FORMER world champion Andre Berto (32-5, 24 KOs) won a back-and-forth fight by split decision Saturday night against fellow former champion Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX & FOX Deportes from NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“I knew he was going to be quick and I knew he’d come to fight,” said Berto. “I had to get adjusted to his speed a little bit and then I started pressing him. I felt like I was in better shape and quicker to the target than he was.”
Alexander struck first as his southpaw stance appeared to give Berto trouble early. Alexander connected with a series of powerful right hooks in round two before following up in round three with a straight right that landed on Berto and allowed Alexander to score a knockdown with follow-up hooks.
“We knew that we had enough power to hurt him and I felt like I was doing that early in the fight,” said Alexander. “I slowed down in the middle of the fight, but there’s no excuses. We both came to fight.”
The bout saw numerous clashes and tie ups, but as the rounds went on Berto’s relentlessness allowed him to score against a tiring Alexander. Berto had success in the seventh round tagging Alexander on the inside as he began to break through his opponent’s defense.
“I’ve been off for a while but I felt good in there,” said Berto. “He was pulling back on a lot of his punches so I stepped in for my combinations and made him pay.”
The back-and-forth fight concluded with both fighters slugging it out until the final bell and appearing to have worn each other down from the 12-round bout. The scores reflected the close nature of the bout as once judge scored it 114-113 for Alexander, but was overruled by two judges scoring the bout 115-112 for Berto.
“I thought I edged it out, but it was a close fight,” said Alexander. “We’re climbing back still. This happens. I’m going to talk to my team and see what the best move is going forward.”
“This is a tremendous feeling,” said Berto. “I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing it again.”
The co-main event on FOX and FOX Deportes saw former middleweight world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) earn a unanimous decision victory over J’Leon Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs) after 10 rounds of super middleweight action.
“It was very important for me to go up in there and break his spirit,” said Quillin. “I established my will in there, but I’ll wait to judge how I looked until I see the tape.”
Quillin’s power and punch output proved to be the difference as he focused on getting into range of Love while delivering power punches to back Love up. With his promoter, all-time great Floyd Mayweather, sitting ringside, Love focused on a strategy that saw him move throughout the 10 rounds while trying to build his offense off of his jab.
“Sometimes you don’t have your best night, but I’m far from done,” said Love. “I have a lot of good fights left in front of me. I will be back. I could have pressed a little bit more, but he’s a puncher. I wasn’t trying to turn it into a brawl. I went at him and then slid right out. That was the game plan.”
Round eight began with Quillin on the offensive as he pinned Love in the corner and unloaded a massive series of shots, many of which landed flush. Love was able to avoid any serious danger from the onslaught, but was never able to land anything that bothered Quillin over the remaining moments of the fight.
The judges scored the bout 99-91 and 98-92 twice, all in favor of Quillin.
“For people who think that I had ring rust, we’ve been in the gym training hard to be ready for a challenge like this,” said Quillin. “We’re going to build from this and use it from a foundation. Only time will tell what comes next, but we’ll use this as a measuring stick.”
The opening bout on FOX and FOX Deportes featured former world champion Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs) as he earned a majority decision over Erick Bone (20-6, 8 KOs) after 10 rounds of welterweight action.
“I always take a couple of rounds to figure the guy out, but once I loosened up I felt pretty good,” said Lipinets. “I loaded up on my punches a little more than I had to, but this fight was exactly what I needed to get myself ready for another big challenge soon.”
Both fighters spent most of the bout exchanging single power punches, with Lipinets showing off his superior power to bust open Bone’s nose in the early rounds and cause blood to pour from it throughout the rest of the fight.
Lipinets continued to throw power punches to the end, connecting with a left hook midway through the final frame that caused Bone to jump back toward the ropes. One judge scored the fight a 95-95 draw but was overruled by scores of 99-91 and 98-92.
“If anybody saw any flaws in my performance today, then they’re welcome to step up and come take the fight against me,” said Lipinets. “Everyone knows that I’m going to come and bring a great fight to whoever is in front of me”
Additional FOX and FOX Deportes action featured rising unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer (4-0, 4 KOs) as he delivered a dominant second-round knockout over Bruce Lutchmedial (2-5, 2 KOs) in their middleweight clash.
The 18-year-old former amateur standout first landed a series of body blows midway through round two that forced his opponent to take a knee. Spencer followed up with a combination to the head that put Lutchmedial down and forced referee Arthur Mercante to call off the bout at 2:59 of the second round.
“He was a little bit tougher than the other guys I’ve fought so far,” said Spencer. “I had to go down to the body after I realized in the first round that the head shots weren’t as effective. Eventually the body shots were too much for him.
“I just want to keep building my record, keep fighting better opponents and keep growing as a fighter. At the end of the day I want to fight for a title in the next few years.”
The main event on FS2 and FOX Deportes saw Marcus Browne (22-0, 16 KOs) work through a mid-round knockdown on his way to a unanimous decision victory over Lenin Castillo (17-2-1, 12 KOs) in their 10-round light heavyweight bout.
“I wasn’t consistent enough or as effective as I wanted to be tonight,” said Browne. “I fought in spurts too much. I need to be more consistent to get the performance I want.
“The knockdown felt like a slip to me, but this is boxing. I just had to keep focus and move forward to get the win.”
The Staten Island-native Browne showed off his impressive speed and jab through the early rounds of the fight, keeping Castillo’s offense at bay. As the fight opened up in the middle rounds, Castillo caught Browne with a right hand during a wild exchange that knocked him off balance and caused him to hit the mat.
Browne was able to recover with ease and continued to show off his boxing skills throughout the remainder of the night, as Castillo was unable to replicate his round five success. The judges saw the fight for Browne by the scores of 97-92 and 98-91 twice.
“I appreciated everyone who came out for me tonight,” said Browne. “I’m ready to move on to the next challenge. I’m going to stay focused and be even better next time.”
Also on FS2 and FOX Deportes, former world champion Luis Collazo (38-7, 20 KOs) earned a majority decision victory over Bryant Perrella (15-2, 13 KOs) in their 10-round welterweight showdown.
Perrella entered the ring with the reach and height advantage, but the veteran Collazo quickly strategized to walk through Perrella’s jab to deliver power punches. Collazo started to inflict damage beginning in rounds three and four when he had Perella stunned several times against the ropes.
“Perrella didn’t have much power, which allowed me to just stay on top of him and smother his punches,” said Collazo. “I was able to play the aggressor and control the fight.”
Collazo had to continue to stalk the increasingly evasive Perrella, but was able to show off his impressive ring savvy by cutting off the ring to implement his offense. Collazo had Perrella hurt badly in the late rounds of the fight, but Perrella was able to show enough toughness and athleticism to see the final bell.
“I’ve had a lot of fights that prepared me for what I had to do tonight,” said Collazo. “I felt strong in there, but I’ll know more once I look at the tape. I want one of the top welterweights next.”
The opening bout on FS2 and FOX Deportes saw rising unbeaten prospect Gary Antuanne Russell (7-0, 7 KOs), younger brother of WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr., deliver a powerful first round knockout over Mexico’s Jose Esquivel (10-7, 2 KOs).
Russell threw a right hook to the head and followed it up with a perfect left hook to Esquivel’s stomach that put his opponent down for good, with the official stoppage coming 25 seconds into round one.
Alicia Napoleon defended her WBA super-middleweight title with a unanimous decision points victory over Hannah Rankin.