Jamaine Ortiz impresses, out-points Nahir Albright on ShoBox

Amanda Westcott

Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz used his superior hand and foot speed to dance and dish out punishment against game Nahir Albright to win the vacant NABF title in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation as part of an action-packed doubleheader on SHOWTIME Friday night at the Caribe Royale Resort.

Ortiz (15-0-1, 8 KOs) sailed to a unanimous decision win by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 97-93 to remain undefeated and stamp his name as a player in a loaded lightweight division.

Whether he was walking Albright (14-2, 7 KOs) down or punching on the move, Ortiz produced a dominant and flashy performance over 10 rounds, wowing a crowd that included former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver and San Francisco 49ers All-Pro offensive lineman Trent Williams.

After he was dropped twice in his last fight against Joseph Adorno in a majority draw in April, Ortiz looked more poised and patient in the early going, picking his punches carefully and hitting and moving while avoiding Albright’s big right hand.

As the difference in speed became apparent, Ortiz began to open up in the second after he scored with a big left that caught Albright clean. From that point on, Ortiz maintained control of the distance and pace, leaping at Albright with lefts and rights or peppering him with jabs.

“I think I showed maturity in this fight,” Ortiz said. “I was cautious in the beginning. I didn’t want to get caught like I did in my last fight. After I took the first couple rounds to feel him out, I saw that I could do whatever I wanted in there and I started to get into a groove and let my punches go.”

Ortiz, of Worcester, Mass., landed 48% (103 of 216) of his power punches, compared to 41% for Albright (88 of 216), but it was his body punching that produced the biggest numerical disparity. Ortiz out-landed Albright 42 to 4 to the body, showcasing that aspect of his game in the fifth round when he found a home for several thudding body shots. Afterward, Ortiz called out the power-puncher Rolly Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) as the opponent he wants to face next.

“He’s got a big name,” Ortiz said. “He’s a big puncher, but he can’t box. That would be an easy fight. My goal is to have a title eliminator and to win a title. After that, my goal is to be one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.”

Ortiz’s signature round was the sixth, when he showcased his footwork and speed, darting around the ring and landing rights and lefts. He connected with an overhand right on the run while New Jersey’s Albright was on the ropes and then landed several unanswered right uppercuts to punctuate the round.

Albright, an aspiring R&B singer, showed his toughness and resilience by trying to match Ortiz’s output each round. He had success in spurts, but it was fleeting. In the ninth, he landed a pair of overhand rights, only for Ortiz to use his footwork to avoid taking further punishment.

“He was the better man in there tonight,” an emotional Albright said. “It was a great experience and I saw a different look. I know that I have all the talent and ability, and this will not deter me at all from being a world champion.”

In the telecast opener, Paul Kroll and Marquis Taylor fought to a spirited split draw in their eight-round super welterweight bout by scores of 77-75 for Kroll, 80-72 for Taylor and 76-76 in a verdict that frustrated both fighters.

Before the bout, Philly’s Kroll spoke of the little respect he had for Taylor’s power, since Taylor only had one knockout on his ledger, but it was Taylor who was the harder and busier puncher in the contest, relying on a check left hook that continually found its mark.

Houston’s Taylor connected on 34% of his power punches compared to 29% for Kroll, outscoring him 98 to 71 and out-landing him 109 to 84 in total punches.

Taylor (12-1-2, 1 KO) staggered Kroll (9-0-1, 6 KOs) in the sixth with the biggest punch of the fight, a left that caused Kroll to fall against the ropes as Taylor followed up with digging shots to the body.

“I thought I had it for sure,” Taylor said. “I thought I had the fight in the bag. I don’t know what the judges saw. I was being the aggressor and I landed the clearer shots. I thought I really had that fight with no questions. I don’t know what else I could’ve done.”

The busier and fresher fighter, Taylor didn’t sit in between rounds and at times had to be restrained by his trainer from running to the middle of the ring before his minute of rest was up.

Normally a patient and technically sound fighter, Kroll, a former amateur star who won the 2016 U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials, went after Taylor in the first, throwing a wild right hand that continually missed its mark.

Kroll fought well in spurts and with urgency in the eighth and final round, but Taylor was ready for him.

“I thought I won the fight 5-3,” Kroll said. “I took the beginning and the end. He won a couple rounds in the middle. We can run it back on the next ShoBox. I am ready to fight him again. He was awkward, but I outworked him on the inside. I won that fight.”

International Boxing Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside alongside former world champion Raul Marquez and renowned combat sports authority Brian Campbell serving as expert analysts. Hall of Famer Steve Farhood was the unofficial scorer. The executive producer was Gordon Hall with Rich Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.