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Eastern Regional Report – Oct. 19, 2012

By Alec Kohut


United Boxers, led by promoter Chris Middendorf, is hosting a very interesting card this Saturday at the Winchester, Virginia Sportsplex. While I get my fair share of grief for referring to these areas as the “chitlin’ circuit” or “boxing purgatory,” this Saturday’s card is well worth the drive from D.C. In addition to local favorites, the card will feature some young, up-and-coming prospects from across the country.
 
The out-of-town prospects include light heavyweight Trevor McCumby of Phoenix, 7-0 (7), super middleweight Ronald Ellis from Lynn, MA (now training with Robert Garcia in Oxnard, CA), with a record of 4-0 (3), featherweight Vic Pasillas, 3-0 (1), of East L.A., and welterweight Andy Ruiz, 2-0 (1) of Oxnard.
 
The card finishes with three bouts featuring local talent including welterweight James Stevenson, 16-0 (11), of Baltimore, cruiserweight Venroy July, 11-0-2 (4), of Suitland, MD, and Richie Andrews, 4-2-3 (1) of Stuarts Draft, VA.

After a break in his career following the death of his father, Stevenson is increasing his activity and looking to put himself in a position to make a move in 2013. With a limited amateur background, Stevenson is still a work progress and should get some solid rounds with Angel Rios, 9-14 (6), a native of the Bronx and hardly an easy out. Despite his losing record, Rios cannot be overlooked as he faced some very good competition and has never been stopped as a professional.
 
Rarely are the occupations of corporate lawyer and pugilist seen on one résumé. However, when Venroy July is not in a gym, you’ll find him in a suit and tie at his daytime gig as a attorney. Another work in progress, July hopes to turn the corner in the coming months and start displaying some of the power that those in the D.C. gyms tell me he possesses. Knockout or not, July should have little trouble with Akron’s Cullen Rodgers who comes into the bout with a 1-21 mark over his past 22 fights, losing 13 by knockout.
 
Richie Andrews is not what you would call a master technician in the ring but is a fan favorite throughout Northern Virginia because he loves to fight and loves to scrap. He throws punches with commitment and enjoys going to an opponent’s body. Andrews is a throwback fighter who has already knocked a couple of local prospects out of the ranks of the undefeated and should score his fifth victory against Harlem’s Curtis Morton, 1-2-2.
 
In a refreshing reminder of the glory days of boxing, three of the western prospects flying in are fighting on just seven days rest, having fought on the undercard of the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado card last Saturday near Los Angeles. McCumby, Pasillas and Ellis all scored wins and step back in the ring the next weekend. Wouldn’t boxing today be so much better if we had more guys like this who just want to fight. They should all score victories without being really tested but I wouldn’t bet on a lot of quick knockouts.
 
Speaking of a guy who likes to fight, Winchester’s own Daniel Shull has done it all, toughman contests, MMA, boxing; he just loves to fight. On Saturday, he probably won’t beat Trevor McCumby but he will make McCumby work for the win and should get some good rounds with a crowd that will be loudly be cheering for the upset.
 
It should make for a great Saturday. It’s a beautiful drive from D.C., with some good wineries on the way and Old Town Winchester has a great old Main Street restricted to only pedestrian traffic with some nice restaurants and shops. And with Hillbilly Hotdogs doing the food at the Sportsplex, you can’t wrong with a trip to Winchester on Saturday.
 

Huge First Boxing Night at Barclays Center…

 
This Saturday’s inaugural boxing show at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn is certainly a stacked card with all four Showtime-televised fights being for a “world” title of some kind. Plus three of the four big fights feature a local Northeast fighter, with two actually hailing from Brooklyn. What a unique idea in boxing, big-name fighters fighting in front of hometown fans.
 
The main event is not a bout fight fans were clamoring for, the rematch between Danny Garcia and Erik Morales is not the fight that most fans want to see for Garcia. But it will be very interesting to watch and see what Garcia learned and how much he’s improved from his first win over Morales and his knockout of Amir Khan. I believe the 11th round of their first contest was truly a turning point in Danny Garcia’s young career. Getting in position, then landing the left hook to drop Morales is the moment Garcia took a huge step toward becoming elite.
 
Garcia fought a cautious fight until that 11th round; however, in his next fight against Khan, we didn’t see that caution from Garcia as he was willing to withstand shots from Khan to create an opportunity to land his devastating left hook. On Saturday night, we’ll see if Garcia carries that confidence into the rematch. If he does, I sense a very tough eight or nine rounds for Erik Morales before the fight is stopped in Garcia’s favor.
 

Paulie Malignaggi vs. Pablo Cesar Cano…

 
Some see Cano as the ideal opponent for the elusive Malignaggi and believe the “Magic Man” will have little trouble boxing circles around the Mexican. I’m not so sure. If it is true that a boxer’s power is the last thing to go, then his reflexes are the first to go. And it was almost two-and-a-half years ago when we watched Amir Khan land more punches than we were used to seeing on Malignaggi. If Cano can find opportunities to back Malignaggi to the ropes and brawl, this could be a very interesting fight.
 
At almost four-to-one odds, this a pretty good underdog bet.
 

Peter Quillin vs. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam…

 
What I know about Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam can be summed up in one word: nothing. Other than his record from BoxRec, I cannot make any kind of judgment as to whether or not we will finally see Peter Quillin actually tested.
 
But I will say this; I rarely get a good feeling about a fight when you take a big name and match him against a relatively unknown foreign fighter with an undefeated record. Perhaps N’Jikam will give Quillin everything he can handle and even win. I just can’t say. But it does have the look of a classic Al Haymon and Golden Boy set-up to get a WBO “world” title belt for a guy who has yet to beat a top 10 contender.
 

Randall Bailey vs. Devon Alexander…

 
How many boxing fans aren’t cheering for a Randall Bailey win over Devon Alexander this Saturday? Bailey was supposed to be the opponent that Mike Jones would earn his first “world” title against. But funny things happen when you put fighters with an old-school mentality against the new breed of young boxers. But did Alexander really look sharp against Marcos Maidana or did Maidana just look really bad?
 
It’s hard to see Alexander avoiding the hard-hitting Bailey over the course of 12 rounds but it’s also not out the realm of possibility that this could turn into a real boring fight. If Alexander fights to do just enough to win rounds - as he did against Lucas Matthysse - this might be a tough one to watch. But something tells me, after all Randall Bailey has gone through in his boxing career, he’s going to make Alexander fight to take his belt. If Bailey goes down, he’ll go down swinging.
 
I don’t see Bailey making the same mistake Matthysse did in allowing Alexander to easily take the early rounds. I expect Bailey to try and wear down Alexander as Bradley did, staying close and not letting Alexander work on the outside. I think Bailey retains his belt by stoppage.
 
Steve Upsher Chambers, 24-1-1 (6), is making a huge step up in competition as he faces Luis Collazo in an eight-round bout. I understand that it’s been almost four years since Collazo’s controversial loss to Andre Berto and he’s only fought three times since then but I just can’t see how Chambers, with little power if any, can beat Collazo. If Collazo has anything left and actually trains hard for this fight, I just can’t see how he loses.
 
Danny Jacobs, Dmitriy Salita and Eddie Gomez round out the remainder of the card and the night will begin with West Point grad Boyd Melson fighting. I mention Melson not so much for his prospects of becoming a great fighter but for the incredible work he does outside the ring for a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries. He’s enlisted many fighters including Steve Cunningham in his Team Fight to Walk. To learn more about Melson’s effort and to make a donation, please visit: http://teamfighttowalk.com/.
 

Jake Smith Hosts Amateur Card in Baltimore to Promote Anti-Bullying Awareness…

 
This Saturday, Jake Smith and Baltimore Boxing will host an Olympic-style boxing card at Du Burns Arena in Baltimore to promote anti-bullying awareness in the city. The card features some of the top amateurs from Baltimore, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Du Burns Arena is a great place to watch fights and tickets can be had for a low as $25 and benefit a great cause. Smith is a longtime veteran of putting on boxing shows and you always get more for your money at his shows.
 

Jimmy Lange/Tony Jeter Card Taking Shape…

 
There are few nights in boxing in America that are as fun as a night at George Mason University’s Patriot Center for a Jimmy Lange fight. And next Saturday the 27th will be no exception as the main event will be two locals who love to brawl. Jimmy Lange of Northern Virginia and Tony Jeter from Baltimore.
 
Conventional wisdom clearly points to a Lange victory; however, don’t be surprised if Jeter pulls the upset. Although Jeter is a self-described club fighter who has fought D-level opponents, he can hit and he’s got heart. And he hits especially hard when he has his opponent’s back on the strings. Jeter has an awkward looping overhand right that tends to connect on the side of opponents’ heads, on the temple or the ear, the deadly “equilibrium” shots.
 
And Lange is no stranger to being against the ropes and no stranger to being hit. And at 37 years of age, you can figure it out. If Lange were to box and outmaneuver Jeter, it would be a lopsided fight and Lange would win an easy decision. But when Lange gets hit, he doesn’t think to box or move; his instincts take over and he fights - and fights hard. Lange is popular and fun to watch because he all heart and it’s why he such a huge draw in Northern Virginia.
 
The undercard features former contender Harry Jo Yorgey against local prospect Zain Shah, who has some skills and a punch but is far too inactive. Yorgey himself has hardly been very active, having only having fought twice since his brutal knockout at the hands of Alfredo Angulo three years ago. Shah last saw action in last September in two-round no-contest with Julius Kennedy. Shah was by far the better fighter that night, dropping Kennedy hard twice, but hit Kennedy after one of the knockdowns as Kennedy was getting up. The fight was later ruled a no-contest after initially being ruled in Shah’s favor.
 
Yorgey last fought in February at the Patriot Center and looked very average against D.C. journeyman Lawrence Jones. So don’t let the records fool you; I’m taking the 5-0 Shah in this one.
 
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.
 
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