By: Rich Quiñones (Ringside)
(Atlantic City, NJ) Glen Tapia returned to the ring Saturday night at Bally’s Atlantic City, to make one simple statement. That his career is no way close to being over and his quick work of Keenan Collins proved he was physically ready to lace them up after suffering his first loss as a pro when he absorbed a vicious beating to James Kirkland last December at Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom.
Looking stronger, faster and more confident Tapia, walked right through the overmatched journeyman Collins, on his way to a dominating first-round TKO win at the Bally’s Event Center.
Tapia (21-1, 13 Ko’s) dropped Collins twice before referee Earl Brown stepped in to halt the action, as Tapia just brutalized a helpless Collins, who was up against the ropes for what seemed to be an eternity.
Collins entered the ring on a layoff of his own. He had not fought in a year, since suffering a fourth-round TKO loss to Daniel Jacobs on April 27, 2013, and was 3-7-2 in his last 12 fights entering Saturday’s action.
The last time he fought in Atlantic City was 10 years ago when dropped a six-round decision to Michael Torres at Bally’s on Dec. 3, 2004. That bout was more competitive than this one.
A native of York, PA, Collins (15-9-3, 8 Ko’s) looked helpless from the opening bell, as Tapia connected with several hard body shots, wobbling the legs of his opponent. If Tapia wanted to make a quick statement he did it in dramatic fashion, as the jam-packed crowd rose to their feet with chants of “Jersey Boy” before Brown stopped the onslaught.
At 1:22 of the opening round Tapi’s return was in the books, as he tore through the 37-year-old Collins.
“I saw an opening and one time I hit him, I saw his legs buckle and I saw he was open with his legs, I knew I was in good shape, I know he was hurt and I had him,” Tapia said ringside while being mobbed by fans who flocked from Passiac, New Jersey, to support him.
There was speculation after his loss to Kirkland that he would never be the same fighter again, mentally and physically. There were many boxing insiders who also questioned whether the 24-year-old Tapia would ever get his career back on track.
Tapia quickly squashed that theory and notion.
“That is stupid, I worked real hard, that is a big lesson I learned. I was 23, 24, at the time, that is stupid. I can’t wait to show everyone that I am still here, I feel great.”
Following the Kirkland loss, Tapia hired famed and world-renown trainer Freddie Roach, who was not available to work Tapia’s corner because he was with WBO junior welterweight champ Ruslan Provodnikov for his title defense against Chris Algieri at Barclays Center.
The only blemish during a quick night’s work for Tapia, was the small cut on his left hand that he sustained.
“It was the second punch I threw, a uppercut, and I knew something was wrong, but I fee fine,” added Tapia.
The hiring of Roach has worked on some many levels for Tapia, as has the layoff, something Tapia’s manager Pat Lynch echoed after the win.
“The time off and the change was the best thing for him, to go to California and train with Freddie. Get him away from Jersey for a bit, and when Freddie said he was ready, well he was ready. We saw that tonight.”
Lynch believed it was more mental for his fighter then physical after the Kirkland setback and the smart thing to do was move him slow.
“100 percent, listen, that is why we took six months or, realistically he could have come back in three months but we were more worried about the mental part. You know after a loss like that, you know sometimes that could be best thing to happen, he was fighting a lot, and to take time off and train with Freddie was the best thing for him.”
The junior-middleweight, Tapia, seemed to have moved past the Kirkland fight, but to some degree Lynch was still thinking about it.
“Listen, he bounced back great after that fight, I kind of blame myself for taking the Kirkland fight I was not crazy bout that fight, going back and forth and this and that. Kirkland was 50 pounds overweight and he was not in the ring for two years and I kind of was like kicking myself in the ass for taking that fight, but to say or suggest the kid’s career is over, listen that is just crazy. He is a young guy, he is strong, but I am not trying to repeat myself but to go to California and get away from Jersey, he had so many fans and stuff and distractions here, so to take him out of Jersey and out of his element was good. When I went out there to California to see him I never saw him that focused and work that hard in my life.”
It appears it will be a quick turnaround for Tapia in the ring, assuming that the small cut on his left hand that he sustained heals quickly.
“We are coming back July 26th, we are fighting at Madison Square Garden on the Gennady Golovkin card. Boyd Melson, he agreed to the fight, and that is the fight we are going to do. Put it down, nice thing about it is he will be on at 9pm on the HBO international broadcast, so we can not see that fight here, but the rest of the world we see that fight,” Lynch said.
Melson (14-1-1, 4 Ko’s) fights out of White Plains, New York, and always gives his purse after his fights to charity.
The scheduled 10-round Tapia-Melson affair will be part of the non-televised undercard beneath a main event that’ll see Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) take on Australia’s Daniel Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) in a 12-rounder for Golovkin’s WBA middleweight title.
“We are going take over, it is the same plan from the beginning, try to be the best and I am not trying to be quick, I am just trying to be the best, everyone has their time and I know my time is coming,” added Tapia.
Rich Quiñones is an award winning broadcaster and journalist. He is the lead blow-by-blow Boxing voice for GFL.tv and Go Fight Live’s Boxing on Comcast. He has sat ringside calling the action with Monte Barrett, Brian Adams, Amir Mansour, Danny Garcia, James Kirkland, Mark Breland, Ronnie Shields, Teddy Atlas and Lou DiBella, while broadcasting over 125 bouts for GFL in 2013-2014.
Rich is also a contributor to Ringnews24.com and he has also handled calling the action for Muay Thai and is exclusive lead blow-by-blow voice for CFFC MMA.