It was great to be in Detroit for the first time. Detroit is a city rich with tradition. Especially when it comes to Boxing. That’s what I was there for on Saturday night: Boxing at the Masonic Temple to watch Undisputed 130 champion Alycia “The Bomb” Baumgardner defend her titles against Christina Linadartou.
The first fight on the untelevised portion was Joshua Pagan taking on Gabriel Smith. Fight didn’t last long, as Pagan made quick work of Smith within the opening minute of Round 1. Next fight was Joseph Hicks taking on Ramses Agaton. Hicks looked sharp. A bit of rough inside holding, but he fought through it and hit Agaton with hard hooks and uppercuts. Stunned him at the end of the first. Fighting got progressively rough, and a lot of hooks landed from Hicks. There was also quite a bit of taunting from both fighters. At the end of the third, Agaton intentionally laid on the ropes, daring Hicks to tag him. In the fourth, the fight was stopped momentarily to tie Hicks shoes. While getting his laces tied, Hicks winked at Agaton. Then they continued to taunt each other, even at the end of the round. Referee had to separate the two. At the beginning of the sixth and final round, Hicks tried to touch gloves and Agaton pushed his glove away. At the final bell, Hicks stuck his tongue out. Outside of all the taunting, it was a rough fight in which Hicks controlled the pace and landed all the meaningful shots. He was given a 60-54 score by all three judges, making it a wide unanimous decision.
Next fight was Cameron Pankey taking on Misael Reyes. Pankey looked sharp, he was tagging Reyes all fight especially with the left hook which he couldn’t seem to miss with. Credit Reyes for his chin because he’s been absorbing some hard shots. But in the end, he had nothing for Cameron Pankey, who took the decision by 60-54 shutout on all cards. Next fight was Jemarco Holloway vs Angelo Snow. Both Holloway and Snow started off slow in the first, then picked up the pace in the second. Holloway landed some nice uppercuts. Holloway then had some nice work in the third round. Snow was leaking from the nose. Holloway put together his punches well in the fourth, and the ref waved it off. TKO victory for Holloway
After the televised portion of the card began. It kicked off with JaRico O’Quinn taking on Carlos Mujica. Both fighters started off doing nice work in Round 1. Good exchanges between both guys. They were fighting on even terms, but Mujica was applying pressure and O’Quinn was having difficulties keeping up with the higher pace. He managed to tag Mujica and keep up with the pressure though as the fight progressed. At the end, Quinn was announced the winner by unanimous decision (100-90, 97-93, 96-94). Next fight was heavyweight Jermaine Franklin vs Isaac Munoz. Franklin was fighting in his home state (He’s from Saginaw, not too far from Detroit) and so there was quite a bit of cheering for him. Munoz’s best trait was his durability, because he was getting hit with everything but the kitchen sink. Franklin was putting the pressure on him and landing at will. Target practice for him. I was surprised Munoz was still standing after 10 rounds of getting hit with everything Franklin threw. Franklin picked up the easy UD (100-91 2x, 99-91).
Next up was the co-main: the long anticipated debut of the Cuban Olympic gold medalist Andy Cruz. His debut was a ten round fight against veteran Juan Carlos Burgos, who just came off a defeat at the hands of Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis. It was going to be interesting to see how Cruz performed in comparison. Cruz did not disappoint with his performance. He showed great hand speed, footwork, combination punching, reflexes, and defensive slickness. He was able to fight on the outside and inside, tagging Burgos at all angles. Cruz even showed adversity, as he was low blowed a couple of times but was able to push through. The most impressive part was how good his stamina was. This kid has spent his whole career to dare fighting three rounders yet looked completely fresh going into the late rounds. The only thing he did not show was power. Although I expected this to be the case, as Cruz had a slapping style in the amateurs. His trainer Bozy Ennis will seek to correct that, but it will take some time going forward. Cruz did at least turn over his right hand a bit, plus Burgos is a guy who has never been stopped before. And he’s faced the likes of Mikey Garcia, Rocky Martinez, Devin Haney, and Keyshawn Davis. Therefore, I will not hold it against Andy that he did not stop Burgos. We will see in future fights if Andy has some power or not. Overall, Cruz showed his tremendous talent and won an easy UD (100-90 2x, 98-92).
Now it was time for the main event. Undisputed champion Alycia Baumgardner takes on Christina Linadartou. Linadartou was greeted with many loud boos, though it did not bother her as she danced her way to the ring. Alycia was walked out to the ring by popular Detroit rapper Sada Baby and was greeted with a loud number of cheers. Alycia started off the fight slow, being very patient and methodical. She picked her spots and tried to counter Linadartou when she came in. By the fourth round, Baumgardner started picking up the pace and landed a barrage of combinations. In the fifth round she put together a nice sequence of body work. She could have gotten a stoppage in that round if there was an extra minute. But alas, this is what we deal with when it comes to women’s boxing. I won’t beat a dead horse here though. By the seventh round, Linadartou was still putting up a valiant effort. But it was clear she was slowing down a bit. Meanwhile Baumgardner was killing her with left hooks to the head and body. Alycia continued to push the pace, and easily outclassed Christina late in the fight. The fight went the full ten, and Alycia was declared the winner, by UD (99-91, 98-92x). It was vindication for Alycia, who suffered the first and only loss of her career to Linadartou. She was excited to get her “lick back” and close that chapter. Baumgardner wants all the big fights. The names she mentioned: Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, and Chantelle Cameron. All great fights for her. We look forward to seeing what’s in store for AB next. But she capped off an incredibly fun, exciting, and lively night of boxing in Detroit. It was an event worth
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.