Long Island fans may not have been familiar with Omar Figueroa Jr. and Robert (The Ghost) Guerrero, the welterweights who fought the main event for Premier Boxing Champions on Fox TV Saturday night in the first boxing event at Nassau Coliseum in 31 years. On the other hand, the 7,492 boxing fans in attendance must admit the brawl that was advertised materialized just as promoter Lou DiBella said it would.
Looking back on the brutality, it seems a miracle Guerrero lasted until 1:26 of the third round when the bout was stopped after he went down for the fifth time. Following the fight, Guerrero, who lost for the fifth time in his past seven fights, was transported to Nassau University Medical Center for observation.
The first round was tame as both fighters shook off the rust from long layoffs, but a war broke out in the second with toe-to-toe slugging as hard as they could. A left uppercut by Figueroa floored Guerrero, who got up and then pinned Figueroa on the ropes, where he absorbed a big left hook.
Figueroa spun off the ropes and ripped a right hook that sent Guerrero down for the second time. Guerrero got up and went down for the third time almost immediately when Figueroa landed a left hook. After two more knockdowns in the third round, the carnage ended.
“I had obviously trained to get the knockout,” Figueroa said. “With my hands finally being healthy, we knew that it was actually possible. After the first knockdown, I knew that the instinct would kick in for him and he’d go all out . . . I haven’t fought this way in a long time because I didn’t have the power in my hands.”
Figueroa said he hopes to go down to the 140-pound junior welterweight division and fight again before the end of the year.
Local fight fans were treated to an upset by one of their own when Freeport’s Patrick Day (14-2-1, 6 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Eric Walker (15-1, 8 KOs) to capture the WBC Continental Americas junior middleweight title.
Day had a tight defense that set up accurate counterpunches, and he repeatedly landed sharply to the body and then went upstairs for heavy power shots. A clean right hand knocked Walker down in the fourth, and another had Walker wobbly at the end of the round. But the ringside commission checked Walker in his corner and delayed the start of five rounds, giving him extra rest.
“I thought I was going to knock him out,” Day said. “Although they did give him rest after every round, he is tough. He did the right things. He held, and he moved around the ring.”
The occasion marked Day’s first-ever visit to the Coliseum, and he loved the experience. “I love this building and I plan to be back,” Day said. “It’s a big Coliseum right here in my hometown, all my family is here, it’s the perfect setting. This is my first real experience in Nassau Coliseum, and I hope to make plenty more memories.”
The first bout that ended boxing’s 31-year hiatus from the Coliseum featured Rockville Center junior middleweight Tommy Rainone (26-8-1, 6 KOs), who fought hard to get on the card because he wanted a slice of Long Island history. But his unanimous decision loss to Colombia’s Fidel Monterrosa Munoz (38-13-1, 30 KOs) left a bitter taste that soured Rainone.
Although Munoz had a point deducted for repeated low blows and lost another for a head butt that cut Rainone under the left eye in the sixth and final round, Munoz was awarded a unanimous decision by the judges. “I’m done,” Rainone said angrily. “I’m retired from boxing. I’m done. This is my last fight. This sport is [expletive]. I’m better than this.”
Asked if it meant anything to lead off boxing’s Coliseum comeback, Rainone said, “It did before I fought here. Now I wish I didn’t. I won that fight.”
In the first bout on the televised portion of the card, Adam Kownacki (16-0, 13 KOs), who trains in Bellmore, remained undefeated with a fourth-round TKO of fellow Polish heavyweight Artur Szpilka (20-3, 15 KOs). Kownacki knocked Szpilka down in the fourth with a series of rights. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. quickly stopped it at 1:37 when Szpilka failed to defend himself.