J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Maryland boxer/promoter Tony Jeter (Jeter Prom’ns & GQ Prom’ns) returned to action on 6/16/18 after a short hiatus. The show was billed as being in “Laurel”, but heaven knows where we really were. The Logsdon Pavilion at Gardens Ice House Arena was out in park land, miles from the town of Laurel, between Baltimore and Washington. A nice facility, hosting mainly ice hockey, but a far cry from the grubby downtown arenas that built the enduring image of this sport. Nonetheless, Jeter and matchmaker Brian Dillon nearly packed the 800-seat facility with a fine show topped by an ambitious and attractive main event. But the vicissitudes of boxing are like those of no other sport, and these setbacks are just part of the endless drama. “Jumpin’ Joe” Gradowski kept time and “Discombobulating” Jones did his usual lively and witty job as ring announcer.
The spoiled main event was a shame. A scheduled 10 matched local favorite Gerome Quigley, Jr., 147, Montgomery Village, MD, 18-0-0-1 (16), with Philadelphia’s Raymond “Tito” Serrano, 147, 24-5-0-1 (10), in what promised to be a showdown. Of course there was the usual ridiculous and overblown display of crap belts, as if a good fight can’t stand on its own. The excited crowd was all up for it after a good undercard topped by a sensational quick blastout by a favorite. But the much bigger, sturdier and experienced Serrano took immediate control and promised to make short work of the local hero. The first round was a range finder yet decisive, as Raymond controlled the action behind an educated jab while the corner kept yelling “up jab work perfect.” The comparatively slight Quigley moved away but brought hope to his fans when he started letting hands go late in the round. But in the second, it moved to closer range and became a bruising battle of left hooks, with the stronger Serrano effectively roasting Quigley’s ribs. Ref Ken Chevalier warned Raymond for low blows, but it was the eyes that seemed to really bother the local favorite. Quigley kept pawing around the eyebrows and the doctors were brought in to conference. After an anxious interval, a cut was ruled to have been caused by a gonging of noggins and an excessive injury. The bout was terminated and ruled No Contest, at 1:59. The disappointed Serrano collapsed to the canvas in frustration while Quigley appeared to have dodged a bullet. Marvin Hagler would have told the doctor to mind his own business and kept fighting. But Gerome seemed to have executed a tactical retreat.
The top undercard bout was a good and competitive six between Cobia Breedy, 125 ¾, Bridgetown, Barbados, but fighting out of Clinton, MD, 12-0 (4), and Drew Correll, 124 ½, Danville, VA, 9-1 (8). The tall, standup and bearded southpaw visitor landed a slapping left and then followed with some clean straight punches to edge the second. But the short, compact local favorite moved inside in the third and forced solid trading to the bell. The fourth opened up the close contest. Breedy bored in and continued the heated trading, with his stocky physique giving him better leverage while punching up at the spindly Correll, and although Drew was very much in the trading, Cobia was getting the better of it. Worse for the visitor, he twice lost his mouthpiece and referee Dave Braslow took a point. By round’s end, Correll was visibly fading. He still stood up and fought back through the final two, but the contest was firmly under Cobia’s control by then, and Breedy won the unanimous decision, 60-54 from John Gradowski and Don Risher, 60-53 from Paul Wallace.
The spectacular blastout came in a scheduled four when popular Sam Crossed, 196, from nearby Greenbelt, 7-0 (5), needed one punch for a crowd-thrilling KO of Joshua Jones, 195 ½, Brunswick/Augusta, ME, 2-1 (1), in 23 seconds. The tall and lanky visitor came out determinedly, but when he stepped in behind a reaching jab, the “Vanilla Gorilla”, as Crossed is called, came up inside with a beauty of a short right, followed by a probably unnecessary glancing left hook as Jones collapsed forward onto his face. Referee Brent Bovell waved an immediate KO.
Drayvontay “Speed” Rawls, 138 ½, Glenarden, MD, 10-1-1 (7), hammered well-worn Matthew Murphy, 141 ¼, E. St. Louis via Festus, MO, 3-25-3 (2), into a TKO at 1:34 of the fourth, scheduled six. The green-haired underdog casually inched forward while the southpaw favorite tattooed him to the fans’ delight. Murphy’s slipping and rolling with punches kept him in the fight and not visibly hurt, but he wasn’t getting off with much offense. “Speed” had the fans up with a big closing rally in round three, and when it continued in the fourth, the ring doctors instructed Murphy’s corner to call it off.
A four produced a thrilling battle royal between popular Francisco “The Cisco Kid” Bustos, 158 ½, Rockville, 7-0 (4), and tricky Jauvan John, 160 ½, Brooklyn via Newport News, 2-6-1, resulting in a close and fair decision. There was no boxing for points but rather a search & destroy mission by both combatants. Nearly every punch was thrown with bad intentions and both fighters were rocked back and forth. The flat-footed favorite landed the harder shots, but the more fluid underdog took some of the pop out of the blows with rolling movement. Meanwhile, the cruder Bustos walked into punches and would get rocked, killing his rallies. With both boxing southpaw, Jauvan beat Bustos to the punch with lefts in a wild first and had him in trouble, falling back into the corner padding to close the round. Early in the second, Francisco landed a left to rock Jauvan and then muscled the clutching John to the canvas for a knockdown. Going for the finish, Bustos was again rocked as action see-sawed, but shook it off and dealt out heavy punishment for the rest of a blistering round. Both were spent and slowed in the third, but still landing hard blows when they could summon the wind. The final round swirled with both battlers still looking for the home run when they could muster the energy. The unanimous verdict went to Bustos, 39-36 from Gradowski and 38-37 from the others. Bovell refereed.
In a good four, Rashad Kilpatrick, 145 ¾, Oxon Hill/Waldorf, 2-0 (1), gained a hard-earned unanimous decision from stubborn and better-than-record Lamont White, 144 ¾, La Plata, MD, via Wash., DC, 1-13 (1). The smaller underdog boxed out of a shell and relied on the surprise attack, while the favorite at times became frustrated and dangled his arms to draw Lamont out. With both fighters southpaws, White trapped Kilpatrick in a corner with one of his surprise eruptions and jarred him with a swiping right in the second. When Lamont tried the same tactic in the third, Kilpatrick outfought him on the inside and drove him back, then kept his distance and sharply picked his shots in the fourth to win a unanimous shutout.
Southpaw Donte Cox, 129, Elkridge, MD, 2-0 (1), blew out Tyshae Ferguson, 131, Blairs, VA, via Danville, 0-9, in 2:10 of the first of four. The spindly underdog was simply overwhelmed in a frenetic scramble as Donte leaned into him with both hands pumping. After a respite in mid round, Cox drove Tyshae to Tyshae’s own corner, poured it on at close range, rocked him with an inside left cross, and then stayed on him until Tyshae’s legs gave out and he went down. Ferguson did struggle up, but Chevalier stopped it.
In a one-sided but action-packed opening four between debutees, Marlon Bolen, 145 ½, Bowie via Clinton, stopped game Christopher Thorne, 153 ½, Pembroke Pines, FL, via Ft Lauderdale, at 2:50 of the third. The stubby visitor tried to bore in with hands high and tight but Bolen smartly whacked the body and brought up right uppercuts to the head. Late in the round, Thorne went down from a left hook to the ribs, gasping on his knees, but got up and gamely survived. After less punishment in the second, Marlon had Chris on the run with long rights in the third. When Thorne made the mistake of backing straight up, Bolen nailed him with a straight right and floored him. Thorne arose, referee Braslow took a long look, and waved a TKO.
Note: All the boxers used to be from Baltimore and DC. Now they’re all from the suburbs. Urban life isn’t the wellspring any more.