NEW YORK–Hard-punching junior middleweight Jorge Melendez scored knockdowns in the second and third rounds before pinning North Carolina’s James Winchester on the ropes and battering him relentlessly on the way to Saturday’s fourth-round technical knockout victory at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Referee Ricky Gonzalez stepped in to call a halt to the bout 54 seconds in, as Melendez (25-2, 24 knockouts), of Manati, Puerto Rico, came up with his fifth consecutive stoppage victory against Winchester (15-7, 5 KOs), who was knocked out for the first time.
“I knew that every one of my punches was hurting him. Honestly, I really wanted that knockout. I knew that it was getting close and that it wasn’t going to take very long to take him apart,” said Melendez, 23, who motioned for Winchester to rise from the canvas after the second knockdown.
“I wanted the work, to be honest. I’m a fighter, I work hard, and I really I really like fighting. I wanted more and I wanted him to get up so I could keep working because I have trained so hard for this fight.”
Melendez-Winchester took place on the undercard of a Showtime-televised main event featuring a WBA junior middleweight title defense by Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) against four-time, three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) on Showtime.
“I’m really happy and really excited about the way that the Puerto Rican fans were screaming out my name. It was a beautiful feeling to hear that and to be here at Madison Square Garden. I want to come back here at The Garden, and I was really happy and I want to thank my promoter, Miguel Cotto,” said Melendez.
“I’m ranked No. 7 in the world right now, and we have done some great work. I believe that after today, that we can move up in the rankings. But what I have to do right now is just work a little harder and be a little more on top of my game, mentally and physically, and to just keep doing the great work that I’m doing. I believe that when the call comes for a title shot, that I’ll be ready.”
Also schedule to meet on Showtime’s televised portion are Puerto Rican junior lightweight prospect Jayson Velez (19-0, 14 KOs) and Salvador “Sal II” Sanchez II (30-4-3, 18 KO’s), of Tianguistenco, Mexico, and middleweight contender Danny Jacobs (23-1, 20 KOs), of Brooklyn, and Chris “The Irish Ghost” Fitzpatrick (15-2, 6 KO’s), of Cleveland.
In the evening’s first bout, Newark middleweight John Thompson (10-0, 3 KO’s) scored a six-round unanimous decision over Eli Augustama (6-6, 3 KO’s), of Port Au Prince, Haiti.
The night’s second match up featured junior middleweight Eddie Gomez (12-0, 8 KO’s), of The Bronx, winning a clash of unbeatens by unanimous decision over Luis Hernandez (9-1, 5 KOs), of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, a bout during which each fighter was after his third straight stoppage win.
Featherweight Jorge Diaz (17-1, 10 KOs), of New Brunswick, N.J., scored a first round knockdown but could not finish off Victor Sanchez (3-5-1), of Houston, instead, having to settle for a six-round unanimous decision in the night’s third fight.
The night’s fourth fight was the most exiting to that point, as lightweight Michael Perez (18-1-1, 10 KOs), of Newark, N.J., scored a first-round knockdown, was floored in the second, and dropped Fernando Carcamo (10-5, 7 KOs), of Obregon, Mexico, once more in the eighth and final round of another unanimous decision victory.
Perez out-landed Carcamo, 147-to-124, with an advantage of 128-to-118 in power punches.
Things got even more exciting in the fifth bout, as hammer-fisted junior lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez (9-0, 8 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, scored a first round knock down and two more in the second — the latter causing referee Tony Chiarantano to wave an end to his stoppage victory over Pedro Arcos (12-3-1, 9 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, at 1:23 of the round.
Photos by Rich Kane, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com