Maldonado surprises Cartagena in Philly

By John DiSanto at ringside
Photos: Darryl Cobb Jr.

In the main event, Los Angeles flyweight Carlos Maldonado, 11-2, 7 KOs, spoiled the homecoming of North Philly’s Miguel Cartagena, 15-5-1, 6 KOs, by winning a split decision in their eight round bout. After about four years on the road, Miguel returned to the area for this career reboot assignment, and although I had him up by a point after eight rounds, he faded in the final two sessions and let the victory slip away. The fight was very competitive. On my card, the fighters split the first four rounds before Cartagena won the fifth and sixth. However, Maldonado rallied in the final two rounds and punctuated his performance by scoring a knockdown in the eighth. However, Maldonado won the fight by consensus of the three official scorers. Each fighter claimed a 76-75 score, but the tie was broken by the third score of 77-74 for Maldonado.

In the walkout bout, bantamweight Emmanuel Rodriguez, 3-0, Berlin, NJ, won a four round unanimous decision over Ndira Spearman, 1-2, Lavergne, TN, by scores of 40-36 and 39-37 twice.

In a junior middleweight rematch, Anthony Prescott, 8-8-2, 2 KOs, Cherry Hill, NJ, and Philly’s Isaiah Wise, 6-2-1, 3 KOs, brawled to a six round draw in the evening’s exciting co-feature bout. It was a terrific battle with both fighters landing substantial shots throughout the fight. In their first meeting, the decision was decided by the knockdown scored by Prescott. Although there was no knockdown this time, Prescott’s power shots gave him the edge on my 4-2 scorecard, but Wise was right there with him in every round. The official scores were deadlocked at 58-56, 56-58 and 57-57. To be fair, the competitiveness of the action made the even score understandable, and this gritty bout certainly surpassed their first meeting. A third fight – preferably over eight rounds- would be welcomed.

In a six round welterweight bout, North Philly’s Marcel Rivers, 6-0, 4 KOs, won a unanimous decision over Mike Crain of Smyrna, DE, 2-3-1, 1 KO. Southpaw Crain was awkward enough to give Rivers some trouble most of the way, and Rivers only looked dominant in the final round. Despite leading on all three cards (58-56 and 59-55 twice), this felt like an off night for Rivers. However, he remained undefeated and left no question about who deserved the win.

North Philly lightweight Victor Vasquez, 21-11-1, 9 KOs, returned after two years away to defeat New York southpaw Vinnie DeNierio, 3-5, 1 KO, by majority decision over six rounds. The boxing barber shook off a little ring rust as the pair split the first four rounds on my card. In the final two, Vasquez closed the show and captured the close decision. The scores were 57-57 and 58-56 twice.

Gerardo Martinez of Coatesville, PA, 3-1, won a four round unanimous decision over North Philly’s Nyrome Lynch, 0-2, in their lightweight four rounder. Lynch was penalized one point in the third for holding. All three official scores were 40-35.

In an all-action lightweight bout between North Philadelphians, Christopher Burgos, 1-2-1, 1 KO, used a brutal body attack to stop debuting Adolfo Serrano, 0-1, at 1:58 of round four. The action see-sawed back and forth for the entire fight, but referee Benjy Esteves stepped in after a particularly wilting volley to the body by Burgos.

In the opening bout at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, SW Philly middleweight Kieran Hooks, 3-0-1, 1 KO, took the four round unanimous decision over Sharif Jones of NE Philly, 0-2-1. The scores were 40-35, 40-36, and 39-37, all for Hooks.

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