Edgar Berlanga of Brooklyn (18-0, 16 KOs) survived a scare from his first knockdown, going the distance against a determined Marcelo Esteban Coceres of Argentina (30-3-1, 16 KOs). Berlanga escaped with a unanimous decision by scores of 96-93 on all three cards.
Berlanga outlanded his opponent Coceres two to one by the end of the third round of their scheduled ten-round fight. But by mid-fight, Coceres worked his way back and traded equal punches with the flashy prospect Coceres found a home for right hooks to Berlanga’s head in round six, drawing gasps from the ringside fans, including Berlanga’s family. Berlanga returned the favor in the seventh round. Both men could have done more to capitalize on their power shots but instead slowed down behind jabs.
Coceres’ left eye accumulated damage from Berlanga’s right hooks, and it threatened to become a dramatic factor in the fight. With seconds left in the ninth, Coceres connected on a counter right hook sending Berlanga down. A frustrated Berlanga smacked his gloves together flat on his back in frustration before getting up. Coceres tried to end it but only had seconds and couldn’t do it.
As Coceres returned to his corner with his left eye horribly swollen, his corner frantically worked to get it under control to let Coceres come out for the last round. He could finish the fight cautiously to hear the final bell and send the fight to the cards.
A chastened Berlanga heard as many boos as cheers as he left the ring. After a 16 fight knockout streak ended, Berlanga has gone the distance in two fights, with some hard lessons learned on Saturday.
Former titleholder Julian Williams turned back by Vladimir Hernandez
Julian “JRock” Williams of Philadelphia (27-3-1, 16 KOs) and Vladimir Hernandez of Mexico (13-4, 6 KOs) did ten rounds the hard way, slugging it out in a rough and messy fight. The fight was intended as a tune-up to put Williams back into the title hunt in the super welterweight division, But the split decision went to the harder working Hernandez by scores of 97-93 and 96-94, with 96-94 on one card to Williams.
Williams started strong, but ring rust, a lack of conditioning, and age could have contributed to Williams’ inability to pull off the win. Hernandez suffered two cuts and ate good punches, including a flashy right hook in the final round. Hernandez put a stamp on the effort by rocking Williams near the final bell, and it was enough on the close card to keep the fight from being a draw. Williams’ boxing career has careened from highs to lows, and he will need to think about his future. Hernandez wins the most significant victory of his career.
Early action: Ramirez, Carrington, Faust winners
Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba (8-1, 4 KOs) enjoys the hurt game, smiling and nodding his head as he and Orlando Gonzalez of Puerto Rico (17-1, 10 KOs) had words with each other during their six-round junior featherweight fight. Their time would have been better spent with more action and less admiring their work. Ramirez is an accurate power puncher, but not a particularly active one. He won the unanimous decision with ease by scores of 99-91 X 2 and 97-93.
Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington of Brooklyn impressed the few fans watching in his professional debut against a tough but outgunned Cesar Cantu (3-2, 1 KO) of Welasco, Texas. Carrington won a shutout on all three cards in the four-round fight, 40-36 X 3. Carrington produced an excellent array of power shots. Cantu took them well, but his offense was caught by Carrington’s counter shots. Carrington is another new generation Brooklyn fighter worth following.
Viktor Faust (8-0, 6 KOs) of Ukraine had little trouble walking through Mike Marshall of Dansbury, Connecticut (6-2-1, 4 KOs), dropping Marshall twice on the way to a third-round technical knockout win in his US debut.