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This Week in Boxing History: New York’s ‘Night Mayor’ Emancipates the Sweet Science

Arne K. Lang

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Sunday, May 24, marked the centennial of an important date in boxing history. On that date in 1920, the Governor of New York, Al Smith, signed into law a boxing bill sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Walker. The law changed the face of professional boxing, not only in New York, but around the country as the Walker Law became the template for boxing reform laws elsewhere.

James John “Jimmy” Walker, born in 1881 on the west side of Lower Manhattan, served 15 years in the New York State Legislature but would be best remembered as New York City’s colorful Jazz Age mayor. Before we give the man a closer look-see, let’s look at the law that he fathered and the conditions that existed before the law came into being.

From 1911 through 1917, professional boxing in New York was governed by the Frawley Law. It restricted bouts to licensed athletic clubs, in theory to protect the public from fly-by-night promoters, set the ceiling at 10 rounds, and stipulated that no decision could be rendered.

Gov. Charles Whitman, who assumed office in 1915, loathed prizefighting. For Whitman, the last straw came on Jan. 30, 2017. On that date, a young boxer making his pro debut suffered a fatal injury on a card in Albany. That very afternoon, not far from the boxing arena, state’s attorneys had grilled Fred Wenck, the chairman of the state athletic commission, regarding accusations that he had taken kickbacks from boxing promoters in return for certain favors.

Whitman persuaded the legislators to repeal the Frawley Law. For a three-year period beginning in the fall of 2017, New York had no boxing law whatsoever. The absence of any law was construed to mean that a licensed athletic club could continue to stage “scientific sparring exhibitions” for the edification of its members providing that no admission was charged. Big fights had a trickle-down economic effect and swelled the state treasury with tax money. Whitman, a Republican, was reproached for corking that spout. In the 1918 election he was unseated by Al Smith, a Tammany Democrat.

The main feature of the Walker Law was that everyone involved in a boxing match — from the lowliest spit-bucket carrier to the promoter — had to be licensed. The licensees were accountable to the boxing commission which had the power to approve matches, assign the officials, establish and collect fees, and revoke the license of wrong-doers. Matches were approved up to 15 rounds and decisions were allowed. Two ringside judges determined the winner and if they disagreed, the referee would act as the tie-breaker. A 5 percent tax was assessed on gate receipts.

Gov. Smith (pictured on the right; Walker on the left) was fond of Jimmy Walker with whom he had much in common, but he was reluctant to approve the Walker Law for fear of incurring the wrath of the Protestant clergy. An ambitious man, Al Smith aspired to be America’s first Roman Catholic president (he was the Democratic standard-bearer in 1928) and needed all the help he could get. Smith had already ruffled the feathers of many clergymen by signing into law a bill that allowed New York’s baseball teams to play on Sundays. That measure was also the handiwork of Jimmy Walker.

The Walker Law found an unlikely ally in J. Drexel Biddle, an eccentric millionaire and ex-Marine of Quaker Stock who had founded an international Bible society with a purported 200,000 members. An avid boxing fan, Biddle — as the story goes — reached out to the leading members of his society and asked them to send a telegram to Gov. Smith encouraging him to approve Jimmy Walker’s bill. Swamped with telegrams, the Governor acquiesced. In the eyes of the cynics, the senders operated out of fear that Biddle would cut off their supply of free Bibles.

Jimmy Walker

When Jimmy Walker ran for mayor of New York in 1925, he was pitted against Frank Waterman, the fountain pen magnate. It was no contest. In the final tally, Walker won by a margin of 402,123 votes.

When he ran for a second term, his opponent was Fiorello LaGuardia.

Handicappers noted that LaGuardia had a lot more going for him. Born in New York City to Italian immigrants – a lapsed Catholic father and a Jewish mother — LaGuardia, nominally an Episcopalian, was married to a woman who was descended from a long line of German Lutherans. He was a balanced ticket all by himself said the wags, seemingly the perfect choice to represent the melting pot that was New York. But Walker blew him out of the water, winning by a plurality of nearly 500,000, a record up to that time. If this had been a 15-round fight, Jimmy Walker would have won every round. (LaGuardia rebounded nicely; they would name an airport after him.)

Like all great Irish politicians, Jimmy Walker had a remarkable facility for remembering names. He also had the soul of troubadour. Before making his mark in politics, he was a Tin Pan Alley songwriter with one big hit to his name. He wrote the lyrics to “Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May?”, which would have topped the charts, had there been charts, in 1906.

Growing up on the west side of Lower Manhattan, an Irish stronghold in his day, it was perhaps inevitable that Walker would become a big boxing fan. He also loved the theater. As mayor, he attended the opening of every Broadway play. Reporters dubbed him the “Night Mayor.” His chief lieutenant, a man named Charles Kerrigan, became the “Day Mayor.” Another of Walker’s nicknames was “Beau James,” an allusion to the British dandy Beau Brummel. All of Walker’s clothes, which filled several closets, were custom-made.

Walker was in great demand as a toastmaster and after-dinner speaker. In 1942, with the war heating up in Europe, Walker presented the Edward J. Neil Memorial Trophy to Joe Louis at the annual dinner of the Boxing Writers Association. The award was given to the person who “has done the most for boxing in the preceding year.”

“Joe,” said Walker, looking directly at the boxer, “when you donated your purse from the Buddy Baer fight to Army and Navy Relief, you laid a rose on the grave of Abraham Lincoln.”

There were a lot of hard-boiled characters at that gathering and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

On July 5, 1932, in his capacity as mayor, Walker officiated at the wedding of his great friend Damon Runyon and Runyon’s trophy bride, the exotic Spanish dancer Patrice Del Grande. The nuptials were held at the home of New York American sports editor Bill Frayne. Runyon, like Walker an inveterate night owl, and Frayne would later hook up with Broadway ticket broker Mike Jacobs, a fledgling boxing promoter, in the formation of the 20th Century Sporting Club, a clear conflict of interest.

Jimmy Walker, who was tight with the speakeasy crowd, was guilty of a lot of conflicts of interest during his tenure as mayor, far too many to touch upon in this story. It did not redound well to him that Madison Square Garden matchmakers James J. Johnston and Dan McKetrick had an office at City Hall.

The dirty laundry came out in the hearings of the Seabury Commission, a body established by Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt. Facing impeachment, Walker resigned and left town for an extended stay in Europe. He was accompanied by his mistress and future wife Betty Compton, a stunningly attractive actress and singer. They tied the knot in Cannes, France, on April 18, 1933. He was 52 years old and she was 29. It was his second marriage and her third.

She did not love him in December as she had in May. She divorced him after seven years of marriage.

When Walker returned from Europe, he was considerably lighter in the pocket. In a burst of compassion, Fiorello LaGuardia, his successor, created a sinecure for him, a job as an arbitrator of disputes between garment manufacturers and their unionized workers. It paid $20,000 a year, good money in those days but hardly enough to allow Walker to keep up appearances. During his mayoral years, he purchased an impressive 6,500-square-foot home in the tony Long Island suburb of Old Westbury, a place that he hardly ever occupied. After Betty Compton flew the coop, he moved in with his sister and her two sons in a home in a middle class neighborhood in Pleasantville, New York, 30 miles north of the city. As for going out on the town, he limited himself to the Friday Night Fights at Madison Square Garden and a late dinner afterward with a few old friends.

He and Betty Compton had adopted two children, little babies when they brought them into their world. As Walker grew older and started having health problems, it bothered him greatly that he would not be able to leave them an inheritance. He reached out to Gene Fowler, a friend of long standing, and arranged for Fowler to write his life story with an eye toward selling it to Hollywood; for a writer, that’s where the big money was. Fowler had previously written a biography of the famous actor John Barrymore.

The biography was titled “Beau James” and it did indeed spawn a movie. Bob Hope, in a rare straight role, portrayed Walker. But Walker died before the manuscript was finished.

It isn’t a stretch to compare the arc of Jimmy Walker’s life with that of a prizefighter. He built up his fan base as a state legislator, similar to a boxer working his way up the ladder to a title shot. His days as a title-holder, meaning his days as the mayor of one of the greatest cities in the world, were frothy days that would seemingly never end. But, of course, they did end and, in his dotage, like an old fighter, Walker rued that he hadn’t squirreled away more of his money when things were going good.

Walker died on Nov. 16, 1946 at age 65 of a brain aneurism after being in a coma for 36 hours. At his funeral service, a high requiem mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the sidewalk outside was jammed with people for whom there was no room in the church. Estimates ran as high as 5,000. A reporter noted the presence of several old Irish women with tears in their eyes clutching rosary beads.

The man they remembered was the dashing fellow that personified the spirit of Broadway in the Roaring 20’s, not the man that left office in disgrace and became another symbol of municipal corruption. And in that way too, the arc of Walker’s life was like that of a prizefighter. As we grow older, the good memories come flooding back and we forgive the sports heroes of our youth for letting us down as their careers unravelled.

There was always a lag before a new piece of legislation took effect. Signed into law on May 24, the Walker Boxing Law took effect on Sept. 1, 1920. James J. “Jimmy” Walker was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the class of 1992.

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HITS and MISSES from Another Weekend on the Boxing Beat

Kelsey McCarson

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Unlike last weekend, there wasn’t just one big fight card for everyone to watch. Instead, the boxing audience in the United States primarily had two separate fight cards to enjoy, one on Friday night from Mexico City featuring stalwart super flyweights, and another one on Saturday night from Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut featuring an important welterweight matchup between hopeful contenders.

Here are boxing’s latest HITS and MISSES from this weekend.

HIT: The Super Super Flyweights

Two of boxing’s best were on display when Juan Francisco Estrada stopped Carlos Cuadras in the 11th round of the main event in Mexico and Roman Gonzalez won a unanimous decision over Israel Gonzalez in the co-feature.

Both Estrada and Gonzalez are exceptional talents who have accomplished more during their impressive careers than most fighters could dream. The two rivals were thought to be on the way to an important rematch against each other a few years ago when Wisaksil Wangek, who fights under the name Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, burst onto the scene in 2017 to shockingly hand Gonzalez the first two losses of his Hall of Fame career as well as Estrada his first loss since Gonzalez defeated him by decision six years prior.

But Estrada has won five straight now, including his rematch against Sor Rungvisai last year, to set up one of the most scintillating fights in the super flyweight division in ages. Gonzalez is already considered by most to be an all-time great, and Estrada isn’t far behind him. After both won their latest fights, it looks like a rematch between the two is finally going to happen.

MISS: Long Delays for Viewers Between Bouts

It boggles my mind how none of the various television networks and streaming platforms in the sport have figured out anything to do worthwhile when fights end sooner than their scheduled number of rounds. It happens so often in the sport that it would seem reasonable to suggest somebody would have come along by now with some kind of plan. Just a few years ago, it seemed swing bouts were still on the table. What happened to those?

On Friday night, if one tuned in to watch the main card tripleheader on DAZN, one was presented with over 45 minutes of waiting around for the next fight to happen after WBC flyweight champ Julio Cesar Martinez needed just two rounds to stop Moises Calleros.

The single most frustrating part of the equation, which has probably been mentioned in this column before, is that Dana White and the UFC pulls it off every single fight card. So, the template already exists, but boxing television partners, even on ESPN where both the UFC and Top Rank coexist, refuse to use it.

HIT: DAZN’s Todd Grisham and Sergio Mora Impromptu Roadshow

Regardless, while I don’t believe it’s reasonable to hope for the beautiful accident that was Friday night on DAZN for every card, I could hardly be mad when DAZN’s dead air was filled with the antics of Todd Grisham and Sergio Mora, who were calling the action on the night. Both are probably underrated at what they do.

Their sometimes jovial, sometimes hostile banter is fun. No, people don’t tune in to hear these guys go back and forth with each other, but it was at least entertaining to hear their near-comedic and entirely impromptu routine, especially because it also surrounded the surreal experience of watching WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman make his in-ring television interview debut with boxing titleholders Mikey Garcia and Emanuel Navarrete.

Boxing is a strange culture. Sometimes even the bad parts of the sport can be good.

MISS: Lip Service from Everyone About Boxing’s Biggest Issue

One of the biggest boxing stories of the weekend was when retired boxing champ Floyd Mayweather ranted against title belts. Indeed, one of the most difficult things to explain to any outsider about the sport is how boxing’s complicated and somewhat absurd championship system works.

Of course, Mayweather is right about there being too many world champions in boxing. But the problem is that people who might actually be able to make those kinds of changes in the sport say things like that without actually doing anything about it. Heck, even WBO president Paco Valcarcel publicly stated that he agreed with Mayweather, even though that sanctioning organization now offers something called a WBO “Global” belt.

Mayweather, Valcarcel and others can’t simply point their fingers about the issue in hopes of getting it fixed. Instead, both men (and others) who wield actual money, power and influence in the sport, would be better served by actually taking measures to change things.

Mayweather, as a promoter, could keep his fighters from the alphabet gang altogether. And Valcarcel? The shortest and easiest path for him to help, short of shutting the WBO down right now, is to stop offering so many titles.

HIT: Matchmaking for Showtime’s Tripleheader

The matchmaker listed at BoxRec for Showtime’s tripleheader was Tom Brown, and it really should be pointed out what a terrific job he did in putting last Saturday’s card together. Of the three fights we saw on our televisions on Saturday night, all six fighters competing had a legitimate chance to win.

There were no gimmes on this card, and that’s rarely the case.

In fact, all the so-called A-sides had rough nights. Undefeated junior lightweight prospect Malik Hawkins suffered the first loss of his career via stoppage to Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias. Rising 130-pounder Xavier Martinez almost did the same when he was knocked down twice in one round by Claudio Marrero before digging down deep to earn the decision. And the main event? Sergey Lipinets vs. Custio Clayton was such a hotly contested fight that it was scored a split-draw. So, Showtime’s latest card was a breath of fresh air in a sport sometimes too obsessed with promoting future fights over present matters.

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A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

Thomas Hauser

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Book Review by Thomas Hauser — Carlos Monzon was born into extreme poverty in Argentina on August 7, 1942. He was mean, violent, surly, brutal, arrogant, occasionally charming, handsome with a smoldering sensuality, and remorseless. His life was marked by street fighting, drunken behavior, domestic violence, and more than forty arrests. In the midst of it all, he found boxing.

Monzon’s story is told by Don Stradley in A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon. It’s the latest in a series of short books from Hamilcar Publications published under the imprint Hamilcar Noir that deal with boxers whose lives were marked and often terminated by violent crime. Told in 128 pages, the story moves at a brisk pace.

Monzon had one hundred professional fights in a career that began in 1962. He reigned as middleweight champion from 1970 until his retirement in 1977 and was honored as the 1972 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America. All told, he compiled an 87-3-9 (59 KOs) record with 1 no contest. The three losses came during the first two years of his career when he was a novice.

Monzon was a big, strong, tough fighter with a good chin and a basic skill set: stand tall, throw a sharp jab, and follow with a hard right behind it. Mark Kram described him as “a perfectly shaped middleweight, tall with long arms and with style running through every sinew up to his dramatic Belmondo face.”

By contrast, British boxing commentator Reg Gutteridge described Monzon as having “little ring grace” and added “he clubs as if wearing a Roman cestus on his fist.”

Those who question Monzon’s greatness point to the fact that the best of the fighters he beat were past their prime (e.g. Nino Benvenuti) or past their prime and naturally smaller men (e.g. Emile Griffith and Jose Napoles). Monzon was also held to a draw by Benny Briscoe before besting Briscoe on a close decision in a rematch. And he only narrowly defeated Rodrigo Valdez in the last two fights of his ring career.

But as Stradley writes, “A strange thing happened to Monzon in retirement. He became a better fighter. The boxer who had often been dismissed as a classless thug was now revered as an all-time great. During the next decade when lists were made of the top middleweights or of great championship reigns, Monzon’s name would always be near the top.”

How good was Monzon?

Hall of Fame matchmaker Bruce Trampler says that he would have been competitive with any middleweight in any era. More significantly, in 2007, I had a conversation with Bernard Hopkins in which I asked Bernard to speculate as to how he would have fared in the ring against Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler, and Monzon. Hopkins’ answer is instructive:

“Sugar Ray Robinson at 147 pounds was close to perfect,” Bernard said. “But at middleweight, he was beatable. I would have fought Ray Robinson in close and not given him room to do his thing. He’d make me pay a physical price. But at middleweight, I think I’d wear him down and win. Me and Marvin Hagler would have been a war. We’d both be in the hospital afterward with straws in our mouth. We’d destroy each other. My game-plan would be, rough him up, box, rough him up, box. You wouldn’t use judges for that fight. You’d go by the doctors’ reports. Carlos Monzon? I could lose that fight. Monzon was tall, rangy, did everything right. I see myself losing that fight more than winning it.”

Stradley’s recounting of Monzon’s ring career is largely pro forma. The more compelling portions of the book lie in the portrait he paints of Monzon’s personal life.

Monzon had virtually no formal education and was close to illiterate. At age 19, he married 15-year-old Mercedes Beatriz Garcia. The newly-wed couple lived with her family in a two-room shack where they slept on a mattress on the floor.

“In many ways,” Stradley writes, “Monzon was the typical wife abuser. He was obsessed with control; he had an evil temper; he drank too much.” In 1973, Mercedes shot her husband in the arm and shoulder after a quarrel between them.

Monzon’s pattern of physically abusing women, assaulting people in public, reckless driving, and other anti-social acts was a constant in his life before, during, and after his championship reign. But as his fame grew, so did his following.

“Monzon,” Stradley notes, “didn’t look like other fighters of the day. He was photographed to look like a stylish Latin pop star, usually in a long leather coat, with plenty of gold jewelry. Argentina’s El Grafico [a popular magazine] treated Monzon like a model, featuring him in regular photo spreads.”

In 1974, while married to Mercedes, Monzon met Susana Gimenez (a popular actress and talk show host). Soon, they were involved in a torrid affair that lasted for four years. At one point, Mercedes complained to her husband about Susana and he punched her in the face, breaking the superciliary arch above her eye. Monzon was arrested and avoided a prison term by pleading temporary insanity. A divorce followed.

Susana’s film credits included adult-oriented comedies. In Stradley’s words, “Monzon had abandoned the mother of his children for a slutty clown. It didn’t help that her sartorial sense ran towards pink denim.”

Even so, Stradley recounts, “Monzon and Susana were now the most photographed twosome in Argentina. Journalist Alfredo Serra estimated they appeared on more than three hundred magazine covers, describing the pair as combining ‘the strength, beauty, fame and glamour of the world in a single couple.'”

During his championship reign, Monzon parleyed his fame as a fighter into several film roles. Then he retired; his relationship with Susana ended; and he met Alicia Muniz Calatayud.

Alicia had worked as a model and belly dancer in addition to once managing a hair salon. She and Monzon married in Miami because his divorce from Mercedes wasn’t recognized under Argentine law. They lived together from May 1979 through August 1986 and again during a brief reconciliation in 1987. On several occasions, Alicia filed complaints with the police alleging that Monzon had beaten her.

By 1988, Stradley writes, “Monzon was still famous but no longer important. Most of the time he was drunk.”

On February 14, 1988, during a weekend they were spending together, Monzon murdered his estranged wife.

“Here’s what probably happened,” Stradley posits. “When Alicia came for the weekend, she reminded him that he was late with his monthly payments [for child support]. They returned from their night out, a night where they’d been unfriendly to each other and a witness had seen Monzon hitting Alicia. At some point before 6 a.m., she said something that made the dynamite in his head go off.”

Monzon told conflicting stories after Alicia’s death, all of which centered on the claim that she’d accidentally fallen over a balcony railing during an argument between them. Then an autopsy report revealed that Alicia had been strangled to death.

“Medical examiners,” Stradley recounts, “estimated thirty-five pounds of pressure or more had been applied to Alicia’s throat. Strangling only requires eleven pounds. They estimated it had been done with a two-fingered grip, probably thumb and forefinger in a kind of one-handed death clamp. It takes only twenty seconds or so to strangle someone into unconsciousness. The damage to Alicia’s throat would take much longer. It wasn’t done by accident or in the heat of the moment. It took a few minutes of full-on rage. Alicia had been strangled long after she had passed out. It’s also rare that a strangling victim has visible marks on the neck or throat. The imprints on Alicia were clear and deep, as if someone had tried to squeeze her head off at the neck. He dumped her body over the balcony to make it look like she’d fallen.”

Monzon was charged with murder. The trial was broadcast live on radio throughout Argentina. Monzon testified that he and Alicia had argued about money and admitted that he had slapped her. “I have hit women on other occasions and nothing happened to any of them,” he told the court. “I hit all of my women except one. My mother.”

A three-judge panel found Monzon guilty of murder. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison with the possibility of time off for good behavior.

By 1993, Monzon was allowed to spend daytime hours and weekends outside of prison. On Sunday, January 8, 1995, after attending a barbeque, he was behind the wheel of a car, probably drunk and definitely speeding.

“By the rules of his furlough agreement,” Stradley writes, “he had to be back at the Las Flores prison by 8 p.m. He didn’t want to risk being late. He only had a short time left to serve on his sentence and didn’t want any infractions on his record. So he drove fast. He’d always been a terrible driver. Being in prison hadn’t made him any better at it.”

While speeding back to the prison, Monzon lost control of the vehicle which turned over multiple times, killing him instantly. Two other passengers also died in the accident. He was 52 years old.

After Monzon’s death, his body lay in state at City Hall in his hometown of Santa Fe. An estimated ten thousand people filed past it. Twenty thousand more lined the route to the Municipal Cemetery while six thousand mourners waited at the cemetery entrance.

Argentine president Carlos Menem told the nation. “Remember Carlos Monzon as a champion, not as a man jailed for murder.” But Argentinian journalist and political commentator Bernardo Neustadt took a contrary view, declaring, “We are a macho society that idolizes a man who beats or violates a woman; a macho society that taught Monzon to dress up, to speak a bit better, but didn’t teach him to think; a macho society that wasn’t horrified when Monzon said he beat all his women.”

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His next book – Staredown: Another Year Inside Boxing – will be published by the University of Arkansas Press this autumn. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. He will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the Class of 2020.

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Lipinets and Clayton Battle to a Draw at the Mohegan Sun

Arne K. Lang

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Tonight’s PBC show at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino, billed as a “Showtime Special Edition,” was to feature Sergey Lipinets against Kudratillo Abdukakhorov in the main event. That match-up would have pit fighters born in neighboring countries in Central Asia, the first major fight of its kind on American soil, but Uzbekistan’s Abdukakhorov had visa problems and a Canadian filled the breach.

Custio Clayton, whose 18-0 record was suspect because he had done all his fighting in Eastern Canada, proved to be more than just a worthy opponent. The 33-year-old ex-Olympian from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia held Lipinets (now 16-1-1) to a draw and the general feeling was that he had done just enough to edge it out. Don Trella scored the 12-round welterweight bout for him (115-113), but Trella’s counterparts Glen Feldman and Tom Schreck both had it even at 114 apiece.

Conspicuously bigger than Lipinets – to the eyes if not on the scale – Clayton did his best work in the late rounds. Lipinets, briefly the IBF world 140-pound title-holder (he lost the belt to Mikey Garcia; no shame there) is something of a one-dimensional fighter and as the rounds wore on he connected with fewer punches on the more multi-dimensional Canadian.

In theory, the winner would have been in line for a match with Errol Spence.

Martinez-Marrero

Prior to tonight, Sacramento junior lightweight Xavier Martinez had never fought beyond the eighth round and tonight it appeared that he wouldn’t see the ninth. He was on the deck twice in round eight and nearly didn’t make it to the bell. But he lasted the full 12 to win a well-earned unanimous decision over Claudio Marrero

Marrero, a 31-year-old southpaw from Santo Domingo, DR, was well behind on the scorecards when he caught Martinez with a big right hook shortly after the start of the eighth round. He pressed his advantage and knocked him down again with a flurry of punches. But Martinez recuperated and prevailed on scores of 115-111, 114-112, and 114-112 to keep his undefeated record intact, advancing to 16-0.

This was quite a departure from Martinez’s previous bout when he knocked out his opponent in 21 seconds. Marrero (24-5) lost for the fourth time in his last five outings. The match was billed as a WBA 130-pound title eliminator.

Matias-Hawkins

The TV opener was a 10-round junior lightweight contest between Malik Hawkins and Subriel Matias. Hawkins, a former National Golden Gloves champion from the same Baltimore gym that produced Gervonta Davis, came in undefeated (18-0). Puerto Rico’s Matias, who opened his career with 15 straight knockouts, was looking to rebound from his first defeat, having lost a 10-round decision to Petros Ananyan on the Wilder-Fury II undercard.

Matias’s bout with Ananyan was his first start since his match will ill-fated Maxim Dadashev. The Dadashev tragedy may have preyed on his mind, but according to his promoter Juan Orengo, he was lax in his training for Ananyan. Whatever the case, Matias rebounded from that defeat tonight, saddling Hawkins with his first pro loss.

Matias forged ahead in the sixth, knocking Hawkins to his knees and then pursuing him around the ring to apply the finisher. Hawkins survived the onslaught but had no argument when he was pulled out by the ring physician before the next frame.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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