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Ryan Garcia, Bilal Akkawy, Katie Taylor, Ulysse, Lamont Roach Get Wins At MSG

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Two vets collided on Saturday night, at Madison Square Garden’s big room, on a Golden Boy/DAZN show. No belts were on the line, but continued relevance in the sport and division was.

Sadam Ali showed more, in the volume department, and his legs proved fresher and a difference-maker in getting the decision W over Mauricio Herrera. He admitted after that he wasn;t that sharp, and, refreshingly, thought the fight was closer than scores indicated.

After ten rounds of a fight which didn’t achieve liftoff, to be honest, the judges returned their verdict: 100-90, 99-91, 98-92, for Ali.

“Honestly, I didn’t look good in there,” said Ali after. “I felt like I won sloppy. Herrera made me look terrible in there. He’s a rugged fighter. And I fell in there that last moment of the fight the same way I fell when I fought Miguel Cotto. I felt like the cards were a lot closer than what the judges said they were.”

Mauricio Herrera: “It was an ok fight. I had to shake a lot of the rust off, but it was a good pace. Overall, I thought I won the fight. I had him missing a lot in there, and I wasn’t that tired.”

Ali’s assessment gets the W over Mauricio’s, to be honest.

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Tevin Farmer went to 28-4-1 and held on to his IBF super feather title; he downed Francisco Fonseca, who came from Costa Rica.

The 12 round scrap didn’t really get off the ground like some hoped. Farmer has been craving KOs, of late, and wanted to make that impression. But Fonseca was crafty. He came right out and was first in many portions of rounds. Farmer, the lefty, worked cleverly inside, leaning, and dipping. The wrestled and jostled a good deal, though.

Fonseca slipped down to 22-2-1.

The crowd dug it when a few near bombs were unleashed in the tenth. The right cross from Tevin looked nasty but Fonseca was able to dodge most of it. Farmer is a real slickster. He’s learned from his forebears real well, he has great eyes in the ring and is able to ascertain what’s coming at him before it is launched. “He was really, really tough,” said Farmer afterward.

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Entertaining and powerful and a bit wild…Ryan Garcia is fan friendly, if you judged by the decibel level when he stopped out Braulio Rodriguez in the fifth round at MSG on Saturday night.

The end came at 1:14, when Ron Lipton reached a count of ten.

The winner drew a good solid pop when he thanked God, trainer Eddy Reynoso and then his dad and the fam. He said he wasn’t looking for a KO, he just wanted to prove to people that he’s not merely an Instagram superstar.

Ryan scored a knockdown in the first, maybe could have gotten one in the third, and his aggression had the fans digging it. He told Chris Mannix after that he had the Mexican blood in him and those in attendance showed it was a matter of mutual appreciation. “I appreciate every one of you guys, New York, what’s up?”

Garcia entered at 16-0, and was 134.8 on Friday, while Rodriguez was 19-3 and 133.2.

In the first, Ry had a high guard when Braulio winged left hooks. Then, down went Braulio. A left hook had his seeing God/stars. This, after a right landed behind the ear to prep the left.

In the second, we noticed Garcia’s frame: the musculature, it spoke to more rigorous conditioning. He was chill and so patient, he didn’t get over excited and look to close the show.

In the third, a low one gave Braulio extra time. Then, the action re started…The loser got smashed back into the ropes, the ropes maybe keeping him up, after he dangled his lead hand to his thigh.

Flurrying, wild and crazy and powerful, had the crowd amped in the fourth for King Ry.

To round 5; Ryan looked to land swift lead hooks. A flurry sent Ryan down, the crowd ROARED…and he was woozy. The ref waved it off. Replay showed a right on the forehead really buzzed Braulio.

Too strong, too busy—Bilal Akkawy downed Victor Fonseca, who was rugged but whose durability waned, in the first fight of the night, a super middleweight tango at Madison Square Garden, underneath the Canelo Alvarez v Rocky Fielding main event.

The ending: 2:53 of the seventh, when ref Steve Willis interceded as Fonseca was being basted on the ropes.

Akkway (18-0-1 entering; from Australia; trained by Eddy Reynoso) was 167.4 to 166.2 for Victor Fonseca (17-8-1 entering; from Mexico) on Friday. Both looked in the 180s tonight.

In the first, Bilal showed a strength and power edge. In the second, he looked to land power shots, and the two basically stood toe to toe and worked. Both mixed body work and both landed some clean tosses. In the third, Bilal had a high guard, which Fonseca sought to pierce with a jab. This was a stationary sort of fight, nobody was interested in sliding much or running around to get a great angle.

To the fourth—Bilal’s power was speaking louder. He was eating the odd clean shot, though; the level of power on the Fonseca throws didn’t seem to bother the Aussie that much, however.

To round 5: we saw Bilal moving Fonseca back. He landed power rights and and looked to fire uppercuts selectively as well. Fonseca was active, not there to lay down, for certain.

In the sixth, power shots from Bilal piled up..and then Fonseca landed a hook at the bell. Yep, he wasn’t folding. But accumulated damage in round seven was all she wrote for Fonseca.

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In the second bout of the night, Yves Ulysse of Montreal scored the W over Max Becerra, trekking in from California. After eight rounds, the Montreal based boxer grabbed the win, by scores of 79-71, 78-72, 78-72, in the super lightweight collision.

Ulysse (age 30) was 139 on Friday, while Becerra (age 31) was also 139.

In the first, we saw Becerra stick a snappy jab. Ulysse sought to exert his will and push Beccerra back late in the round. In round two, Yves mixed it low and high, moved laterally and changed levels nicely. Solid round for him…

In the third, we saw Yves looking to close the distance more, get more aggressive. Then Becerra woke up, flurried some, but got caught looking, and ate a right cross lead. He tried that right lead again, but it fell short, at 20 seconds left. Ulysse set the tone and pace in the fourth and fifth, though Becerra would pop in with flurries to keep himself in the game. To round 6: Ulysse sped up his game, cranked power rights, and kept on slipping adroitly when Becerra countered. The crowd enjoyed the round and Yves enjoyed scoring a knockdown. He used his skill set advantages in round seven, grabbing another knockdown, and in eight, to keep the momentum up. He isn’t a hellacious power puncher, though, so he’d have to be Ok with going to the cards.

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Lamont Roach Jr went to 18-0-1 with a 10 round decision victory over Alberto Mercado, who traveled from Puerto Rico, and goes home with another L, 15-2-1.

The tallies: 99-91, 98-92, 97-93, for Roach, who retained the WBO International super feather title.

The DC based boxer, who was 129.4 on Friday, in round one showed a hand speed advantage. Mercado, 129.2 at the weigh in, is a lefty and he tried to sneak in a quick shot on Roach, catch him cold. In round two, Roach stayed smart, and didn’t let the PR man catch him unawares. You heard the chant of “Boricua, Boricua,” as Mercado fans looked to help hype their guy. Roach came out nastier in the third—he bounced, then surged, and cranked rights underneath, scored with quick hooks, too.

In the fourth, we saw Roach beggining to change the body language in Mercado, who was backing up quicker. Then Mercado grabbed a second wind, and started countering some.

In round 5, Roach impressed with left hooks, and his overall demeanor. He’d slip a shot and look to counter swiftly and sharply. In round six, Roach kept on being first, being the slicker boxer, and showing that consistent head movement…he was the better ring general. In the 7th, we saw Roach see that his foe was maybe fading some. He pressed more. Mercado looked to be the aggressor more in the ninth; he came forward, landed a few right hooks, but his power pack is of a lesser grade than Roach’s so he wasn’t making Roach quake in his boxing boots. To the tenth…Roach slipped, or did he go off balance from a punch? Regardless, he righted himself. Becerra actually got busy and whacked him good at the end of the round. To the cards we’d go…

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Katie Taylor kept her IBF and WBA light weight belts, going to 12-0, with an easy work UD10 over Eva Wahlstrom. Eva is a Finn, 38, who slid to 22-1-1; she’d lost to Katie in the ams, and now pros.

Taylor bounced and then pounced and was the more aggressive boxer.

Eva has little pop so she couldn’t dissuade the Irish hitter. They hugged it out after fighting and Katie drew cheers when she said, “Let’s get it on” addressed to Amanda Serrano.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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