Sam (Shlomo Zalman) Bregman -- dubbed "The Fighting Rabbi" -- was edged by Hazel Roche, the Latino Heavyweight Boxing Champion, in a controversial and entertaining Celebrity Boxing match last weekend in Miami, Florida.
The fight took place on the Lamar Odom vs. Ojani Noa Pay Per View undercard and lasted three rounds.
Bregman (age 44) and Roche (age 43) battled from the opening bell to the finish, with both fighters pushing for the knockout.
The Rabbi began the match by firing a massive left to Roche's head that connected, and had it landed any bigger, would have ended the contest in the first frame.
Each of the subsequent three rounds appeared close, with Bregman seemingly landing the bigger shots and acting as the primary aggressor throughout.
As a whole, the Rabbi fought like he was the larger, heavier man in the ring even though he appeared to be much smaller than the 40-pound advertised weight differential.
For the most part, Roche was unable to pull away from his novice opponent or assert himself, despite having years of boxing experience and sporting a 7-1 record entering this match.
Roche was on unsteady legs and hit the canvas four times in the match, with Bregman remaining on his feet throughout.
One time "The Latin Lover" was felled by a Bregman check hook and side step as Roche lunged in; two times he appeared to be out-muscled by the stronger Bregman in the clinch; and an additional time he lost his balance as the referee separated the fighters.
By the end of the match, both boxers seemed gassed, with someone needing to find his second or third wind in this brawl.
The three-member FITE TV ringside commentary team was composed of media mogul and record producer Ray Benzino, Grammy-nominated rapper Peter Gunz, and ESPN studio host and play-by-play commentator John Brickley.
At the final bell, both Benzino and Brickley stated on the live broadcast that Bregman deserved the victory, while Gunz opined that Roche should be declared the winner.
To the surprise of most, the judges gave the decision to Roche via split decision (2-1).
When the decision was announced, the attendees at the James L. Knight Center made their extreme displeasure known -- raining a lengthy and angry cascade of boos upon Roche and the judges.
This was the only fight on the eleven-match card that elicited boos towards the judges or any combatant.
As for the fighters, Roche seemed momentarily stunned that he was declared the winner.
Bregman acted cordially and accepted the result with aplomb, while simultaneously locating his religious head covering which flew off early in the match.
Both fighters engaged in a respectful embrace after the result was announced and displayed good sportsmanship, the chorus of boos notwithstanding.
Rick Bonvie, a South Florida commercial real estate broker in attendance at the match, said, "That was an action-packed fight. I thought Bregman was a warrior and definitely won. That match was a candidate for fight of the night."
Where do the fighters go from here?
Bregman, a digital strategist, media personality and CEO of Alpha Tribe Media, gave an excellent account of himself, and the door is open for him to participate in Celebrity Boxing in the future if he so chooses.
Damon Feldman, CEO of Celebrity Boxing commented after the fight, "It was great to have Sam Bregman on our fight card. The Rabbi brought a lot of excitement to Celebrity Boxing. He showed courage, toughness, and skill in the ring and we’d love to welcome him back again.”
Hazel Roche, an actor and community activist, now moves his record to an impressive 8-1 in Celebrity Boxing, although there was nary a person who watched the match who didn’t feel Roche went down in defeat.
Roche will now be pitted against retired American wrestler "The Sandman" on a Celebrity Boxing card in Atlantic City in November 2021, a match that was announced before the fight with Bregman.