Vinny O'Brien looked impressive in his professional debut.
The AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center is officially open for business. Main Events, in conjunction with Super Judah Promotions, put together a very entertaining night of boxing in the Newark venue on Saturday, marking the first sporting event in the three-plus years of the facility’s existence. In the main feature, Zab Judah and Kaizer Mabuza battled for the IBF Junior Welterweight Crown, with a good crop of fighters competing on the undercard. Read on for a recap of those opening bouts (recaps written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports).
Chris Crosby (6-1, 1 KOs) vs. Greg Hackett (2-6)
The pace of the action in this opening bout was somewhat slowed, but Crosby appeared to hold the advantage for the most part. However, that perspective was completely in the eye of the beholder, as the ringside judges did not all share the same view. This four-round affair concluded with the need of the score cards to reveal a winner, and Crosby edged out a split decision victory with counts of 39-37, 37-39 and 40-36.
Vinny O’Brien (1-0, 1 KO) vs. David Navarro (0-2)
O’Brien, a native of East Hanover, New Jersey, was greeted with a huge ovation from a supportive crowd, and he did not disappoint any of those fans in his professional debut. A very gifted and tactical fighter, O’Brien threw punches in combos and displayed some very crafty footwork throughout the entire bout, which only lasted three rounds. After doctors suggested a stoppage after the third frame, Navarro was unable to answer the fourth round bell, and the AmeriHealth Pavilion erupted as O’Brien recorded the TKO for his first professional victory. Personally, I really liked what I saw in O’Brien and definitely expect his already impressive following to continue to grow.
Shemuel Pagan (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Marcos Garcia (0-4)
Pagan, a five-time Daily News Golden Gloves winner as an amateur fighter, needed just 93 seconds to dispose of Garcia in this outing. With some supportive words from fellow Brooklyn native Sadam Ali before the action began, Pagan came out with a fired-up intensity that made fans quickly realize it would be a short night. When he attacked, Pagan did it in heavy numbers and did not stop the onslaught. In fact, the punches only appeared to come faster. Approaching the midway point of the opening round, Garcia was forced to a knee, and his cornerman quickly jumped to the canvas with a towel in hand. However, he would not be given the chance to throw it before the referee stepped in to wave off the bout. The official time of the TKO was 1:33 of the first frame.
Jose Peralta (5-1, 3KOs) vs. Clifford McPherson (2-4-1, 1KO)
Following the first round TKO by Pagan, Peralta made it two in a row after stopping McPherson at the 2:44 mark of the opening frame. The Jersey City native came into this match with a contained approach, while his opponent was swinging a bit wild with his throws. Towards the end of the first stanza, Peralta began to unload combos to both the head and body of McPherson, who eventually fell to the canvas. The referee then jumped in to start his tally and counted out McPherson when he could not return to his feet. The official time of the stoppage was 2:44 of the opening round.
Tarvis Simms (27-1-1, 11KOs) vs. John Mackey (13-5-2, 6KOs)
When Juliano Ramos was not medically cleared to fight tonight, former U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali unfortunately had to be removed from the docket as the co-feature, presenting Simms and Mackey with the opportunity to step into that position. This bout marked the second for Simms in his recent return to Main Events, and he used an eight-round game plan to take the victory. He employed consistent movement and a lead jab to establish control of the action, but Mackey did look to fire off some powerful shots of his own. However, Simms was able to protect himself from much damage and used his strategy to sway the ringside judges. When the decision makers were consulted, Simms took a unanimous decision win by counts of 78-74, 79-73 and 80-72.
Judah Defeats Mabuza for IBF Title
ResVideo: Sadam Ali Exclusive Interview
ResVideo: Shemuel Pagan Video Exclusive
ResVideo: Zab Judah Post-Fight Presser
ResVideo: Sadam Kaizer Mabuza Post-Fight Presser