By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Marshall Kauffman (Kings Prom’ns) ran a card on Friday(Aug 10) at Philadelphia’s Sugarhouse Casino. After a lively undercard entertained the SRO crowd, the co-features, although competitive, proved somewhat lackluster. The decisions could easily have been stolen for the local favorites at many locations. But once again, the Pennsylvania judges distinguished themselves by scoring the bouts fairly, providing the high note of the night. Alex Barbosa was ring announcer while Freddie Blumstein kept time. Publicist Marc Abrams had his work cut out for him maintaining order among recalcitrant reporters in press row.
The main event was an eight between Tyrone Crawley Jr, 138 ½, Phila., 7-1-1, and Ricardo Garcia, 140 ¾, Santo Domingo, 14-3-1 (9). With the crowd expectant over the Second Coming of leading lightweight of old “Butterfly” Crawley, the visitor immediately showed he wasn’t there to be a patsy. Garcia came out aggressively and mauled Crawley on the ropes, but it was a tactic he would use only sporadically in an unfocused and often dull contest, as action quickly degenerated into a standoff. Round two saw mostly wild swings and misses, with Garcia careening through the ropes where Crawley attempted to take advantage but was thwarted by quick-acting referee Eric Dali. For the next few rounds, action slackened, with the tall and rangy southpaw favorite keeping a distance but not putting anything together while the visitor applied largely ineffective pressure resulting in clinches or other entanglements. Dali cautioned them both at the start of the fifth for doing more roughhouse than boxing. But it only produced a few potshots here and there, no sustained action. As the bout wore on, it became more ragged and produced fewer clean blows, mostly just body language. Amazingly, the fans stayed with it and never became restless. But when it was over, the prevailing sentiment was one of relief. Dewey LaRosa gave Garcia credit for aggressiveness, however ineffective, scoring 79-73 for the Dominican. But Dave Braslow and Allen Rubenstein made it a majority draw, 76-76. A fitting verdict, as no one deserved to win this.
The co-feature eight produced more action but again was no thriller. Christopher Brooker, 169, Phila., 13-6 (5), faced an unknown in Eric Moon, 168, Marietta, GA, 8-1 (6). Brooker, a rough and rugged mauler, would try to force Moon back and corral him on the ropes. The cautious underdog circled and tried to counter the rushes, but punched sparingly. He caught Brooked with a straight right coming in and stung him in an otherwise close first. The next three saw the local forge ahead by applied pressure, but the visitor’s evasiveness and grabbing reduced the level of action. Round five was a turning point for the underdog, as Moon became more aggressive, let his hands go as Brooker charged, and stung him once with a left hook. In the sixth, Christopher had slowed a step and paid for it as Moon tagged him coming in. But Brooker revived in a good-action seventh, charging more effectively and landing a good right in the first exchange. The two traded back and forth through mid round while the visitor closed strong and landed one jarring right to finish. Brooker seemed to have little left for the final round but still came forward. Moon however was able to keep his distance, circle and pop. Braslow scored 78-74 while LaRosa and Rose Vargas had 77-75, unanimous for the underdog Moon. Shawn Clark refereed.
Possibly the best bout on the show was a serious shootout in a hot local pairing between Joshafat Ortiz, 128 ½, Reading, 5-0 (3), and Javier Oquendo, 128 ¾, Phila., 3-1 (1). The room was on fire as the two entered the ring, and they didn’t disappoint. After a feel-out first, Joshafat took control by confidently letting his hands go and overwhelming the willing but outgunned Oquendo. In round three, Ortiz stepped it up another notch, wailing Javier with both hands in a neutral corner. Then, as Joshafat ended the salvo and stepped back, Oquendo came forward and walked right into a surprise right that buckled his knees. Seeing the advantage, Ortiz seized it and came right back with the same punch, folding him to the canvas. Oquendo got up, willing to fight, but was swarmed and referee Clark halted it, over Javier’s protest, at 2:06.
Another good contest was a four between James Martin (Jerry “The Bull’s” son), 152, Phla., 2-0, and no easy mark in debuting Jonathan Burrs, 151, Hagerstown, MD. The two boxed surprisingly sharply for limited experience, with Martin taking the otherwise close first with an inside right that wobbled Burrs. The rest of a brisk contest remained close, but Martin consistently got the better of the mixing by beating Burr’s to the punch in crisp exchanges. All scores were 40-36 for Martin, but it actually represented a consistent edge in four close rounds.
In a contest of unbeatens, Poindexter Knight, 150, Phila., 5-0 (2), prevailed over Greg “Spider” Young, 147 ½, Hoover, AL, 4-1 (1), in a spotty six. The contest started cautiously, with the southpaw local favorite gathering momentum in round two with feet planted and left leads tagging the mobile visitor. Young was in trouble by the end of the round, but came back with a lot of jiving and razzle-dazzle in round three that kept him in the fight as Poindexter seemed to lose interest. Knight regained the edge in the fourth by carefully picking his punches. The spotty action came to a head in the fifth as Young finally tried to stand and mix at long range but got nailed by a right hook and floored. Both fought gamely in the final round, as the last two surpassed the first four in action, with Knight gaining the unanimous decision, all 60-53.
It wasn’t a stellar battle, but at least Rasheed Johnson, 145 ½, Phila., 4-2 (1), pitched a unanimous shutout of reluctant Tony Morris, 149 ½, Jacksonville, 4-2-1 (2), six. The bout started slowly and then got interrupted in round two when a clash of heads cut Morris’ left eye and Dali had to take him to the doctor. The contest resumed, but the underdog pawed at the damaged eye and didn’t want to engage. Finally in the fifth, Tony tried to play catchup but it was far too little and the bout fizzled to the finish.
A big local sensation was the debut of Olympic amateur Paul Kroll, 151 ½, Phla., who blasted out DeAngelo Alcorn, 150 ¾, Searcy, AR, 0-2, in 2:33 of the first of four. The rangy underdog tried to run while offering little offense and permitting the hero to bail out to the crowd’s delight. Finally trapping him in a neutral corner, Kroll smartly leaned in with his left shoulder to block Alcorn’s escape to his own right, then crossed a booming right to the head that leveled the underdog. Clark waved it over without count as cornermen poured into the ring.
Another popular amateur star debuted in an all-southpaw four, as Rasheen Brown, 123, Phila., romped to a crowd-pleasing unanimous decision over Bryann Perez, 127 ¼, Carolina, PR, via Dallas. The quick and mobile favorite worked consistently off a long right jab, peppering the game but nearly frozen underdog. Action was brisk throughout but Brown kept his distance and controlled the fight as Perez played catcher. Vargas scored 39-37, Braslow and Rubenstein 40-36.
The opening four was a crude but rugged all-southpaw bruiser between Nicoy Clark, 209 ½, Jersey City, 2-1, and debuting Jose Nunez, 216 ¼, Reading. Action was constant at close range, with Clark leaning in to lose some leverage but keeping his hands pumping while the bigger Nunez landed cleaner but fewer blows when he could get a bit of room. Both were spent by round three, with Nunez trying to turn it around with some clobbering punches as the wilted Clark wasn’t able to close in as quickly. Round four was close and punishing, with Braslow having possibly the best score at 38-38, while Clark pulled out the majority win with scores of 39-37 from Vargas and a shutout from LaRosa.