Mike Coppinger

Corley turns back clock, chops down Bracero in upset

NEW YORK – DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley has long been written off, the former title challenger visiting his opponents’ backyards fight after fight, a far cry from his glory days fighting the likes of Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah.

On this night, Corley turned back the clock, dropping previously-undefeated prospect Gabriel Bracero en route to an impressive upset decision victory, the main event of Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing series from the Roseland Ballroom in New York’s theater district.

The judges scored it 94-92 twice and 96-90 for Corley.

Both junior welterweights abandoned any feeling-out process, electing instead to exchange in the opening frame. Corley (38-19-1, 22 knockouts) busted open Bracero’s right eye with an overhand left in the second stanza, a particularly bad cut given the location of the gash – directly on the brow.

In the waning moments of the round, the D.C. native unleashed a devastating right hook which planted Bracero flat on his back. Bracero (18-1, 3 KOs) beat the count on unsteady legs and Corley rushed at his wobbly foe for the finish, but the bell tolled before he could land a shot.

Corley’s defense and southpaw stance gave the Brooklyn, N.Y. native fits throughout, as he had trouble landing shots.

Corley, 37, again dropped his opponent hard, this time the result of a hard straight left in the third round. Bracero beat the count again and Corley proceeded to land flush rights and lefts.

“Chop Chop” punched with conviction, setting up his power shots with his strong southpaw jab. Bracero, 30, went down for the third time in the fifth, when the ropes held up Bracero after a Corley combination. Bracero fought with a sense of urgency following the knockdown, likely realizing how far down on the cards he now was.

Bracero managed to put Corley on the canvas in the eighth round, when Corley’s glove appeared to touch the canvas after a combination, but it was too little, too late in the all-action affair.

“I knew I had the fight won. He took a lot more than I expected him to take,” said Corley, who snapped a six-fight losing streak. “I knew just to go back to the basics — touch him to the body and hit him with the stiff jab. I broke him down.”

Bracero, who served a six-year prison term which ended in January 2009, had enjoyed an impressive string of victories and was featured on ShoBox: The New Generation last April. But that’s all on the wayside now.

“I’ve been watching Corley since I was a kid, so to fight him is a dream come true,” said Bracero. “The cut blinded me, but no excuses.”

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Undefeated junior featherweight prospect Luis Del Valle defeated veteran spoiler Jose Angel Beranza via eight-round decision, though the fight was far closer than the cards indicated. Scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.

Del Valle, 24, made his national television debut last summer on ShoBox: The New Generation, a 10 round drubbing of Dat Nguyen. Del Valle (15-0, 11 KOs) mixed it up with Beranza, 35, exchanging with the trial horse on the inside. Beranza gave as good as he took it, but the Puerto Rican’s youth and speed were too much for the Mexican to overcome.

“He’s one of the best prospects in boxing, I think he’s a future champ,” said Del Valle’s promoter, Lou DiBella. “He’s going to fight for a title at ’22. He’s good looking, well-spoken in two languages and popular on both the island and New York. I think he can really be a star. I think he has the ability to follow in the footsteps of Juanma [Lopez] and [Miguel] Cotto. He’s still young, but he’s close to being able to challenge for a world title.”

****

Former cruiserweight title challenger Ran Nakash pounded out a workmanlike eight round unanimous decision over Derek Bryant (20-6-1, 17 KOs). Nakash, 33, dominated the action, as he pushed the Philadelphia-based fighter to the ropes and teed off, round after round. All three judgers scored it 80-72 for “Sweet Dreams” Nakash, who improved to 26-1, 18 knockouts. The bout was Nakash’s first under DiBella’s promotional banner, and DiBella sees big things for his new fighter.

“He’s got marketability as an Israeli army guy who right now probably is the best active Israeli fighter and maybe even the best active Jewish fighter,” said DiBella. “He’s sort of like a fireplug, throws a lot of punches, fun to watch. There’s some things for him as a small heavyweight and immediately as a cruiserweight title challenger.”

In an exciting slugfest, local favorite Seanie Monaghan (11-0, 7 knockouts) defeated Billy Bailey (11-14-1, 4 knockouts) by unanimous decision. Scores were 80-71 twice and 79-72.

 

Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing contributor to USA TODAY and THE RING. He is a member of THE RING Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Sports Boxing Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

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