NEW YORK – A junior welterweight from Miguel Cotto’s hometown remained undefeated Saturday night on the eve of the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan.
Omar Rosario out-worked Jan Carlos Rivera and won their closely contested eight-round, 140-pound bout by unanimous decision on the Josh Taylor-Teofimo Lopez undercard in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. All three judges – Mark Consentino, Robert Perez and Don Trella – scored the fight the same, 77-75 for Rosario.
The 25-year-old Rosario, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, enhanced his record to 11-0 (3 KOs) and ended Rivera’s four-fight winning streak. Rivera, a southpaw from Philadelphia, lost for the second time as a pro (8-2, 6 KOs).
Rivera and Rosario exchanged hard punches as the eighth and final round came to an end, which drew a loud response from the crowd.
Rosario nailed Rivera with a flush right hand with about 10 seconds to go in a competitive seventh round. Rosario drilled Rivera with a left hook that backed him into a neutral corner a few seconds before the sixth round ended.
A right-left-right combination by Rosario knocked Rivera into the ropes with just over 10 seconds to go in the fifth round. Rivera tied him up to prevent Rosario from capitalizing on that momentum.
Rivera clipped Rosario with a right hook that landed with just over 1:15 on the clock in the second round. Rosario took that shot well and made the remainder of the round competitive.
In the bout before Rosario’s win, Damian Knyba took target practice on Helaman Olguin for much of their eight-rounder.
It still wasn’t enough for the 6-foot-8, 261-pound Polish heavyweight prospect to knock out Olguin. The much shorter, rotund Olguin occasionally connected with shots of his own, took Knyba’s best shots and the stubborn southpaw never stopped trying while Knyba continually landed sharper punches on him.
Judges John Basile, Allen Nace and Robin Taylor scored their fight identically, 97-93 for Knyba. The 27-year-old Knyba, who resides and trains in northern New Jersey, improved to 12-0 (7 KOs).
Olguin (9-6-1, 4 KOs), of South Jordan, Utah, is 0-3-1 in his past four fights.
Olguin pressed the action at times in the eighth round, when it became clear they would go the distance. Knyba drilled Olguin with yet another right hand several seconds before their fight ended, but Olguin tied him up until the bell rang.
Knyba drilled Olguin with a right hand that made his opponent hold with just over a minute to go in the seventh round.
Knyba blasted Olguin with a right-left combination that knocked him into the ropes just before the midway mark of the fourth round. Olguin managed to slip and move his way to the end of that round, though.
In the previous fight, Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington recorded another victory at the venue where he hopes to headline in the foreseeable future.
The undefeated featherweight from Brooklyn picked apart Ecuadorian veteran Luis Porozo until the eighth and final round, when referee Shawn Clark had seen enough. Clark stepped between Carrington and Porozo after Carrington cracked him with a short right hand on the inside that backed Porozo toward the ropes.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:17 of the eighth round. Porozo disputed the stoppage because he didn’t appear badly hurt at the time and had taken Carrington’s flushest punches for seven-plus rounds without going down.
The 26-year-old Carrington nevertheless improved to 8-0 and produced his fifth knockout as a pro. Porozo (16-7, 9 KOs) lost by knockout for the third time in seven years as a pro.
In the bout before Carrington’s knockout, Puerto Rican junior lightweight Henry Lebron remained unbeaten by outpointing Carlos Ramos unanimously in their 10-round, 130-pound fight.
The left-handed Lebron (18-0, 10 KOs) dropped Ramos once apiece with right hooks in the eighth and 10th rounds. Spain’s Ramos (17-3, 10 KOs) made it to the final bell, but Lebron completely controlled the action and won by big margins on all three scorecards (98-90, 98-90 and 97-91).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.