In the preliminary to the main event Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, hot welterweight prospect Raymond 'Tito' Serrano moved closer to world title contention status with an impressive fifth round knockout of Geoffery Spruiell. Since Serrano weighed 147.7 and Spruiell 148.5, the eight rounder went off at junior middleweight. A good contingency of young flag waving Latino fans cheered Serrano on during his bout.
Serrano's 14-0 (7) record includes a majority decision win over Ayi Bruce of Ghana, who won the vacant IBA welterweight title by decision over Shamone Alvarez in the main event which followed Serrano's bout.
Serrano dropped Spruiell with a short left early in round one, and then dropped him again with an overhand right in the first for a 10-7 round. Serrano then carried Spruiell. Serrano threw a lot of straight left jabs, and some right jabs. Spruiell appeared muscular, but could not fight, or possibly came into this bout with absolutely no game plan.
Spruiell spent the bout sitting on the ropes waiting for Serrano to come in and throw jabs, and then tried to counter with a flurry. Spruiell kept his guard low, however, and such a poor defense left the opening for Serrano to finish the showcase. Tito was patient with his straight left, just scoring and torturing the clueless Spruiell. In round three, Tito changed tactics and began working the body of Spruiell on the ropes, breaking him down further for two rounds and setting up the grand finale.
Serrano came out in round five out of the southpaw stance, changing tactics again, and confused Spruiell, who was unprepared for the switch and did not know how to respond. Serrano threw a coup-de-grace power left hand which put a beaten and defeated Spruiell down on the canvas on one knee. Spruiell, who did not know where he was, was counted out, was counted out by referee Lindsay Page at 0:27.
In the post-fight interview, Serrano told about his approach to the bout. "My jab caught him easy. My goal was to wear him down to the body the first three rounds, and take him to the later rounds. I threw straight lefts, and he went down twice in round one. I learned from my other fights when a guy goes down in the first round, I know not to go crazy and just take my time. A lot of people came out see me, and I haven't fought since July. I wanted to finish with a bang and show everyone I could knock this guy out. I was controlling him and putting pressure on him. He felt my power."
So why the switch to southpaw?
"I wanted to show him a different look, it took him time to see I went southpaw. He was very confused. I knocked him out. I think he could haven gotten up if he wanted to, but he had enough and took the count. Next year I'll step up to a ten rounder. I want all the big fights in the future. That's my goal."
Result: Raymond 'Tito' Serrano KO5 Geoffery Spruiell, Junior Middleweights
Time: 0:27 of the fifth
Chuck Mussachio W8 Theo Kruger, Cruiserweights
Scoring: 80-72 twice and 79-73
World Boxing Federation United States Light Heavyweight champion Chuck 'The Professor' Mussachio fought this bout at the cruiserweight limit against crazy looking trial horse Theo Kruger, sporting a motorcycle Mohawk and goatee and looking more the part of an MMA Mixed martial Arts fighter. This was a pattern bout, with Mussachio scoring in all eight rounds with left right straight jabs and power shots, and Kruger countering mostly by bullying Mussachio into the ropes and throwing body shots.
Kruger, who took a good punch, probably took the bout hoping he could outmuscle the 177 pound Mussachio with his 185.5 pound girth. Mussachio got off the ropes as soon as Kruger tried to trap him there. The two fighters played their cat and mouse game for all eight rounds. Some facial bruising on both sides, but nothing serious.
Mussachio, Wildwood, New Jersey, improves to 17-1-2 (5). Kruger, Punta Gorda, Florida, 10-11-2 (3), has won only one of his last six bouts. "He was tough," noted Mussachio. In any interview in the ring, Kruger felt he had been treated fairly in New Jersey. Kruger's concern was with the inhospitable Northern weather and going home. "I want to go back to Florida. I stayed inside here in Atlantic City. It's too cold!"
Ishmael 'Tito' Garcia UD 4 Joe Yerdon, Junior Middleweights
Scoring: 40-36 from all three judges
Garcia had height and reach advantage, and threw left-right jab combinations to Yerdon's head. Garcia also threw power rights to the head. The shorter Yerdon's whole game plan was to land body shot combinations after trapping Garcia on the ropes. It went this way for three rounds.
In the fourth rounds, Garcia tried a different approach, remaining on the ropes and baiting Yerdon to come in. Yerdon landed his body shots, but Garcia countered with short headshot combinations with both hands. Yerdon had no answer to it. Yerdon hung tough, got outpunched, and went the distance in a bout closer than scoring indicated.
"Yerdon has a hard head, a tough hard headed journeyman who wasn't going anywhere, his punches were wide and he had no power," noted Garcia in the post fight interview. "I hit him for two rounds with flush power shots. I was hoping he would get worn out from my power shots, but I saw he was taking my power shots well. After the second round, I stayed busy enough to win the rounds, but also saved something in the gas tank. My coaches hate me on the ropes, but he kept his head off me (at a distance), so in the fourth round I caught him with power shots off the ropes. I like to showcase all the things I can do."
Althera Saunders UD4 Natoya Ervin, Female Junior Welterweight
Scoring: 40-35 from all three judges
Althea Saunders became perhaps the first female professional boxer to belt out her opponent, and then return before the main event to belt out the national anthem! Saunders moved forward throwing left-rights to the head, with the right over the Ervin left, and left-right body punches. Ervin tried to counterpunch with a left but couldn't land. There was some wrestling in center ring.
In round three, Saunders landed an overhand right to the chin of Ervin which sent her to the canvas after a delayed reaction. Ervin beat the count and courageously finished the bout. Saunders used straight rights to the head to win round four. Saunders, of Atlantic City, now 2-0. Ervin, from Akron, Ohio, fell to 1-7.
Isiah Seldon MD4 Todd Eriksson, Junior Welterweights
Scoring: 39-36 twice and 38-38
The son of former world heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, junior welterweight Isiah Seldon boxed his way to a cautious four round decision over tall Todd 'The Viking' Eriksson. Seldon, 3-0 (1), Atlantic City, came out throwing thunder against Eriksson, 2-5-1 (1), Dover, New Jersey, and dropped Eriksson with a right hand. Ericksson got up and countered with a low blow, prompting a brief stoppage in the action.
Seldon nearly punched himself out and could have lost the bout, but settled down, scoring with the right jab for the remainder of the bout, throwing head jabs. Ericksson threw power shot combinations to the head and body, and appeared to win the third round with his offense.
Both fighters came out in the fourth round throwing bombs with the fight on the table. Ericksson got warned for throwing low blows again, perhaps the difference in two judges going for Seldon in an otherwise action packed even round.
Rashad Brown UD4 Corey Preston, Middleweights
Scoring: 40-36 from all three judges
The muscular Preston was in shape, but had no offense to back it up. Brown came forward working the left jab and left-right combinations to the head. At times the bout moved in circles in enter ring, Brown jabbing, and Preston trying to counter ineffectively.
As the bout progressed, Brown also landed many straight right hand power shots. Whenever Preston went to the ropes or the corners, Brown flurried with uppercuts, sending Preston back on the move. In center ring, Brown continued landing straight rights to the head. It occurred Brown could not finish his opponent.
Late in the fourth and final round, Preston managed to land his best punch, a straight right to the head which stunned a tiring Brown on the ropes near the bell. Preston had guts and conditioning, but had no technical boxing skills, without which you cannot win serious professional bouts.
Boxing News Tags: Althea Saunders, Althera Saunders, Atlantic City, Boxing, Corey Preston, Geoffery Spruiell, Ishmael Tito Garcia, Isiah Seldon, Jersey, Joe Yerdon, Junior Middleweights Time, Lindsay Page, Middleweights Scoring, Natoya Ervin, Punta Gorda, Rashad Brown, Raymond Tito Serrano, Ringside, Theo Kruger, Whenever Preston