PHILLY BOXING HISTORY  -  March 15, 2014


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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Rich Graessle / Main Events


Former world champion Kermit Cintron, 35-5-2, 28 KOs, proved that he still had enough gas in his tank to conqueror a much younger - and greener - Ronald Cruz, 20-3, 15 KOs. The two welterweights waged a gritty and bloody battle before a sold out crowd at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. After ten tough rounds, Cintron came away with the unanimous decision, and kept his comeback alive.

Cintron sent a clear message to Cruz in round one. Just after the first bell sounded, the renowned puncher tossed a hard right hand that thumped heavily on the top of Cruz' head. Ronald felt the force of the shot, and wobbled away from Cintron. Kermit went on the attack, but Cruz weathered the storm. However, the punch seemed to set the tone for the fight and perhaps dissuaded Cruz from fighting with any abandon.

Cruz rebounded nicely in the next two rounds, but he just managed to take them by a whisker. In the third, the fighters banged heads and Cruz came away with a cut over his right eye. The slit bled throughout the bout, but never became a major factor in the fight. It was more a nagging reminder that Cruz was fighting an uphill battle against a savvy old pro looking to extend his sagging career.

By the end of the fight, Cintron was also bleeding from his eye, and Cruz was oozing from a pair of nicks near the top of his head. All this blood helped to make the fight an arduous affair.

The action itself was back and forth, with both fighters landing. Cruz would take a couple rounds, and then Cintron would return the favor. However, as the rounds ticked away, Cintron was banking slightly more, and the overall feeling was that Cruz needed to pull something out to turn Cintron's steady tide.

In round eight, Cintron came out looking for the kill. He applied tremendous pressure, and landed well against Cruz. However, Ronald came to fight and with his hometown crowd loudly cheering him on, he proudly fought back and stayed in the fight.

In round nine, Cruz turned southpaw and blasted Cintron with a hard lead right. Cintron responded with a strong left hook, and the crowd went crazy. This was the fight in a nutshell. Both fighters were rumbling, but Cintron always had the answers and managed to fare better in most of the exchanges.

Still, after ten full rounds, the bout felt close, thanks to a late surge by Cruz. When they went to the cards, the crowd held it's breath, hoping their man would escape with a squeaker of a decision. It was not to be.

All three judges, Julie Lederman, Kevin Morgan, and John Poturaj all saw the bout 96-94 (6-4 in rounds) for Kermit Cintron. Not only did the three officials turn in the same score, each judge scored each round identically. A rarity for sure. (Cintron took rounds 1, 4, 5, 8, 9 & 10, while Cruz on 2, 3, 6 & 7).

My score was also 96-94 for Cintron. However, my card had rounds six and nine flipped (with Cintron winning rounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 10).

Cruz fought hard, but fell short in this "must win" fight.

In the nationally televised main event, Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov pounded out a 12-round unanimous decision win over a gallant but faded Tomasz Adamek. Glazkov seemed to do everything right in the fight. His jab, left hook, and especially his right hand all landed with authority on the former two-time champion, who was breathing heavy as early as round three.

Glazkov swept round one through seven on my card, nailing down the eventual decision, as long as he could keep the cagey old vet from pulling a heroic closing act.

Adamek battled hard in the last five rounds, winning two on my card (8 & 10), but Glazkov was just too much for Tomasz to handle. By the end of the fight, Adamek's face was a mess. With his eyes and lips badly swollen, there was no question about how he makes his living. Glazkov looked much better, but was also battered along the left side of his face.

All three judges favored Glazkov. Julie Lederman scored 117-110. Kevin Morgan had it 117-111, and John Poturaj saw it 116-112. My score was 118-110, also for Glazkov.

With the victory, Glazkov, 17-0-1, 11 KOs, earned the IBF North American heavyweight title and captured a #2 world ranking. Adamek slipped to 49-3, 29 KOs.

In the co-feature bout, South African Isaac Chilemba, 22-2-2, 9 KOs, won a 10-round unanimous decision over Russian Denis Grachev, 13-3-1, 8 KOs.

Chilemba started the bout strong and stayed in the lead down the stretch when Grachev attempted to brawl his way back into the fight. Round eight was the best of the fight, with both boxers trading blows freely.

Chilemba had Grachev's face bleeding and lumpy by the end of the fight, and won a landslide victory on the three official cards. Julie Lederman scored it a shutout, 100-90, while Ron McNair and Kevin Morgan both gave one round to Grachev, for 99-91 scores.

My card favored Chilemba 8-2 in rounds.

The remainder of the card was mostly filled with fights featuring locals vs. visitors.

Philly lightweight Karl Dargan, 15-0, 7 KOs, won a methodical shutout over Hartford, CT's Chazz McDowell, 6-5-1, 1 KO, in an 8-rounder. Dargan (wearing black and gold trunks, above) dominated the action, and went for the KO in round four. However, when McDowell (who failed to make the contracted weight) remained steady, Dargan settled for an overwhelming points win. All three judges scored the fight 80-72. There was no other way to see it.

Rochester junior welterweight Brandon Williams, 3-0-1, looked good in his 6-rounder against Jerome Rodriguez, 6-0-2, 2 KOs, of Allentown. However, he had to settle for a frustrating split decision draw. Kevin Morgan favored Rodriguez, 59-55; Ron McNair scored the fight 58-57 for Williams, and Julie Lederman had it a 57-57 draw. I thought Williams won the fight going away, but both fighters went home with their unbeaten records intact. Williams is pictured above with his back to the camera.

The show opened with Nathanial Rivas, Berlin, NJ, (above in red trunks) brutally beating Philadelphia's Terrell James. The fighters clashed immediately and traded excellent punches. However, Rivas began to dominate in the final minute. Toward the end of the round, Rivas pounded James so savagely that the bout could easily have been stopped right then and there.

I scored the round 10-8 for Rivas.

James came out bravely for round two, and even landed a good right at the bell. But Rivas took the frame anyway.

Finally in round three Rivas, 3-0, 1 KO, unloaded on James, 1-2-1, and referee Shawn Clark finally stopped it at 2:37.

The evening ended with a 4-round junior featherweight bout between Josh Crespo, New Haven, CT, and Luis Acevedo, of Bethlehem. Crespo appeared to have the edge, but the fight was scored a majority draw. Ron McNair had Crespo leading 39-37, but Julie Lederman and Kevin Morgan overruled with their 38-38 scores. My card matched McNair's. The fight was Acevedo's pro debut (0-1). Crespo went home 1-1-2, 1 KO.

The two main fights were nationally televised by NBC Sports Network. The live attendance was a sellout with just under 2,000 in the paying crowd.




John DiSanto - Bethlehem, PA - March 15, 2014
Photos by Rich Graessle / Main Events