Boston police officer Billy Traft, 33, didn’t disappoint his enormous cheering section Saturday night at TD Garden when he earned a unanimous decision over Joe Powers in a four-round middleweight bout at “Night at the Fights.”
Traft, a Dorchester resident who works in the gang unit, improved to 3-0, while Powers, of Groton, Conn., was making his professional debut.
“You walk in and the whole place goes crazy after that,’’ said Traft, who received a lot of support from his co-workers. “It was very humbling and I was very honored to represent my family, my friends, Dorchester, and the Boston Police.’’
In the opening round, Traft came out aggressively, testing Powers from the bell. The only blow Powers really landed was in the final second of the round, when he connected on a hard right to Traft’s midsection.
In the second, Traft was even stronger. Powers missed punches early and he paid for it with Traft punishing him with body shots and several lefts and rights to the head. Traft often had Powers up against the ropes and backed into the corners. Powers didn’t put up much of a fight to battle his way out of trouble, although he did land the occasional right hand — which Traft said he felt each and every one of them.
Traft continued the punishment in the third round. Powers landed some rights, but the only combination he was able to generate was at the very end of the round. Traft reacted by holding his arms away from his body as if to say, “So what? You didn’t hurt me.’’
Both fighters tried to close out the bout in strong fashion in the final round. It was Powers’s best round and he connected on several blows, but only one real combination. Traft answered with a strong series of blows to Powers’s head.
After a 10-second timeout in the late going when the bell was wrung inadvertently, both fighters finished with dueling blows leading up to the final 10 seconds and the final bell.
Traft said he felt as if he had his hands full with Powers, even though it didn’t appear that way at times.
“He’s a very strong kid physically,’’ said Traft. “I started out with the jab and was trying to beat him down to the later rounds. But to be honest with you, you have to take your hat off to him. He was throwing those looping right hands and he did catch me a couple of times, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Definitely, I had to reevaluate my game plan.
“We just went potshotting him, but he was as tough as it comes because I was punching right hands through his head and he didn’t go anywhere. He was a game opponent and I give him all the respect in the world.’’
Traft said he didn’t quite expect it to go the way it did.
“To be honest, I thought after hitting him with right hands, I thought he might go away a little more,’’ he said. “He didn’t. We had to box him and that’s what we did.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.