By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Saturday night at the Bayonne, Pavilion in Bayonne New Jersey, featured a New Jersey fight of the year candidate in the main event as welterweight Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez (13-4, 5 KOs) barely survived a late knockdown to capture a back and forth split decision victory over Alex “The Brick City Bullet” Perez (18-3, 10 KOs). Heavyweight Tyrone “Juice” Wright (9-0-1, 6 KOs) captured a workmanlike six round unanimous decision victory over Nicholas Thompson (5-2, 5 KOs) in co-feature of the eight bout card presented Nick Jayme’s LGM Promotions.
The main event was a battle of two familiar fighters looking to make a return to the winning side of the ledger. Alex “The Brick City Bullet” Perez look to bounce back from an eighteen-month layoff after a loss to Brandon Adams in February of 2015. His opponent Juan “The Beast Rodriguez Jr. was also coming of a losing streak and looked to return to the winning side of the ledger. Both fighters knew each other well, having sparred several times during their professional boxing careers.
Perez looked bigger and many at ringside though he was the prohibitive favorite. g looked to set the pace right from the opening bell by backing up Rodriguez Jr. However, the first crack in the armor happened in the opening minute as Rodriguez timed him coming in with a glancing right hand. Perez lost his balance and his hand touched the canvas, forcing the called knockdown. The knockdown seemed to anger Perez who threw a few heavy rights as the first round came to a close.
Perez was forcing the action in the second round and hurt Rodriguez Jr with an uppercut. Rodriguez returned the favor late in the round as he rocked Perez with a right hand. Perez looked dazed as he backed up. The man knick-named the Beast knew it and went on the attack with two more big hooks, but the bell saved Perez.
Rodriguez was timing the hard wide shots of Perez in the third and catching him with counters in the third. Perez hooks when they did land made the round close.
Perez used his superior reach advantage and backed up his opponent with straight shots early in the fourth round. In mid round Perez caught Rodriguez jr in the corner and blistered him with a heavy four punch combination that forced him to hold. Rodriguez looked stunned and slid along the ropes. A counter left slowed the attack of Perez.
Rounds five and six were close with Perez taking the fifth with his aggressive shots and Rodriguez Jr capturing the sixth with movement and counters. Late in the sixth Rodriguez Jr targeted the body.
The fight turned on a dime in the seventh as Perez caught Rodriguez Jr and traded with him in the corner. A blistering four punch combination dropped Rodriguez Jr. he barely made it to his feet as Referee Dali reached the eight count. Dali told him told to go left then right before asking him to come forward. Rodriguez Jr looked wobbly but he was allowed to continue. Perez wailed away but Rodriguez held and recovered quickly.
Juan Rodriguez went back to picking his shots and movement to win the eighth and final round.
The crowd cheered wildly for the efforts of the fighters. The decision was read. One judge saw it 76-75 for Perez but was countered by a second official who saw it 76-74 for Rodriguez Jr, while the 3rd official was announce having the fight 76-76 even for a split draw. That was not to be though as five minutes later after both fighters had left the ring, the even score was double checked and it was announce as 76-75 in favor of Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez Jr. giving him the split decision victory.
Rodriguez Jr and his time rushed back into the ring and celebrated their victory.
“It feels great to get the victory,” said Juan Rodriguez Jr. “It has been a long time coming. I was in the best shape of my life and we pulled it off and I am ecstatic”
In the co-feature of the evening, heavyweight prospect Tyrell “Juice” Wright (9-0-1, 6KO’s) won a workmanlike six round unanimous decision victory over heavy hand Nicholas Thompson 5-2, ,5KO’s.
The fight could have been fought in a phone booth as Wright spent most of the fight with his head attached to Thompson chest as he dug away on the inside. Thompson appeared to have won a few of the late rounds with hard uppercuts, but Wright’s heavier workload won the fight. All three judges saw the fight in favor of Tyrell Wright by scores of 59-55 x 2 and 60-54.
Undefeated middleweight Magdiel Cotto upped his record to 5-0, 4Ko’s with an impressive four round unanimous decision victory over debuting Jermaine Corley.
Cotto controlled the opening round with crisp combinations and heavy hooks.
Corley tried to smother the Puerto Rican knockout artist in the second, but Cotto just spun around and continued to batter away at Corley with viscous hooks underneath and lefts up top. Corley’s was hurt and his mouthpiece fell out. They put it back in, which gave him enough time to finish the round.
Corley looked all but finished entering the third round, but a hard left counter stood up Cotto. He would not falter though and immediately regain control with heavy hooks under the ribs. Corley constantly retreated to the corners. Corley’s mouthpiece came out again and referee Ronald Bashir Ali took a point as the round came to a close.
Cotto continued the onslaught throughout the fourth and final round. There were several times where referee Ronald Bashir Ali looked ready to step in, but Corley was able to clinch and moved well enough to make to the final bell.
All three judges saw the fight easily in favor of Magdiel Cotto by scores of 40-32 x 2 and 40-34 respectively for the four round unanimous decision victory.
Ukrainian heavyweight Egor Plevako (3-2, 1KO) captured a crowd pleasing hard fought four round unanimous decision victory over vs Puerto Rico’s Kenny Cruz (0-2-1)
In the opening round, Plevako tried to keep the smaller Cruz on the outside with his left jabs. Cruz avoided many and was able to trade while on the inside.
Cruz continued to apply the pressure in the second with hard hooks on the inside. Plevako was patient and tried to turn the tide with a few hard right hands up top while on the outside. Cruz would occasionally step under and land a hook underneath to keep him from opening up.
The heavy long shots from Plevako seemed to be tire Cruz in the third rounds as he went on the retreat. Plevako began to push Cruz against the ropes with two and three punch combinations.
Plevako opened up in the fourth and final round but his shots were wide. Cruz found his mark with a couple big shots in heated exchanges. Plevako continued the pressure with powerful shots up top right onto the final bell.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Egor Plevako by scores of 39-37, 40-36 and 40-35 for the four round unanimous decision victory.
Undefeated welterweight prospect Caleb Hernandez (3-0, 2KO’s) won when Lamont (0-3) was disqualified at 2:39 of the fourth for not listening to the referees repeated warnings.
Hernandez targeted the body early in the opening round, with heavy hooks. White was in good shape but the Paterson, New Jersey welterweight continued the constant pressure, mixing up two and three punch combinations throughout rounds two and three. White went on the bicycle and switched to southpaw to relieve the pressure late in the third. White was not listening to the instructions of Referee Ronald Ali Bashir on breaks. Finally, he had seen enough and disqualified Lamont White at 2:29 of the fourth and final round.
Newark, New Jersey Heavyweight Leon Johnson upped his record 2-0, 2KO’s with a first round stoppage of eleven fight veteran Alando Pugh (1-9-1) of Washington, DC.
Pugh tried to pull the upset right from the opening bell as he trapped Johnson on the ropes and swung away, looking for the quick stoppage. Johnson kept his defense tight and smothered most of the punches. Johnson smiled in the clinch and then moments later he found his mark with a hard upper cut that put Pugh on the canvas. Referee Eric Dali immediately waived the bout off, giving Leon Johnson the victory at 2:46 of the opening round.
Hard hitting lightweight John Bauza moved to 3-0, 2KO’s with a one sided four round unanimous decision victory over Jose Carmona 1-6, 1KO).
Bauza took over in the second round as he stepped in and out of the pocket with chopping lefts behind stiff jabs which kept Carmona on the defensive. Late in the third, Bauza of North Bergen, New Jersey, rocked the game, but outgunned Puerto Rican with a right hand. Bauza applied the pressure, but Carmona covered and clinched enough to make it to the bell. Carmona recovered well and tried to box, but Bauza trapped him in the corner and caught him with an overhand left. Carmona clinched and was able to stay out of harms way the until the final bell. All three judges saw it in favor of John Bauza by scores of 40-35 x 2 and 40-36 for the well-deserved four round unanimous decision victory
In the opening bout of the evening, undefeated New York City lightweight Luis Perozo (3-0, 2K)’s needed only forty-one seconds to stop winless Christian Foster (0-2).
Both fighters came out swinging away, but Foster’s right hand landed flush on face of Foster, who immediately dropped to the canvas. Referee Ronald Ali Bashir stepped in and waved the bout off without a count at the forty-one second mark of the opening round.
There were many notable fighters in attendance including “The Bayonne Bleeder” Chuck Wepner and two-time cruiserweight champion Steve USS Cunningham.