Nikolay Potapov vs Stephon Young, Eudy Bernardo vs Mason Menard, Zubov vs Bejenaru
BY KID HERSH
From Verona, New York, came a nice ShoBox prospect card. First up was Alexey Zubov (10-0, 6ko's) vs Constantin Bejenaru (10-0-1, 4ko's). Both men looked like pure amateurs from the opening bell in the first round. They were jumpy and nervous and couldn't land much of anything. Bejenaru won the second round but in a better manner than the first as Zubov looked like he had a pair of boxing gloves on for the first time. Zubov could not land anything at all and did not like getting hit so he was tentative to engage with the smaller man. Bejenaru has his jab popping well and has landed a few solid left hands flush that could mount up damage. This showed early in the fourth round when the fighters got into an exchange and Bejenaru landed a left hand that wobbled Zubov's legs. Bejenaru went wild,, throwing looping shots, and was not able to do much of any further damage but chalked up another round won as Zubov looked further bewildered and has only landed a couple punches per round in a horrendous showing. Right when I thought Zubov might as well hang them up he landed a well timed right hand as Bejenaru was leaping inside that scored him a knockdown. Don't get me wrong - the right hand was ugly and sloppy and nowhere near textbook but it did the trick to perhaps keep him in the fight here. The fight ended in the manner expected; sloppy and not too great. Bejenaru won the UD.
Next up was Eudy Bernardo (21-0, 15ko's) vs Mason Menard (30-1, 22ko's). These are two unknown fighters with pretty records - with the ShoBox Crew telling us about how Menard has fought outside of Louisiana only one time in 31 fights and chooses to not use social media at all. So either he is a great secret or a protected regional fighter. Bernardo on the other hand has had moments in the past where he was a talked about prospect but he has been very inactive over the last few years. In any case, the very first round showed two well schooled fighters indeed (both having good amateur backgrounds). Menard controlled the distance with his legs and Bernardo was looking to set him up with long shots from the outside. The round was Menards, as he caught Bernardo with left hooks that were hard and flush a couple times while Bernardo could not find his distance. Menard carried the momentum into the second round and had further success. At the end of the round his dominance really showed when with less than a minute left in the round he backed Bernardo into the ropes from body shots that wounded the taller fighter who was covering up at this point. Menard then unleashed a beautiful uppercut through the guard that violently snapped Bernardo's head backwards and had him staggering across the ropes. Menard looked like s was ones pro as he calmly followed his hurt man and put him down with a right hand. Bernardo rose and made it through the round as Menard showed patience and no doubt realizes he has his man and is not going to take any unnecessary risks. In the third round Menard was still tacking his man and Bernardo was trying to create distance and fight Menard off - although he is not landing anything of note and has not been able to get right hand working even one time I can recall. Then, as the round was winding down, Menard got full leverage into a right hand that Bernardo did not see coming to produce what could be the knockout of the year as Bernardo dropped and was completely out at the instance of impact as his head bounced off the canvas and there was a lot of worry with Bernardo still seemingly out for a long period of time and him being carted off on a stretcher. Beautiful, amazing performance and he looks like the real deal to my eyes - not the prospected prospect we thought he might be coming out of Louisiana. Rock hard Mason Menard, a name to remember.
Main event time with Nikolay Potapov (14-0, 6ko's) vs Stephon Young (14-0-2, 6ko's). In the first round Young was pretty active and moving quite a bit - although it wasn't backwards. Potapov on the other hand was looking to counter and retaliate. Neither man landed much of note as they are getting used to the distance of movement of each other in this southpaw vs orthodox matchup. Potapov grabbed the momentum in the coming round by showing good defense and head movement and getting off on his shots first. He did the same thing in the third round, being the ring general, until suddenly late in the round he got caught by a left hand that hurt him and wobbled his legs. He made it through the round and recovered rather quickly but the question is if people will score that one for him nor not since he carried the majority of the round but got caught by a single good punch. Young carried the momentum into the fourth round and caught Potapov with more left hands down the pipe that appeared to hurt him briefly but he would recover rather fast. The fifth round had a lot of missing and blocked shots just like through the sixth until with less than a minute left in the sixth round Young showed that he has the power to hurt Potapov (much like he did earlier but Potapov cannot hurt him) as he landed a right hand that wobbled the legs of Potapov and sent him back into the ropes. Just like the previous time he was hurt he recovered quickly with no ill effects because Young also cannot follow up with much of killer instinct and he also has just enough to hurt Potapov but yet not enough to take him out. Young's output was dwindling as the next couple rounds came and went, with his inexperience in going the full distance showing until in the ninth round he had a good rally. Potapov still out threw him but Young landed a high percentage of power shots as he seemed to get a bit of a second wind in a round that he has never seen before. This dwindled in the tenth round though as Young had another low output round and Potapov simply pecked away. The cards came in a MD, with one judge edging it for Potapov.