By Jason Gonzalez at ringside
South Ozone Park, Queens - Amongst the five boroughs in the “Big Apple,” more often than not, Queens takes a back seat to its more prestigious and popular sisters, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, allowing them to claim the title of “Most Happening City in New York.”
Move over Mohegan Sun; move over Foxwoods and Atlantic City. This past Saturday night, September 22, Queens got its first taste of casino-style boxing with a packed card of local guys at the Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct Racino. Rumor has it there will be more cards to come in the not-too-distant future.
In the main event of the evening Joe Smith Jr. 173.5, of Shirley, Long Island, stretched his streak of consecutive knockouts to 11-1 (11) after disposing of Yasin Abdur-Rashid, 174.5, of Brooklyn, NY, 7-3 (2), within three rounds.
It almost seems as if there is pressure on Smith Jr. to continue the knockout streak. “No, not all,” said Smith Jr. “It’s just that I hit so hard that the knockout comes.”
Smith Jr. floored Rashid once in the first from a right hand and three more times in the third frame via a flurry of punches each time. The fight was called to a halt at the 1:57 mark of the round.
Unless your name is Edwin Valero, the knockout streak will end sooner than later. “We are ready for it,” said Smith Jr. “For this fight, we worked with Jason Escalera, who is fighting next week. We went eight rounds of sparring with him with half-minute rests but we are ready to go the distance, whenever it happens.”
In the co-feature bout of the evening, highly-touted prospect Frank Galarza, 153, of Brooklyn, NY and Alantez Fox, 152, of Forestville, MD., 7-0-1 (3), duked it out to an eight-round draw in a contest for the New York State junior middleweight title. Scores were 77-75, Galarza, 77-75 Fox and 76-76.
“I thought I did enough to pull out the fight,” said Galarza, now 7-0-1 (4), while being checked by the ringside physician. “I feel great; I could have gone another three or four rounds.”
The bout saw a lot of shifts in momentum that saw Galarza take the fight to the inside on the much taller Fox. However, Fox would create distance and work the jab, often hooking off of it.
“[Fox] was a little tougher than I expected,” assessed Galarza. “He utilized the jab well and he capitalized with the left hook every time I dropped my left hand.”
In the last two rounds, Galarza let it all go, making one think he was behind on points.
“I trained really hard for this fight,” he said when asked if he thought he was losing. “Me and my team decided that letting it all go was the best thing to do. I thought I won the fight. I thought I did enough to win.”
Fan favorite Boyd Melson, 154.5, of Brooklyn, NY improved to 10-1 (4) after earning a six-round unanimous decision over game challenger Yolexcy Leiva Martinez, 153, of Nashville, Tennessee, 5-5 (4), by scores of 59-54 twice, and 58-55 in favor of Melson.
Melson scored an extra point in the first round after dropping Martinez with a check-right hook to the temple.
Featherweight Juan Dominguez, 123.5, of Brooklyn, NY did what he was supposed to do against his opponent, Jesus Bayron, 125, of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, 5-6 (4). Dominguez scored an easy six-round unanimous decision by scores of 59-52 across the board.
Dominguez, 11-0 (7), dominated Bayron, beating him from pillar to post. Dominguez scored two knockdowns in the third round, the products of two picture-perfect left hooks to the body. In the sixth and final round, Dominguez was deducted a point for low bows - but it didn’t matter in the end.
In an upset of sorts, featherweight Rafael Vazquez, 124.5, of Brooklyn, NY tasted defeat for the first time after being upended in a close split decision to his counterpart Jhovany Collado, 124.5, of Queens, NY, 4-6-2 (1).
The back-and-forth action resulted in two of the cards ruling in favor of Collado by scores of 58-55 and 57-56 while the last card read 57-56 for Vazquez, now 8-1 (6).
Bantamweight journeyman Elton Dharry, 10-5-1 (5), added another notch to his résumé after knocking out Gabriel Cruz, 4-5-1 (1).
Dharry, 116, of Brooklyn, NY stopped Cruz, 115, of Jersey City, New Jersey at the end of the second.
Angel Garcia, 133, of Brooklyn, NY, 3-1 (2), won a four-round unanimous decision over Pedro Andres, 130, of Bridgeton, New Jersey, 0-2, by scores of 40-35 and 39-36 (twice). Garcia would drop Andres in the third frame.
Featherweight Micah Branch, 125, of Cincinnati, Ohio, now 1-2, won a close four-round unanimous decision over Allan Phelan, 125, of Kildare, Ireland, 0-2. All three scorecards read 39-38 in favor of Branch.
In the opening bout of the evening, welterweight Daniel Gonzalez, 146, of Queens, NY only needed two rounds to stop his opponent, Anthony Smith, 147.5 of Brooklyn, NY in his pro debut. The stoppage came at the 1:01 mark. Smith will have to try again for his first professional win.
Jay Gon’s Ringside Tidbits
- Former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo, who will be fighting on the October 20th card at the Barclays Center took the time to speak to Maxboxing, “I had a torn labrum in my shoulder,” said Collazo, who is sporting a tattoo on the back of his head. “I had microscopic surgery in February.”
As far as going back home to Brooklyn, “I am happy; I am excited,” he would say. “As a native of Brooklyn, New York, this is a great opportunity for me to display my talent. I am holding camp in Detroit at the Kronk Gym. I am ready to go.”
It;s probably safe to say that Collazo will not be at the grand opening of the arena for the Jay-Z concert. As for future plans, “After Steve Chambers, let’s get the winner of the Devon Alexander-Randall Bailey fight.”
- This club show was very reminiscent of the club shows I would attend as a kid with my father. This event was of great significance and poignancy to me.
- And speaking of my childhood, its only right that I mention this; I grew up in South Ozone Park, Queens. This truly was a homecoming like no other for me. I never forgot where I came from.