Tejada fights to draw
The good news is that Haverhill’s Nicky Tejada is still unbeaten in the ring as a pro.
The bad news? His first venture up the ladder into six-round territory ended in a draw. Now 6-0-1, Tejada fought to the stalemate with Tyngsborough’s Nathan Balakin (6-3-1) in a battle that had the near-capacity house at Windham’s Castleton on its feet nearly the entire way.
“It was pretty back and forth, and we were landing some shots on each other,” said Tejada, who is trained by Haverhill’s Ray Hebert. “It was definitely a fight of the year around here, just non-stop punches. I had a few people, old-timers, tell me that it reminded them of Hagler and Hearns.
“It was a good fight and it ended in a draw. I can’t complain about it.”
Balakin was the more experienced fighter, and it showed a little bit, but Tejada says it was a heck of a learning experience.
“He was definitely the toughest and most experienced guy I’ve fought. I didn’t throw enough punches. He was throwing a lot of pitter-patter punches, and I landed more of the bigger punches,” the 23-year-old said.
“Every fight, you definitely learn a lot. I learned a lot about myself, as to where I am at skill wise. He’s had over 40 amateur fights to my five. You can’t ever be satisfied, just take some positives from it and try to get better.”
Tejada had only gone a total of 13 rounds combined in his first six fights, so this was definitely a quality hurdle to overcome.
“It was good to go all six, but I knew I’d be able to handle it,” Tejada said. “I think the next time I go six rounds, I will be better cardio-wise, but it felt really good to go the distance. I think next I’ll do even better.”
The six-rounder was the co-main event on the annual Boston Pro Boxing Thanksgiving Eve card in Windham.
Tejada is hoping that he will get another shot at Balakin in a rematch, but for now, he’s just easing back into things. After seven fights in about a 17 months span, he’s going to take some time to heal up and rest before again putting the undefeated record on the line.
North Andover’s Keller falls
Another local pro, North Andover’s Austin Keller, suffered his first defeat as a pro, dropping a unanimous four-round decision to Javier Torres of Watertown, N.Y., on the undercard at Castleton.
Keller is now 1-1.
On the NBA
The Celtics’ Tuesday night win over Chicago, in which they needed to run up the score in order to advance in the NBA’s In-Season Tournament via a point-differential tie-breaker has certainly conjured up exceptional interest in November basketball.
I’m so into the Celtics, the process, and the tournament itself this year. If you follow me on “X,” — formerly Twitter (@mvcreature) — you know the dealing away of Marcus Smart and Grant Williams, with all their flopping and whining, have reinvigorated my interest in the team.
The IST rocks. and it’s only starting up. My only issue was Coach Joe Mazzula employing the Hack-a-Drummond, intentionally fouling Andre Drummond while up 29-plus points. That was unnecessary. Leave it to Mazzula to throw a wrench into a very good thing.
Tejada fights to draw