PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 24, 2017  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Welterweight southpaw Ray Robinson won his scheduled 8-round main event bout with Brazilian Claudinei Lacerda at The Fillmore Philadelphia Friday night, keeping alive his quest to land a big fight after more than ten years as a pro. The six-bout card, staged by Hard Hitting Promotions, was the first-ever boxing event at the venue.  

Robinson, 23-2, 12 KOs, wore down his opponent while controlling every moment of the fight. Eventually in round seven, with Lacerda taking punches and no longer competitive, the bout was stopped.

The Philadelphian’s victory began to unfold immediately at the opening bell. Robinson lashed the Brazilian with his long right jab and found his chin with his power lefts. In round three, the beating was so one-sided that Robinson earned a 10-8 on my scorecard, despite scoring no knockdown.

Lacerda was durable and appeared to have no quit in him, but over the course of the fight, that characteristic threatened his wellbeing. Lacerda, took Robinson’s shots and hurled back a few heavy potshots of his own, but as the rounds elapsed, Lacerda’s face began to swell and his offense withered.

Robinson remained collected and just kept working. As his punches piled up, the outcome of the fight became less and less of a mystery and more a mere matter of time. However, it was clear that Robinson was still working his way back to prime form. He returned from a long layoff in October and looked sharp. In a second return, in February, he appeared out of shape but still gathered another victory. On Friday, he improved on his previous performance, but still looked slightly off. 

In round seven, Lacerda cracked Robinson with a good left hook, but this was his final attempt to turn the tables. Robinson took the blow and resumed his attack. After an extended series of combinations by Robinson, referee Benjy Esteves stepped in to save Lacerda, 18-17-1, 13 KOs, from any further punishment. The Brazilian offered a mild protest, but the stoppage was the correct decision by Esteves.

The end of the fight came at 2:30 of round seven, and gave Robinson his twelfth consecutive win. Ray’s talents have been overlooked for too long. He’s won several regional title belts and climbed into the top fifteen a few times between a number of layoffs due to injury, contract issues, and other distractions.

Robinson deserves a big fight with a ranked contender, and at 31 years of age and more than ten years of experience, he needs to get that opportunity ASAP. Hopefully his scheduled return this summer on another Hard Hitting show will be against a significant opponent.

Philly lightweight and high school junior, Branden Pizarro, 4-0, 2 KOs, knocked down Matt Murphy, 2-10-1, 4 KOs, in the second round with a combination, but the blue-haired boxer from St. Louis survived the onslaught. So, Pizarro picked up where he left off and continued to dish a full serving of punishment, round after round.  

Pizarro’s attack was impressive, but Murphy hung in there and extended Pizarro to the full four round limit. After four rounds, the official decision was a clear shutout. All three judges, George Hill, Alan Rubenstein and Justin Rubenstein scored the bout 40-35.  


In a bantamweight fight scheduled for six rounds, Christian Carto, Philadelphia, kept his record perfect, 8-0, 8 KOs, with a 4th round TKO of Jamaican Rudolph Hedge, 10-5-3, 4 KOs. Carto controlled the action all night, landing numerous hard shots in each round.  

The 20 year old continued to show development with his effective jab and cool head. However, Carto’s power and calm aggression are his trademarks, and both qualities were well represented in the fight. Carto stalked Hedge and steadily chipped away at him, landing more and more with each round and making it look easy.  

Hedge landed a nice right in the third, but it was a needle in Carto’s haystack of punishment. Slowly Hedge lost steam and Carto’s punches had an increasing affect. Hedge made it to the bell ending the fourth round, but with two more rounds still to come, enough was apparently enough, and Hedge and his corner asked Benjy Esteves to stop the fight. Carto’s eighth straight knockout victory came at 3:00 of round four.  

In a 4-round junior welterweight bout, Philly's Jeremy Cuevas, 3-0, 2 KOs, was extended past the second round for the first time in his young career. Although he was unable to stop or even drop Buffalo’s Jack Grady, 0-5-1, Cuevas clearly won all four rounds. In the fourth and final frame, Cuevas badly hurt Grady, but the bell ended the fight before Cuevas could take it any further. After the four full rounds, all three judges, Dewey Larosa, George Hill and Justin Rubenstein scored the fight a 40-36 landslide.  

Junior lightweight Gadwin Rosa, 3-0, 2 KOs, made short work of fellow Floridian Wytama Faulk,1-3, in their scheduled 4-rounder. Rosa dropped Faulk with a left hook in round one, and then moments later, put the southpaw down for the count with a right hand. Referee Benjy Esteves reached the count of ten at 2:14 of the first round. It was a quick and devastating win for Rosa, who was fighting in Philly for the first time.  

In the show opener, featherweight Vidal Rivera, 5-0, 4 KOs, stopped San Juan's Jesus Feliciano, 0-3, after two full rounds. Rivera of Camden, NJ, easily won the first two rounds before Feliciano's corner asked referee Ronald Bashir to stop the fight between rounds two and three. The official time was 3:00 of round two.  

Hard Hitting Promotions travels to Puerto Rico for their next boxing show, before returning to Philadelphia for an event at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on April 29th. 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - March 24, 2017