On Friday night, in front of a sold out arena at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV, Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and Let's Get It On Promotions put together an action packed card on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" headlined by Curtis "Showtime" Stevens, taking on Jesse Brinkley in an Official IBF eliminator for the number two ranking in the super middleweight division.
Both fighters prior to the fight promised fireworks, and that's exactly what the audience got, as Stevens came out fast and hard in the first, landing vicious left hooks that immediately caught the attention of Brinkley. A left hook near the end of the first caught Brinkley flush on the cheek and created a nasty welt under his right eye.
The middle rounds saw good, highly competitive action, as both fighters showed they were not afraid to stand and trade, which continuously brought the crowd into a roaring frenzy.
While Stevens seemed to be landing the heavier of the blows, Brinkley kept pressing forward and landed shots of his own. In the 6th a big right hand from Brinkley rocked Stevens. Brinkley immediately looked to capitalize and jumped on Stevens, as Stevens laid on the ropes, waving Brinkley to keep coming. Another short right hand caught Stevens on the jaw, forcing him to take a knee to gain his composure.
The remainder of the fight saw both fighters leave everything they had in the ring. As soon as it looked as though Stevens might be gaining the upper hand, Brinkley would storm back with an assault of his own.
Knowing he needed a knockout to win in Brinkley's hometown, Stevens came out aggressive in the 11th, winging shots trying to stop the hometown favorite. The two closed the round once again standing toe-to-toe trading bombs.
In the final round the two once again let it all hang out, each landing huge hooks and right hands. A big right hand sent Stevens falling back into the ropes, causing the referee to jump in and credit Brinkley with another knockdown. As soon as the action resumed the fireworks continued as Brinkley rushed in looking to end the show in fashion.
In the process he left himself open as Stevens landed a huge combination off the ropes that staggered Brinkley. With the crowd going crazy the fight ended with both warriors once again trading huge shots.
In the end Brinkley was awarded a grueling twelve round unanimous decision in what is sure to be an early candidate for fight of the year. With the win Brinkley improves his record to 35-5, 22KO and earned him the number two ranking in the IBF super middleweight division. Stevens, who put up an outstanding fight and showed the heart of a champion, drops to 21-3, 15KO.
In the co-feature bout of the evening, up and coming welterweight prospect, Raymond "Tito" Serrano improved his record to a perfect 12-0, 6KO with a dominating eight round decision victory over Ronnie Warrior Jr. (13-3-1, 4KO). In his first scheduled eight rounder as a pro, Serrano used his speed and crisp combination punching to continuously keep Warrior off balance throughout the contest.
The 20-year- old Serrano showed much improved boxing ability as he would score with three and four punch combinations and then move out of Warriors range.
All three judges scored the bout were 79-73 for the Philadelphian native. Look for Serrano to be back in action soon as he anticipates a huge 2010.