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Eastern Regional Report- Sept. 28, 2012

By Alec Kohut


Gabriel Rosado Earns Title Shot - but Will He Get One?

 
Friday night’s NBC Sports Network fight between Gabriel Rosado and Charles Whittaker was sanctioned as an IBF junior middleweight title eliminator. The real question now is if Rosado’s 10th round knockout win actually leads to a title shot. But will Cornelius Bundrage really take this high-risk, low-reward fight? It’s hard to see one of the premium channels paying hundreds of thousands in licensing fees for the fight, so the best option might just be the NBC Sports Network with pockets nowhere as deep as the premiums. It is already rumored that Bundrage will defend his title against Andre Berto in March.
 
There is no doubt that Rosado deserves a title shot. His impressive wins over Jesus Soto Karass and Sechew Powell earlier in 2012 were enough in my book; the Whittaker knockout was just icing on the cake. That said, until a contract is signed, I have my doubts.

At press time, I was on a conference call with Main Events Promotions where it was announced that there is nothing to announce. It was a Q & A session that provided little in real news but did produce a couple of quotes worthy of mention. When talking about Rosado’s chances of landing a big fight, promoter/matchmaker J. Russell Peltz accurately summed up a major problem in boxing today, “If Gabe was 25-0 instead of 21-5, the morons who buy fights for HBO and Showtime would be much more interested than they are now.” I paraphrased the second half of that quote but the part is word-for-word and dead right.
 
Rosado’s trainer, Billy Briscoe, lamented how protected WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul Alvarez has been and appears to remain so with a rumored defense against Marcos Maidana after facing natural junior welterweight Josesito Lopez. Briscoe said he understands why Golden Boy protects Alvarez with smaller opponents, “It’s different going hunting when the rabbit has a gun too.”
 
It can’t be denied that boxing is in a sad state of affairs when a Detroit champion is more likely to fight a smaller, Al Haymon-advised steroid user than to fight a gritty, fan-friendly, throwback Philadelphia fighter.
 

Cruz Suffers First Defeat

 
I believe one of the worst things that can happen to an up-and-coming prospect is to get an undeserved win after a poor performance. It allows a fighter and his team to engage in self-delusional ideas like “He did enough to win” or “He showed he knows how to win a close fight.” But a loss creates the necessary urgency for change, not allowing a fighter or his team to believe they merely “dodged a bullet” and will be okay. And Ronald Cruz needs to improve. I have been and remain very high on his prospects as a pro who is still relatively new to the sport. But Cruz must learn to both straighten his punches and create opportunities to land more than one punch at a time.
 
Cruz’s only good straight punch came when he switched to southpaw and tagged Antwone Smith with a straight left hand in the middle of the fight. Other than that left, Cruz’s punches were wide, looping shots that the defensive-minded Smith had little trouble dodging or blocking. Cruz wisely accepted the decision with class and clearly understood he didn’t do nearly enough to win the fight.
 
Expect Cruz to come back quickly and likely fight in the southpaw stance more. If he develops a strong straight right hand and can put together combinations better, there’s reason to believe this loss will not only not hurt Cruz’s future prospects but improve them by providing a lesson on what needs to be done.
 
The television broadcast demonstrated two things: B.J. Flores is a horrible analyst and CompuBox is a complete waste of time although the two complemented each other well as Flores was the only person who believed the CompuBox stats that had Cruz landing almost 70 more punches than Smith. Throughout the fight, Flores said Cruz was taking control of the fight but to any sane observer, Cruz, for only brief moments, was ever in control.
 
However, Flores’ ridiculously biased coverage did provide this, the “Tweet of the Night”:
 
“@linusesq BJ Flores thinks Romney is 15 points up on Obama too”
 
Jimmy Lange and Tony Jeter Is a Go at Patriot Center October 27th
 
Baltimore junior middleweight Tony Jeter escaped his fight Saturday with only a small nick on his scalp, paving the way for his fight with Jimmy Lange on October 27th at George Mason University’s Patriot Center. Jeter scored a fifth round TKO over Oklahoman Tyrel Brown and despite several head clashes, emerged unscathed enough for his October 27 fight with Lange.
 
While a contest between Jimmy Lange and Tony Jeter will likely not be featured on the cover of The Ring magazine, it does represent a fun scrap for Beltway region fans who have been faithful followers of Lange’s for years. Most observers agree this a step down in competition for Lange, however, not as much as some would have you believe. Is there much further lower in competition one could go from Jimmy LeBlanc, Mike McFail and Ruben Galvan?
 
Jeter will have a puncher’s chance and could make the fight interesting if he can keep Lange’s back against the strings. Either way, it should be a fun fight for local fight fans.
 
The remaining fights on the card at Millersville, MD went according to plan on Saturday. Undefeated welterweight James Stevenson easily stopped replacement opponent Dontre King with three hard rights in the first round to improve to 16-0 (11).
 
Local favorite Elias Bouloubassis fought a rematch with Inwood, West Virginia’s Steven Franklin for a made-up, phony belt that the Maryland Commission refused to acknowledge and rightfully so. The only suspense in this fight was whether Franklin’s record was really 1-8 as the Maryland commission listed or 0-7 as listed at BoxRec. The answer was clear: Who cares?
 
Bouloubassis, 8-0-5 (6), sells tickets, so it’s only natural to bring in a winless opponent and fight for a meaningless, made-up, paper belt. In his 13 professional fights, Bouloubassis’ opponents have combined for a total of eight wins unless you count Franklin with one win, then it’s 10. Oh yeah, Bouloubassis somehow managed to stop Franklin in the sixth round. Look out, Sergio Martinez…
 
Lynchburg, Virginia’s Dave Fleming was brought in to serve as target practice for heavyweight Duane Mobley. To no one’s surprise, Fleming was laid out flat in the second round.
 
The card started with a pretty decent scrap between middleweights Dan Cannaday and Issa Coulibaly, ending in what many considered a quick stoppage as Cannaday improved to 2-0 (1).
 

Harrison Back in Action a Month After Suffering First Knockdown of His Life…

The father and trainer of D.C.’s 18-year-old welterweight Dusty Harrison used to tell me that he had never seen his son knocked down or even hurt in all his professional and amateur fights, even in sparring. He can’t say that anymore. In his last fight on August 25th at the D.C. Convention Center, Harrison controlled the first five rounds before getting caught backing up with a roundhouse right from Marqus Jackson sending him to the canvas for the first time as fighter. Harrison recovered and held on to win a lopsided decision. Harrison returns to D.C. Convention Center and it appears this time, his team is taking no chances of their young fighter facing any adversity this time as they bring in Youngstown’s Shane Gierke. Gierke will be very lucky to make it though the first round as he comes into the fight having been stopped in nine of his last 11 fights, compiling a 1-10 record in those bouts.
 
There is little to be said of the match-up this Saturday other than embarrassing.
 
Notes…
 
Forget the big boys; the best college football game of the weekend will be at the FargoDome in North Dakota, Saturday, with the reigning 1-AA champs, #1 North Dakota State Bison facing the #3 Youngstown State Penguins. Both NDSU and YSO have big wins this year over solid 1-A schools with the Bison beating Colorado State 22-7 and YSU trouncing Pitt 31-7 at Heinz Field.
 
It’s time for big college Presidents to take their talk of not having a 1-A football playoff because it will make the season too long and take away from the players studies and stick it up their asses. In week four of the college football season, we saw games such as Nebraska vs. Idaho State and Ohio State vs. Alabama-Birmingham.
 
So Al Haymon has signed a group of 2012 Olympians. Can he possibly take them as far as he’s taken Gary Russell Jr. in four years?
 
If there is a fight or fighter you feel deserves mention in the Regional Report, please contact Alec at maxboxingeast@gmail.com. You can also follow Alec on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alecmaxboxing and tune in to his weekly online show every Tuesday at 9:00 PM EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search/aleckohut.
 
We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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