'There's no place like home!'
Pavlik TKOs Rubio in 10
Ringside by Brady Crytzer & Antonio Castro
Photos by Gary Sarti- FightWireImages.com
In front of a supportive home crowd, WBC and WBO World Middleweight Champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik successfully defended his titles Saturday night when challenger Marco Antonio Rubio failed to answer the bell signaling the tenth round.
The city of Youngstown, Ohio has seen its share of hardships.
Alongside dozens of burned out and long neglected industrial parks, the newly minted Chevrolet Centre stands as a paradox. While the cutting edge sports complex serves as home to a local minor league hockey team and the occasional visiting rock band, it stood Saturday evening as a monument to honor the return of professional boxing to Ohio’s depressed Mahoning Valley.
It could very easily be written off as pure coincidence that Pavlik defended his world middleweight title just months after the grand opening of this state-of-the-art sports arena.
To the people of Youngstown it meant something else…something bigger.
The middleweight champion of the world walked to the ring accompanied by the applause of over 7,200 vocal admirers. They were more than fans. They were friends, they were neighbors, they were proud. In tough economic times, no ticket price could be too much to stop them from seeing one of their own compete in the most important fight of his storied career.
The challenger, Marco Antonio Rubio, the quintessential Mexican warrior, was met with less supportive fare. Undeterred, the WBC No. 1 ranked contender came to fight.
Pavlik began round one by using swift footwork to cut off the ring. While Rubio moved laterally, Pavlik ripped a left hook to the ribs of the challenger. With his back against the ropes, Rubio snapped a jab at the champion but ate a hard right hand in return. With just twenty seconds remaining, Pavlik exploded on Rubio with a vicious overhand right followed by a left hook in Rubio’s own corner.
Pavlik came out quickly for Round Two and led with his left hook. Rubio, who was largely on the defensive, found himself trapped against the ropes with little room to breathe. The focused Pavlik continued his thunderous body attack throughout the period.
Rubio came alive in the third round and hit “The Ghost” with a hard three punch combination early. Pavlik took command of the round however by backing Rubio up with hard straight punches.
Round four was largely one of cat and mouse as the champion followed the challenger around the ring. When Pavlik could close the distance, hard combinations scored on Rubio’s head and body.
The fifth round was a firefight as Pavlik and Rubio exchanged wild blows. Pavlik pressed the action and the still-dangerous challenger made him paid for his mistakes with piercing overhand rights. At the round’s end, Rubio was tagged with a thumping right and fired back a wicked combination that froze Pavlik.
The champion began to slow in round six and Rubio was obliged to capitalize. As Pavlik threw weak straight punches, “El Veneno” stung the champion with quick, powerful combinations.
Round seven saw Pavlik retake control of the fight with hard jabs followed by thunderous right hands.
The eighth round was a battle for the center of the ring as both men jockeyed for position. In an instant Pavlik broke the chess match when he slammed a right cross into the head of Rubio that nearly floored him. Rubio stood his ground and fired back at one of the most feared finishers in the game as the round came to a close.
Pavlik seemed to stun Rubio at the start of the ninth when a short left hook. As was the case earlier in the fight, Pavlik spent the larger portion of the period throwing hard punches to the body of Rubio. Though he was in a great deal of pain, Marco Antonio Rubio finished the round.
It would his be last.
Visibly hurt in his corner, the disappointed Rubio declined to come out for the tenth round giving Pavlik the TKO victory.
It was the city’s first world title fight in nearly twenty five years. The fight belonged to Pavlik, but the night belonged to Youngstown.
“There’s no place like home,” Pavlik said. “It was electric to bounce back in my hometown . . . Marco Antonio Rubio was a tough Mexican fighter.”
Pavlik stated that he would like to fight again this summer, preferably in the Youngstown area.
With this victory Pavlik defends his WBC and WBO middleweight titles for a second time and improves to 35-1 (31 KOs) while Rubio falls to 43-5-1 (37 KOs). - Brady Crytzer
Vargas Stops Engel in Three
In a light heavyweight bout Dallas Vargas stopped Kevin Engel in the third round with a crippling combination to the body.
Engel controlled round one with long, straight punches. Vargas, befuddled by his opponent’s significant reach advantage, struggled to fight his way inside for most of the round. When he did get close to Engel however he scored to the body with hard hooks.
Round one came to a close with Vargas landing a hard right uppercut. Round two saw Engel continue to land his long jab and frustrate Vargas.
The third round took a wild turn after Vargas was elbowed in the ear. Following a restart, Vargas unloaded a hard combination to the body of Engel. In the midst of another hard combination to the body, the taller Engel sunk to the canvas. Referee Randy Jarvis reached the count of ten ending the fight at 2:14.
With this win, Dallas Vargas improves to 22-4 (16 KOs) and Kevin Engel falls to 15-2 (12 KOs)- Brady Crytzer
“TaylorMade” Makes it Count, TKOs Emrick
In a heavyweight attraction Andreas “TaylorMade” Taylor stopped Jim Emrick in the third round of a scheduled six-round bout.
Taylor spent most of the opening round looking for his rhythm as he threw short jabs at his opponent. Emrick, who enjoyed a nine year age advantage over Taylor, was selectively aggressive. When Taylor gave ground, Emrick charged forward with hard, short hooks. Emrick began round two with a bang as he rocked back the head of his opponent with a an overhand right. Taylor wasted no time responding however as he blasted Emrick with a right hand that dropped him to one knee. Emrick rose to his feet at the count of eight and continued to pressure the unbeaten Taylor.
Emrick blasted Taylor once again at the start of round three, this time with a left hook. Emrick scored with hard hooks throughout the third round until he was caught with a quick right cross that dropped him into (and nearly through) the ring ropes. Though Emrick beat the count, Taylor sensed the end coming and ripped a right uppercut into jaw of his opponent. Emrick was deemed unfit to continue by referee Randy Jarvis and the fight was stopped at 2:19.
Taylor advances to 6-0-1 (3 KOs) while Jim Emrick falls to 7-3-1 (2 KOs). - Brady Crytzer
The Golden Greek wears down Hernandez in six
The first fight to go the distance was the welterweight matchup between Brian “The Golden Greek” Camechis, from Glouster, Ohio, and Angel Hernandez from Gary, Indiana.
The fight was back and forth early on, but by the third round, Camechis’ relentless pressure appeared to wear down Hernandez. A barrage of punches dropped Hernandez in the fourth round, but he was able to withstand the followup and remained on his feet for the remainder of the contest.
After six rounds, the judges saw it in favor of Camechis (18-2, 8 KOs) by unanimous decision 59-54 twice and 58-55. Hernandez dropped to 10-3, 8 KOs. – Antonio Castro
Winner Gets the ‘W’ in Heavyweight Bout
In the opening bout of the night, heavyweight Brandon Winner scored a four round unanimous decision over Billy Greenawalt in a battle of two Youngstown natives.
Round one began with some controversy as Greenawalt lost his mouthpiece after eating a hard jab. Following a pause in the action, the 1-5 Winner rocked the 1-4 Greenawalt with a hard right hand. The mouthguard of Greenawalt hit the floor once again, but referee Randy Jarvis showed the fighter no mercy. For the large portion of round one, Greenwalt covered his unprotected mouth with his right glove to avoid taking damage.
Winner was the aggressor in round two as he landed hard, but sloppy, punches that bloodied the mouth of Greenawalt. Rounds three and four saw Winner chasing Greenawalt and winging hard shots.
Judges scored the bout 40-36, and 39-37 twice in favor of Winner giving him the unanimous decision victory.- Brady Crytzer
Willie Nelson continues unbeaten streak
In a welterweight bout scheduled for six rounds, unbeaten Cleveland prospect Willie Nelson (11-0-1, 7 KOs), made short work of Akron’s Damon Antoine (9-27-2), scoring a first round knockout. Nelson, standing 6’3, towered over Antoine and started working his jab before a vicious left hook to the body ended matters. Official time was 1:01. – Antonio Castro
Giuriceo wins debut
In a battle of debuting super welterweights, Jake Giuriceo (1-0, 1 KO), from nearby Struthers, Ohio, stopped a game Michael Suarez (0-1) from Cleveland in the second round.
After a back and forth initial round, Giuriceo landed several left hooks upstairs before landing a perfect counter right cross to the jaw that dropped Suarez for the ten count. Official time was: 53 of the second round. – Antonio Castro
Salser continues KO Streak
Jr. welterweights were on display next and Mansfield, Ohio, native Mark Salser (9-0, 9 KOs) kept both his win and KO streak alive with a brutal dismantling of the overmatched Leroy Newton (6-14) of Michigan City, Indiana.
Despite being dropped three times in the initial stanza, Newton showed heart by continuing to rise up. Nothing would save Newton in the second round however, as a barrage of punches, finalized by a right hook to the head dropped Newton for good. Official time was 1:08 of the second round. – Antonio Castro