The Theatre at MSG is frigging packed with Pinoys, who are now gettin’ vocal whenever the pre-recorded lead-in talks up Donaire. I’m looking out at the audience and I’m seeing a lot of people who look my wife and inlaws, bro. (My wife is from Bocolod, in Negros Occidental, in the Visayas, the central region of the ‘ppines) I have the official word that the theater seats about 5,000 and it’s pretty solidly sold out. I did not ask how many of the seats are inhabited by Filipinos, but while New York and the tri-state area is second fiddle to L.A. in that regard, there’s a decent concentration of Pinoys here. A legal-aid whose data I dredged up online puts the tri-state concentration at 300,000 give or take.
Meanwhile, we’re into the third fight and the crowd is going insane because there’s another big contingent here: Irish Americans, and in the red corner is light heavyweight Sean Monaghan (another Long Beach, N.Y. fighter, nine fights, nine wins). The crowd is on its feet to see their man versus Anthony Petrantonio (Sharon, Penn., seven wins, seven defeats).
Six rounds of action. Petrantonio (hereafter Pet) is aggressive. Yes, he’s fighting out of the blue corner (the blue/red tradition probably should be eliminated for psychological reasons) but the man did not come to lose. Yet Monaghan rocks him with a left early and nearly decks him with a left hook. Monaghan has reaching hooks, but Pet is busier and he’s connecting with uppercuts, and lefts. Monaghan seems, early on, to be having trouble staying ouf of the way of Petrantonio’s punches. Emphasis here on “early on.”
2nd round and Monaghan takes over, connecting heavily with three or four punches at a time. I overhear from press row gab that Pet has been knocked out four times, and I see now that he’s getting tired, and his punches don’t seem to be phasing Monaghan at all, who connects with straight left jabs and continuous and large body punches that back up Pet and put him danger territory on the ropes. Pet connects with a left hook but does no damage. Now Monaghan is coming on and connecting with uppercuts, straight lefts, and big body shots. Pet backing up, clearly tired. And a big left and right by Monaghan find their mark, and he’s working Pet over in the corner. Another big right and Monaghan is workman-like in his demo job on Petrantonio.
And it’s now only the 3rd round. Monaghan seeking and landing hard, blocking Pet’s shots, whose punches lack power now. Could this go on for much longer? Monaghan connects with another pallet of big, resounding body shots, as Pet goes to the corner. Monaghan comes on; sweat flies from Pet’s shorn head when Monaghan connects. Monaghan again working him over on the ropes, ducks a big punch and returns a left that has Pet staggering. A huge punch by Monagan again has Pet in trouble. Pet won’t take unconsciousness for an answer. Yet another huge punch from Monaghan, and the ref pays attention.
4th round and more of the same: a big left by Monaghan, Monaghan keeps stalking, another left puts Petrantonio against the turnbuckle in Monaghan’s corner and there’s more and more punishment dished out by Monaghan, who stalks and connects pretty much at will. Pet won’t go down.
It’s the penultimate round (thank God), and Petrantonio seems to actually have somehow discovered a supply of vigor, while Monaghan searches more carefully, then throws two cannon shots to the body of Petrantonio whose mediastinum must, at this point, look like gumbo. More punishment. A huge kidney shot from Monaghan that you can hear on 7th Avenue. The ref pauses the fight to let Pet’s corner put a mouthpiece in Petrantonio’s mouth. The fight continues for 15 seconds more until, finally, the fight is stopped by the ref, giving Petrantonio a Pyrrhic victory: he walks out of the ring conscious.