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Greene Continues His Surge with Win over Odom

By Jason Gonzalez at ringside


Woodhaven, Queens - With the New Year upon us, its plain to see that some of the old rituals or routines (for a lack of better words) remain the same. By that I mean, that boxing returned to its roots. The “Sweet Science” returned to the “Big Apple.”
 
A raucous crowd of roughly 800 filled the Le Cordon Bleu (a catering hall) in the borough of Queens to support their man, “Mean” Joe Greene, of nearby Jamaica. Regardless of your method of transportation, the venue was just 10 minutes away from any wheels you wished.

Two years ago, Greene was a promising prospect who appeared destined for superstardom. However, a summer match-up with Vanes Martirosyan at Yankee Stadium on the undercard of Miguel Cotto vs. Yuri Foreman changed all of that. Martirosyan, a perennial contender, derailed Greene’s championship aspirations by handing him his first loss. That said, Greene had no other choice but to go back to the drawing board.
 
But after building back up with two wins, Greene, now campaigning north of the junior middleweight division, returned to the squared circle for the first time in nearly a year. Greene tipped the scales at a trim 156 pounds prior to challenging journeyman Calvin Odom, of Inglewood, California, in the main event of the evening.
 
Ring rust was a major factor as Greene went the distance, earning an eight-round unanimous decision over the tall and lanky Odom (no relation to Lamar) by scores of 79-73 and 77-75 (twice). At the sound of the final bell, a dejected Greene could only shake his head in disgust.
 
“Hell yeah, I am disappointed,” proclaimed a disenchanted Greene, who improved to 25-1 (16). “I should have knocked this dude out. No questions asked. But it is what is.”
 
Early on, it appeared as if Greene was on pace to score an early TKO. The southpaw opened the first round by shooting the jab to his opponent’s head, then followed with a precise straight left hand to the midsection. And in an effort to overwhelm the long-armed Odom, Greene smothered him and unleashed a fistic assault to the body.
 
The general ringside consensus was that Greene had gotten his “mojo” back and was ready for prime time his next go around in the ring.
 
“I mean, somewhat,” said Greene while referencing to said “mojo.” “I feel good every time I am in that ring. I feel that my performance could have and should have been better. But I can’t beat myself up too bad. This was my first fight in over a year-and-a-half. The next go around, I will assure you, you will see a better me. I am ready for anything.”
 
The problem wasn’t with the way Greene opted to start out the contest but how he epically failed to close out the show, the only way young rising stars know how. Every round looked like a carbon copy of the first.
 
Odom’s attitude was identical to his current record of 15-13, (11), unimpressive and unenthusiastic. Odom fought to survive as well as collect a paycheck. The rangy Californian never really attempted to get his jab working in order to keep Greene on the outside. And periodically, Odom would counter Greene when he came in while crouching down. But when you are not consistent in a fight, success will come far and few in between.
 
Most ringside observers were under the impression that had Greene mixed up his offense better, a knockout win would have been inevitable. Odom was a sitting duck for uppercuts on the inside and Greene didn’t throw many of those. Also, Greene could have easily shortened the distance between himself and his foe if he simply threw more right hooks. To Greene’s credit, he did but he would immediately dart out of harm’s way in the aftermath.
 
So what’s next for the 26-year-old?
 
“Definitely another warm-up,” said Greene, “but I don’t know where or when yet.”
 
He leaves that to his promoter, Greg Cohen, whom also promotes WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout.
 
Super middleweight Antoine Douglas, 163, of Alexandria, Virginia, made quick and easy work of Stanley Harvey, 166, of Norfolk, Virginia in the co-feature bout of the evening. Douglas, now 3-0 with three knockouts, stopped Harvey, 1-3 (1), at the 2:37 mark of the first round.
 
The much taller Douglas jumped on his counterpart and blitzed him with punches, dropping him in the process. This prompted referee Ricky Gonzalez to call a halt to the bout after assessing Harvey’s condition.
 
In the third bout of the night, judges saw it 39-37 across the board for Queens native Danny Gonzalez, 143.5, now 1-0, after convincingly defeating Bernal Ayers, also 143.5, of Manhattan. This marks the third consecutive loss for Ayers, who now drops to 0-3.
 
Gonzalez dictated the tempo by executing the game plan designed by his corner. Gonzalez orchestrated a pressured attack for 12 minutes and it paid dividends.
 
Lightweight Glenford Nickey, 131.5, of Manhattan, won a four-round unanimous decision by scores of 40-36, and 39-37 (twice) over Benjamin Burgos, 131, of the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Nickey improves to 1-0-1, while Burgos drops to 1-2.
 
It was easy pickings for Nickey, frequently clocking Burgos in the face with the right rand. Burgos was a standing target for the right hand all night.
 
In the opening bout of the evening, Anthony Smith, 145, of Brooklyn, New York earned a four-round majority decision over Carlos Nieves by scores of 38-37 (twice) and 38-38. With Smith improving to the .500 mark so soon in his early career, he now sports a record of 1-1. Nieves, 141, of Manhattan was making his pro debut.
 
Both fighters traded hard shots on the inside. As a result, Smith tasted the canvas late in the first round. Afterwards, the contest remained relatively close as both men fought at close quarters. Smith and Nieves did great job warming up the crowd.
 
Jay Gon’s Ringside Tidbits
 
-  Former New England Patriot and New York Jet Curtis Martin was in the house. The Hall of Fame running back went the entire night unnoticed. Martin has always had the uncanny ability to fly below the radar.
 
-  Greene has a very loyal fan base. Based on the anecdotal observations from Thursday night, South Side Jamaica, Queens was in the building real hard.
 
-  The ring announcer (I can’t remember his name) was atrocious. He would have been better off auditioning for “Live at the Apollo.”
 
-  Last but not least, my sister’s “Sweet 16” was held at the Cordon Bleu 11 years ago. That makes me feel ancient.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to “Jay Gon” at jg51593n@pace.edu. You can also visit him at www.facebook.com/jason.gonzalez39 and follow him at www.twitter.com/jaygon15.
 
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