WBO NABO middleweight champion Brian Vera (22-6, 13 KO’s) successfully defended his title last night at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York with a tenth round stoppage victory over former WBO light middleweight champion Serhiy Dzinziruk (37-2-1, 24 KO's) on ESPN 2's "Friday Night Fights". However, it is expected to have little impact on the overall landscape within a division that is currently led by the likes of world champions Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin.
Dzinziruk found himself on the canvas twice in the opening round, with the first instance coming from a grazing left to the body in tandem with awkward and off balance footwork. The second visit to the mat, however, was quite definitive as Vera landed a clean left-right combination.
The shorter Vera took advantage of Dzinziruk who was standing upright and moving straight back, catching the Urkranian with his right hand at will throughout the evening. Vera was enjoying himself, grinning at his 36-year old opponent as he worked his way inside with a good jab and connecting with his right while in perfect range.
It was not until the fifth round that the southpaw Dzinziruk began circling to his right, away from Vera's sharp-shooting right hand, and throwing his own jab. He attempted to keep the fight in the center of the ring where he established distance and started boxing more effectively.
Vera had Dzinkiruk trapped in a corner to start the sixth round but inexplicably let up on the former champion who moved to the center of the ring where he landed some good straight left hands that were set up with his jab. Vera was quickly losing steam and had let Dzinziruk right back into the fight. Although accurate, Vera's punches were visibly slowing and telegraphed which allowed Dzinziruk to counter.
Much like the sixth round, Vera curiously backed off from Dzinzirk after having him in trouble in the corner to start Round 8. By the end of the round, the Ukranian landed a right hook that cut Vera above his left eye and dominated the following round with his jabs and left hands. This gave him life heading into the final quarter of the fight.
In the tenth, Dzinziruk made the mistake of getting caught against the ropes in the corner where Vera pummeled him with very accurate lefts and rights. In the midst of the barrage, Dzinziruk took a seat to get a break from it all. There was no one particular shot that dropped him but rather an accumulation of blows from which he could not get away this time.
While his beaten opponent was seated against the turnbuckle, Vera threw an entirely unnecessary right hand that missed and would have surely gotten him disqualified if landed. It was a curious act of aggression from a fighter who had failed to display a sustained attack when he had Dzinziruk in trouble on at least two separate occasions earlier in the bout.
Although Dzinziruk beat the count, referee Benjy Esteves Jr. noticed he was too dazed to continue and waved off the action at 1:50 of Round 10.
Vera lacks the killer instinct and stamina to compete with top quality middleweights. He has shown this with previous losses to James Kirkland and Andy Lee in an October 2011 rematch. So while this made for an enjoyable installment of ESPN 2's "Friday Night Fights", it is unlikely that Vera's victory will disrupt the balance within the middleweight division that has WBA champion Golovkin looking for a dance partner that would catapult him to superstar status.
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