It is great to be back at Madison Square Garden for boxing. Always a joy to be in the building to watch fights. Especially the Hulu Theater, which always has a great atmosphere. Last time I came here was for the Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos card. That was amazing, so I was just waiting to see what was in store for us tonight. Traveling to MSG is never a hassle coming from the Bronx but making the trip in the cold (15 degrees) is never fun. I got through it and made it into The Garden early so I can be ready for all the fights. I knew I was in for a good night when I realized there was already a good-sized crowd early. The Puerto Ricans early made their way into MSG, and they were making themselves known. Puerto Ricans headlined the early fights. The card kicked off with Yankiel Rivera fighting Fernando Diaz, who showed some toughness and determination. But Rivera was just of a higher pedigree, and he showed it. Aaron Aponte fought Joshua David Rivera. Aponte cruised to an easy victory; he looked exceptionally good. Look forward to seeing him more in the future. At this point, the fans were playfully going at it too. The Mexico vs PR rivalry is always a fun one to watch. Next up, Harley Mederos faced off against Julio Madera. Harley is a local talent, so the NY crowd was fully behind him. And they were incredibly happy as he dominated Madera, capping it off with a KO in the sixth round.
After this, it was time for the female fights to start rolling in. Shadasia Green kicked it off against Elin Cederroos. Green has a lot of hype surrounding her, so I was interested in seeing how she performed. Elin had some success early on with the jab and was able to walk down Green. But then in the 3rd, Green unloaded a big right which dropped Cederroos. Elin was able to recover and get back to boxing, but she couldn’t avoid the right. Anytime she was hit with it, it shook up her whole body. Green’s punching power was super legit, thudding punches you could hear all across the arena. Shadasia finally put a stop to things in the sixth round, when she delivered another monstrous right to Elin. The referee had no choice but to stop the fight. Shadasia is a monstrous puncher, and I feel bad for anyone who tries to stand and trade with her. Next up was Ramla Ali, who was fighting Avril Mathie. It’s hard to follow up a Shadasia Green fight in terms of intensity and excitement, so I felt for Ramla. She does not have much as far as power goes. But that’s all you can say, as she has everything in his arsenal. Great footwork, speed, timing, and combinations. Ali is a supremely skilled fighter and showed her level in this fight. Dominant win by Ali. After that fight was Skye Nicolson who was facing off against Tania Alvarez. Skye Nicolson did her best to endear herself to the NY crowd, rocking a Knicks jersey to the ring. She is a fighter that has a lot of male fans, as she is very aesthetically pleasing to look at. This fight, however, was anything but that. Tania Alvarez decided to just come forward face and chin out, just to be tagged over and over. Skye kept throwing wide left hooks, many of them not landing clean. They kept getting tangled up, with the ref constantly breaking things up. It was an ugly fight that went the distance, and Skye left as the victor on all scorecards. Let’s hope for a better fight next time around.
By this time, Hulu was PACKED! Not a single empty seat in the house. Next up was Richardson Hitchins vs John Bauza. This was the fight that the crowd was split for. Bauza got cheered heavily by the Puerto Rican and Jersey crowd. The local kid Hitchins came into some boos but received loud cheers as well. The first round Bauza came out aggressive, throwing wide looping shots and trying to pressure Hitchins. But Hitchins was calm, relaxed, and able to box well. He sat back and countered when the openings were there. Bauza got dropped at the end of the first round, but it was a very questionable knockdown. 2nd and 3rd round, Hitchins started to pick off Bauza even more, and in the fourth round he legitimately dropped Bauza. After the fifth round, levels were clearly shown and Bauza had absolutely nothing for Hitchins. It was a beating, and Bauza got hurt multiple times. Hitchins could have finished him if he were more aggressive. Even then, I am still surprised Bauza’s corner did not stop it. The final score read 100-88 on all cards. Hitchins had a dominant performance, and this could be the fight that starts his rise to superstardom. People are already starting to put him on the level of guys like Haney and Stevenson in terms of talent. That remains to be seen. Look forward to seeing his next couple fights.
Next up, we finally approached the co-main. Alycia Baumgardner vs Elhem Mekhaled for the Undisputed 130 championship. Baumgardner came out to a huge ovation. The crowd loved her. The fight started out slow in the first round, but by the second both fighters were trading. In the third round both fighters continued trading, until Alycia landed a big right hand that dropped Mekhaled. Baumgardner jumped on her and was able to get a second down. Mekhaled was out on her feet but managed to survive the rest of the round. They continued to trade shots, but Baumgardner was clearly getting the better end of Mekhaled. Her shots are heavier/more meaningful. By the eighth round, Baumgardner started to tire out. She was still active and landing, but her punches lost a lot of steam. Mekhaled started to rally, but ultimately it was not enough. Baumgarnder won a wide unanimous decision and is now the undisputed champion at 130.
And now, we have reached the main event. Amanda Serrano vs Erika Cruz for the undisputed championship at 126. Erika Cruz came out and received a surprisingly nice ovation. Amanda Serrano came in through the crowd like AEW’s Jon Moxley, and the crowd ate it up. Round one began, and the action started early. Erika Cruz was pressuring Serrano and throwing wide combinations with her feet never set. She was landing a lot of those punches though. Serrano was getting tagged more often than usual, which was an interesting observation. The action picked up more, until the fighters clashed heads. Erika Cruz had a deep cut open up over her forehead. Her corner did an excellent job working on the cut, but every round it would open up again as she was hit. It was evident the cut was affecting her, as she kept pawing at it every round. By Round 6, Serrano had picked up the pace, increasing her output and even hurting Cruz a couple of times. Erika kept pushing forward though, trying to outwork Serrano. She threw more punches, but Serrano was landing the cleaner and more eye-catching shots. After 10 rounds of great action, the judges gave it to Serrano by unanimous decision. The crowd showed their delight, and exploded after the fight when the announcement was made Amanda Serrano vs Katie Taylor. The rematch has been officially set for May 20, in Ireland. Katie Taylor was invited to the ring and was booed out of the building. Both fighters are ready, and the fans are ready for this fight. I am ready for this fight, and I know the event will live up to the hype. Just like this card did.