Omar Douglas remains undefeated with spirited majority decision
BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania ÔÇö There is a calming ease with which Omar Douglas fights. The 24-year-old from Wilmington, Delaware, moves and stalks as if he knows he’s going to win. That regardless of anything his opposite may do, it won’t matter. The junior lightweight prospect with the compact style will find a way to deflect it. Because in Douglas’ mind, his foe wears many faces. They usually resemble more recognizable fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, or Terence Crawford. In his mind, he’s amped because he’s in there with the best.
On Tuesday, before a partisan crowd at the Sands Bethlehem, and a national TV audience on FS1, 28-year-old southpaw Frank De Alba wore all of those faces to Douglas.
“Super O” survived a few minor scares to take a 10-round majority decision according to judges Ron McNair (97-93) and Steve Weisfeld (96-94). Judge Bernard Bruni called it a 95-95 draw.
“(De Alba) didn’t give me any problems, I just had to get a little warm,” Douglas said. “I beat him to the punch and stepped around him. The ref (Gary Rosato) called me a couple of times for spinning him around. One thing I worked on training camp is being elusive and using the straight right hand down the middle on a southpaw. This (experience) helps me a lot. The position I want to be in is world champion. Sometimes you have to go to people’s backyard to win a fight. I won a tough fight tonight. I thought I could take him. I thought because I was the better fighter that I would clearly win more rounds.”
Douglas (16-0, 11 knockouts) won the first two rounds, De Alba the next two using a counter left and straight left. In the fifth, De Alba, from nearby Reading, Pa., dropped a straight right into Douglas’ face. But Douglas, 24, bore in, using his trademark body attack, which gradually began the wear on De Alba. The momentum that the local fighter had built seemed to dissipate, regardless of the urgings from his fans.
In the sixth, Douglas dropped a left to the body that forced De Alba (17-2-2, 6 KOs) to lower his right arm. Each time De Alba lowered or raised his arms, Douglas found an opening, whether it was the sweeping lefts to De Alba’s kidneys or uppercuts that cleaved De Alba’s high guard when he did have his arms up.
In the eighth, Douglas kept connecting with the left to the kidneys, then wobbled De Alba with a left hook to the chin with just over a minute left in the round. Douglas closed to finish, but De Alba had already recovered. De Alba even snuck in a left hook of his own in the closing seconds of the round.
By the ninth, De Alba didn’t appear of have anything on his punches. Not a big puncher anyway, De Alba couldn’t gain the respect of Douglas, even when he did connect with a few shots to the face. Douglas just kept boring forward.
On the undercard, welterweight Miguel Cruz (12-0, 11 KOs) upped his streak to nine-straight stoppages with a seventh-round TKO over tougher-than-he-looked Virgil Green (11-4, 4 KOs) in a scheduled eight-rounder.
In the fourth, Cruz almost dropped Green with a textbook left hook to the chin. The shot turned the lanky Green into a human spaghetti strand, out of his feet and looking for refuge. Cruz sensed his prey was teetering and landed a right to the jaw, which once again had Green in peril in the closing seconds of the fourth, though he lasted the round. With a minute left in the fifth, Cruz disconnected Green’s brain from his body with another right to the chin. To Green’s credit, he wobbled but didn’t fall.
From there, it appeared a matter of time.
With around 2:20 left in the seventh, Cruz finally dropped Green with a hook. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr. was looking in close, since Green appeared in trouble. That’s when Cruz unleashed a right to Green’s temple and that was enough for Esteves to step in and wave it over at 1:36 of the seventh.
In an eight-round light heavyweight bout, Philadelphia’s Christopher Booker (7-1, 5 KOs) pulled off a mild upset by beating previously undefeated Leo Hall (8-1, 7 KOs) with a surprisingly wide unanimous decision. Their pedigrees were night-and-day. Hall was the second fighter Booker ever faced that had a winning record (Botirsher Obidov was 1-0-1 when he beat Booker by a four-round split-decision back in July). Adding to the quality-of-opponent disparity, Hall is an Al Haymon fighter and was expected to win against the smaller Booker, who was moving up from super middleweight.
It didn’t work out that way. From the opening bell, Booker, 24, made sure that this would be a different fight than how it was scrutinized on paper. It was Booker that pressured Hall and stung him with a consistent jab. By the second round, both fighters looked spent. Booker has a tendency to throw wild, winging shots. Though not the most technically sound, he is fun to watch.
On the other hand, Hall may not have taken the fight that seriously. He had to trim two pounds after the weigh-in on Monday to make the 177-pound contract weight. It showed. He didn’t seem to have much zip on his punches, throwing a lot of arm shots. In the final 30 seconds of the fifth, Booker rocked Hall with a right to the head, sending the Detroit, Mich. fighter reeling backwards. Booker then closed and landed a few more punishing shots.
In the seventh, Booker had Hall in trouble again. He plowed Hall, 21, with a right to the face that momentarily stunned the chalk. Booker ended the fight with a pretty nasty cut on the corner of his left eye. But he had his right hand raised sensing he was about to experience the biggest victory of his career. Judges Bernard Bruni (80-72), Mike Somma (79-73) and Steve Weisfeld (79-73) then confirmed it.