Xander Zayas stays unbeaten with domination of Patrick Teixeira

Xander Zayas has been touted as a contender since he was a teenager, and he showed why on Saturday night in New York City, dominating Patrick Teixeira in a unanimous decision victory to remain undefeated as a junior middleweight prospect.

Zayas (19-0, 12 KOs), 21, also helped establish his boxing future in a different way at Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden. The native of San Juan was fighting on the weekend of the Puerto Rico Day Parade, a tradition for fighters from the island to be stars of the show at the Garden. Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad are among those who have made this tradition memorable.

Zayas, who signed with Top Rank when he was 16 and made his pro debut six weeks after his 17th birthday, marched forward from the start with attacks to the body. He landed 10 body punches in the second round and another nine in the third, while Teixeira managed just three during those six minutes. That put Zayas in full control, and by the end of the fight, he had landed 76 body punches to 12 for Teixeira. Zayas' overall advantage in punches landed was 204-63, and he was threatening from start to finish.

But Teixeira (34-5, 25 KOs), who held the WBO junior middleweight world championship in 2021, stood tough and made it to the final bell.

Zayas moved his attack upstairs in Round 8 and snapped Teixeira's head back several times with hooks and uppercuts. By the end of the ninth, the face of the 33-year-old Brazilian was bloody, and he was in survival mode, moving away from Zayas and throwing little offense back at the young fighter. Teixeira's movement and toughness enabled him to make it to the end.

Two of the three judges scored every round for Zayas, while the third gave Teixeira one round.

"Thank you to the people of Puerto Rico," Zayas said afterward. "Since I'm 5 years old, I've been dreaming about this."

On Sunday, Zayas will take part in the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan.

In Saturday's co-main event, 2020 Olympic trials winner and New York City native Bruce Carrington knocked out late-notice opponent Brayan De Gracia in the eighth round of a dominant featherweight performance.

In scoring his third straight knockout, Carrington (12-0, 8 KOs), nicknamed "Shu Shu," was faster and more aggressive the whole way. The 27-year-old from the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn knocked down De Gracia in the fifth and seventh rounds, although on the second one, the ropes prevented the Panamanian from falling to the canvas.

De Gracia (29-4, 25 KOs), 30, did not hit the floor on the finish, either, as Carrington trapped him against the ropes late in Round 8 and unleashed a flurry until the referee jumped in with four seconds left before the bell.