Chris Algieri struggles, Amanda Serrano shines on Andrade-Akavov undercard
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Six bouts unfolded at the Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater before the main portion of a DAZN card kicked into gear.
Before TJ Doheny sought to defend his IBF junior featherweight crown, before Jorge Linares tried to keep his career on an upswing, and before Demetrius Andrade looked to stay busy and sharp as he awaits a desired super fight, undercarders strove to make an impact on the assembled rooters in the Garden’s JV room.
Chris Algieri, age 34, met Daniel Gonzalez, in a junior welterweight clash. Algieri is a Long Island, N.Y., product seeking to get back to the promised land of title fights. He’d been to the mountain top when he snagged a 140 pound crown off Ruslan Provodnikov in 2014. He’d fought just five times since, going 2-3. Algieri took 2017 off, fought once in 2018, and declared coming in he’s ready to rock, and regain the glory.
It must be said, he has a resume which suggests he has ample cajones…he’s looked to fight top-tier talent. Provodnikov, then Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Errol Spence…points to the Islander for ambition. Back to this task at hand; in the third, we saw Algieri get tagged some, and Gonzalez looked emboldened. To the fourth; could Gonzalez carry the momentum? He was holding his own, timing some shots well, making Algieri miss some. This wasn’t looking like a mismatch. His movement, his agility, was aiding his cause in round five. The fight was tight, to my eyes, and then in the seventh, Gonzalez was the stalker, as Algieri looked to slide left and right. A cut opened on Algieri, under the left eye, top of the cheek. Gonzalez kept stalking, in round nine, he looked relaxed and of the belief he was winning the fight. Would the judges concur? In the tenth, both picked up the pace, and Gonzalez was the aggressor, as Algieri chose to slide and glide.
I asked Twitter how they were scoring it and people said Algieri had it. The judges’ verdict: 98-92, 97-93, 96-94, for Algieri. Both men had bated breath as David Diamante read off the cards. Boos drowned out Chris Mannix and Algieri chatting after the announcement, for the record. Algieri was being slotted for a tango with Maurice Hooker, or Mikkel LesPierre if he bests Hooker, the WBO 140 titlist, March 9. Was he sharp enough to keep that plan form being aborted?
Brooklyner Amanda Serrano (36-1-1) made quick work of Austrian Eva Voraberger (24-6), rendering her a human accordion with a left hook which shut down organs for a count of ten, in round one. Thus, Serrano who MUST write a diet book, won a title in the seventh weight class, this one being the WBO’s 115-pound division. She credits going vegan for getting her over the final hump to get to super fly, she said, and is now thinking maybe she goes for the eighth division. My man Vladimir Lik, sitting next to me, noted that he thought re-hydration gave Serrano a big weight advantage. I think he’s not wrong.
Welterwweight Reshat Mati came out guns a blazing on Ben Borteye. He sent him down, and then got back to work, and flurried again. The ref said no mas right quick and a doctor was onto the apron ready to say the dame. The time of the TKO ending in round one: 1:06.
Mati, of Staten Island, N.Y., is 3-0 and the loser, from Ghana, slips to 4-4.
A reading of the unofficial decibel reader told me that Mati might have sold more tickets than anyone on the slate.
In the third fight on the card, we saw Julian Sosa, the fighting pride of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The welterweight hitter met Dieumercerci Nzau (11-6 entering; from Kinshasa). The lefty Nzau went righty, looked to be crafty and survice it looked like, after two rounds. Sosa got the W, when the ref said at 2:59 of the fourth that he earned a TKO.
Heavyweight Nkosi Solomon bounced back from a bummer debut, scoring a UD4 win over Rod Cade, now 2-4. Cade was a bit beefy and hit the mat in the second, but managed to get to the final bell.
Cornell Hines snagged a MD and went to 4-0, over 1-3 Farhad Fatulla in the first fight of the evening, a welterweight tussle. It was an early start at the Hulu Theater, the first bell was slated for 5:15 p.m.
A quick presser was held before the first bell, with Eddie Hearn touting a forthcoming Maurice Hooker title defense of his 140-pound crown, and a main event of Dmitry Bivol vs Joe Smith, at Turning Stone in Verona, N.Y., on March 9. Bivol was introduced as the best and brightest at 175 pounds, and Smith as a heavy handed bomber who has that consummate punchers’ chance. Hooker, meanwhile, said he expects a good test from Brooklyn resident Mikkel LesPierre, who sat next to promoter Lou DiBella. DiBella said he signed “Slikk Mikk” because he realized that he works as hard as anyone out there. Mikk said anyone thinking he didn’t deserve this shot will realize on fight night that he does.
—I chatted with Hearn after the presser, and got some updates on that Canelo versus Danny Jacobs bout, as well as the latest regarding what could come next for Anthony Joshua. Will AJ stick to an April Wembley date, or decide to book a fight in America instead? Hearn teased a few news briefs regarding upcoming DAZN fare in a week or so. Video link is above.
—Seen in the stands: the delightful Brooklyner Mark Breland, trainer to Deontay Wilder.
—Also in the stands: Keith Connolly, who has done a helluva job with Jacobs, helping him sign an HBO deal and helping him snag a Canelo lotto ticket.
–New York welterweight Luis Collazo was bummed he didn’t get the Terence Crawford fight, but it looks like he will sign a two fight deal with Top Rank. Yes, he said, he’d still be signed to Al Haymon. Watch the video chat here.
–Promoter Terry Lane was up close, watching the fights, with his bro Tommy, and their spouses.
Woods, a Brooklyn resident, was a staff writer at New York Newsday, before joining ESPN The Magazine (2003-2011). He edited TheSweetScience.com (2007-20015), publishes NYFights.com, calls fights for Facebook Fightnight Live and does the “Talkbox” podcast for Everlast. Mike Tyson is on the latest podcast, listen here.