The Bryant Jennings second act continued, with the Philly fighter getting his third win in 2017, at the Madison Square Garden’s Theater on Saturday night, before the main event of Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Jennings, who lost a title shot to Wladimir Klitschko, and then his follow-up fight, to Luis Ortiz, is stepping back up the ladder the Top Rank way, with patience.
He moved to TR after promoter Gary Shaw exited the business, and started up with John David Jackson, looking to inject some new wrinkles into his game. The 33 year old looked in shape and pretty sharp, as he downed Donnie Haynesworth in round three.
In the first, BY was patient, and jabbed low and high, and slid. Trainer Jackson spoke to him after, telling him he liked it, more of the same, please.
In the second, Jennngs stepped up the pace.
In the third, the distance tightened, and JDJ asked BY to work on the inside. “Work inside…let those hands go,” the trainer said. “Don’t wait.” He correctly focused on the gut of the loser, ripping with both hands to the flab region. A shot hurt Donnie and he was clearly buzzed, but he didn’t drop. Jennings backed off and ref Arthur Mercante, at 2:29, halted it. The TKO was off a right hook that really buzzed Haynesworth.
In the second bout of the night, Jose Gonzalez, cousin to the Nicaraguan ace Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, took on Adan Gonzales, from Denver, CO. He had his moments, showed some skills he can build on, and I thought he deserved the nod…but he took a draw by scores of 58-56 (Adan), 57-57, 57-57.
Gonzo came in with a 8-0-1 mark; he was 124 on Friday, while the 3-1-1 Coloradan was 121.6.
In the first, the lefty from NY got popped a few times, as he waited too much now and again.
In the second, AG pressed, looked to whack JG with a counter, but got slammed with a long straight left. “Don’t wait,” yelled a wise counselor from the crowd, to JG. NY took the round, with more volume.
In the third, JG was waiting again, and AG was snappy with one-twos, and also lead rights on the left-hander.
In the fourth, JG had him buzzed. Then AG collected himself, and the Choc cousin had to re-set and get back to work.
In the fifth, JG snuck in a right hook after slipping a shot, then continued to out-work AG.
In the sixth, Jose had luck with his right hook, and wasn’t put off by the lump-nick under his left eye. He closed out reasonably strong and both awaited the cards.
Mikael Mayer, a 2016 Olympian, made a bit of splash as she seeks to take over some space in the ascending womens boxing scene in America, with a majority decision win over Nydia Feliciano Saturday night at the MSG Theater.
Mayer lives in LA, and her promoter Top Rank is betting on her as their entry into this pool. She has aesthetic appeal, a skills base, good work ethic, and the NYC crowd—the joint was full by the third fight of the night, saw Mayer win by scores of 38-38, 40-36, 40-36 after four complete rounds.
The draw card was just plain wrong, by the way.
In the first, Mayer (131.4 on Friday; 2-0 entering) Mayer used her length, to good effect.
In the second, Feliciano (131.2; living in the Bronx) was caught on the outside, and tried to wing away from middle distance, but Mayer’s length troubled her. The LA fighter moved smartly, worked to the body, really wickedly.
In the third, Mayer dictated, same as before, was in a sweet rhythm.
In the fourth, the long Mayer jab kept the NY lady at bay, but not during certain moments, when Feliciano slid close and popped a hook to the body.
Mayer said after this was her last four, she wants sixes next. Her trainer, Gabriel Flores, gave her a total thumbs up, saying he liked her work. Promoter Bob Arum has said she will headline an ESPN-Top Rank show in 2018, for the record.
Shakur Stevenson was in beast mode from minute one, and he stopped out Oscar Mendoza in round two of their scheduled six. Shak ripped a body shot that rattled Mendoza's bones and the ref, Sparkle Lee, stepped in to end it.
He was in cover up mode from the start, as the Newark, NJ boxer yelled out grunts to indicate his fury.
At 1:38, in the second, Lee saved Mendoza from more pain.
“Everything was working tonight,” Shak said after.
He said also after, interestingl, that he isn't a guy who holds, as some have been hearing, I guess off something that Vasyl Lomachenko said, after some sparring.
Hey, he wasn't in holding mode on this night.
We can see Shak in an eight rounder next, if the TR matchmaking crew thinks it wise. I think the kid can handle it…
Christopher Diaz took out late sub Bryant Cruz, a New Yorker who was treated rudely on his turf by the Puerto Rican.
In the first, the Puerto Rican who I do believe announced himself to a place where he's on the “almost star” list, sent Cruz down. Diaz was punching sharp and angry. Would this go past one?
In the second, Diaz used his height and hand speed and agility edge to take the round. Cruz did a spaghetti leg dance, and went down again, after a slight delay. He was up at eight. Combos and flurries again and he took a knee. He got up at eight, and most of the crowd felt like the ref should have just pulled that plug, I think. Two docs looked extra at Diaz after the round.
In the third, a right landed, and Cruz (18-3) did a dance, and wobbled and then took a knee, and the ref did the right thing, pulled that plug. The end came at :37 seconds elapsed.
The buzz in the building and on press row on Diaz was heavy duty. Diaz (22-0; now trained by Chino Rivas) should be back here in NY, in March, and could I see him headlining a Puerto Rican Day Parade show, at this rate? Damn right I could.
Mick Conlan did some resume building, getting a UD6 six over Luis F. Molina, in a featherweight tango Saturday night, at the MSG Theater.
Conlan went to 5-0 with the victory, and his foe slid to 4-4-1. Conlan had stopped his previous opponents up til now.
In the first, Conlan, sporting old school cut trunks, was in mover mode, and he pumped double jabs.
In the second, the Irishman went lefty, and looked solid doing so. He slipped a counter right, from Molina, and had the fight in his grasp.
In the third, lefty Conlan swug a right hook and cuffed the loser. He was in control, but not with the same sort of spark or swagger that Shakur Stevenson showed, if we want to compare and contrast.
In the fourth, he made Molina miss badly and the crowd appreciated the ring generalship.
In the fifth, Conlan landed low and ref Art Mercante gave Molina a little time. An uppercut from Conlan landed very, very clean, best punch of the night to this point for him.
In the sixth, Conlan was still lefty. He wasn't able to take out the foe. We went to the cards…60-54, times three.