged the ‘BA crown, off Rene Alvarado, who he beat in a sequel session. That took place seven months later. Being off a full year probably did Gutierrez zero favors. But his late inning push was having Garcia disregard any rust talk. The last four rounds showed a different Gutierrez, yet Garcia handled the switch.
Judges Mar Puello-Akhmedov Battle
140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov squared off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World underneath the Busted Broner main event. Both showed ample fire and stamina which showed they took this challenge seriously. After 12, the cards were tallied. Not much surprise, the judges were off. Puello had his hand raised, via split decision. 115-113, 117-111, while a dissenting judge saw it 117-111 for Akhmedov.
The crowd murmured, I almost think fans are used to the drill, and numb to it. To me, Akmedov’s aggression won him nothing less than a draw, so the wide card for Puello is very, very off.
Puello said after to Jim Gray that yes, there will be extra partying in parts of the DR, what with Puello and also Garcia grabbing straps in Florida.
Puello (20-0 entering) from the Dominican Republic, knew that Akhmedov (9-1 entering) has been a slow starter. The Ukrainian held it together in this one, as he stayed protective of his chin in this lefty vs lefty tussle.
Neither man pulled away after two. In the third, Ak, who got put in with Mario Barrios in 2019, whacked away to the body. His lefts to the side of Puello sure looked sharp. The DR man didn’t look flustered as Ak bore in. The slick boxer scored with quick counters, and it looked like he felt confident with his game plan.
Watchers wondered, would Bak’s body work grind down Puello? Not through six; but now Puello was more flat footed, he wasn’t able to force himself to scoot out of harms way as often. He’d wing his own three punch combos, and no, he wasn’t obviously deteriorating.
Or was he? But subtly? Didn’t look it in the seventh, really, Pueblo’s counters had mustard on them. But you HAD to be curious, could Puello be able to handle the constant stream of offense in his face?
Trainer Joel Diaz told Ak that this was his night to win a world crown before the eighth. He should have been proven right, IMO.
The action looked very similar into the tenth. The volume stayed high, energy didn’t noticeably sag, both men came to the party caffeinated.
That level of zest stayed on high in the 11th, Ak’s tank stayed topped up, as he walked to Puello, squared up, piling up tosses. He kept tossing, both did, right til the final bell. To the cards we’d go….