Omar Douglas entered Tuesday night’s 130-pound bout with southpaw Frank De Alba having vanquished three lefties, all by knockout. So it’s easy to understand why the 24-year-old Douglas walked into the ring supremely confident that he could take out De Alba well ahead of the final bell of their 10-round contest.
Turns out he needed every minute of every round to keep his record perfect.
Forced to go 10 rounds for the second fight in a row—the only occasions in his career he's been taken such a distance—Douglas outgunned his opponent in a firefight before a raucous and largely pro-De Alba crowd, winning a narrow majority decision at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
With both fighters working within close proximity to their hometowns, Omar Douglas (16-0, 11 KOs) prevailed by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 95-95. In doing so, he remained unbeaten and ended De Alba’s 15-fight winning streak,
“The situation was tough with me coming into his backyard,” said Douglas, who outlanded the 28-year-old De Alba 187-to-141 in total punches. “But I have that Marvin Hagler mentality to go wherever it takes and do whatever is necessary to get the ‘W.’”
Douglas—who hails from Wilmington, Delaware, about 90 miles from Bethlehem—took the fight to Frank De Alba (17-2-2, 6 KOs) from the opening bell, using his jab to set up long, clean right hands. But “Super O” was unable to seriously hurt his Puerto Rico-born opponent, and both fighters had success in the middle rounds.
In the eighth, Douglas finally got in a left hook that wobbled De Alba, but he couldn't land the finishing blow. Not only did De Alba survive, but down the stretch he scored with several crisp crosses, hooks and uppercuts that kept the fight close.
“This guy definitely came to fight,” said Douglas, who was coming off September’s 10-round unanimous decision over Braulio Santos, whom he dropped in both the first and second stanzas. “Just like in my last fight, it was one of those things where I wasn’t fighting a slouch. I really had to go out there and earn it. This was a very big win for me.”
Despite giving Douglas the toughest challenge of his career, De Alba—who makes his home in Reading, Pennsylvania, which is about 45 minutes from Bethlehem—came up just short on the cards.
Conversely, Douglas defeated the fourth southpaw of his career—except this time, he had to go the distance to do it.
“De Alba was definitely the best southpaw I’ve fought as a pro, and this was as big step up,” Douglas said. “He was a lot craftier and did some things that I never saw him do—like using the right-hand lead, which was his strongest weapon. But once I neutralized that, I could see it coming, and I felt like I dominated the fight.”
While the contest went longer than Douglas and his team probably anticipated, his coach was pleased with the performance.
“I give Omar a B-plus. He did everything we asked, except that occasionally he got into the habit of following instead of cutting off the ring,” said trainer Doug Pettiford. “But De Alba studied Omar, and to some extent executed his game plan properly.
“There was some excessive holding on De Alba’s part and a couple of rounds where Omar wasn’t as busy as we would have liked him to be, but overall, our conditioning and preparation was the difference in us getting the decision.”
Also on the Fox Sports 1 card, Puerto Rican-born Miguel Cruz (12-0, 11 KOs) of Lake Mary, Florida, scored a seventh-round TKO over Virgil Green (11-4, 4 KOs) in a 147-pound clash. Cruz wobbled Green once each in the fourth and fifth rounds, ultimately flooring him twice in the seventh for his ninth consecutive stoppage victory.
In another televised fight, Philadelphia’s Christopher Brooker (7-1, 5 KOs) handed Detroit-based Leo Hall (8-1, 7 KOs) his first pro loss, winning a comfortable eight-round unanimous decision. Brooker, who took the 175-pound fight on short notice, outlanded his rival 251-128 in total punches en route to the victory.
For complete coverage of Douglas vs De Alba, check out our fight page.