Perez Retires Hernandez!
By: By Jacob Chavez at ringside
Photography by John Booz
Dominic Pesoliís 8 Count Productions presented a stellar night of boxing on Friday from their newly adopted home, the UIC Pavilion near Chicagoís downtown. The card billed ìWindy City Fight Nightî drew 3,171 fight fans and featured a terrific undercard with a cross-town battle in the main event between middleweights, Miguel Hernandez (28-9, 10 KOs) and Luciano Perez (17-9-1, 15 KOs).
The highly anticipated match-up pitted two of the areaís most revered fighters against each other for the WBF Americas middleweight title. The fans were split down the middle with the ever-intriguing rivalry of Mexico versus Puerto Rico.
8 Count also held a special ceremony for Luis Mateo, Freddy Cuevas, and Luke Capuano whom are all local area fighters of recent years that were inducted into the 8 Count boxing hall of fame. On hand to extend their support were former lightweight champion David Diaz as well as four time world heavyweight title-challenger Andrew Golota.
Even though there was a delay before the fighters of the main event entered the ring, however once the opening bell rang, the action got off to a fast and furious start.
Both fighters opened up with hard combinations. As the round progressed, Perez continued to accurately land his power shots while Hernandez was more conservative with his punches and looked to counter. Then as the fighters were exchanging a barrage of punches, Hernandez stopped Perez dead in his tracks with a right cross to the head moments before the bell rang to end the round.
Round two saw Perez open up more aggressively which caused a mouse to develop under the left eye of Hernandez. As the round went on, the pressure appeared to be getting to Hernandez as he continued to absorb more and more punishment.
The two warriors exchanged hard jabs in round three and it looked as though Hernandez was finding his comfort zone. As the round progressed, Perez again stepped up his punch output.
Midway through the round, Hernandez tried to ask referee Clestino Ruiz for a reprimand against Perez for holding and hitting, but his request fell on deaf ears as the referee signaled the action continue.
Perez landed a devastating three punch combination to the head of Hernandez which caused him to taste the canvas. Not ready to yield, Hernandez bravely got up and finished the round.
Ready to seal the deal, Perez charged out as the bell signaled round four. Both fighters opened up, but it appeared as though Perez was getting the better of Hernandez because he could not respond well enough to keep Perez at bay. Perez continued to bust up Hernandez.
The brave Hernandez looked to retaliate but to no avail. Perez just kept coming. Nearing the end of the round, Hernandez was still putting on a fight but Perez continued to unload.
With about a minute into round five, the two came together and had a spectacular exchange and at the end of a furious right cross to the head, their feet got tangled and Hernandez stumbled down. Erroneously, this was ruled a knockdown.
As the fight resumed, Perez unleashed an onslaught of punches. Hernandez valiantly responds with counters himself but the pressure is too much. Referee Clestino Ruiz sees that Hernandez getting battered and decided to call it at 2:59 of round five.
Although both fighters showed great sportsmanship and courage, the defeat ultimately caused Hernandez to announce his retirement.
Coyle Stops Saunders!
Junior middleweight Henry Coyle (10-1, 9 KOs) stopped Dave Saunders (9-7, 6 KOs) to score a TKO win in less than two rounds.
Both fighters were eager to trade in the center of the ring at the sound of the bell, but midway through one, Coyle found a whole in Saunders' defense and landed several hard body shots almost at will. Saunders appeared to feel the effects of the bodywork despite him standing his ground and retaliating.
In round two Coyle charged at Saunders and immediately connected with yet another right to the body. This punch set things up for the end, as Saunders stumbled back into the corner and raised his guard.
Coyle jumped on him and connected with a barrage to the head and body. During the mauling, a standing eight-count was issued and Saunders appeared dazed and hurt. Referee Geno Rodriguez mercifully stopped the fight at 41seconds of round two.
Williams Shocks Guzman!
Lightweight Danny Williams (8-0, 5 KOs) shocked Jose Guzman (5-2, 4 KOs) by taking him out in less than a round.
They tested each other early with stiff jabs and quick shots to the head. Immediately the hand speed of Williams was apparent. Guzman was caught by a counter left to the head and fell backwards a minute into the round.
Williams also showed very good dexterity in his ability to avoid punches by bobbing and weaving with impressive waist movement. Guzman looked to turn the tide after the knockdown, as he got up with an expression of determination.
But it was short lived, as Williams' speed and punching power would put him down again nearing the end of the round.
While on the ropes and in the middle of an exchange, another left hook upstairs caught Guzman and he went down hard.
Referee Pete Podgorski immediately stopped the fight. Guzman tried to complain moments later but even as he looked to get up, it was apparent that he was on shaky legs. The end came at 2:58 of round one.
Kurzeja Stops Dewey!
Super middleweight Mike Kurzeja (1-0, 1 KO) made quick work of Tony Dewey (0-1-1) in his pro-debut by scoring a TKO win in the very first round.
Dewey was incredibly outmatched and to say that he was soft around the middle would be an understatement. Kurzeja wildly jumped on Dewey with pounding blows from the get go. Dewey tried to respond with his own arsenal but soon found himself just barely looking to survive from the attack of his opponent.
About a minute into the round, a left hook to the head dropped Dewey. That was followed by another knockdown moments later courtesy of a flurry to the body. Dewey went down for the third and final time after a hard right to the body put him on his knees. Referee Geno Rodriguez stopped the fight at 2:09.
Fonfara Decisions Gould!
Super middleweight Andrzej Fonfara (12-2-1, 3 KOs) easily coasted to a unanimous decision against journeyman, Kendall Gould (11-14-1, 6 KOs).
They each looked to establish the jab early on but as the fight progressed, the power of Fonara deterred Gould from taking unnecessary risks.
He instead resorted to back peddling and appeared to be on survival mode for the second half of the fight. Fonfara never held back and punished Gould until the final round.
The judgesí scorecards read, 60-54 twice and 60-53, all for Fonfara.
Bailon Decisions Buggs!
Featherweight Juan Bailon (4-1, 1 KO) was able to control the action against Marsay Buggs (1-7) by walking him down and cutting off the ring.
Marsay showed good hand speed but never opened up enough to score anything significant. His defensive style allowed for Bailon to keep the pressure on constantly and kept the judges from issuing a draw.
The judges scored the fight, 38-38, 40-36, and 39-37.
Montes De Oca Decisions Cano!
Super bantamweights Sergio Montes De Oca (2-0) and David Cano (0-4) started their fight throwing an abundance of power shots with little regard for defense. They each landed well early on, but Cano soon began to fall victim to De Ocaís right cross.
He landed several times throughout the stanza and rocked Cano nearing the end of the round. As a result of the heavy onslaught, Cano suffered a bad cut above his left eye.
To his credit, Cano came right back in the second and pounced on De Oca with a sense of urgency. De Oca weathered the storm, however, and punished Cano with more power shots to the head and body. He hurt him again upstairs and had referee Pete Podgorski on the brink of a stoppage.
One of Canoís biggest flaws was the fact the he traded while keeping his hands low and De Oca took advantage of this by peppering him with more rights to the head which allowed him to finish the final round strong. The final scorecards read, 39-37 twice and 40-36 all in favor of De Oca.
"Figueroa and Johnson fight to a Draw!"
Local favorite Rita Figueroa (10-0-1, 3 KOs) made her return to the ring against Tammie Johnson (3-2-1) after a two year layoff due to a neck injury.
This fight turned into a slugfest right away, as both took turns landing combinations to the head and body. Figueroa however showed the better skills and caught most of Johnsonís onslaught with her gloves, while Johnson pressured more.
The bout continued in the second with back and forth action. Nearing the end of the stanza, the two combatants appeared to be punching themselves out, but neither took a step back and continued exchanging.
The third saw Johnson step up the pressure and take the fight to Figueroa. Figueroa dug deep and finished the round strong by countering her charging opponent effectively.
In the fourth, Figueroa showed true heart and managed to take over by out boxing Johnson. The counter punches seemed to take a toll on Johnson as she slowed significantly.
They came together again in the fifth and targeted the body, each doing damage, but again, Figueroa took over near the end.
The final round showed an awesome display of guts and perseverance, with neither fighter stopping for a rest as they left it all in the ring. The judges could not agree and the decision rendered was a draw: 58-56 for Johnson, 59-55 for Figueroa, 57-57 a draw.
"Nkodo Decisions Harris!"
The opening bout had middleweight Lamar Harris (5-1-1, 3 KOs) losing by unanimous decision to the left-handed Foster Nkodo (3-0, 1 KO).
They traded heavy leather from the start but the lankier Nkodo found better range with his punches, tagging Harris several times with the straight left. Harris, however, connected well with the right cross to the head in the last minute of the opening stanza.
Nkodo found a stationary target in Harris in the first half of the second round, but Harris shortened the distance and made Nkodo trade in close. Nkodo took over once more with half a minute left in the round by clocking Harris again with the left cross.
They continued to trade wildly in the middle rounds, but things started to deteriorate for Nkodo in the fifth, as he was penalized a point by referee Pete Podgorski for excessive holding and suffered a small cut above the left eye after an accidental head butt.
Harris stepped it up in the sixth by connecting with the left uppercut on two occasions early in the round. Nkodo at this point appeared very weary and ate more leather nearing the end of the round, but contrary to what the fans thought, all three judges had Nkodo earning the win, scoring the bout 58-55 twice, 57-56 unanimously.