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Claudio Marrero vs. Orlando Rizo
Round 1Marrero storms out and lands a stiff jab to the gut. Moments later he unfurls a loopy overhand right and then a left hook, though neither are particularly clean. Rizo misses a right lead and catches a short left hook on the way out, but he takes it well. Marrero traps his foe along the ropes and digs a few nasty uppercuts to the body. Rizo composes himself and launches a few punches of his own, but Marrero is sharper. With 30 seconds left, “The Matrix” cracks Rizo with another left hand. Marrero throws two right jabs and then eats a right hand, but he counters with a left hook at the bell. 10-9 Marrero.
Round 2Marrero lands two nice right jabs and then goes to the body again. Marrero ducks down and lands three nasty hooks to the body; Rizo can’t counter. They separate and regroup, only to see “El Naval” floored with a left hand. He’s up at nine but doesn’t look terribly shaken. Marrero swarms him but once he realizes he can’t put him away, he lets off the gas and resets. Midway through the round, Marrero drops his right hand and is rocked badly by a short left hook. He is hurt and stumbling around. Marrero backs into the ropes and Rizo closes in. The Dominican smartly clinches, trying to clear his head. Rizo is still trying to end the fight but he’s smothering his own punches. By the time the round ends, it appears as though Marrero has ridden himself of the fuzziness. 10-9 Marrero.
Round 3Marrero opens up his attacks right away and clips his foe with a left hand. Rizo looks like he’s hurt and Marrero swarms him. He throws a bushel of bombs from all angles, finally getting through with a left and right. Rizo drops to his knees and gets back up at the count of eight. Marrero is in kill mode, but Rizo is tough and clears his head. Midway through the frame, “The Matrix” lands another good left hand that shakes the Nicaraguan. Another. Rizo is tough and fighting back, but Marrero is in total control. Hard straight left/right hook by Marrero with 15 seconds left and Rizo is felled onto his back. He’s up at eight and is in trouble, though he is saved by the bell. 10-7 Marrero.
Round 4Rizo storms out of his corner to start the round, but he doesn’t connect with anything meaningful. Straight left hand almost a minute in stings Rizo, who backs into a corner. Marrero patiently looks for an opening with a slick right jab. Rizo lands a nifty left hand over the top but Marrero shrugs it off. The action has slowed considerably during the second half of the frame. Marrero pops him with a nice left/right just before the bell. 10-9 Marrero.
Round 5Marrero comes right at Rizo to start the round and digs two hard rights to the head and body. Immediately after, Rizo is dropped by a double left hand. He’s not terribly hurt but he’s up at nine. The ref allows him to continue and then he swallows another nasty left hand. He’s tougher than leather and still fighting back, but his punches have no steam on them. Marrero stalks his opponent with a stiff jab and thudding hooks to the body. Rizo is hanging in there and letting his hands go, but Marrero might be a little too big for him. Again, “El Naval” survives to see the next round. 10-8 Marrero.
Round 6Marrero jabs with the right hand and feints with his left. Rizo is right there in front of him, but his punches keep falling short of their target. Marrero is moving around, bending at the knees and showing spurts of defensive brilliance, though he isn’t throwing any meaningful punches at this point in the fight. Rizo is jabbing and looking to land his left hand, but Marrero’s distance is superb. Referee Rick Steigerwald warns Marrero for continuously holding onto Rizo near the end of a rather uneventful round. 10-9 Marrero.
Round 7With only two rounds left, it’s obvious that Rizo needs to score a dramatic knockout in order to win. Marrero is more aggressive early in the round, landing a clean right and left hand. The Dominican jabs to the body and head, keeping Rizo off-balance. Marrero delivers a solid right hook as he backs up, but Rizo shakes it off. Rizo opens up his offense a bit more but his punches either miss completely or just glance off Marrero’s head. Marrero is on his bike now, moving and jabbing to stay safe. 10-9 Marrero.
Round 8Marrero’s corner is telling him not to be careless or stupid or else he’ll lose the fight. There isn’t much urgency on the Nicaraguan’s part to start the round. Marrero is sticking and moving, keeping things at a safe distance. Rizo lands a loopy overhand right but it’s not lethal by any means. Rizo connects with a good left hand. Another, and this one is harder, but Marrero hakes it off, not bothered by the attack. Marrero is not punching much while Rizo is much more aggressive with a minute left. Marrero circles away and then clinches whenever they get close. They fight in close quarters near the bell and Marrero delivers a strong right hand. Close round but Marrero still nabbed it. 10-9 Marrero (80-69 Marrero).
The Official ResultClaudio Marrero def. Orlando Rizo Decision (Unanimous) [George Kachulis: 78-70, Alexis Pierce: 80-68, Phil Rogers: 78-71] R8
Humberto Savigne vs. Craig Baker
Round 1Savigne opens the fight with a nice left jab to the mouth. Baker seems hesitant to throw during the first minute while the Cuban lands a few rights here and there. Looking for an opening. Big right hand stuns Baker, who is tagged by another right. He’s up against the ropes and Savigne unloads three more overhand rights, but Baker blocks them and escapes out the side door. Baker clears his head and goes right at his opponent, who backs himself into the ropes. Baker unloads a furious assault, but “El Don” blocks most of the attack. Good action carries into the end of the round with Baker putting forth more of an effort. 10-9 Savigne.
Round 2Baker opens up the frame with a series of jabs, bloodying the nose of Savigne. Baker lands a straight right which hurts Savigne, who stumbles into the ropes. Baker is all over him, landing lefts and rights. A left hand finally drops Savigne face first. The Cuban stumbles up to his feet, only to flop face-first into the ropes. He frees himself but as he’s being counted, he is wobbling all over the place. Referee Ernie Sharif has no choice but to stop it. Savigne is still out, not knowing what’s going on, asking “what happened?” in his corner. The official time of the somewhat surprising TKO is 1:58 of the second round, keeping Baker undefeated as a pro.
The Official ResultCraig Baker def. Humberto Savigne via Knockout 1:58, R2
Sammy Vasquez vs. Emmanuel Lartey
Round 1They jab at each other to start the tussle, but Vasquez cracks him with a nice left hook, buckling his knees. Lartey quickly clears his head and regroups. Vasquez is seeking an early KO, throwing vicious punches. He tags the Ghanaian with another fierce left hook, but Lartey shakes it off. A double left hand rocks Lartey again and he stumbles into the ropes. Lartey ties him up and again clears his head. Vasquez not jabbing at all; instead he stalks his foe, looking to end it with one punch. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 2Lartey backs into a corner early in the round and is forced to slug with the hometown fighter. Vasquez lands a few left hands but Lartey takes them well. They separate and square off in the center of the ring. Vasquez is applying all sorts of pressure and pins the Bronx-based foe into the corner again. Nice left hook to the body from Vasquez, who follows it up with a left to the face. Lartey backs away to regroup, but Sammy is all over him. Lartey clinches. So far it’s all Vasquez. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 3coming in. Vasquez pops him again with the right and then a left. Lartey is having a great deal of difficulty in dealing with Vasquez’ speed. Lartey throws a triple jab, digs a left to the ribs and then lands a right upstairs. Vasquez is now on his bike, sticking and moving back and side-to-side. Lartey is coming straight in, throwing many more punches than he had been in the previous two rounds. Lartey continues to throw his right jab and then connects with a decent right/left to the head. Vasquez pops him with a right to the cheek right at the bell. Very close round. 10-9 Lartey.
Round 4Right/left by Lartey immediately into the round but Vasquez answers with a flurry to the head and body. Vasquez is moving side to side with his jab now, making “Ice Cold” miss several shots. Vasquez lands several left hands, though many of them are blocked. Vasquez is landing some jabs and loopy hooks here and there, disallowing Lartey to have the sort of success he had in the third. Nice right hand by Vasquez late. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 5Vasquez snaps a right jab out over and over early in the frame. Lartey covers up, allowing the local kid to throws a plethora of punches to the head and body. Lartey is not aggressive anymore but that’s mostly because of Vasquez’ movement and high punch output. The Ghanaian misses with a wild overhand left and Vasquez makes him pay with a flurry. Lartey cracks the Pennsylvanian with a thudding shot to the groin, forcing a delay and a warning. They resume moments later and Vasquez nails him with a hard right hand, followed by decent back-and-forth action at the bell. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 6Lartey opens the round with a hard right hand but Sammy takes it well. Vasquez goes back to the jab repeatedly, forcing Lartey to cover up. Midway through the stanza and Lartey is starting to look fatigued. Hard right hook to the ribs by Vasquez with a minute left. Lartey paws with the jab as Vasquez stares him down. “Ice Cold” digs two shots to the body but Vasquez is unfazed. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 7Though Lartey lands two good jabs, Vasquez goes upstairs and down. Nice right hand by Vasquez and Lartey backs into a corner. Sammy throws several shots, but Lartey covers up and eventually escapes out the side. Decent left hand over the top from Lartey but it’s more of a glancing blow. Vasquez stalks his foe into the ropes and nails him with a sizzling right uppercut to the gut. Lartey clinches and is looking more and more tired. On the break, Lartey looks away as he paws at his mouth; it looks like he no longer wants to be in there. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 8Vasquez jabs to the chest and chin early in the round and then rocks him with a left hand. Lartey backs into a corner where Sammy unloads a vicious array of shots to the head and body. Lartey fights back but there’s nothing on his punches. They fight forehead-to-forehead, winging shots from all angles. Vasquez will not let Lartey escape out of the corner, forcing him into a minute-long slugfest. Finally, with 30 seconds left, Lartey is able to move out of the corner to regroup. Thunderous left/right to the stomach by Vasquez at the bell. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 9Lartey’s corner seems willing to call off the fight but it appeared as though the fighter was asking for at least one more round. Lartey looked totally defeated between rounds, but he’s fighting early in the ninth. Vasquez tags him with a lead left hand and then backs his foe into the same corner. He goes up and down, but Lartey is game, answering with rights and lefts. Lartey backs out of the corner, but he walks across the ring and leans up against the ropes, where Vasquez delivers a few shots. Lartey looks less and less willing to fight as he walks away from his opponent and covers up. The commentators are begging the fight to be stopped. 10-9 Vasquez.
Round 10The referee is in Lartey’s face between rounds, demanding to know if he wants to continue. Lartey says he does and will go out for the final round. Lartey fires off some jabs but he’s quickly dealt a flurry of shots to the body and head. Vasquez backs off and jabs away. Lartey misses a wild left hook at the midway point. Nice left hand by Lartey lands flush on the face, forcing Vasquez to stop in his tracks. Lartye doesn’t have the energy to chase after him, allowing Vasquez to clear his head. Vasquez is not throwing any punches while Lartey rallies late with a series of left hands, but he can’t inflict as much damage as he hoped. 10-9 Lartey (98-92 Vasquez).
The Official ResultSammy Vasquez def. Emmanuel Lartey via Decision (Unanimous) [Dana Depaolo 100-90, George Kachulis 99-91, Phil Rogers 99-91] R10
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