Mark Bernaldez got bundled up and the referee made sure there will be no escape by stopping his fight with rising star Andres Cortes on Friday, November 5 (Saturday, November 6, Philippine time) at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in Nevada.
Clipped by a left hook and a right, Bernaldez leaned back on the ropes where the unbeaten American unloaded another right followed by a flurry of punches, only one of which clearly got through as the Filipino’s hands were raised in defense.
The referee, however, saw otherwise and halted the super featherweight tussle at the 2:12 mark of the third round.
Though strongly shaken, Bernaldez appeared more surprised by the stoppage that pulled down his record to 23-5 with 17 knockouts.
Even the ringside commentators disagreed with the referee’s decision, saying the stoppage came “too quick.”
Aware that he may have been prematurely handed his 16 straight victory and 9th knockout, Cortes later went to Bernaldez’s corner, goaded him back to the center of the ring where he raised the Sanman fighter’s hand.
The triumph was far from Cortes’ first-round demolition of another Filipino, former world title challenger Genesis Servania, on August 14.
His third defeat in eight bouts in the United States since 2019 will send Bernaldez back to the drawing board with his Cuban trainer Osmiri Fernandez in Miami, Florida.
Despite the loss, Bernaldez received words of encouragement from Sanman head JC Manangquil, who posted “Good fight Mark proud of you!” on Facebook. – Rappler.com