BRONX-BASED Ghanaian fighter, Emmanuel Lartey aka Bukom Jah, presented the best competition of Vasquez’s pro career and took him the distance for the first time since a six-round unanimous decision over Ben Ankrah in May 2013. Lartey has never been knocked down, let alone knocked out, in his pro career.
Sammy Vasquez didn’t score a knockout for the first time in almost two years as he promised, but he left no doubt.
The Monessen welterweight is still undefeated with a 10-round unanimous decision over Emmanuel Lartey on Friday night in a main event at Consol Energy Center. The fight was televised as part of the ShoBox series on Showtime. Judges Dana DePaola (100-90), George Kachulis and Phil Rogers (both 99-91) scored in favor of Vasquez (18-0).
“I thought he was going to bring a little more to the table,” Vasquez said. “I expected a lot more, but he was a good fighter.”
“We knew the guy was tough and durable,” Vasquez trainer Bob Healy said. “A couple of times he was fading, but he’d recharge his batteries and come back. I can see why nobody has stopped the guy or dropped him.”
Vasquez held a two-inch height advantage and one-inch reach edge — although it appeared to be greater — and used both to walk Lartey into the corners and throw a right jab to set up his left hand.
Vasquez landed a nice left in the first round, then several combinations in the second to win both easily. But Lartey kept his hands high to protect his head, wary of the one-punch power of Vasquez, who entered the fight with 13 knockouts in 17 bouts.
Conversely, Vasquez dropped his guard and tried to bait Lartey into making a mistake. That strategy caused Lartey to exchange blows in the fourth, throwing right jabs to set up left hooks. But it paid off for Vasquez, when he connected on a right uppercut just before the bell.
In the fifth, Lartey (17-3-1), fell prey to Vasquez’s ploy. Lartey dropped his gloves and swung wildly. Vasquez made him pay, slipping a right hook and landing an uppercut. Vasquez followed a flurry with a left uppercut that snapped Lartey’s head back, but the visitor answered with a low blow that drew a warning.
Vasquez smelled blood — Lartey bled from the nose — and went into attack mode, from which Lartey survived the sixth despite a wicked right body-head combo. Winning every round at that point, Vasquez continued to jab until the final minute of the seventh. After Lartey was warned for holding, Vasquez threw a flurry to end the round. Lartey spent most of the eighth round trapped in the red corner, trying to fight his way out but unable to escape and absorbing body blows from the bigger Vasquez.
“I definitely felt he was hurting,” Vasquez said. “He barely got off the stool.”
Vasquez picked his punches in the ninth, snapping a sharp right early. Lartey spent most of the round covering up and was outpunched badly.
Vasquez was looking for a knockout in the 10th but left himself open while lunging and was caught by a left from Lartey, who won the final round. It marked the first time Vasquez went 10 rounds.
“I wanted to get a KO and make a statement, but I hurt him enough for him to know I was no joke,” Vasquez said. “You want to try to look good so people follow, you but most important is to win.”
The fight was very close and many fans thought Lartey had done well as the crowd was for Vasquez on the night.
Sherdog.com writes: The raucous crowd inside the Consol Energy Arena…got what they came to see as local hero Sammy Vasquez, Jr. beat up Emmanuel Lartey in the main event of the ShoBox: the New Generation-televised card. Vasquez was all over his welterweight foe from the start, landing dozens of shots to the head and body en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory.
Lartey had his moments in the tussle, but they were too few and far between to be effective throughout to make the fight competitive. Vasquez, a former Army Reservist who did two tours of combat duty in Iraq, was in total control and won almost every round. Though he never scored any knockdowns, it appeared as though Lartey might have been stopped in the later periods.
Source: Sammy Heywood Okine