Campbell survives Funeka
Martinez-Cintron ends in controversial draw; Angulo destroys Rivera
Ringside by Jason Kotar
Photos by Javiel Centeno - FightWireImages.com
In a thrilling co-headline bout on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre card, presented by Don King Productions, Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (33-5, 25 KOs) pulled out a majority decision over a tough Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka (30-2, 25 KOs). Campbell, whom, the day before lost his IBF, WBO and WBA lightweight titles after failing to meet the 135-pound lightweight limit, needed every minute of every round in defeating the South African Funeka.
From the opening bell, Campbell came out with bad intentions, firing vicious right hooks to the body and looping overhand rights to the head of his opponent. Funeka did his best to counter, unfortunately many of his punches were picked off by the high guard defense employed by Campbell.
Almost two minutes into round two, Campbell landed one of those overhand rights, sending Funeka crashing to the canvas, badly hurting him. Funeka, who rose on unsteady legs, managed to make it to the end of the round.
Funeka opened the third stanza with a new game plan; he kept his distance from Campbell by employing more jabs, straight rights and uppercuts, he upped his work rate and focused on keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. Campbell, meanwhile, possibly smelling blood, looked for a repeat of that overhand right that hurt his opponent earlier but seemed resigned to throwing one punch at a time.
While this pattern continued in the middle rounds, the tide seemed to have turned as Funeka was the busier fighter. Funeka was landing more punches than Campbell, holding his own on the inside and appeared to be taking the fight to the tired looking Campbell.
Upon entering the championship rounds, the Jacksonville, Fla. native, possibly sensing he was behind on the scorecards, gained some success by getting inside of Funeka’s long reach, blistering him with hard rights to the body.
Round 11 saw the body work pay dividends as Campbell landed another overhand right, which sent a reeling Funeka into the ropes then down to the canvas. Funeka rose, once again, and much like in round 2 when he was hurt, survived till the end of the round.
Round 12 was all Campbell as he bombarded Funeka’s midsection with hard rights, which were met with almost no response from the weary challenger. Funeka appeared out of gas but still tried to show the mettle which made him the IBF #1 ranked lightweight contender.
Campbell, who will now head north to the 140 pound division, won on two of the scorecards 115-111 and 114-112, the third judge had it even at 113-113.
Martinez-Cintron marred in controversy
In the most bizarre fight in recent memory, Sergio “Maravella” Martinez (45-1-2, 24 KOs) and Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-3-1, 27 KOs) fought to a controversial majority draw. The fight was for the WBC super welterweight title, held by Martinez after his defeat of Alex Bunema in October 2008.
The pace of the fight during the opening stanzas can best described as painstaking as both fighters, showing too much respect for each other, spent more time posing than fighting.
The only fighter willing to engage was Martinez, sometimes throwing two punch combinations; a right jab followed by a straight left hand. Cintron seemed relegated to throwing one punch at a time, although he found some success with his right uppercut.
Round five brought about the first real action of the fight, Martinez catching Cintron with another straight left. That punch opened up a cut on Cintron’s left eye, causing the former IBF welterweight champion to paw at the eye after blood starting coming down his face.
Towards the end of round seven, another straight left by Martinez knocked Cintron down. Cintron, while on the canvas, starting complaining he was the victim of a head butt and not a legitimate punch. TV replays clearly showed the knockdown was the product of a Martinez punch. Cintron rose right before the 10 count but somewhere in the confusion Martinez thought he won the fight via KO.
Martinez then proceeded to jump on the ring apron, celebrating and shouting to those in attendance, while the ring filled with both fighters teams.
After a short time, it was announced by the referee that the fight was never stopped and would resume immediately. This energized both fighters but also a crowd that spent more time cheering for the ring girls in between rounds.
The next couple of rounds saw Cintron being more aggressive, landing some of the more telling blows but many of his punches were answered by combinations from Martinez.
As if the seventh round wasn’t controversial enough, Martinez was questionably deducted a point for hitting behind the head of Cintron in the twelfth and final round.
The final scores were 116-110 for Martinez and 113-113 by two other judges.
Angulo destroys Rivera
Undefeated Super Welterweight Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (15-0, 12 KOs) scored a TKO in round 5 against a tough but overmatched Cosme Rivera (31-12-2, 23 KOs). The No. 1 ranked WBA and WBO contender Angulo continues to show why he is a force to be reckoned in the 154 pound division with a brutal display of power punching against the late replacement Rivera.
Rivera, who took the fight on February 10, had success in round one, causing a cut above Angulo’s right eye. However, the success was short lived as Angulo was able to match Rivera punch for punch.
Rivera would not go away, engaging the bigger Angulo when he could, then attempting to steer clear of any return fire. Unfortunately for Rivera, the right hand of Angulo never seemed to miss its intended target.
The next rounds couple of rounds proved much of the same, Angulo forcing the fight with constant pressure and pinpoint accuracy with both lefts to the body and rights to the head of Rivera.
It became evident as the fight headed into round five that the punishment Rivera was taking would not cease, Angulo sensing blood in the water, stepped on the gas and forced the referee to take a long hard look as to whether to let Rivera continue. Referee Telis Assimenios, after seeing the corner of Rivera step on to the ring apron to save their fighter, stopped the fight, the official time was 2:38 of round five.
Undefeated lightweight Angelo Santana (5-0, 4 KOs) scored an impressive TKO over Mario Garcia (7-9, 4 KOs). Santana continually peppered Garcia with power shots, forcing the referee to stop the fight at 1:36 of round two.
Francisco “The Wizard” Palacios (17-0, 10 KOs) energized the crowd with a scintillating knockout over Lawrence Chapman (19-6, 13 KOs). The WBA Fedelatin Cruiserweight Champion landed a straight left that put Chapman on his back, forcing the referee to halt the action at 2:58 of round one.
2008 US Olympian Gary Russell, Jr. (2-0, 1 KO) pounded out a four-round unanimous decision over John Wampash (1-1, 1 KO). The southpaw Russell had Wampash down twice in round one and once in round four en route to his second professional victory. No scores were announced.
Anges Adjaho (25-1, 14 KOs) hung on for a unanimous decision over a tough Fernando Angulo (22-5, 14 KOs) via unanimous decision. Angulo, who was deducted a point at the end of round six for hitting behind the back. No scores were reported.
Local heavyweight sensation Bermane Stiverne (17-1, 16 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over Robert Hawkins (23-13, 7 KOs). Stiverne, in his first fight were his opponent heard the final bell, had Hawkins down in rounds one and six. The scores were 78-72, 77-73 and 77-73.
Welterweight Ivan Kirpa (23-1, 15KOs) won via TKO over Frankie Santos (16-7, 8 KOs). The fight was halted after the corner of Santos threw in the towel, the official time was 1:51 seconds of round six.
Junior lightweight John Jackson showed superior hand speed and movement to outwork Ricardo Medina (30-33, 17 KOs) over eight rounds. Jackson, who ups his record to 14-1 (13 KOs), was in control throughout the fight, knocking his opponent down in round three. Two judges scored the fight 79-72 while the other had it 80-71.
In a highly entertaining bout between two free swinging heavyweights, Ray Austin (27-4, 17 KOs) came away with a unanimous decision over Julius Long (15-12, 13 KOs). Both fighters had their moments in the fight, although neither was able to seriously hurt the other. All three judges scored the fight 76-73.
Undefeated Super Middleweight Anthony Dirrell pounded out a unanimous decision of a game but undermanned Jose Medina (14-13, 10 KOs). Dirrell , who upped his record to 15-0, 12 KOs, was in control the whole bout, knocking his opponent down once in round four. All three judges scorecards were 40-35.