Boxing was back at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, with an HBO Boxing card featuring two bouts. In the main event, Nicholas Walters won a decision over amateur rival Miguel Marriaga, and in the co-feature, Felix Verdejo scored a decision victory over the game and previously unbeaten Ivan Najera.
Walters was stripped of his title after failing to make weight, so the strap was only on the line for Marriaga. In the ring, none of that would matter. Walters started fairly slow and methodically, but began to open up more upstairs after dedicating himself to body work early. In the end, there wasn’t much Marriaga could do to consistently put forth an effective offensive attack. Walters won by scores of 119-108, 118-109 and 117-110.
Earlier, Verdejo made even easier work of his opponent, Najera. He took home a decision with scores of 100-88, 100-88 and 99-89. It was his first time going the 10 round distance, and he won every round on two cards, and all but one on the third, while scoring two mid-fight knockdowns. Najera was dominated, but never stopped trying. He made Verdejo work and landed some hard shots here and there, but couldn’t keep up with the skill, size or athleticism of the budding star Verdejo.
Separately, Lightweight Jose Felix of Mexico wins a 10-round unanimous decision over Yakubu Amidu Saturday at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, Ca. That was part of a different Top Rank event.