J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Promoter/matchmaker Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (Rising Star Prom’ns) ran a show on 3/23/19 at Atlantic City’s Showboat.
J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Promoter/matchmaker Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (Rising Star Prom’ns) ran a show on 3/23/19 at Atlantic City’s Showboat. A full house of some 800-900 enjoyed the show, despite three Latin-American imports quitting in their corners. How can three of the top opponents give up without a fight and still have a good card? Part of it is to put on ten bouts. There were still enough crowd-pleasing battles so that the quitters drew only a scattering of boos. Jason Robinson was timekeeper and Mark Fratto announced.
In the scheduled 10 topper, Chazz Witherspoon, 232 ½, Phila., 38-3 (29), stopped Santander Silgado, 245, Arboletes, Col., 28-7 (22). The visitor looked fit and the contest promising. Indeed, for two rounds, it was. There was little to choose between them in the first, a feelout session that still offered brisk action. The local favorite seemed to be gaining some control in the second as he forced the action behind the jab while blocking many of Santander’s vigorous shots. The contest was shaping up around good mixing, not a heavyweight huff-&-puff. Then a ripple went through the crowd as the Colombian, billed out of Panama, quit in his corner for no apparent reason. Referee Benjy Esteves awarded Witherspoon a TKO. How could Silgado get out of there with so little buzz? Well, part of the reason was that it was tomorrow by then, plus the fans had just seen a great fight.
And that was a scheduled eight semi-final between Anthony “Juice” Young, 147 ¼, AC/Pleasantville, 20-2 (7), and Juan Rodriguez, 148, Union City, 13-7 (5), for the NJ State Welter Crown. There was no quit in the loser here! Rodriguez took a flash knockdown in the first when the southpaw was caught off balance by a left hook. But he fought back vigorously. Some might say too vigorously, as he bailed out with haymakers while forcing a torrid contest into round six. Meanwhile, the fan favorite showed excellent poise and balance while under a constant barrage. Young was an artful dodger in the second, slipping away and countering with short, precise hooks. For the next three torrid rounds it was Young’s defense against Juan’s all-out attack, with fans going crazy. Round five was still anybody’s fight as Anthony started with a burst of aggressiveness and forward attack while Juan rallied with a blur of punches, most of which missed but were still enough to again have Young moving away. Early in the fateful sixth, Young scored another fluke knockdown when Rodriguez attacked and Anthony stuck out his left to send Juan down. But the knockdown changed the tenor of the fight as Young launched a prolonged attack, putting punches together sharply and battering the game Juan around the ring until his feet were dancing in every direction at once, barely holding him up, and referee Benjy stopped it, at 1:12. Delirious fans mobbed the winner and many left with him as ring announcer Fratto called for security to help get him out of the celebratory mayhem. At the time, Anthony was ahead 50-44 on the cards of Lundy and Layton while Bennett had it 47-47.
What a contrast this was with a dreadful affair between ticket-seller Chris Thomas, 174 ¼, Toms River, 12-0-1 (7), and Joe Hughes, 163 ¼, Indianapolis, 6-2 (4). The fans loved it anyway, because there was plenty of action. Problem was, it was WWF, a popular activity in its own place but not boxing. A huge mismatch in physical size had the two virtually unable to land clean punches while careening, wrestling, shoving, and lurching all over the ring, bouncing off ropes like pinballs off bumpers. Hughes was thrown down in round two, with referee Mary Glover ruling a knockdown. They tried to time the lurches with haymakers, but proved largely off target, then got tangled up in headlocks and half nelsons. Glover penalized Thomas in the fifth for a rabbit punch. Thomas clearly “deserved” the unanimous decision, by virtue of being the bigger and stronger and “making” the action. Fans loved it anyway. There was plenty to watch; it just wasn’t boxing. Lawrence Layton scored 59-53, Al Bennett 57-55, and Anthony Lundy 56-54.
A surprisingly good four was a blubbery heavyweight contest between Quian Davis, 273, Vineland, 6-0-2 (2), and Larry Knight, 247 ½, Birmingham, GA, 3-18-1 (1). The visitor’s record hardly promised a thriller, but Knight showed no quit while taking a pounding in grueling and punishing trench warfare at close range. With both built like tanks, the difference was that Quian placed short punches well while the underdog kept bailing out and permitting Davis to step inside the looping shots to dish out punishment. Referee Shada Murdaugh took a point from Knight for holding in the third. The underdog was being drilled by solid shots in the fourth but showed no signs of folding. Davis won the unanimous decision, 40-34 from Lundy and 40-35 from the others.
The only upset was in a good six between favorite Vidal Rivera, 127 ¾, Camden, 8-1 (5), and Andrew Bentley, 129, Jersey City, 5-3 (1). The rangy favorite seemed to have trouble with the underdog’s southpaw style and bristly aggressiveness. Rivera appeared to be finding the groove in the second by bobbing his way to counterpunching range. But in the third, an opening volley by the underdog kept him in the lead through the rest of a close round. In the fourth, Bentley moved and picked his punches well. In the fifth, the contest ended unexpectedly when the two conked heads and Rivera turned away. Doctors were called in and, although he wasn’t steaming copious blood, the bout was terminated at 2:42 and went to the scorecards. This could have been stolen, but was scored well. Bennett had 50-45, Lundy 49-46, and Layton 48-47, all for Bentley in a Technical Decision win. Glover refereed.
Another good effort by an underdog was that of Jordan Rosario, 151 ¼, JC, 3-7 (2), in a six with popular Yurik Mamedov 146 ½, Bklyn, 11-1 (3). The long-armed and over-aggressive favorite was just too big and strong for the underdog in constant all-out trading. Rosario landed some nice combos when he could manage a step back, but most of the time was overwhelmed, mauled and battered in a physically vigorous contest. Jordan’s corner was excited when he stunned Yurik with a short left-right in the final round, but Mamedov just shook it off and came back stronger, getting the unanimous shutout.
Alejandro Salinas, 133, Youngstown, 10-1 (9), was sharp in stopping tough Pablo Cupul, 131 ¾, Merida, Yucatan, via San Diego, 10-29 (5), in a scheduled six. Salinas stepped in smartly with short, sharp left-right combos, often inside the underdog’s looping shots. Cupul was getting damaged around the eyes by the fourth. In the fifth, he was caught cold by a long left hook, staggered back, then went down under a combination. Glover waved a TKO at 32 seconds, without a count.
Robert Terry, 160, JC, 3-0, came out purposefully, digging solid left hook from a nearly square, flat-footed stance to punish game Alberto Delgado, 157 ¼, Roanoke, 0-7-4, in a one-sided but all action four. By the third, the aggressiveness had cooled some, but late in the fourth, a surprise left hook had the underdog hanging on desperately to the bell, as the favorite gained a unanimous shutout.
And the two bow-wows:
Frederic Julan, 174 ¾, Paris via Bklyn, 11-0 (9), TKO’d used up Milton Nuῆez, 177, billed out of Miami, 35-22-1 (31), in a scheduled eight. The southpaw favorite was workmanlike but not exciting in domination, while the lanky underdog did nothing. Julan switched orthodox in the fourth and began to settle down on his punches, which convinced Nuῆez that it was time to leave. Milton surrendered in his corner, telling Murdaugh that his right elbow was hurt.
Popular Gabriel Pham, 168 ½, Pleasantville, 10-1 (5), had a similar experience in a scheduled six with Ronald Montes, 169 ¼, Barranquilla, Col., 18-12 (16). Action was tame and workmanlike, with the underdog simply unable to get anything going against the southpaw Pham’s debilitating height advantage and long reach. Montes quit after three, telling Benjy that his ribs were hurt. So, six good fights, one honest but poorly conducted mishmosh, and three quitters added up to a long and generally pleasing night of bouts.