Xander Zayas scores a dominant decision victory on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend

Josh Taylor v Teofimo Lopez
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Xander Zayas scores a dominant decision victory on Puerto Rican Day Parade Weekend over Ronald Cruz.

In front of a ruckus crowd at the Hulu Theater inside the Madison Square Garden on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, 20-year-old Xander Zayas (16-0) extended his undefeated record by defeating Ronald Cruz (18-3-1). All three judges had it in favor of Zayas, seeing this one identically 80-71. With actress Rosie Perez on hand to get everyone pumped up for the Zayas fight, the crowd was expecting fireworks. They would get it early in the fight, but after that, it was just a beatdown.

In the first round, Zayas came out in the first round with a stiff left jab, and when Cruz threw his first big right hand, Zayas stepped back and landed a counter right hand which resulted in the fight's first knockdown. Cruz got up, and everyone thought the fight would soon be over, but it wasn’t. Zayas dominated the second round with a crushing left hook to the body and then to the head. He executes that combination fast without exposing himself to Cruz. At this moment, it just didn’t seem like Cruz was interested in creating any offense.

Cruz finally woke up in the third round and was backing Zayas up. Cruz used a decent left jab and landed his own overhand right, which Zayas did not like at all. After pressuring him early in the round, Cruz returned to defensive mode. Round four was more of the same as Zayas was landing the one-two combination up top and finishing off with a left hook to the body and head. On occasion, Zayas would mix in a left uppercut, with Cruz’s face getting worse and worse.

Xander Zayas scores a unanimous decision victory over Ronald Cruz at the Hulu Theater in NYC

In the fifth round, Cruz kept smiling after being hit with multiple combinations from Zayas but wasn’t doing anything to win the round. Zayas kept pounding on Cruz, and it looked like Cruz was there to survive. The sixth was another round where Zayas landed at will while Cruz kept his gloves up and took in the punishment.

Zayas landed a huge left hook in the seventh round that started a domino effect of punches as Cruz looked visibly hurt. Zayas tried to score the knockdown but ran out of time as the round ended. Zayas attempted to close the show in the eighth and final round but couldn’t put away the tough Cruz. Due to the festive weekend, Zayas scores the decision victory and the Miguel Cotto award.

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