For those not in physical attendance for tonight's undercards and main card, you had the option to watch from the comfort of your home at the super-low rate of $1.99 per month via online subscription to ProBoxTV.com. There were no parking lot fees, and the event was very well organized on the inside. There were metal detectors in place at the entrance, with almost no one standing in line when we arrived (signaling to me that the organizers already got everyone through the lines, with attendees already inside the main event room). In the main lobby area, there were massive backdrops that attendees could pose in front of and get their photographic remembrance. Just a few steps away we could hear the DJ inside getting everyone in attendance pretty hyped up.
Prior to the first bell sounding, I made my way over to my seat. However, there was a noticeable commotion in the exact area I was about to sit: recently-inducted Hall of Famer JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ was standing right there taking selfies with fans!! Just about 3 minutes later, popular boxing commentator PAULIE MALIGNAGGI also walked by to take selfies with fans! The first bell hadn't even rung yet!
When the matches started, it was pretty fun to watch. The first bout (Ramon Esperanza v. Jocksan 'El Tiburon' Bronco) ended in the 2nd round via TKO due to a pretty nasty body shot (Esperanza had a badly swollen right eye, which probably contributed to his not being able to see the knockout punch). The 2nd bout (Josh 'Florida Boy' Ahrens v. Trinidad Vargas) ended in the first round, ruled as a KO, but Florida Boy was signaling that he had been hit on the back of the head. A few of us were looking at the playback on some of the commentators' monitors just in front of us, and Florida Boy seemed to have raised a legitimate argument from where I was standing.
The 3rd matchup saw Jan Paul Rivera v. Cesar Martinez, which was a Featherweight fight scheduled for 4 rounds. At 2:13 of the first round, Jan Paul proved to be just too much for Martinez who had spent most of the fight backed against the ropes.
In our 4th fight of the night, Jeysson Monroy out of Bogota Columbia was to take on fellow Cruiserweight Najee Lopez in a 6-rounder. Lopez was a fan-favorite with much of the room cheering for him. This fight gave us our first medical stoppage of the night. At 1:45 of the 3rd round, the ringside physician called a halt to the fight due to some type of injury to Monroy's right eye.
Fights 5 through 8 went the distance going to the judges' scorecards in which Jaycob Gomez bested Marcello Williams (6 round, Jr. Lightweight bout), Hakim Lopez defeated Cruse Stewart (8 round Light Heavyweight bout), and in the co-main event Angelino Cordova defeated Axel Vega (WBO Latino Jr. Flyweight bout), and in the other co-main event Jonathan Gonzalez retained his WBO Jr. Flyweight World Championship by defeating Mark Anthony Barriga.
The fights were very exciting and kept the crowd on its feet for much of the night, with rambunctious members of the crowd often chanting in the stands as though we had been watching a World Cup soccer match.
But perhaps the most exciting part of the night came after the last bell rang. The crowd swarmed toward the barricades which had blocked off the ring. That's when I saw Marquez and Malignaggi stand up to take a few more selfies with fans along the barricades. But that's also when fellow ProBoxTV founders, ANTONIO TARVER and recently-inducted Hall of Famer ROY JONES JR. also made their rounds to greet the fans!! Former UFC commentator Matt 'Goldie' Goldberg was also on hand, spending the night commenting alongside Jones and Tarver.
ProBoxTV put on a wonderfully entertaining event Friday night. If you wanted to have a good time and watch fights for next to nothing, you could do the $1.99 monthly subscription. But if you wanted to dish out between $50 (bleacher seats along the perimeter of the event center) or $100 for the floor seats, you spent a bit more but you also stood a very decent chance of rubbing elbows (literally) with 4 legendary boxing icons and Goldie from the UFC.
I've been to larger boxing events in Vegas, but for a lot more money you sat a lot further away from the action, and felt pretty disconnected from the fight itself. I really enjoyed being up close and personal with the fighters and the commentators, and was entertained the entire evening getting my boxing fix for at least a few months. But, if these organizers were to put on another event here in central Florida, I would definitely want to attend.
ProBoxTV does have another upcoming event in Plant City FL on Saturday July 9. If you are a boxing enthusiast in that area, you'll certainly want to go check it out. You won't be disappointed!!