Middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero picked the wrong veteran to make his junior middleweight debut against. If the previously undefeated southpaw thought Grady Brewer was a safe opponent to test the 154-pound waters against, he was wrong.
The 40-year-old gate-keeper drowned Guerrero, who was knocked out in the fourth round of their scheduled 10-round Friday Night Fights main event on Friday in Austin, Texas.
The fight went as Guerrero (21-1, 16 knockouts), of Salisbury, Md., expected it to go in the first two rounds. The 24-year-old former U.S. amateur standout from the Dominican Republic easily out-hustled and outmaneuvered his older foe during the first two rounds.
However, Brewer (28-12, 16 KOs), best known for winning season two of The Contender, stepped up his pressure midway through the third round, pressing Brewer to the ropes. Still, the younger man managed to score the cleaner punches of the round.
But Brewer, of Lawton, Okla., finally found his target early in the fourth when he staggered Guerrero into the ropes with a sweeping right cross to the ear. Brewer continued to wallop Guerrero with a series of winging right haymakers until the odds favorite slumped through the ropes.
Guerrero got to his feet and beat referee Jon Schorle’s count but he couldn’t fend off Brewer, who continued to pound him with right hands. Guerrero caught a brief respite when Brewer slipped on canvas paint after backing Guerrero into a neutral corner, but the “old man” would not be denied.
Brewer forced Guerrero back to the ropes, where he measured the up-and-comer with rights to the body before an uppercut separated the Dominican from his senses and he fell face forward to the canvas where Schorle wisely waved the bout off at 2:16 of the round.
Guerrero did not complain about the stoppage. In fact, he took the first loss of his pro career with a very positive attitude.
“I lost, my first loss,” he said after the fight. “I’m finally a fighter today. I was too confident, I felt too strong, too much in shape and I neglected my boxing skills, but I’ll be back. You will my face again.”
Brewer’s upset victory was the 10th of his last 11 fights dating back to the start of 2006, when he participated in The Contender reality TV series.
“All I had to do was keep the pressure on him,” Brewer said after the fight. “This (victory) feels better than when I won on The Contender.”
Former 130-pound beltholder Steve Forbes, the fighter Brewer defeated to win The Contender finals 4½ years ago, did not fare as well as his fellow veteran in the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast.
Forbes suffered the first knockout loss of his 45-bout career to unbeaten welterweight Karim Mayfield, who stopped him in the final round of their scheduled 10-round bout.
Most of the fight was uneventful as neither fighter made use of their jab and both looked to clinch and hold whenever in close. However, Mayfield (14-0-1, 9 KOs), a 30-year-old San Francisco native, was able to use his greater size and superior physical strength to maul Forbes on the inside and bull the older man to the ropes.
The right cross was Mayfield’s primary weapon and he used it to wobble Forbes at the end of the third round. He took over the fight when he set his right cross up with a quick left hook in rounds seven, eight and nine, but he didn’t seriously hurt Forbes (34-10, 11 KOs) until the start of the 10th.
Mayfield didn’t stand back and admire his work, he jumped on Forbes and swarmed the 34-year-old veteran with power punches until referee Gregorio Alvarez had no choice but to step in and halt the fight at 1:03 of the round.
The loss was Forbes' seventh in his last 10 bouts, starting with the 10-round split decision he dropped to Brewer in September of '06.
Mayfield's performance wasn't spectacular but he ended the fight in style by doing something Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Berto, who Berto went the 12-round distance with in 2008, could not do.
And considering that he had been off for one year and had never fought past six rounds prior to Saturday, it was an effort that Mayfield should be proud of.