|Danny O'Connor is knocked out cold in 41 seconds|
Televised on NBC Sports Network, PBC's revolutionary ringleader Al Haymon continued his strategic takeover of boxing here, producing prizefights in a city best known for Irish Micky Ward of Gatti Trilogy fame and Dickie Eklund of Crack Street infamy. When recent attempts by Chicago Fight Club Promotions to promote boxing in the Mill City fell flat at this venue and at the nearby Tsongas Arena in 2012 and 2013 respectively, it was obvious that change was needed in Lowell's professional boxing scene.
That was then. This is now. Give Lowell boxing fans good fights (with body punches in bunches) featuring local fighters they can cheer for, and that's just what they did while Dropkick Murphys tunes blared through the sound system. A fun brawler named "Spike" from Cork, Ireland on the undercard doesn't exactly hurt either. With Sugar Ray Leonard calling the punches from ringside in the same building where he once competed as a young Golden Glove amateur boxer, the stage was set for fight night.
|"Tito" Bracero was a classy winner in Lowell|
Bracero's trainer Tommy Gallagher, amazed by the power display, spoke of an Adrien "The Problem" Broner fight on the horizon for his charge.
In the co-main event, super bantamweight knockout artist Jonathan Guzman, Lawrence, MA, 20-0, 20 KOs, 121.6, beat up Danny Aquino, Meriden, CT, 17-3, 10 KOs, 121.6, scoring a ninth round stoppage to keep his twenty fight KO streak alive. Coming off the biggest win of his career against Ryan Kielczweski last April on ESPN Friday Night Fights, Aquino was down from a sweeping left hook in the second round and down again in the same frame from a cuffing right to the chops inside. Aquino battled back into the fight in the third round but the writing was already on the wall for the native Mexican. Too much speed and too much power from Guzman. Aquino was walking himself straight into his own defeat and Guzman was glad to oblige him with skillful precision. In the ninth, Aquino was again dumped to the canvas from a hurtful barrage of punches and referee Jackie Morrell put a stop to it at 1:19.
Aquino didn't like the decision to end the fight but going the distance was the best he could've hoped for.
|Ryan K wins the fight of the night|
In the eighth, the "Polish Prince" poured it on when Vazquez suddenly appeared to gas out. At the end of the round, a cut appeared around the left eye of Kielczweski and the ringside doctor took a close look at the slice in the corner before the ninth round. Just like that, Vazquez had new life in the ring and he went for Kielczweski's injured eye with every punch he threw. The pair wailed away in the tenth after giving an appreciative crowd a competitive fight worth standing up to cheer for. Kielczweski was rewarded for his exciting effort with a unanimous decision. Official scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 96-94. Said the winner, "I knew Vazquez could punch and I avoided it for the most part but then he rocked me in the tenth round. I didn't know where my feet were, it was great."
Non-Televised Undercard Results:
In the evening opener, lightweight Fernando Saucedo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 57-6-3, 10 KOs, stopped Carlos Fulgencio, Santa Domingo, RD, 19-17-1, 12 KOs, in the second round of a scheduled eight rounder at 1:23. Dropped along the ropes and draped on them for support, referee Arthur Mercante counted out Fulgencio and then gave him a pat on the head for a good effort.
Super featherweight Titus Williams, Elmont, NY, 3-0, 2 KOs, 131.2, abused a defenseless Arthur Parker, Pennsylvania, 1-14-2, 1 KO, 134.6, with a variety of outside shots to the head and body of his game but undertrained opponent. In the second round, Parker went down in a corner under assault to the midsection and it was there that he took a full count from referee Jackie Morrell at 1:04.
Middleweight Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan, Cork, Ireland, 22-1, 15 KOs, 172.6, wore "WAR" on his boxing trunks and war is what he waged on David Toribio, Miami, FL, 21-16, 14 KOs, 174.2, from the opening bell, dropping his overmatched opponent twice in the first, once with a jab. O'Sullivan quickly attacked a still hurting Toribio in the second round, dropping him in a corner with more punches downstairs. Time of the knockout was :28 of the second round. I spoke to Spike afterwards and the plan according to him is to fight Chris Eubank Jr. next and then hopefully Gennady Golovkin in the near future. Dream big Spike, dream big.
In a televised "swing bout," heavyweight Adam Kownacki, Brooklyn, NY, 12-0, 10 KOs, 261.2, pounded out an eight round decision over Rodney Hernandez, Modesto, CA, 8-3-1, 1 KO, 240, in a slow motion slugfest. All three judges had it 78-74 for Kownacki, who goes by "Baby Face."
Lightweight Patrick Hyland, Dublin, Ireland, 31-1, 15 KOs, 128.4 defeated a game David Martinez, Albuquerque, NM, 18-8-1, 3 KOs, 128, by technical knockout at :17 of the eighth round.
Images & Words by Jeffrey Freeman, originally published on The Sweet Science