LAS VEGAS — Phildadelphia super middleweight Jesse Hart debuted with a 33-second knockout of New Mexico’s Manuel Eastman on Saturday night in the first bout of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 22-year-old is trained by his father, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a premier middleweight out of Philadelphia through the 1970s.
Eugene Hart’s final record of 30-9-1 (28 knockouts), included a victory over Sugar Ray Seals, a draw and a loss to Bennie Briscoe, and losses against Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, Marvin Hagler, Vito Antuofermo and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.
“I learned a lot,” said Jesse Hart. “I thought coming out here with all of this stuff, I might be a little nervous. But as I got closer to the ring I got a lot of confidence, and I felt I’m not supposed to be anywhere else but on this grand stage here.”
“I think the fight went good because I came out with my jab. Before the fight, my dad said jab and then send that right hand to the body because he had looked at his solar plexus and saw there wasn’t a lot of muscle there. Then when I sent it, I seen his eyes get real big and he felt it.”
Hart came out jabbing, and when Eastman paused to touch gloves, he obliged, but then swiftly fired a right hand that staggered Eastman, who never recovered.
“I went back to the head. It was a hook, then a right hand, and another right hand, and then he went into the corner,” said Hart, who turns 23 on June 26. “I was in a zone.”
Hart then cornered the overwhelmed fighter and battered him repeatedly until referee Joe Cortez stepped in to end matters.
“If the ref wouldn’t have stepped in, I would’ve kept punching until he went down,” said Hart. “I hurt him. I saw his legs buckle. I was on him until the ref grabbed me and pulled me back.”
Eastman dropped to 0-2 after being stopped for the second time.
“I’m not moving too fast, but all the guys at the top are on my mind,” said Hart, whose next fight will be on July 7 at Bally’s Hotel in Atlantic City.
“I’m not ready right now, but in due time a man will be ready. When I’m ready and my management feel I’m ready, I’m going to become champion of the world.”
Hart posted an amateur record of 85-11 and earned a National Golden Gloves title at 165 pounds. In 2011, he won the USA National Tournament at 178 pounds and went undefeated at the double-elimination USA Olympic Trials box-offs.
Hart married his childhood sweetheart, Starletto Brayboy-Hart, in August of last year, and is expecting a daughter, Halo, to be born this coming August.
In a featherweight bout, Ernie Sanchez (13-3, 5 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Wilton Hilario (12-3-1, 9 KOs), of St. Louis Park, Minn., and welterweight Mikael Zewski (15-0, 11 KOs), of Trois-Rivieres, Canada, scored his 11th knockout in the third round over John Ryan Grimaldo (8-2, 5 KOs), of Fort Collins, Colo.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org