It’s hard to get excited about many American heavyweight prospects these days. But while Trevor Bryan might not be worthy of “can’t miss” prospect status, his performance on tonight’s ShoBox card certainly was worth getting excited about.
Bryan (16-0, 11 KO) kept his unbeaten record intact by decisioning the durable Derric Rossy (30-10, 14 KO) in an entertaining slugfest at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.
The fight opened at a blistering pace — which was fitting, given the 100-degree temperatures fighters were forced to cope with at the outdoor venue. Bryan dropped Rossy with a left hook midway through the opening round, but the veteran climbed off the canvas and outboxed his younger opponent for the next 10 minutes of action.
Rather than clinching and holding, the fighters absorbed each the other’s barrages early. Bryan took control in the middle rounds and while the Albany-based prospect rocked Rossy at times, he was never able to put him away. Whenever Rossy appeared to be on his way down and out, he’d throw just enough punches at just the right moment to avoid a referee stoppage.
The 10th round saw both fighters flurry to the finish line, punctuating the punishing prizefight with an exclamation.
Official scores were 97-92, 98-91, 98-91 for Bryan. TQBR scored the fight 97-92 for Bryan.
Rossy’s gallant showing solidifies his gatekeeper status in the division. Hopefully he’ll receive another televised bout or two before hanging them up for good.
As for Bryan, tonight’s win legitimizes his prospect status. Just how far can he go, though? His ceiling might ultimately be determined by how his trainer, the mercurial Stacy McKinley, and manager, Don King, handle his continued development. I’m certainly curious to see the results either way.
From the Undercard
The ShoBox opener was a blowout, with Philadelphia native Joey Dawejko (16-4-2, 9 KO) dispatching Natu Visinia by TKO just 1:15 into the first round.
Dawejko, who scored a 2014 split decision victory over main-eventer Rossy, entered the fight almost five inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than his opponent. The size differential proved to be a red herring, as Visinia, a converted MMA fighter with no amateur boxing experience, looked every bit the part.
Dawejko caught Visinia with an overhand right that stunned the Samoan less than a minute after the opening bell. Referee Russell Mora stepped in to give Visinia a standing eight count, but Dawejko followed up relentlessly, cornering his opponent and chopping him with right hands until Mora again stepped in and stopped the fight.
After the bout, ShoBox commentators referred to Dawejko as “a legitimate top 25 heavyweight.” While this is a bit of a damning comment on the state of the division, Dawejko did at least prove that he’s a far more talented fighter than the horde of unskilled behemoths trying to ad lib their way to heavyweight relevance.
The undercard also featured DeCarlo Perez (15-3-1, 5 KO), who scored a mild upset over Juan Ubaldo Cabrera (23-1, 16 KOs) via unanimous decision in a solid middleweight scrap.
Perez took tonight’s fight on short notice, but looked extremely well-conditioned. While Cabrera won the first three rounds on my scorecard, he wilted under Perez’s slow and steady pressure once the fight was taken to the inside. The Las Vegas desert heart likely didn’t help Cabrera’s cause, either.
Ringside judges scored the fight 97-92, 98-91 and 98-91 for Perez. TQBR scored the fight 97-93 for Perez.
A two-time Dominican Republic Olympian, Cabrera has had a curiously inactive and unchallenging career. Still, some touted him as a 36-year-old prospect pre-fight, if such a thing exists. I didn’t see any great potential from ringside at his last bout on the Deontay Wilder-David Molina undercard (where he struggled his way to a unanimous decision over a 9-20 club fighter) and I certainly didn’t see anything exciting tonight.
With that in mind, it’s tough to gauge how significant of a win this is for Perez. He has an underwhelming pedigree and some awful losses on his record. At the same time, he’s a gritty fighter, entertained tonight, and, at just 24 years old, might be beginning to break out. We won’t know for sure until he gets another meaningful fight.
(Image: Bryan, left, and Rossy weigh in)