Felix Verdejo at 22 years of age is still learning even as the undefeated lightweight from San Juan Puerto Rico won a dull and 10-round unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Carlos Silva at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden Saturday evening.
Verdejo,20-0, 14 KO’s, fighting for the fifth time at the Garden in the process retained his WBO Latino Lightweight championship. However it was not one of the exciting and entertaining fights that have been a part of his young career. He admits, there is still more to learn and a sold out crowd of 5.092 in the Theatre aired their displeasure.
They, like the HBO viewing audience have expected Verdejo to win via the knockout. Nothing else is a disappointment, but this was two undefeated fighters looking to make a statement and though there was no stoppage boxing is skill and that was more evident as Verdego, a 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian kept his undefeated victory string in tact.
Silva, out of Sao Paulo Brazil, who came into the fight at 23-0 with 14 K0’s did not connect with most of his punches and said after the outcome, “I thought I won the fight. I don’t care what the scorecards said.”
But the three judges at ringside had it 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 for Verdejo and Silva clearly lost connecting on 45 of his 325 punches thrown.
“He’s a strong tough guy,” Verdejo said. “I did not have problems with him.” But that did not appear to be the situation for most of the fight as Verdejo also had a tough time connecting on his punches with exception of the fifth round when the right hand and left hook put Silva in brief trouble.
But the crowd wanted more from the rising superstar out of Puerto Rico who is expected back at the Garden for another HBO fight with an opponent to be determined. Top Rank and the Garden, with HBO are looking at a June 11 date which is also the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.
The issue is getting an opponent for Verdejo, and a budget issue within the HBO Boxing division. The network, along with Showtime, the other major boxing network, do not have many dates set in the next few months and those in the industry say the competition from the rival and new Premier Boxing Champions is making it difficult to secure good fights and dates.
“I would have loved to get a win by knockout but the guy moved around a lot and I wasn’t able to get him,” Verdejo commented through a translator after the fight. “You have to learn that you can’t win every fight by a knockout. I will be back in the gym in the next few days.”
Verdejo and his handlers say he plans to fight five times this year and is scheduled again for an April 16th fight in San Juan that will be televised on Uni-Mas.
Crawford stops Lundy in fifth round to retain title: All the pushing and showing during fight week between the challenger Hank Lundy and WBO Super Lightweight champion Terence Crawford came down to a fifth round at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden Saturday evening. Crawford dropped Lundy in the fifth round and followed with a barrage of punches.
Referee Steve Willis put an end to the scheduled 12-rounder and Crawford retained his title at 2:09 of the fifth round. Lundy at the onset appeared to be giving Crawford a fight that he promised and had a good opening round. Lundy stayed in the fight for the next few rounds but from there it was all Crawford who connected on 89 percent of his punches.
And when the fight was over, it also ended a bitter feud and war of words that resulted in two shoving matches during the course of the Top Rank promoted event.
“When the fight was over I saw Lundy coming and he said, ‘much love that stuff is over’ “ Crawford said. Bob Arum, promoter of Crawford also hinted that they are willing to do a next fight between Crawford and Adrian Broner.
Added Crawford about his performance, “We were feeling each other out in the earlier rounds. Once I made the adjustment I start touching him more. I was killing myself to make 135 and it was taking a lot out of me. I told everyone I got power in both hands and the boxing ability that I have and it’s going to take me a long way in this game.”
“I never duck anyone and I’ll fight anybody. My manager will make the fights happen and and I will train and fight.”
Comment: Rich Mancuso” [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso