NEW YORK – Xander Zayas made quick work of Alessio Mastronunzio on Saturday night.

The hard-hitting, rising junior middleweight prospect pummeled the Italian veteran for almost an entire round before referee Danny Schiavone finally called a halt to a brutal beatdown on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Richard Commey undercard at Madison Square Garden. Puerto Rico’s Zayas dropped Mastronunzio barely 10 seconds into their scheduled six-rounder and viciously assaulted his game but overmatched opponent thereafter.

Schiavone stepped in to save Mastronunzio from absorbing more punishment with eight seconds to go in the opening round. The official time of the stoppage was 2:52.

The 19-year-old Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) proclaimed himself “the prospect of the year” during his post-fight interview with ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. Mastronunzio (9-2, 3 KOs), of Ardea, Italy, lost by knockout for the first time in nearly three years as a pro.

An overhand right by Zayas dropped Mastronunzio only 11 seconds into their fight. Though stunned, Mastronunzio answered Schiavone’s count and tried to fight out of the trouble.

With just under two minutes to go in the opening round, another right hand by Zayas knocked Mastronunzio off balance. Mastronunzio tried to fight back yet again, but Zayas continued to hammer him with brutal head and body shots that knocked Mastronunzio all over the ring.

Mastronunzio tried to hold on long enough to make it to the end of the first round, but the game Italian just couldn’t stand up to the younger, stronger Zayas’ power.

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