Saturday night at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, Main Events threw a party and served a 10-round battle featuring Sullivan Barrera V Sean Monaghan.
In a city that never sleeps, it came as no surprise that neither man cared about turning back the clock. Neither did CEO Kathy Duva.
“Yo, I see your name here at the Aviator, you coming?”
That's my boy David Yi with Fight Chronicles, already in the building to get a glimpse of any future stars. About two hours ago, I'd decided to stay at Smash Studios to work on a project just a little longer after receiving an e-mail from Main Events that the fights will start at 9 pm instead of 6 pm. But it’s nearing that time and I hop on the 2 train at a little past 8 pm near Madison Square Garden. After arriving at the end of the line on Flatbush and Norstrand near Kings Hwy, it occurs to me that I'm no where near Aviator and have no time to mess with the Q35 bus. I cut a deal with a gypsy cabbie– who then decides to skip past the arena as I'm on the phone, and drives over the Verrazano Bridge heading to Staten Island. I'm losing my mind all over the car (“Dude… Where the fuck are you going?! Are you serious?!?!), but we manage to arrive a little past nine; just in time to see Kathy and daughter Nicole Duva working last minute tickets on the front end.
Literally as soon as I walk into the arena and the first bell rings, super welterweight Ismael Villarreal (4-0, 1KO) comes out and 1-2 whacks Travis Nero (1-3) in no time. Then, Denis Douglin (22-6, 14KOs), notable for beating a tough Vaughn Alexander in Atlantic City on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev V Eleider Alvarez I on August 4, pounded Saul Roman (43-13, 35KOs) into a 6th round TKO while talking friendly smack with a ringside commentating Sadam Ali.
The “Momma's Boy”, who's actually trained by his mom, Saphya (pictured, in David Spagnolo pic) looks to have some real promise after a rocky start.
Up next, I remembered Cassius Chaney and his own story of “Hoop Dreams” that lead him into boxing at a very ripe age, and was present at MSG when he broke a heavyweight cardboard box in Tim Washington on March 3rd. This time, he got decked by someone seemingly from “The Godfather” in one Santino Turnbow, who got absolutely atomic bombed via straight right hand by Chaney in the 4th round.
With the prelims gone, we're there to see Long Island fan favorite “Irish” Sean Monaghan (27-2, 19KOs) face the battle-tested Sullivan Barrera (22-2, 14KOs) and we weren't disappointed. Seanie Boy was there to fight, giving a much better account of himself after being starched clean by Marcus Browne in 2-rounds. Monaghan worked his ass off while dropping a clear decision that wasn't nearly as wide as the judges had it. I had it 96-94 Barrera, who didn't look particularly sharp and still showed the numbing effects of his 12th round KO defeat to Dmitry Bivol. I grab interviews with both fighters and their camps; Team Monaghan is dejected but proud, while Team Barrera was really pleased with a performance that appeared to result from a camp light on sparring.
Damn it’s getting late, and I'm definitely all about getting to Foxborough for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for Sunday Night Football. I'm thinking about bolting for an Uber when I spot Rocsi Diaz…
…just a few feet away. The glamorous former BET 106 & Park star did a nice job MC'ing the event and we spoke briefly about the L.A. scene, her work with Entertainment Tonite and People Magazine since leaving BET a few years ago. She told me that Golden Boy had contacted her about the new role, and I mentioned that I didn't see any reason why she couldn't be as good or better than Top Rank's Crystina Poncher or Michelle Joy Phelps with the World Boxing Super Series.
With that, Kathy Duva is making her rounds with the media and I kinda run into her. Some guy asks if Kovalev is still the best light heavyweight in the world. She looks at him like he'd just farted in a really toxic way.
“No. He got knocked out pretty fuckin badly,” Duva fires with a half smile. “Do I still have faith in him? Yes. But he has to realize that he's now an older fighter and has to be more adaptable.”
I smile. It just might be coincidence as I'm donning a Dark Knight hat, but that's the Selina Kyle reference I'd dropped in “The Main Events” earlier in the day.
She clarified that Dmitry Bivol is not a Main Events fighter and wants to see a fight between him and “Krusher”; that Matthew Saad Muhammad V Yaqui Lopez is still the greatest fight she's ever seen; she's pleased with the preliminary viewing numbers on Facebook Watch for event partner Golden Boy (over 20K is very solid); and that she really did wish Adonis Stevenson a “Happy 41st Birthday!” — she just hopes he gets KTFO and loses the WBC light heavyweight title on December 1st against the very talented Oleksander Gvozdyk.
It's approaching midnight, and I just don't want her to come back to this godforsaken WWII air force post deep in Brooklyn EVER again.
“Oh my goodness, you're whining? Please. It’s not that far!” She goes, like it’s Happy Hour. “You're in New Jersey it's right across the street!”
Unfortunately sleep isn't, at least not until I leave Brooklyn if only in my mind. I'm already dreaming.