Michael Nunn returned to an old, familiar place Friday night and displayed a new, unfamiliar style of boxing.
Nunn, who has been booed in the past for his defensive maneuvers, was the aggressor all the way in registering a fifth-round technical knockout of Cecil Pettigrew in a nationally televised middleweight bout at Palmer Auditorium.
It was the first professional appearance for Nunn (23-0) in his hometown. A standing-room-only crowd of 4,000 screamed and chanted "Michael, Michael" as he blistered Pettigrew with an array of combinations before referee Mike Defabis halted the bout 45 seconds into the fifth round.
"I wanted to definitely show the home folks that I was here for just one reason," said Nunn, who notched his 15th knockout.
Nunn's manager, Joe Goossen, said his uncharacteristic early round aggressiveness wasn't necessarily by design.
"I told Michael to take a few rounds to just get warmed up," Goossen said. "But he didn't have to. He was just so much quicker than the other kid. The openings were there early and I always feel that if the openings are there early, take advantage of them."
Nunn, who now fights out of North Hollywood, dominated the first round, then really took control in the second, staggering Pettigrew with a series of combinations midway through the round.
He battered Pettigrew on the ropes in the third round, eased off in the fourth, then finished him off with a flurry early in the fifth. Defabis, spotting a sizable cut under Pettigrew's right eye, stepped in and stopped it.
Pettigrew (22-14-2) had gone 10 rounds before losing a decision to Davey Moore in his last fight. He agreed to fight Nunn on just four days' notice after the original opponent, Eddie Hall, developed a cut. Despite that, Pettigrew offered no excuses.