Roc Nation Sports Boxers, Dominant in Milwaukee

R.L. Woodson

Cinephile, audiophile, and avid sports fan. I am the creator and host of the Pay Me No Mind sports and entertainment podcast found on TalkLoudRadio.
I podcast and write to cope with my continuing struggle to play guitar.

Roc Nation Sports – one of the key offshoots of the burgeoning Shawn Carter empire – represents some impressive athletes. Kevin Durant. Robinson Cano. Dez Bryant. The agency’s fledgling boxing division’s roster boasts of pound-for-pound names like Andre Ward, Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Let’s see who’s next among RNS’ young lions.

On Saturday night August 20th Milwaukee, WI fans witnessed some real mid-season form “Black and Blue” division action, a few weeks early, as hometown middleweight Luis “Cuba” Arias relentlessly blitzed the visiting Darryl Cunningham Jr. from Detroit, MI. Fans constantly stood on their feet, in the packed Wisconsin Center, wildly rooting Luis on through the main event’s four rounds.

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Arias lands to the body of Cunningham. Image courtesy of Jamie McDaniel/www.jamiemcdaniel.info

The 26-year old Arias (16-0, 8 KO’s) started out with a pawing jab on the veteran southpaw, looking to work himself within range to land his right hand. Cunningham disrupted Arias’ attack by clinching, so much so that by the second minute of the fight referee Mark Nelson brought the men together to instruct them to clean up the action.

Cunningham (33-9, 13 KO’s) settled into a bit of a rhythm in the opening minute of round two, as he pumped out triple and double jabs with his right hand. The shots mostly landed on Arias’ gloves, but Cunningham continued to fight moving forward. Mid-round Cuba bullied Cunningham into the ropes and landed a pair of the fight’s first big right hooks to Cunningham’s head. From that exchange on it appeared that Cuba began to sit down and  load up on all his shots in order to rip through Cunningham’s clinches, and to turn up the fight’s physicality. Cunningham received a second holding warning from Nelson prior to the second round’s bell.

Cuba continued to move the fight inside in the third round and began slipping off of Cunningham and stepping back to successfully mix in short hooks that snapped Cunningham’s head back. A few shots found an opening on the Detroit native’s belt line. Soon after, Arias unleashed a combination of hooks underneath, and as Cunningham reached for a hold he slid down Arias and landed on his knees seemingly hurt – Nelson signaled there was no knockdown.

After the fighters resumed fighting Arias forced Cunningham back into ropes, and while his punching became more inaccurate the constant pressure caused Cunningham to take in several deep breaths through his mouth. Cunningham looked fatigued and most of his punches had very little, if any, steam on them. Arias finished out the round bobbing and weaving while bombing away with whichever hand he was able to work free.

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Arias rocks Cunningham. Image courtesy of Jamie McDaniel/www.jamiemcdaniel.info

Cunningham opened round four double jabbing with his right hand, adding in a couple of lazy left hands that hinted that he was gassed. Arias knocked down some of the jabs with his own gloves and continued to circle to his right before lunging at Cunningham with a straight right hand to the chest. Cunningham fell into Arias who twisted away as his opponent fell to his knees for the fight’s first knockdown. Cunningham sat calmly with his gloves on his thighs breathing heavily through his mouth, and stood up at the count of eight. Arias quickly rushed the hurt Cunningham, unleashing flurries of punches as the vet desperately tried to counter, but he was unable to fight his way off the ropes. Arias fired off a final combination that forced Nelson in between the two men to wave the fight off – Cuba sprinted over to the opposite corner and climbed the ring post to salute his frenzied fans.

The fourth-round knockout earned Cuba both the vacant USBA middleweight title and the WBC U.S. (USNBC) silver middleweight title. The night’s hometown kid addressed his excited fans during the post-fight interview explaining that his team watched tape on Cunningham, and he was surprised when his opponent buckled early on but did not visit the canvas. He also said he expected his team and Roc Nation Sports to deliver him the big names at middleweight in the near future.

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Truax knocks down Kelly. Image courtesy of Jamie McDaniel/www.jamiemcdaniel.info

Caleb Truax vs Zachariah Kelly: “Golden” Caleb Truax (27-3-2, 17 KO’s) returned to the ring for his first appearance since being stopped in the first round by former world title holder Anthony Dirrell. Truax patiently stalked Kelly throughout the first part of round one, finding openings for his right hand and stepping back before Kelly could connect with anything significant. Truax landed a pair of big right hands at top of the last minute of the first round that indicated the end may be near for Kelly. Right before the bell Truax landed another straight right hand and touched Kelly to the body with a short left hook for the fight’s first knockdown. Kelly grimaced with pain holding his side, but stood up to continue as the bell sounded.

Kelly came out of his corner for round two seemingly determined to make a stand, and to take the fight to Truax for a change. However, Truax quickly regained control of the fight by landing several body shots that began having an effect on Kelly’s composure. At the end of the first minute, Truax forced Kelly back into his corner again and landed a right hand up top followed by a sharp left uppercut to the same spot as round one’s knock down. Kelly’s mouthpiece sat on the edge of the ring as he made his way to his knees, but this time, he stood and turned to face the ref just seconds after the 10-count was reached.

Sonny Fredrickson vs Ramesis Gil: Roc Nation Sports’ “Pretty Boi”, 6′ 2″ super lightweight Sonny Fredrickson (14-0, 9 KO’s) of Toledo, OH, impressed the Milwaukee fans with a sharp offensive display and disciplined defense against a game Ramesis Gil (10-17-5, 7 KO’s). Fredrickson worked from behind a busy jab to start the fight, mixing in left hooks to Gil’s body and covering up as the shorter fighter relied on wider shots while he adjusted to the reach disadvantage. Gil straightened out his punches in round two but was caught by a pair of counter left hands from Fredrickson.

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Fredrickson connects on Gil. Image courtesy of Denzel Brown (@knarlydesignz)

The theme of Fredrickson’s offense remained to be his busy left jab in the third round, and while Gil managed to close the distance, he failed to capitalize on much – in all it was a pretty even round. In the fourth Gil would rally for his best moments of the eight-round bout. The Dominican responded to eating a lunging left hook from Fredrickson by landing four overhand rights during some of the fight’s best exchanges which resulted from one of the few times the Toledo native remained against the ropes too long. Gil, brimming with confidence after landing his most effective shots through that stage of the fight, continued to press the action and shortly after landed a fifth clean right hand before Fredrickson circled back to the middle of the ring to reassert his size advantage over the final moments of the round.

In the fifth round, Fredrickson’s sense of urgency returned, the jab was back to work and a double left hook to the body followed by a right hook up top quickly erased Gil’s momentum. In the middle portion of the round, a thudding lead left caught Gil mid-punch, knocking the shorter fighter backward a half step. Almost immediately Gil switched to southpaw, as an attempt to nullify Fredrickson’s body work and newfound rhythm.

Fredrickson continued to score with his jab over the final three rounds, parrying Gil’s right jabs and connecting with a return left jab in the 7th round, as the Dominican reverted to a southpaw stance for the second time. Gil’s work rate dropped significantly, and he was unable to catch Fredrickson as he moved in and out landing shots to start the final round. Fredrickson went back to the body and landed a number of power punches, attempting to get the knockout, but the veteran Gil stayed outside for the last minute of the bout. The judges scored the fight 77-75 twice and 79-73 on the third scorecard for a unanimous decision in Fredrickson’s favor.

Before the fight Fredrickson said the plan was to work from the stick, he praised Gil for being a tricky veteran who knew how to avoid getting stopped but mentioned he was prepared to break him down in order to get a knockout. He also said that in his previous fight – his first 8-rounder – he faced a bigger, stronger and more seasoned fighter in Elvin Perez adding that the experience gave him the confidence to go deep in a fight and believe in his abilities to get a victory.

After the fight, the 22-year old was excited about his performance stating that the action over the 8 rounds showed fans different aspects of his game he wouldn’t have been able to showcase with a quick stoppage. Fredrickson expected the victory to improve his ranking, and position him for some bigger opportunities.

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McCreary touches Wisdom to the head. Image courtesy of Denzel Brown (@knarlydesignz)

Tyler McCreary vs DeWayne Wisdom: Friday evening Tyler McCreary’s frustration boiled over regarding his opponent DeWayne Wisdom’s absence from the afternoon’s weigh-ins, but he never lost his composure as Roc Nation Sports officials worked through the night and early morning to confirm Wisdom’s fight status. Saturday night McCreary (11-0, 6 KO’s) handled the negotiations himself in the 6-round featherweight bout.

From the opening bell Wisdom of Indianapolis, IN was on the move. McCreary tracked Wisdom around the ring for about 90 seconds before Wisdom stood still long enough to score on a four or five punch combination to McCreary’s body. Over the final five rounds, Wisdom erupted for similar combinations but McCreary’s was airtight the rest of the way. Toledo, OH’s “The Golden Child” found it difficult to land many combinations on Wisdom over the course of the fight, as Wisdom continued to circle the ring on the outside. In the moments when McCreary was able to cut off the ring, he was forced to settle for one or two shots before his opponent tied him up and waited for the ref to separate them.

McCreary attempted to mix things up with Wisdom, motioning him inside for action and even engaging in some trash talking in rounds two and three. However, after a certain point, his only option became to exploit the few openings Wisdom did give him and stay sharp defensively on his way to unanimously earning his 11th victory as a pro. The scorecards totaled 58-54 and 59-53 twice.

When asked about his thoughts on the fight McCreary said, “I feel like, after the first round where he felt my power and seen my speed, he knew he had to run to survive.”

Promoter Tony Grygelko and his Seconds Out Promotions staff put together an amazing event for Milwaukee fight fans, and if it weren’t for some unforeseen events I also would’ve included exciting recaps on a few of the night’s other thrilling performances including Oklahoma’s Carson Jones’ knockout of Starr Jones, Florida’s Livan Navarro’s 18-second knockout of Quintez Bozell, and exciting Florida super bantamweight Marcos Forestal’s 8-round unanimous decision victory. Unfortunately, all that can be said is, keep an eye out for news on a possible October Seconds Out Promotions event. You can contact the organization at 612-770-0144 or find out more about them on Facebook at Seconds Out Fights.

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R.L. Woodson

Cinephile, audiophile, and avid sports fan. I am the creator and host of the Pay Me No Mind sports and entertainment podcast found on TalkLoudRadio. I podcast and write to cope with my continuing struggle to play guitar.

R.L. Woodson

Cinephile, audiophile, and avid sports fan. I am the creator and host of the Pay Me No Mind sports and entertainment podcast found on TalkLoudRadio. I podcast and write to cope with my continuing struggle to play guitar.

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