By Luis Escobar
On a night that featured tough welterweights from coast to coast it was the guy with the heaviest hands who made the most noise.
IBF welterweight champion Kermit "El Asesino" Cintron hammered out fifth ranked challenger Walter "El Terrible" Matthysse in under two rounds to retain his title. Working with riveting right crosses, the 27-year-old Cintron dropped the challenger from Argentina late in the first round to mark the first time Matthysse had ever been on the deck.
Cintron, originally Carolinas, Puerto Rico but living and fighting out Reading, Pennsylvania floored the challenger in the opening seconds of the 2nd, and then dropped and stopped Matthysse with a crushing left hook to the jaw followed by a whistling right hand on the head.
With the Argentine boxer flat on his back referee Earl Morton waved off the bout at 29-seconds of the second round and awarded the knockout victory to the impressive young welterweight champ. Following the win, Cintron singled out his work with legendary trainer Emanuel Steward as one of the keys to his devastating victory.
"Boxing, boxing, that's Emanuel's style boxing," Cintron confided after the win. "I'm a big puncher but he's got me as a complete fighter right now. I still got a lot of work to do but I'm going to get there."
Cintron (28-1, 26 KO's) scored early to the body in the opening moments of the 1st, while Matthysse (26-2, 25 KO's) attempted to counter he caught three more solid shots upstairs. At the 2:07 mark of the opening round, Cintron (146) who had struggled with hands problems in the past tagged the challenger flat footed in the center of the ring with a swift left jab followed by a sharp right hand to the face. Matthysse, Trelew, Chubut, Argentina had hoped and trained to take the fight to the champion but Cintron was simply too quick and too powerful and he controlled virtually every exchange.
At the 1:04 mark of the round, Cintron, 5'11", stung Matthysse, 28 with another sharp right hand to the chin. With under 25-seconds remaining in the round, Cintron rocked the challenger with another laser-like right to the face and Matthysse, 5'9", lurched awkwardly to his right after getting clipped by the champion. Cintron landed a volley shots that was triggered by a right uppercut but another hammering right cross caught the challenger flush on the jaw and Matthysse's back leg gave way and he crumbled to the floor down on one knee with his back brushing the ropes.
With the fans cheering the action, Matthysse was up quickly but as he walked toward the neutral corner his legs looked unsteady and he appeared to still be hurt. The bell sounded to end the round and the challenger maneuvered back to his corner on wobbly pins.
Trainer Raul Montesino worked to restore his confidence and Matthysse's coordination but his legs looked shot when he answered the bell for the second stanza.
Matthysse attempted to move forward to open the round but Cintron playing "catch and counter" blocked a punch and then dropped the challenger with a laser-like counter right cross to the jawbone. Matthysse hit the deck on his hands and his knees and then skidded forward while almost tumbling over, as he struggled with his balance and the ringing in his ears.
Matthysse staggered to his feet at the count of four but he lurched sideways while the referee checked on his condition. The challenger attempted to clear the cobwebs but to no avail. Cintron reloaded, then tagged the shaken boxer with another flurry of punches before landing a wicked left hook to the chin and a jackhammer right cross high on the jaw.
Matthysse crashed to the canvas landing flat on his back with his gloves still in a defensive posture. With the Jersey fight fans screaming, the challenger managed to lift his head off the floor but his night was over. The Reading Rifle was on target again and the only thing that Walter Matthysse could look forward to was a first class ticket back to Buenos Aires.