NEW YORK – Xander Zayas looked as sharp Saturday night as the popular Puerto Rican prospect has appeared in any of his 13 professional fights.

Presented with a durable, skillful opponent in his own right, the 19-year-old Zayas still went the distance on the Edgar Berlanga-Steve Rolls undercard at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Though he didn’t get the knockout he sought to appease the sellout crowd of 5,158, Zayas displayed power, speed and stamina throughout an entertaining eight-round junior middleweight match that ESPN televised.

Judges Ron McNair (80-71), Robert Perez (80-72) and Robin Taylor (80-72) all scored it a shutout for Zayas, a San Juan native who improved to 13-0 (9 KOs).

The 28-year-old LaVallais (12-3-1, 7 KOs), of Metairie, Louisiana, hasn’t been beaten by knockout or technical knockout in five years as a pro.

LaVallais landed multiple punches to Zayas’ body during the opening minute of the eighth and final round. Zayas connected with a right hand up top with just over 1:10 left in their fight.

Zayas’ right hand backed a seemingly tired LaVallais into a neutral corner with just over 30 seconds to go in the eighth round.

LaVallais protected himself better during the seventh round after he took an inordinate amount of punishment during a completely one-sided sixth round. Zayas’ punch output slowed a little bit in the seventh round as well.

Referee Eric Dali warned Zayas for a low blow 15 seconds into the sixth round. Zayas unloaded a barrage of power punches on LaVallais soon thereafter, but LaVallais displayed a very reliable chin.

Zayas again battered LaVallais with an array of punishing punches with just over a minute on the clock in the sixth round. LaVallais bobbed and weaved his way out of trouble for the second time in that round.

An aggressive Zayas continued to go after LaVallais’ body in the first half of the fifth round. LaVallais later traded inside with Zayas and tried to tie him up.

Zayas drilled LaVallais with a hard right hand, but LaVallais took it well with just under 25 seconds remaining in the fifth round.

Zayas landed a hard left to the body with just over a minute to go in the fourth round. LaVallais landed a left hook up top about 10 seconds later that temporarily stopped Zayas from moving forward.

Zayas landed two hard right hands with just over 1:40 on the clock in the third round. Another counter right to the body by Zayas landed with just under a minute to go in the third round.

Zayas and LaVallais exchanged hard punches for more than a full minute in the second round. LaVallais was backed toward the ropes for most of that highly entertaining stretch, when Zayas landed the flusher punches with more frequency.

LaVallais impressively withstood Zayas’ onslaught, but it appeared clear at that point that Zayas was the more powerful fighter.

Just after the midway mark of the opening round, Zayas countered LaVallais with a thudding right to the body that got the attention of LaVallais and the crowd. LaVallais landed an overhand right with just over 40 seconds on the clock in the first round, but it didn’t affect Zayas.

Zayas landed a right hand to the side of LaVallais’ head a little less than a minute into their fight. That flush punch made LaVallais hold him.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.