Most big-time prospects are babied, but some demonstrate maturity that demands accelerated development. 19-year-old Bronx junior middleweight Eddie “EBoy” Gomez showed he may be the latter by surgically dispatching Miami’s Antonio Infante in five rounds Saturday night on TeleFutura from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Despite being just a senior in high school Gomez showed a patient and calculating approach in the ring, waiting on Infante to commit himself before countering precisely with his gorgeous left hook. His huge advantage in speed began to show during the cautious opening round, allowing him to box from the outside despite giving up three inches to the rangy Cuban-American.
By the second Gomez was countering effectively and toying with his over-matched foe. Infante came out with more aggression in the 5th but received only a vicious left hook to the jaw for his efforts. Shortly after Gomez caught him with a flush straight right that stumbled Infante.
The Honduran-American teenager pounced, throwing a series of haymakers with both hands that mostly missed. Infante appeared to rally when Gomez paused to gather himself and I feared the youngster may have punched himself out through his head-hunting. But an audacious right uppercut thrown as a counter stopped the advancing Infante dead in his tracks.
Gomez found the energy to mount a second assault, this one more cautious and effective. He fired a series of hard shots on Antonio including left hooks to the body and at least one low blow. Another crunching right uppercut landed cleanly and sent Infante’s head springing upward like a jack-in-the-box; referee Robert Ramirez stepped in right afterward having seen enough.
Gomez indeed looks to have the goods; skipping the 2012 Olympics may damage his marketing appeal but could pay huge dividends for his long-term development. While his peers are learning to slap and paw for four rounds to fool the ridiculous amateur scoring system, Gomez has already registered six knockouts in seven fights.
Saturday was the first scheduled eight-rounder for Gomez, though he went six in winning his only decision against Robert Lopez in April. The only concern is his lack of height, which is why he will likely end up at welterweight where his combination of speed, power and savvy should make him one to watch for years to come.
Professional opponent Roberto Acevedo shocked Puerto Rican banger Oneill Negron by securing a majority decision in the 6-roundd junior welterweight bout. Negron (8-1-1, 8 KOs) looked crushed after but was largely exposed by Acevedo, who took advantage of his limitations to win a close fight by scores of 57-57, 59-55 and 58-56.
Acevedo used every trick in the book to survive the early-round onslaught from Negron, who came in clearly looking for his ninth stoppage. Negron is a fan favorite but his strictly conventional attack left him ill-prepared to handle a crafty southpaw like Acevedo.
Fans who suffered through the ugly first half of the fight were rewarded with some terrific late action and counter-punching from Acevedo, who spent much of the 5th on the ropes dodging and responding with clean blows to Negron’s face. The final round saw Acevedo hurt Negron with several lefts to the chin, leaving the judges with no choice but to reward the underdog.
Keith “Machine Gun” Tapia introduced himself to the crowd in spectacular fashion, firing an imaginary machine gun into the air during introductions before unleashing a similarly rapid-fire series of blows on Andrus Kuilan to score a stoppage in the first of 4 scheduled rounds.
Tapia scored the first knockdown with a pair of left hooks; his speed is impressive given his rangy 6’2″, 195-lb frame. He refused to relent once his foe regained his feet, keeping his finger on the trigger until the ref was forced to step in. Both local cruiserweights were making their professional debuts.
Gautham Nagesh is the editor of StiffJab.net. Follow him on Twitter.