Boxing at The Met in Philadelphia
Jeff Jowett at ringside
Philadelphia’s revitalized old opera house The Met played host to the second boxing show since its reopening after decades of being boarded up. Manny Rivera and Will Ruiz (Hard Hitting Prom’ns) promoted the card on 4/26/19.
In the welterweight main event, Malik Hawkins, Balto., 15-0 (7), defeated Andre “Thunder” Byrd of Jacksonville, 7-7-2 (1), over eight rounds. The tall Hawkins boxed behind the jab while Byrd worked inside to the body, but clinches slowed the action. Referee Benjy Esteves cautioned Hawkins for hitting on the break in round five, as fans became restless for more action. Hawkins began to pull away in the sixth and dropped Byrd to his knees with a right to the body in the seventh. The unanimous decision to Hawkins was 80-71 by Steve Weisfeld and Adam Friscia while Gail Jasper had 78-74. Some fans felt it could have been closer.
A mild upset occurred in an eight between Branden Pizarro, Phila., 14-1-1 (7), and spoiler Tre’Sean Wiggins, Newburgh, NY, 11-4-2, at light welter. Wiggins boxed behind the jab while Pizarro went to the body, with both being cautioned for fouls by Gary Rosato in the second. Pizarro finished the round rocking the southpaw Wiggins with a straight left. Branden came on in the next two rounds, with Wiggins back in the fifth and sixth to keep it anybody’s fight. The visitor took the seventh behind the left, but Pizarro went all out to take the final round despite another caution for hitting behind the head. The verdict was a unanimous draw by Weisfeld, Friscia and Ron McNair.
Another upset occurred in a Spr Feather eight between local favorite Gadwin Rosa, out of Ocala, FL, 10-1 (8), and Sulaiman Segawa, a Ugandan fighting out of Silver Spring, MD, 12-2 (4). Segawa rallied late in the first to steal the round, then seemed to bother Rosa with his southpaw stance while taking charge behind right hooks, movement and a slick slip-and-slide defense. Rosa tried throughout to turn it around but just could not deal with the Ugandan’s good mechanics. Weisfeld and McNair scored 79-73 while Jasper had a shutout, unanimous for Segawa.
Heavyweight prospect Darmani Rock, Phila., 15-0 (10), blew out Mike Bissett, Tampa, 15-12-1 (9), in the second of eight. It was target practice as Rock dropped Bissett twice in the first, with a left hook and three-punch combo. In round two, a right to the head dropped Bissett again, with the underdog complaining to referee Rosato that it was on the top of the head. Darmani left no doubt then with a right to the chin, dropping the underdog as Rosato waved it over at 2:20.
At Spr Feather, Christian Tapia, Coamo, PR, 9-0 (8), stopped game Raul Chirino, Miami, 13-11 (8), at 2:25 of the third of six. A left hook rocked the underdog late in the first. After Esteves warned him twice for hitting behind the head in the second, Tapia exploded a pair of rights to send Chirino down. The underdog tried to roar back with an attack only to get rocked by a right. After yet another warning for hitting behind the head, Christian finished the round with a right knocking Chirino down again. Raul took a knee in the third and was being routed and dropped to a knee again just as Esteves stopped the fight.
A near upset occurred in a wild rock-‘em, sock-‘em between Benny Sinakin, Phila., 4-0 (2), and Patrick Pierre, NOLA, 3-7 (1), at light heavy. Sinakin pounded the visitor along the ropes and nailed him repeatedly with solid rights, but his aggressive attack left him prone to some solid counters. In the second, Benny walked into a right and went down, but got up and took over the attack to get back in the fight. The third was a wild round of give and take, but Sinakin poured it on in a final round thriller to pull out the unanimous four-round decision. Friscia scored 38-37, Weisfeld and McNair 38-36 for Sinakin. Rosato refereed.
In a bantam four, Josue Rosa, Phila., 2-0 (1), demolished unlucky “Lucky” Holt, Hannibal, MO, 0-4, in 45 seconds of the first.
In a welter four, Tyhler Williams, Phila., 2-0 (2), stopped Abdiel Padilla, 1-2 (1), Arecibo, PR, in 1:46 of the third. Williams chased Padilla and tried to corral him on the ropes while Abdiel relied on sneak right counters. In the third, Padilla landed a solid right but was driven back by a left hook counter. Williams then swarmed him to finally send him down. Abdiel arose but Tyhler was all over him, forcing Rosato to stop it.