Boxing’s would-be triumphant return to the Capital Region on Saturday was somewhat muted by the outcome of the main event.
Forty-eight seconds into the second round, while being separated from IBA heavyweight champion Joe “The Future” Hanks, challenger Rafael Pedro reached for his right shoulder in pain. He went to one knee, and was checked out by doctors. He stood up, walked to the corner and shook his head “no” to the referee, who called an end to the fight before a crowd of 3,527.
Hanks then walked over and angrily shouted at Pedro for not fighting on.
Ringside doctors determined Pedro’s shoulder to be dislocated. Hanks said that wouldn’t have stopped him.
“I don’t know how to quit, so, yeah, I would keep going,” Hanks said. “I couldn’t go out like that. Not me, personally. I’ve worked too hard and made too many sacrifices to go out like that.”
“With one arm, I cannot fight,” Pedro said. “Especially once he knows my arm is out of the socket,
he’s going to throw a lot more punches, knowing I’m defenseless.”
The fight was scored a TKO, pushing Hanks’ record to 19-0-0 with 13 KOs.
Hanks was patient in the first round, but found an opening near the end of it and let loose a barrage of punches. Pedro was able to land a couple of big blows, too, before his injury. Hanks withstood the big right, and felt that may have intimidated the big Cuban, who at 6-foot-7 is three inches taller than the champ and outweighed him by 29 pounds at 279.
“When I felt it the first time, I looked him in his face and said, ‘That’s the best thing you got, while you got some energy,’ ” Hanks said. “I knew he wasn’t going to get stronger as the fight went on; he’s 280 pounds. The way I saw it, he was going to get weaker, I was
going to get stronger.”
In the co-feature, bantamweights Sahib Usarov and Yan Barthelemy lasted all 10 rounds, with Usarov taking a unanimous decision to win the WBO Intercontinental belt and remain undefeated (18-0, 6 KOs). One judge gave Usarov nine rounds, the other two gave him seven.
At one point, Usarov delivered a body blow that nearly lifted Barthelemy, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, off his feet. As the two fighters worked through the later rounds, the crowd was asking for another knockout, having seen the first three bouts of the night end early. The two wore each other down enough that they fell together at one point in the final round, clearly exhausted from the first nine rounds.
Rochester junior welterweight Darnell Jiles left Schenectady
native Bryan Abraham looking for another fight.
Abraham was so desperate for an outlet for his energy after scoring a first-round TKO over Jiles, he challenged the media to “sign some papers” and get another bout added to the card.
“I saw a few openings, but I wasn’t going to rush it,” Abraham said. “I was going to feel him out, take my time, and the shot would come.”
With Jiles backed up to the ropes near his own corner, Abraham unleashed a flurry of punches and had Jiles canvas-bound before the final right hand hit the button. Jiles slowly fell into his own corner, and, though he bounced back up, next saw the referee stopping the fight.
“I thought, ‘Hold up, I didn’t hit him with a hard shot. What happened?’ ” Abraham said.
“The power just comes out whenever it comes out. It’s kind of natural to do certain things, and it shocks me after I do it. I’ve been training, and [now] it just comes naturally.”
In his professional debut, light heavyweight and Albany native Mike Seitz scored a first-round knockout of Karim Richardson of Brooklyn, also in his pro debut. Richardson went right at Seitz early, but Seitz was patient and picked his spots, ending the fight two minutes in.
Kevin Rooney Jr. and Stanley Harvey went the distance in their four-round junior middleweight bout. Rooney, a Catskill native, took a unanimous decision, dictating the action for much of the contest.
Super middleweight Jason Escalera improved to 13-0 (12 KOs) by stopping Marcus Brooks 1:09 into the fourth round by TKO.