February Blossoms

It’s rewarding to see Minnesota sports fans beginning to embrace boxing, and there’s no question that’s been happening more and more in the last year.  This isn’t just a few hundred diehard fans gathering at a casino, or an occasional metro event luring in some curious newbies.  The recent cards at the Minneapolis Armory, along with some really well-matched events at Grand Casino Hinckley, combined with some world-class performances by Caleb Truax and Rob Brant, have cultivated a breed of casual sports fans who are taking boxing seriously and coming out in droves to see the real thing.

Count south Minneapolis product Jamal “Shango” James among those performing at a high level and attracting new fans to the Minnesota boxing scene.  When James got the win Saturday night against Colombia’s Janer Gonzalez, the scene in the Minneapolis armory was absolute euphoric pandemonium.  That kind of emotional commitment from the fans is priceless.  It makes James more marketable in the short term, and demonstrates his greater potential in the long term.  We should see James’ career bloom in 2019.

By the way, James’ win wouldn’t have meant nearly as much had not Janer Gonzalez been so unexpectely tough, canny, and charismatic.  Gonzalez was better than advertised, a thorny problem for the hometown hero.

Minnesota’s Fight of the Year is usually an obscure slugfest between moderately skilled Minnesotans, but tonight it was a couple of out-of-towners fighting for the WBC world middleweight sash who pointed the way to excellence in entertainment.  Thank you, Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim, for working together to make your match exceptionally memorable.  You really rose to the occasion.

Jeison “Banana” Rosario revealed himself to be an improved version of himself.  Marcos Hernandez was sure he would defeat Rosario in the rematch of their 2018 draw, but however much Hernandez had improved, Rosario had improved even more.  With a little luck we might see Rosario at the Armory again soon.

Bryant Perrella didn’t ingratiate himself to the Minneapolis crowd with his dainty performance against Breidis Prescott.  Don’t call him a pansy though – Perrella counts 13 knockouts among his (now) 16 wins, and that suggests that he’s capable of more than we saw in Minneapolis.

If you’re looking for an attention-grabbing performance, consider Austin Dulay’s destruction of durable veteran Yardley Cruz.  Dulay might be special.  His daisy cutter right hand communicates a lot of potential.

Sometimes a boxer has to admit that without a willing accomplice, he’d have a hard time showing off his best moves.  Javier Frazier filled that role for Money Powell IV, providing him a ready target and a suitable cohort.  I hope that the pizza-hungry Powell remembered to pick up a corsage for his willing dance partner.

Similarly, Justin Pauldo owes a debt of thanks to his opponent, the dubious Argentinian Federico Malespina.  What would be a suitable floral gift to the delicate Malespina?  How about the ephemeral Day Lily? Surely Pauldo owes Malespina something for lying down so readily, so soon after taking up the task.

Etefobor Apochi was too much for the battered and frayed veteran Raymond Ochieng, whose 52 heavyweight bouts in 17 short years have left him ringworn.  What do you give to the man who has faithfully fought the good fight and run the race to its conclusion?  How about a horseshoe of roses?  I think Ochieng has the neck for it.

Have you ever seen a boxer who resembled a sunflower?  If you’re looking for someone ridiculously tall and skinny, perhaps Leon Lawson III is the man you seek.

 

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Professional Boxing: February 23rd at the Minneapolis Armory

Willie Jones (now 7-1 with 4 kayos) defeats Gonzalo Dallera (now 5-2 with 4 kayos) by TKO in round 1 of 6 scheduled.

Round 1

These guys are all action, right from the opening bell.  Both are going for the early knockout, and Jones scores the first knockdown, about 20 seconds in.  The action was so furious and the result so quick, I can’t even tell you how it happened.  Dallera was up before the ten count, but he shook his head, turned his back on the referee, and walked away.

Anthony Dirrell (now 33-1-1 with 24 kayos) defeats Avni Yildirim (now 21-2 with 24 kayos) by Technical Split Decision after 10 rounds of 12 scheduled: 96-94 Dirrell, 98-92 Yildirim, 96-94 Dirrell.  Dirrell claims the WBC Super Middleweight Title.

Round 1

Yildirim comes out behind a high guard, cautiously coming forward against the confident Dirrell.  Dirrell is doing most of the punching early on. Dirrell leans back into the ropes to evade a foray by Yildirim.  Yildirim is following Dirrell doggedly, looking for an opening for his right hand.  Dirrell, who has been retreating since the bell, suddenly plants his feet and fires back, fast hands punishing Yildirim and finishing with an uppercut that snaps Yildirim’s head back.  Unfazed, Yildirim, resumes pursuit, and the round ends as it began.

Round 2

Dirrell is more active this round, and Yildirim is punching more in earnest.  Both men are connecting, with little effort made to duck or dodge.  Yildirim looks strong, and Dirrell is smart to take him very seriously.  Dirrell, backing up, is shooting the jab as his first line of defense.  Yildirim seems to have dispensed with defense, apart from keeping his hands up.  Halfway through the round we have a clinch.  Coming out of the clinch, our boxers are trading single shot for single shot.  Yildirim ups the ante, connecting with a flurry.  Dirrell lands a right uppercut that moves Yildirim’s head, and the crowd loves it.

Round 3

Dirrell is using a fast jab, Yildirim lands a right hook to the head.  Dirrell feels himself in charge, and it’s plain to see.  A moment of computer trouble leads me to miss a big scoring shot from Dirrell.  Yildirim is a strong and tough man, and he bulls Dirrell into a corner, where they trade viciously.  Yildirim is raking the body, while Dirrell continues to use the jab to set up head shots.  The fight moves around the ring, and they continue to exchange as the round expires.

Round 4

Yildirim is coming forward again, and Dirrell is trying to sharpshoot him.  Dirrell scores with a one and a delayed two, staggering Yildirim.  Yildirim hangs in there though, ties Dirrell up, and continues to pursue after the break.  Capturing Dirrell in a corner, Yildirim, opens up with a fusillade, and Dirrell equals his output and escapes.  Dirrell misses with a big uppercut.  Yildirim has Dirrell in a corner again, but Dirrell evades most punches with upper body movement.  Dirrell tries to escape, but Yildirim cuts him off.  Now Dirrell has a lane to back up along the ropes to the next corner, and Yildirim pursues, landing a couple of good power punches, but Dirrell shows his mettle, firing back in kind and perhaps exceeding Yildirim in output.

Round 5

Early on Dirrell lands a jab that rattles Yildirim’s head, but Yildirim keeps coming, finally cornering Dirrell and landing one or two big shots.  Dirrell is less and less interested in escapting – he seems to feel the ropes are safe territory.  Dirrell with a big looping right hand scores, but Yildirim stokes his fire and comes right back at him.  There’s a loose clinch, a break, and now Dirrell attacking from the opes and Dirrell bobbing and weaving.  Dirrell connects with a quick flurry to the body, but then lands a low shot that prompts Mark Nelson to warn him without interrupting the bout.  Yildirim is always coming, always on the front foot, and he finishes round 5 on the attack, then mouths off at Dirrell after the bell.

Round 6

Yildirim scores with a left hook to the body early on, chases Dirrell to the ropes, and then Dirrell unloads with a battering combination.  The action moves to the center of the ring, where rough tactics prevail and ref Nelson has to speak up.  Yildirim is again inching forward behind a stiff jab, looking for opportunities to punish Dirrell, but Dirrell is a crafty veteran who has proved himself time and again, and he fires back every time.  The two trade body shots, then jabs to the head.  Yildirim is getting more defensive and maybe slower – his energy may be flagging.

Round 7

Dirrell s maintaining his workrate and the mustard on his punches.  Yildirim knows he needs to put punches together again, and he is doing so in spots.  Dirrell is scoring well with fast, hard jabs.  This fight is turning into a close-quarters brawl, chest against chest in the center of the ring.  Dirrell is coming forward now, just incrementally, but he seems fresher than his young opponent.  Dirrell’s jabs are giving way to short hooks and he’s scoring with more regularity.  Dirrell lands one-two, Yildirim responds with one hard punch to the head – after a moment there’s a clash of heads, but no one in the ring acknowledges it.  Yildirim flurries before the bell.

Round 8

Immediately on the bell Yildirim lands a left hook to the midriff of Dirrell, and presses he action with more effective power shots.  Dirrell is back to fighting on the back foot, but then begins coming forward.  amid a multitude of exchanges a right hook from Yildirim stands out.  Dirrell scores with an extended combination, but Yildirim is enrgized and suddenly he’s pummeling Dirrell, punishing him with both fists.  It lasts maybe 20 seconds, then there’s a lull.  And suddenly both men are throwing, tearing into each other in a dogfight that everyone here will remember.  At the close of the round Yildirim lands two telling punches, Direll responds with three hard shots, Yildirim fires back with two more big scores.  This is a war.

Round 9

Dirrell pops a jab into Yildirim’s forehead several times to start the round, Yildirim responds by attacking.  Again both men are giving their all, trading power shots with a frequency and a ferocity that makes this an early FOTY candidate.  Yildirim is pressing forward and throwing power shots.  Dirrell backing up and potshotting him.  Dirrell’s feet are getting lazy and he’s throwing punches from inefficient positions.  Yildirim backs him into a corner.  Punches are coming one or two at a time.  Yildirim digs the body, Dirrell repsonds in kind, and is warned by Mark Nelson for a low blow (justified).  Dirrell is southpaw now, coming forward, and Yildirim lands a single hard right before the bell.

Round 10

Yildirim is again on the hunt.  Dirrell is moving, bouncing, showing energy that he may or may not actually have.  After missing a number of jabs and power shots, Dirrell scores with a big one-two.  Yildirim is holding his jab hand low and not punching; taking an in-round break.  Dirrell is suddenly elusive, making Yildirim miss  all over, bouncing away from contact.  Dirrell mimes the part of a matador, first waving an imaginary cape to his right, then to his left.  Thus taunted, Yildirim charges after him, there’s a lot of contact, a few punches, and possibly a clash of heads.  Mark Nelson steps between the fighters, sends Yildirim to a neutral corner, and brings Dirrell to the ringside physician.  Whatever the doctor said, this fight appears to be over.

We are going to the scorecards early due to a cut caused by an accidental headbutt.

Jamal James (now 25-1 with 12 kayos) defeats Janer Gonzalez (now 19-2-1 with 15 kayos) by retirement after six rounds of ten scheduled

Janer Gonzalez really likes Jamal James’s ring entrance music.  He was cutting quite a rug while James approached the ring!

Round 1

These two lanky competitors are physically similar.   James comes out jabbing, and it doesn’t take long before he connects with a solid right hand to the chin of Gonzalez, who is very casual about it.    James is emboldened, and comes forward looking to score further.  Gonzalez tries to time him and nearly succeeds.  A couple of jabs from Gonzalez, and a brief lull.  James gets Gonzalez in a corner and unleashes a torrent of punches, but it’s too soon and Gonzalez weathers the storm.  In the center of the ring things are more tactical, with both men actively jabbing each other – Gonzalez to score and James to set up the right.  Things slow down a big until the ten second warning, then there’s a flurry of jabs and the first round is over.

Round 2

Both boxers are eager for the round to begin, and referee Gary Miezwa has to hold them apart and wait for the bell.  James is unusually aggressive tonight, possibly trying to put on another good show for the home crowd.  He backs Gonzalez into the ropes, but Gonzalez punches his way out.  In the center of the ring Gonzalez sneaks a hook into James’ face with respectable results.  They’re trading in the center now, and the crowd is pleased.  Most of tonight’s bouts have been markedly uncompetitive, but Gonzalez is not patsy.  A stiff left snaps James’ head back.  Some further exchanging and they clinch, broken up by Miezwa.  James throws bombs at Gonzalez, Gonzalez fires back with darts.  The round ends with ineffective trading while the crowd chants for C.O.D. (Circle of Discipline, Jamal James’ home gym).

Round 3

James comes out with a rapid jab, moving his head and dancing.  He throws a one-two and misses both.  Gonzalez is making him work.  Both men miss with hooks and end up wrapped around each other.  Separated, James goes back to that machine gun jab.  James ducks and Gonzalez nicks him with an overhand right, audible throughout the auditorium.  James is again bouncing and jabbing.  Gonzalez is getting more confident, and more aggressive.  James tags Gonzalez with a right, and Gonzalez hits him back harder.  This is a real barnburner, folks!  Our combatants continue to trade to the bell.

Round 4

James is jabbing again.  Gonzalez tries to step in and attack, but James steps around.  There’s a momentary engagement, and James lands a flurry of power punches.  Double jab from James.  A jab and a wide ranging right hook from James.  Gonzalez catches him with a straight shot.  Gonzalez attacks again and James dodges his punches.  James is stepping forward with the jab now, and Gonzalez beckons him to keep coming.  Gonzales comes short with a right hand and James misses with his response.  James lands a punch and Gonzalez taunts him.  They clinch.  Now James has his back to the ropes, and he backs up toward a corner, then fires a big one-two, landing the two, to the delight of the crowd.  James backs into his own corner now, and Gonzalez tries to put him away, but James comes roaring out of the corner with a two-fisted response as the bell rings, and the crowd roars.

Round 5

Both men are eager to begin the fifth, but the round begins slowly, with a lot of jabbing and studying.  James finally lands a right to the lower left abdomen of Gonzalez.  They’re feeling each other out now.  Gonzales lands a clean double left hook to the body, and he is warned for punching low.  James is just missing by that much || on most of his attacks.  There’s a close-in exchange and Gonzalez holds onto James’ hands.  James pulls free and lands.  More rough stuff, and James connects another right to the body.  Gonzalez sticks out his tongue and skitters away.  James lands some short hooks and Gonzalez responds in kind.  Just before the bell they trade rising hooks to the body, and the crowd is murmuring between rounds.

Round 6

Once more Miezwa has to stand between the boxers until the bell rings.  James grazes Gonzalez’s chin with a rocketing right hand.  They trade, and I’d like to tell you that the hometown boy is getting the better of it, but it appears very even.  After much mauling and infighting, Gonzalez goes down in his own corner, but he jumps up and Miezwa rules it no knockdown.  Gonzalez is intent on showing he’s fine, and goes on an extended attack.  James lands two uppercuts to Gonzalez’ chin in quick succession, and though Gonzalez wants to show no weakness, he is looking a little worse for wear.  James chases Gonzalez into the red corner and batters him until he drops.  Gonzalez takes full advantage of the count, waiting on a knee before rising just before ten.  It’s too late for James to put him away, but the atmosphere is electric now – everybody expects it to end in round 7.

There will be no round seven – the fight has been stopped!  I’ll share the details when the emcee enlightens me.

Marcos Hernandez (now 13-2-1 with 3 kayos) is defeated by Jeison Rosario (now 18-1-1 with 13 kayos) by TKO at x:xx of round nine

Round 1

Hernandez gets busy early, throwing a triple jab and then a combination, missing all.  Rosario is coming forward, slowly stalking, Hernandez backing and jabbing.  Hernandez now throws a double jab-right hook combination, landing the hook cleanly on Rosario’s ribs.  Rosario keeps coming though.  Both men swing wildly, both miss.  Now a busy exchange sees both land cleanly to the body and neither gives up ground.  Rosario is creeping forward, but Hernandez gets off faster and lands first.  Hernandez pushes a slow right and Rosario blocks it with his arm.  Hernandez misses a jab, Rosario lands one in reply.  In the final seconds there some wild swinging but no substantial scoring.

Round 2

Rosario jabs, ducks, rushes in, and gets trapped under the bulk of Hernandez’ body.  After a break Hernandez engages in some fast, clean punching and scores.  Both men throw at the same time and both land, one-two.  Rosario connects with a lazy jab, Hernandez counters with two punches.  Rosario continues to come forward.  Hernandez likes to retreat a little then choose a battleground and attack.  Like a little general in green shorts.  Rosario continues to stalk, Hernandez is now fighting with his hands down at his waist.  Rosario scores with a right hook.  Rosario now shooting a straight right to the body and scoring.  Rosario and Hernandez trade, both scoring.  This round seemed to go Rosario’s way.

Round 3

Hernandez has his hands up now.  Rosario ducks his head, comes in rough, and bulls Hernandez backwards into a neutral corner.  Hernandez’ head snapped back, but was it a punch or a head butt?  I couldn’t tell.  After a brief pause the action resumes and Rosario seems more authoritative.  Hernandez is backing up, dodging punches, but where’s the offense?  Hernandez misses an ambitious one-two and Rosario scores with a hard counter.  Hernandez is game, though.  He continues to circle, looking now to be first, then to counter.  Rosario’s confidence is growing.  Hernandez is mostly backing up, jumping out of the way of Rosario’s punches, but then he changes up, stands his ground, leans out of the way of an attack and connects hard to Rosario’s body.  The two men trade at the end of the round.

Round 4

Hernandez tries a double jab to the body.  Rosario comes forward, bullies Hernandez into the ropes and scores with a couple good hooks before Hernandez punches his way out of danger.  Hernandez misses with a sweeping hook.  In the following exchange both men scored but Rosario probably scored more emphatically.  Hernandez comes forward, throwing to the body and landing – Rosario fires back.  These fighters are competing on pretty even terms.  Now Rosario leans on Hernandez, pushes him into the ropes, and scores with more hooks and an overhand right.  Attacking, Rosario eats a stiff counter that puts hi off balance.  Now in the center of the ring, there’s more trading but Rosario scores with a single hard right that thrills the packed house.  Both men swing and miss just before the bell.

Round 5

Rosario is coming forward, using his jab to set up the straight or the hook.  Hernandez is trying to land his jab from a distance while retreating.  An exchange, and both men land solidly.  Hernandez lands again.  Hernandez lands one jab, Rosario responds with two.  Hernandez is coming forward now, using his wide shoulders to leverage big hooks and dodging most of Rosario’s counters.  Rosario goes on the attack, forcing Hernandez into the ropes and mauling.  Hernandez comes forward and both men are swinging, landing, but not flush – not devastating, just scoring power punches.  Rosario looks fresher, and he corners Hernandez again just before the bell, but doesn’t capitalize on his tactical advantage.

Round 6

Rosario is aggressive again, Hernandez backing and jabbing.  Hernandez’ mouth has been hanging open since at least the third round.  Hernandez misses with two big hooks but Rosario’s counter attack is ineffective.  Now they’re shoulder-to-shoulder in the middle of the ring and Rosario pummels Hernandez in the midsection.  They separate, but Hernandez looks ragged.  Rosario scores again with a hook and an overhand right. The bout seems to be turning his way.  Rosario reaches out after a body shot from Hernandez and pops his opponent’s head sideways.  I don’t like the way Rosario is leaning forward over his front foot and trying to land power punches from a distance, and in fact Hernandez lands a handful of punishing hooks as the round came to an end.

Round 7

Rosario is again on his front foot, reaching for his opponent and falling into his punches.  He is vulnerable to a well-timed counter.  Rosario is on the attack, but Hernandez lands a left hook on Rosario’s ear, then a couple more effective shots.  He’s looking a little better, a little more “together” this round.  Hernandez is standing his ground, now they’re forehead-to-forehead and Hernandez lands a nice one-two, then Rosario responds with a single counter.  Rosario comes forward, on the prowl again, and there’s good action the rest of the round, boxers trading punches but missing many of them due to fatigue.

Round 8

Rosario is standing in front of Hernandez.  Move, kid!  Rosario comes forward, throws a combination but there isn’t much behind it.  I’m busy watching the ring wobble – is that thing unstable?  And Rosario pursues Hernandez into a neutral corner, scoring with power punches and making his opponent look wobbly.  Thirty seconds later it’s Hernandez’s turn to score with a big hook, and Rosario looks unstable.  This has been an active bout – the best of the night – and it’s no surprise that these two look tired.  Hernandez appears to be bleeding from the mouth and Rosario targets the mouth with several straight punches that slip through Hernandez’ guard to score at the conclusion of the round.

Round 9

Rosario comes out jabbing and Hernandez countering, as has been the pattern.  Not that Hernandez can’t jab, and he throws a few just to prove the point.  Rosario misses with a right hook but connects with a left and momentarily freezes Hernandez, but he is a tough kid and he isn’t stunned for long.  This match is devolving into a brawling match, but the people like a good brawl, and both men are doing most of their work with power punches this round.  Rosario lands a short left hook to the chest of Hernandez, and moments later a compact left hook to the head, and Hernandez is down!  He beats the count, but the resumption of action finds him defenseless and the referee is letting it go on too long!  Finally the ref steps in and stops it, a little late, but Hernandez is lucid and congratulates his victorious opponent’s corner.

Bryant Perrella (now 16-2 with 13 kayos defeats Breidis Prescott (now 31-16 with 22 kayos) by unanimous decision after 8 rounds (79-73, 79-73, 78-74)

Round 1

Perrella jabs first, to the body and then to the head, but tentative. Prescott jabs harder, with some intent.  Perrella, a southpaw, throws the first hook of the bout, a left to the body that Prescott blocks.  Perrella is ambitious, but Prescott is schooled, and shows signs of effective countering.  Perrella lands a straight left that jolts Prescott, but Prescott shrugs it off and keeps coming forward.  Perrella is now circling back and to his right, Prescott pursuing carefully.  Perrella jabs, jabs, jabs, then leads with a left but does not score.  Prescott jabs the body, Perrella counters, and Prescott ducks.  The first comes to a quiet close.  Perrella definitely got the better of it though, snapping Prescott’s head back several times.

Round 2

Referee Gary Miezwa takes a moment to fix Prescott’s high waistband before the round begins.  Perrella is jabbing more aggressively to start the second, Prescott trying to connect with a whipping right but just missing.  Prescott is pursuing, and for the first time in the fight he really looks like the aggressor, but his attack results in glancing blows and no damage.  After some circling, Perrella comes forward with a one-two that lands neatly and scores.  Prescott is persistent and keeps coming, absorbing a multitude of jabs and a few hooks.  Now the fighters settle into the pattern of a jabbing contest, Perrella getting the better of it, and round two closes.

Round 3

Perrella continues to lead with the jab, and Prescott counters effectively with a left hook, but it’s just once and no follow up.  Finally Prescott steps inside a hook from Perrella and scores with earnest power shots for the first time tonight.  A moment later he tries it again, but with less success.  Emboldened, Prescott attacks and manhandles Perrella, landing nothing but imposing his will for a moment.  Perrella escapes and circles away, and continues to circle away for some time, pausing his retreat only to fire the occasional jab.  Prescott believes he can walk through Perrella’s attack, and he’s loading up for haymakers.  Well, it’s worked for him before.  Ten seconds to go, Perrella scores a single shot and Prescott pushes him around.  Just before the bell Perrella is off balance but unhurt.

Round 4

Prescott looks restless between rounds.  Clearly he thinks this round will be his.  Perrella is dancing and jabbing again in the fourth, Prescott coming heedlessly forward.  Prescott lunges in with an attack, and Miezwa warns him to keep his punches up.  The retreating Perrella suddenly sets his feet and connects with a left hook that shudders Prescott, but Prescott maintains the attack.  Perrella shows some aggression for a change – now he’s inching forward and Prescott is trying not to give ground.  Prescott is trying to jab his way inside to a scoring opportunity, while Perrella bounces and tries to sneak in an occasional hard hook to the head.  No body work to speak of from Perrella.  Prescott continues to come forward, but it’s fruitless work – Perrella is keeping him off with jabs and footwork.

Round 5

Prescott comes out aggressive.  Perrella ducks a punch, but Prescott jolts him with a followup right.  Perrella takes charge and comes forward throwing hooks – good idea to change things up.  Perrella catches the bullish Prescott with a power shot – I didn’t notice which hand.  Prescott remains attacking, backing Perrella into the red corner but then lets him escape without scoring.  Perrella backs into the blue corner and escapes, then does it again.  He’s laying back, avoiding Prescott’s offense and looking for a counter opportunity.  Prescott isn’t battering Perrella, but he is outscoring him this round by virtue of jabs, aggression, and the occasional glancing power shot.  Ten seconds to go and they tie up in a neutral corner.  Ineffective sniping at the bell.

Round 6

Perrella seeks to hold the center of the ring, standing his ground and jabbing.  Prescott makes him back up not with scoring shots, but with aggressive whiffs.  Perrella has a fast jab, and he’s relying on it this round.  Whether it’s marking Prescott I can’t see, but it does occasionally land.  Prescott is unbowed, continuing to come forward but just a millisecond too slow with most of his punches.  Perrella continues to dance and jab, not an entertaining style but moderately effective against Prescott today.  Punch statistics are likely to show Perrella throwing an astonishing number of jabs by the time this s over.  At the ten second signal Prescott scores with a single right hook, and the round ends with some unenthused booing from a portion of the crowd.

Round 7

Prescott is impatient to begin round 7, but Miezwa insists on some mopping up in his corner before he’ll let the round commence.  Prescott is again coming forward, jabbing and looking for an avenue of attack, but Perrella is again retreating behind a more effective jab.  Prescott needs to get inside untouched if he’s to win, but he’s shown no sign of being able.  Perrella lands a right hook that thuds and the crowd “Ooohs.”  Prescott continues to pursue.  Prescott scores with a couple of single shots, but Perrella is touching him with ease – and mostly with impunity.  The whole fight is a monotonously repetitive story – Perrella unwilling to stand and trade and Prescott unable to catch up to him.  Looks like Perrella will win behind the jab, unless Prescott can find some last-round magic.

Round 8

Perrela picks up where he left off, scoring with the jab and ducking a Prescott left.  Prescott continues to pursue cautiously, getting almost close enough to land a kill shot.  Perrella will win no fans tonight with his single-jab style.  Prescott throws a straight right and comes up just short.  Now for variety, Prescott jabs and Perrella misses with a hook.  Perrella, retreating by the ropes, goes down hard on his butt just as Prescott wings a chasing right, but referee Miezwa rules it a slip.  Back on his feet, Perrella resumes his jab tactic and the bell rings.

Austin Dulay (now 13-1 with 10 kayos) defeats Yardley A. Cruz (now 24-13 with 14 kayos) by TKO at 0:27 of round 3

Round 1

Southpaw Dulay takes charge immediately, backing Cruz into the ropes and keeping him there with a steady diet of jabs, then BAM drops him with (I think) a right.  Cruz rises in time, but he looks dazed.  Referee Gary Miezwa permits the bout to continue, and Dulay is in complete command, following Cruz wherever he goes and scoring with righthanded jabs and speedy follow-up lefts.  Once again trapping Cruz against the ropes, Dulay steps into a power shot but fails to drop Cruz.  Ten seconds left and Dulay scores again with several power shots.

Round 2

In the early going Cruz finds himself backed into his own corner, with Dulay pawing with the jab, trying to get him into knockout position.  Cruz is trying to escape, and despite a hard left to the belly, he manages to get out.  But Dulay is crafty and Cruz is tentative, so Dulay traps him again and batters him with power shots from both hands.  Cruz inches to his right – too much, and ends up in a neutral corner.  But Dulay isn’t intent on trapping him, and lets him creep out into the center of the ring.  Dulay continues to work with the jab and score with the left.  Cruz feints, but doesn’t throw.  Dulay is biding his time, and in the last fifteen seconds throws only one punch, a glancing right hook.

Round 3

Dulay immediately backs Cruz into a corner – again – and opens up on him with a formidable arsenal of power shots from both hands.  Cruz tries to punch his way out but his offense peters out and Dulay connects with a dramatic series of hooks before Gary Miezwa steps in and stops the fight.

Money Powell IV (now 9-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Javier Frazier (now 8-9-1 with 4 kayos) by TKO at 2:03 of round three

Round 1

Frazier comes out jabbing immediately, but Powell – by far the taller and more heralded boxer – takes over at about four seconds in, throwing jabs and hooks.  Powell backs Frazier into the east ropes and tags him with well placed hooks to the ribs and head.  Frazier escapes and stands in the center of the ring, the better to trade shots with Powell.  Frazier is squat and big-shouldered, and moves his head well.  He makes Powell miss more than you would expect, but not often enough.  Frazier wants to trade, but Powell is probably landing three or four power shots to Frazier’s one.  Powell continues to score throughout the remainder of the round, more frequently than can be recounted in print.  At the end of the round Frazier lands a jab and a couple of hooks, but the opening round is easily Powell’s.

Round 2

Powell fears nothing from Frazier, so he doesn’t seem to worry about his frequent misses.  Frazier can duck a punch and get outside his opponent’s guard, but his counters are completely ineffective.  Powell scores with a selection of jabs, straights, and hooks to the head and body, and his connect percentage appears to be improving.  After a five punch combo from Powell, Frazier indicates he’s been hit lot, and referee Mark Nelson, among the best in the business, warns Powell.  But then it’s business as usual, Powell on the attack and Frazier looking to duck and counter.  Ten seconds left and Frazier lunges forward to attack, but there’s a clinch and the bell rings during the break.

Round 3

As three begins, Powell is breathing deeply but Frazier is breathing hard.  Powell repeatedly scores with power combinations, and Frazier is reduced to single counters or double jabs.  Frazier ducks to avoid an attack and Powell lands an uppercut to the chin.  Moments later Frazier drops to a knee, evidently the victim of a low blow.  Nelson pauses the bout and Frazier takes perhaps a minute to recover.  Upon resumption, Powell is now dodging Frazier and firing fast combinations.  Frazier absorbs it all and responds with ponderous counters, scoring modestly.  Suddenly an exchange results in Frazier falling backwards, hitting his head hard on the mat.  He struggles to his feet, but stumbles into a neutral corner.  Too late he rights himself.  Mark Nelson doesn’t like what he sees, and he waves off the fight.

Justin Pauldo (now 12-1 with 6 kayos) defeats Federico Malespina (now 16-11-2 with 2 kayos) by KO at 1:17 in round 1

Round 1

Pauldo rushes out throwing hasty jabs, then after fifteen ticks or so, some hookercuts that miss.  Pauldo steps into a right hand that leads to a clash of torsos, then backs Malespina into the ropes near the blue corner, pounding him to head and body and rendering him unwilling to continue.  This fight is over!

Efetobor Apochi (now 7-0 with 7 kayos) defeats Raymond Ochieng (now 26-23 with 21 kayos) by TKO in round two of a six round bout.

Round 1

Ochieng throws an uneducated jab immediately after the bell that Apochi ducks.  Ochieng is aggressive and hostile in the early going, but though the crowd is thrilled, Apochi is unimpressed.  Ochieng misses with a wallop, and Apochi jabs him in the belly.  Not a minute into the bout we have a clinch.  Apochi goes on the attack, but  Ochieng makes him miss and counters.  Apochi makes another run, this time circling around Ochieng, and lands a couple of left hooks out of Ochieng’s blind side, including one flush shot that scores nicely.  Apochi lands a BIG left hook to Ochieng’s jaw and Ochieng initially shrugs it off, but then appears dazed and vulnerable.  Apochi feints, and Ochieng falls back into the ropes.  Ochieng is having trouble with Apochi’s quickness, and resorts to running halfway around the ring, and the bell rings before Apochi can attack again.

Round 2

Apochi scores with a couple of hard single jabs, and then Ochieng goes down hard.  I didn’t see a power shot – is it possible he slipped?  Back to action and Ochieng is trying to use angles and unconventional movements to confuse Apochi, but it doesn’t take Apochi long to sort through the rubbish.  There’s an exchange, and Apochi lands a single right hand that drops Ochieng hard.  After a count Ochieng rises and is again decked with a single right to the head.  Ochieng is on his feet as the bell rings, and the fight is over.

Leon Lawson III (now 9-0 with 4 kayos) defeats Yunier Calzada (now 6-5-1 with 1 kayo) by unanimous decision after six rounds (60-53, 60-53, 60-54)

Round 1

The much taller Lawson comes out, what do you expect, jabbing.  Calzada tries to duck under and come up swinging, but he gets tangled in Lawson’s octopus-like arms and lurches away off-balance.  Lawson lands a glancing blow that impresses the sparse, early crowd.  Now things slow down, each man standing flat-footed and watching each other intently.  Lawson lands a few single jabs, and a follow up right staggers Calzada.  Lawson doesn’t capitalize though, and now they’re standing mostly still again.  Calzada takes the initiative and pursues Lawson to a neutral corner, where they clinch and ref Erickson breaks them.  Back in the center of the ring, Lawson is jabbing, then lands a right hook to the ear of Calzada, momentarily raising the hopes of onlookers.  Time runs out, and the round is over.

Round 2

Lawson is pawing with that long jab, not trying to connect, but to be a nuisance.  Calzada attacks clumsily, Lawson dances deftly away.  Lawson pops a jab to Calzada’s face and move his entire head. Empty moments follow.  Lawson is measuring.  Calzada is stalking, but he’s like the dog that chased the car – will he know what to do when he catches it?  Calzada corners Lawson, but Lawson turns him and backs across the ring throwing 1-2 combinations with each backwards hop, and scoring effectively, like Holly Holm did against that female MMA star…what was her name?  Just before ten seconds left, Lawson scores a big straight right and rattles Calzada, but he follows up not at all, and the round ticks away.

Round 3

Lawson is jabbing the body now, but still to little effect.  Calzada continues to inch forward, and finally lands a straight right to the abdomen of Lawson.  His best moment of the bout so far, but Lawson has already had ten better moments.  The two circle, Lawson inching back, then turning and throwing an overhand right that Calzada barely dodges.  More unproductive circling…Lawson feints a jab, Calzada responds in kind, Lawson attacks again, but Calzada has turned his bsack and is walking away!  Lawson almost throws a punch, pulling back from the back of Calzada’s head at the last moment, and everyone in the ring is bewildered.  Ref Erickson administers an eight count and the match resumes, this time with the action everybody was hoping for.  Both men are throwing, trading power shots on equal terms, and the bell ends matters.

Round 4

More tentative jabbing.  Thirty seconds in Lawson lands the first punch of the round, a jab that thuds into Calzada’s mouth.  Lawson doesn’t make a habit of following up.  Halfway through, this is an absolute dud of a round, with both men timidly bobbing and watching for openings that seem not to exist.  Lawson jabs head/body.  Lawson throws a triple jab, then a right that does no damage.  Calzada again inches forward, throwing few or no punches.  Finally a jab from Calzada.  There’s a clinch with ten seconds left, then the bell.

Round 5

Lawson comes with intent, finally.  Jabs are now followed by hard left hooks, connecting and scoring.   Calzada is undeterred though, and chases but does not score.  Lawson sharpshoots, scoring some good shots, but also eating one power shot from Calzada.  All is calm now, and they resume staring each other down, like two matadors with no bull to fight.  Calzada siezes the initiative, coming forward more boldly now, throwing punches that do little positive work, but at least he’s pressing the action.  With just a few seconds left Calzada throws a lazy right hand, Lawson’s counter stuns him, and he staggers back.  Lawson connects with four hard shots, but the bell puts an end to his progress.

Round 6

Lawson is leaning in this round, acting like he wants to attack, but not quite pulling the trigger.  He much prefers to counter this opponent.  I don’t know Lawson; maybe that’s his preferred mode of operation.  Calzada is coming forward again, Lawson feinting, looking to counter.  Calzada corners Lawson, charges in, and Lawson escapes, leaving Calzada confused with his head and shoulders hanging through the ropes and out of the ring.  Erickson calls for a break.  Action resumes in the center of the ring, and finally Lawson is standing his ground, now coming forward, looking to land the ending shots.  His efforts are mostly ineffective, but he does manage to score more often than the hapless Calzada, and the bout ends.  There is no doubt who will get the win.

Omar Juarez (now 2-0 with 1 kayo) defeats Philip Percy (now 0-8) at 0:43 of round 2

Round 1

Both fighters start out tentative, Juarez snicking a jab that sometimes lands, sometimesdoesn’t even extend.  Juarez lands a jab that irritates Percy’s eyes.  Percy responds by following, sometimes even chasing, but never quite pulling the trigger.  Juarez lands the first power shot of the bout with no effect.  Juarez creeps inside, Percy throws a left hook that hooks around and turns into a clinch.  Juarez left hooks the body, one and done.  Percy feints.  Not much excitement in round one, folks.  With ten seconds to go Percy lunges in but misses a right hook, bell.

Round 2

Percy makes a brief attack, missing with a sweeping left hook, then circles away.  Juarez decides to end things, opening up first with hooks to the body, then power shots to the head.  Percy stumbles into the ropes and drops, and referee Scott Erickson waves the fight over.

Fun Time Caleb and Jolly Good Jamal

Who did you come out to the fights tonight (or tune in on your TV) to see, Caleb Truax or Jamal James?  These two men, the highest-profile pugilists to come out of Minnesota in at least a decade, are making 2018 a fun time to be a boxing fan in the Upper Midwest.  They’re different personalities and they come from different places, but they have both captured the imagination of local combat sports fans, and are worming their way into the consciousness of the casual sports fan.  A few more events like tonight’s, with a packed house at the Minneapolis Armory (3,547 announced attendance), a national TV audience, and some entertainingly one-sided wins, and a guy in a Twins shirt or a Vikings jersey might find himself becoming a knowledgeable boxing fan.

Rochester New York’s Willie Monroe, despite his abundant talent, is unlikely to ever be a fan favorite.  He boxes cautiously, without power or panache.  It might be different if Monroe had a big personality like feather fisted former world champ Paulie Malignaggi, or if he was a cold fish of a personality but he could really crack, like some other example who probably exists but whom I can’t call to mind at this moment.  Monroe’s win over Argentinian Javier Francisco Maciel will keep us from forgetting his name, but we can still try.

Have you never seen a boxer quit a fight one second after it began?  No?  If you were watching tonight, you can’t say that anymore.  Curtis Harper acted like everything was perfectly normal until the opening bell sounded, then he casually stepped out of the ring and strolled off into the night.  You might not know whether or not to feel sorry for his opponent, heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba.  Let me tell you, a professional boxer is a competitor who hates to be cheated out of the opportunity to compete.  But don’t cry for Ajagba yet.  He’s young, he’s huge, he’s in shape, and he’s ready to fight.  Maybe he can sneak on a card somewhere in the next few weeks.  As for Harper, he might have panicked at the sight of his intimidating opponent like Nick Capes did a few years ago against Ray Edwards (remember?!).  But the closest comparison I can find is Quincy Miner, who years ago showed up at a show but refused to even enter the ring when he had a financial dispute with his cornerman.  So what was Curtis Harper was thinking when he torpedoed his entire boxing career tonight?  Harper knows.  Maybe.

Jeison Rosario certainly outbombed his opponent in a junior middleweight (154#) bout tonight, and though he statistically dominated Jamontay Clark, I never really had the sense that it as a total wash.  Clark is a tough cookie and he can punch with authority, if only at times.  Hopefully Clark isn’t too discouraged by tonight’s result.  A dangerous man, we say, is always dangerous.  Clark is a dangerous man, and one who keeps his own counsel.  When you get knocked out of the ring, Jamontay, what do you do?  You walk halfway around the outside of the ring to your chosen point of re-entry?  Splendid.

Occasionally in an international sport like boxing, one will run across a name that’s difficult to pronounce.  For a writer, even worse is a name that’s difficult to type in a hurry.  Our next match was between Eimantas Stanionis and (even worse) Levan Ghvamichava, who mercifully has adopted the moniker “Wolf,” probably owing to his incredibly hairy torso.  I hope that neither competitor is offended that I opted to refer to them as ES and LG in my typed report.  I could have used a stenographer tonight.

We had two consecutive bouts tonight with unusually long, tall prospects handing it to shorter foes.  First 19-year old Leon Lawson III, a 6-foot 5-inch junior middleweight (154# limit) from Flint MI, and then 20 year old Sebastian Fundora, a 6-foot 6-inch prospect in the same weight class, from Coachella CA.  Lawson dominated his opponent, 5-foot 8-inch Brandon Adams, on his way to a UD win.  Fundora, facing a somewhat more advanced opponent in 5-foot 10-inch Antonio Urista, showed he is not one to be outdone, notching a 4th round TKO win.  Fundora, we all noticed tonight, is available to be hit.  Your move, Lawson.

The Efetobor Apochi and Aaron Chavers match was an awful mismatch.  Chavers has a respectable looking record, but Apochi was the one who commanded respect tonight.  Chavers only commanded a clear lane to a neutral corner, and for him that was a one-way street.

It’s difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions from a bout as uncompetitive as Gary Antonio Russell‘s win over Nick Otieno.  How uncompetitive was it?  Let’s just say there wasn’t time for any competition to take place.  Welcome to Minnesota, Mr. Russell.  We hope you enjoyed your visit.

There is sure to be consternation and maybe tears when a young prospect loses his “0.”  Some knowledgeable Minnesota boxing fans have had big expectations for Celso Ramirez.  They should hang on to their optimism but temper their expectations. Ramirez can still accomplish great things despite his loss today.  Hopefully his management can get him back on a winning path and position him as something more than sharkbait.  What good things can happen for a one-loss prospect?  Ask Ramirez’s opponent Willie Jones, who started his career 5-0, suffered a loss, and then grabbed some gusto when he notched his good looking win against Ramirez.

Professional Boxing: August 24th 2018 at the Minneapolis Armory

Doors open at 4:30pm, fights begin at 5:30.  Lots of familiar faces from the Minnesota boxing scene on hand, but lots of unfamiliar or out-of-town faces, too.  This is my first time in the Minneapolis Armory, though I’ve passed it dozens of, if not a hundred times.  If you haven’t been inside, the exterior gives no hint of the extravagance inside.

Caleb Truax (now 30-4-2 with 18 kayos) defeats Fabriano Pena (now 15-11-1 with 11 kayos) by TKO at 2:50 in round 3 (scheduled for 10).

Round 1

Truax throws the first jab and the first earnest punch of the bout, but the first thirty seconds is reserved for measuring.  Pena comes forward, walking and punching but landing nothing, and having gotten inside on Truax he backs off.  A little circling, and Truax jabs the body of Pena.  Truax throws a one-two with the emphasis on two, connecting with Pena’s body.  Pena is dead serious in there, not shying away from punches and not showing any awe.  Pena rushes in on Truax, who tags him.  A little later Truax lands a right to the head that moves Pena, and Truax is coming forward, trying to put this fight to bed quickly.  With seconds to go in the first Pena throws a hard but slow three punch combination, connecting squarely on one or two of his punches.

Round 2

Both fighters are woring hte jab at the start of the second, but Truax with more precision and effect.  Truax bends his knees and throws a hard overhand right, drawing “oohs” from the spectators.  Truax throws soft jabs upstairs and then a hard straight right to the body.  The crowd begins to chant “Caleb.”  Truax is still going soft and then hard with his punches, so Pena never knows what’s coming.  Pena throws a four-punch combination.  Truax lands a right uppercut, then a series of power punches, then a hard right hook to the head.  Truax lands a big right to the head of Pena, Pena responds with a furious but short-lived volley, and the round ends.

Round 3

Truax is likely carrying his opponent in the third round, as the fight isn’t competitive at all.  This is a mismatch of both caliber and firepower.  Truax is popping his opponent here and there, and now opens up with a hard combination that has Pena reeling.  Pena looks wary and alert.  Truax rips a right uppercut to the face of Pena, who responds seconds later with a fusillade of power punches.  Truax corners Pena and throws power shots from a variety of angles, connecting on most of them.  Truax won’t let Pena escape, pummeling him with hooks and uppercuts until one drops him.  Pena jumps up and rushes across the ring at Truax, but referee Celestino Ruiz calls the fight, and it’s over at 2:50 in round 3.

Main Event: Jamal James (now 24-1 with 11 kayos) defeats Mahonry Montes (now 35-8-1 with 24 kayos) by TKO at 2:58 in round 2 of 10 scheduled.

Round 1

James comes out pumping the jab, Montes is mostly watching and moving.  James throws a measuring one-two and goes back to jabbing  Montes is slipping and bouncing.  James is circling to his left, continuing to jab.  About a minute in he experiments with a three punch combo, but they’re still checking each other out.  James finally connects with a punch, but the crowd, though enthusiastic during introductions, isn’t really watching the fight, instead yelling “down in front!”  James has a good height advantage over Montes, as he has over most of his opponents, and he’s circling continuously.  The bell rings on the first round without either man connecting on anything to speak of.

Round 2

James comes out pumping that fast jab again in round 2, but Montes is determined to come forward.  This gives James an opportunity to catch him coming in, if he can get the right measure and timing.  Montes is coming forward but not throwing, and James hasn’t found his timing yet.  Montes finally throws, landing a right to the body of James but getting no reaction.  James is beginning to slow down the frenetic pace he started off at, and finds a home for a body shot.  Montes keeps coming forward, and James brings home a series of sincerely-meant head shots, dropping Montes in the center of the ring like a sack of potatoes.  Referee Mark Nelson begins to count, but ten waves the fight off.  James wins!

Co-Main Event: Willie Monroe Jr (now 23-3 with 6 kayos) defeats Javier Francisco Maciel (now 33-7 with 23 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (100-90, 100-90, 99-91 ) after 10 rounds

Round 1

Hunched over, Monroe is using speed and movement, while the cautious Maciel is bouncing forward and back, pawing the air and looking uncomfortable.   Midway through the round Monroe throws a right from the lefthanded stance (I think) and Maciel stumbles sideways, nearly hitting the mat.  Monroe lands what looks like a jab to the head of Maciel, but he’s behind a ringpost when it happens, and I can’t see.  Ten seconds to go in the round, Monroe tries to win the round by throwing four or five punches.  I would not like to score this round.

Round 2

Maciel looks more willing to engage this round, ducking his head down and pushing forward at one point, but you have to see your opponent to hit him.  Maciel lands a punch and Monroe counters…Monroe is so intent on being elusive, it isn’t conducive to scoring.  Maciel goes on the offensive and the two men trade shots, but neither man gains from the exchange.  Monroe is backing up, Maciel creeping forward.  Maciel finds Monroe a tough target to hit, and Monroe seems happy enough to land a single jab and wait till next time.  Maciel slips a fast jab, throws a jab of his own, and misses.  Maciel rushes forward and Monroe lands a couple of slapping right hooks.  Monroe shoots that jab out a few more times, and the bell rings.

Round 3

Monroe is moving fast, with a herky-jerky motion.  Maciel is coming forward, but he can’t catch Monroe.  Monroe lands a left hook then a right to the body.  A voice in the crowd shouts “Do something!”  Maciel corners Monroe and launches a barrage of punches, some land and some don’t , but he’s seizing the initiative.  Monroe backs away, puts his butt on the ropes, and lands two counter shots when Maciel tries to move in.  Maciel is undeterred, and continues to follow.  Monroe can tag him, but Maciel shakes his head dismissively.  Monroe hits Maciel in the head hard enough to move his back foot, which is progress.  Bell.

Round 4

Monroe throws two disconnected jabs, then a left to the body, ducks around Maciel, and is gone.  Maciel is shuffilng forward but not soring.  Maciel gets a little too close, Monroe pops him and scuttles away.  Maciel nearly corners Monroe, and Monroe throws an all-arm right hook, then dances away.  Maciel folows again, and Monroe throws a more meaningful hook.  Maciel follows again, and Monroe again catches him and scoots away.  Maciel heaves a deep sigh and comes forward again, this time he traps Monroe in a corner and throws his best shots, scoring with some, until Monroe shuffles to his right and escapes.

Round 5

Maciel comes forward, and – stop me if you’ve heard this before.  Monroe is setting ambush after ambush.  Good strategy, but this popgun punching won’t end this fight early.  Maciel is bouncing and ducking, trying to get inside again.  Monroe’s footwork is good and he’s quick, and he can pull the trigger on a punch while moving backwards.  Maciel finally gets close enough to throw a combination, then one more punch, but Monroe tags him back and there’s little question who’s winning this round.  As the round comes to a close Monroe shows off some impressive hand speed, catching Maciel with a combination every punch of which lands.

Round 6

Maciel is game, but he can only rarely catch up with Monroe, who is generally cautious and unwilling to risk most engagements.  Maciel gets too close and Monroe peppers him with some good shots and leaves him behind.  Maciel gets Monroe against the ropes and throws some power shots – Monroe goes to his knees, but I think referee Gary Miezwa ruled that Maciel pushed him down.  Maciel is following Monroe again, and ten seconds to go and Maciel landed a right to the abdomen of Monroe, who was clearly hurt, than chases him and catches him with a good head shot, but the round is over.

Round 7

Maciel is pursuing Monroe again, Monroe is moving backwards.  He moves too far backwards and hits the ropes, where Maciel connects with a body and then a head shot, but to less effect than in the last round.  Maciel gets close in the center of the ring, and the combatants exchange – that exchange favored Monroe.  Maciel takes a couple of steps back, which is unusual for him. Perhaps Monroe has decided that Maciel can’t take him out, because he’s beginning to trade punches more.  His style is not fan-friendly.  Monroe lands to body shots on Maciel, who returns fire, but then Monroe traps Maciel against the ropes and throws some well-placed power shots as the bell rings.

Round 8

Monroe is finally on the attack in this round, and Maciel nods at him every time he connects.  Monroe has the upper hand, but every once in a while Maciel will sneak in a hard counter to let us know he’s still in the fight.  Maciel backs into a corner then punches his way out.  The combatants trade again in the center of the ring, but every exchange seems to favor Monroe every-so-slightly, and the difference is accumulating.  Maciel puts his head down and comes forward with looping punches, hoping to catch Monroe.  Monroe fires back with half a dozen rapid-fire punches from either hand.  Maciel is unfazed and continues to attack with his overhanded punches to the head.

Round 9

Monroe lands a hard rising jab to the face of Maciel, smiles, and backs away.  Maciel follows him to the center of the ring, but Monroe sets his feet and opens fire, scoring effectively.  Maciel stands his ground and Monroe lands a big power shot, but Maciel nods at him as if encourage him to do it again.  The boxers clinch up, and Miezwa breaks them apart.  Maciel wants to brawl, and he does score more when they fight chest-to-chest.  After a break Maciel gets low and throws a maximum-effort hookercut, landing it effectively but receiving a Monroe flurry in reply.  Monroe has worn Maciel down, and he’s scoring freely now.  Maciel is a gamer, but he is slipping further behind.

Round 10

Monroe is pursuing Maciel, maybe hoping to score a KO in the final round.  Monroe comes forward and lands some glamorous power shots, but Maciel isn’t out yet, and he scores with a couple of his own.  Maciel comes forward jabbing, then throws a hard left hook to the side of Monroe’s body.  Monroe continues to score with volume punching, while Maciel is loading up for the desperately-needed knockout punch.  Maciel backs nearly into a corner then gets up on his toes and bounces, but Monroe, unimpressed, lands more power punches.  Maciel throws a corkscrew jab hoping to get past Monroe’s defenses.  The proud Monroe wants to impress, so he stands his ground and throws a volume of very fast punches, and the bell rings.

3rd TV Fight: Efe Ajagba (5-0 with 5 kayos) -vs- Curtis Harper (13-5 with 9 kayos), heavyweights, scheduled for 6 rounds

DISQUALIFICATION – NO BOUT TOOK PLACE

Jamontay Clark (now 13-1 with 7 kayos) is defeated by Jeison Rosario (now 16-1-1 with 11 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (99-90, 98-91, 97-92) after ten rounds.

Round 1

This fight opens a little slowly, with lots of bobbing and feinting.  Rosario in the blue shorts, ducks so deeply that his knees nearly touch the mat.  The first substantial action in the fight sees Clark back into the ropes were Rosario attacks but does not score, as Clark spins away.  Clark retreats into the ropes again, then follows the rope into a corner where Rosario fails to attack and Clark circles away.  In fact Clark has spent the latte half of this round moving to his left with his back to the ropes.  Rosario reluctant to attack.

Round 2

Clark, in southpaw stance, stands his ground in the center of the ring, awing with a cautious jab.  Rosario comes forward, coring with an aggressive combination.  Clark is waving right hand around in an approximation of a jab.  There’s a hard clinch in a corner, and referee Mark Nelson, one of the best in the business, calls or a break.  Now Rosario is beginning to pursue Clark, who throws a left-handed one-two that misses altogether.  Rosario covers up, Clark throws a straight, and it glances away.  Rosario comes forward again, Clark paws at him and Rosario bends his knees deeply again.  Rosario pursues a little too eagerly and Clark lands a clean right hook, the best punch of the fight so far.  Rosario comes forward again ad Clark lands a single punch and bounces away.

Round 3

Rosario is inching forward with a little more caution this round, Clark laying back and waiting to counter.  Clark throws a five-punch combination and lands a couple of them.  Clark throws again, but Rosario catches this combo on his arms.  Rosario comes forward and misses badly with two power shots.  Clark really likes to fight on his back foot.  Rosario cracks Clark with a HUGE right hook, Clark goes down, and rolls clear out of the ring, crawls in at the red corner, and ref Nelson gives him a standing count.  Rosario attacks furiously, mauling and windmilling.  Rosario catches Clark against the ropes and lands a left, but mostly misfires, and Clark has survived the third.

Round 4

Clark is backing up again, his balance looks little compromised, but he is throwing punches at Rosario.  Rosario is following again, and connects a dramatic left hook to Clark’s head.  Clark skitters away though, and he is back to his old trick of retreating strategically and throwing punches in two-punch combinations.  Rosario explodes into Clark, tries to size the moment, but Clark nullifies his attack.  Rosario’s confidence should be high, but it doesn’t show.  Rosario lunges forward to two straight rights and a left hook, all of which miss.  The round ends with neither man looking stronger.

Round 5

Rosario lands a hard jab right off the bat, and he’s coming for Clark this round.  Clark stops his retreat to throw a hard combination, but Rosario blocks it all.  Clark is moving left, right, backing up…nothing new there.  Rosario throws three power shots, right-left-right, and lands them all.  The fighters tangle up and fall to the mat, no knockdown.  Rosario pursues, traps Clark in a neutral corner and tries to attack, but ref Nelson steps in and warns him – I didn’t see for what.  Rosario is back to chasing and jabbing, Clark is on the run.  Rosario lands a right-left-right again, Clark turns him and then throws two or three shots to the back of Rosario’s head, for which Nelson emphatically warns him.  No further scoring to the end of the round.

Round 6

Clark is very active the start of this round, but the activity is all bounching and feinting.  Rosario is chasing, chasing.  Rosario corners Clark, throws a wild overhand right, and misses.  Clark is testing his legs for sure.  Now Rosario ducks under a rare Clark lead.  Clark isn’t really trying to score much, mostly just trying to nullify Rosario’s attack.  I’d love to tell you what’s happened this round, but it isn’t much.  Five seconds to go in the round and Rosario throws a wide hook that makes an audible pop, but it didn’t appear to do any damage, though the crowd is thrilled.

Round 7

Clark trows and lands a straight left from the southpaw stance.  Rosario rushes in and Clark lands a counter.  How about that!  Rosario chases again and this time lands a lunging jab that snaps Clark’s head back.  Rosario is coming forward again, less recklessly this time.  The fighters’ feet get tangled and Rosario falls, but there’s no knockdown.  Rosario, chasing Clark again, lands a big left that sends him reeling into the ropes.  Chasing again, Rosario catches Clark with two or three wild hooks, and he’s taking command of this round.  In a corner, Clark appears to slap the back of Rosario’s head, but Nelson doesn’t act.  Rosario chases his opponent into the red corner and connects with a big left hook, and the round comes to and end.

Round 8

Rosario is selling out on his attacks.  He must think that Clark can’t hurt him, because he appears to be far ahead.  Rosario lands a flurry of big hooks to Clark’s head.  He chases Clark into a corner where Clark ducks a punch and Rosario falls to the mat.  Back on his feet, Rosario continues to attack with abandon, and Clark has taken significant punishment this round.  Rosario is scoring with both hands, and now Rosario clobbers Clark with a straight right and follow up with two more power shots.  Clark is tough, but he is losing this round badly.  Clark briefly fires back, but Rosario scores with a double left hook, and continues to attack and score for the remainder of the round.

Round 9

The doctor is examining Clark in the ring, and allows the fight to continue.  Rosario is following Clark around, and Clark, his feet far apart, is becoming less mobile.  There’s an exchange, and Clark loses his mouthpiece, brief pause while his corner cleans it and returns it to its orifice.  Rosario is coming forward, jabbing, Clark is backing up, looking for an opening for a home run punch that doesn’t appear to be in his arsenal.  Rosario scores with a single right hand.  Rosario pursues and scores again, bu Clark counters and scores.  Rosario is following lark, and catches him in a corner, where he scores with a couple of all-in power shots.  Clark escapes an actually pins Rosario to the ropes, but he can’t do any work and he can’t keep Rosario there.  Ten seconds left in the round and Rosario score again.  Fives seconds left and Rosario throws a bomb that Clark successfully counters.  As the bell rings Clark looks a little disgruntled, if not confused.

Round 10

Clark starts the round boxing, and Rosario is following as usual.  Rosario catches Clark on the ropes again, and lands two more hard shots.  Against another set of ropes, Rosario hammers Clark with a volley of power shots, and Clark trades with him, to some positive effect.  Clark must know he’s way behind, but he’s been unwilling or unable to make any significant changes to his strategy.  Rosario and Clark stand toe to toe and Rosario gets the better of the exchange, then chases Clark and again gets the better of it.  Bell, round, fight.

TV Opener: Eimantas Stanionis (now 7-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Levan Ghvamichava (now 18-4-1 with 13 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (80-72 79-73 79-73) after 8 rounds.

Round 1

This bout begins with both men jabbing, hard, effective jabs.  LG scores a short combination ending with  left hook to ES’s head, ES responds by coming forward and snapping LG’s head back with a variety of punches.  The early pattern is for ES to come forward and LG to retreat while circling to his left.  ES connects with a big right hook that turns LG’s head, but LG throws back with intent.  ES continues to come forward, and a one-two staggers LG momentarily.  ES tries again to step in and LG gives him a meaningful one-two for his trouble.  This one looks like a competitive fight for a change.

Round 2

LG throws an uppercut, ES responds with a jolting left.  LG is asserting himself more this round, but ES is the more powerful puncher and that will likely be evident later.  The bridge of LG’s nose looks red, but I can’t tell whether he’s bleeding.  The two men are more rapidly circling, mostly to their left,with ES throwing hard, precise punches and LG throwing slashing straights ad hooks o the body.  ES likes to cover up and then pop open for a hard jab.  ES connects with a double jab, lots of steam on those punches.  Both men throw and miss before the bell.

Round 3

ES scores another hard double jab to open the third.  LG is standing in there, but he seems a little less sure of himself.  He feints a left hook and ES punishes him with stop-and-start combinations.  ES comes forward, LG backs up to the ropes, and there’s an exchange in which both score credibly.  ES lands a sneaky shot right hook that snaps LG’s head sideways.  ES is getting in close now, and you on’t know whether he’ll lead with a jab or an uppercut – bot work.  LG is backing up and countering ES’s salvos but he can’t escape the intensifying attack from ES, who is willing to eat one punch in order to land two.

Round 4

LG lands one hard jab for starters, ES returns a hard one-two  LG is circling left and backing up.  ES is begining to sit dow on his punches more, but LG is a tough dude.  LG comes forward, three steps, three punches.  LG goes double left hoo to the head and body, nice move.  These guys are trading power shots and it’s a crow pleaser.  LG is on the back foot again, ad ES is looking stronger and stronger.  Left hook connects with LG’s body.  ES is coming forward, potshotting LG, but still LG persists, returning such shots as he can.

Round 5

Big right from ES, followed shortly by a big left – both landed to the head of LG.  LG is coming forward now with a pawing jab, tries to go to the body, but ES counters effectively.  ES goes one-two, LG responds with a three-four.  LG backs into a corner, but he sees his error and works back out.  An exchange on even terms ends with a hard jab from ES.  This is a very nearly even match, and it has the crowd’s rapt attention.  Our fighters are momentarily shoulder-to-shoulder, but ES lands cleanly and they separate.  LG is continuing to press forward, and it appears to pay off for about a minute, as he has ES off balance and may eve have outscored him the second half of this round.

Round 6

ES is landing his jab again the start of this round.  LG is jabbing too, but he misses more frequently.  They’re in close now, and the jabs are giving way to straights and hooks.  After lots of circling and mauling LG scores a one-one-two and then a one-two.  The middle part of this round goes to LG but ES is coming forward and pinpointing his shots as the round comes to an end.

Round 7

The writer next to me opines that these guys don’t look like welterwights, and he’s right, they don’t.  There’s a lot of beef in that ring.  But neither man is taller than referee Miezwa.  LG is an imprecise puncher but he puts a lot of effort into every punch.  ES is using his feet more in this round, moving in and our and circling, as always, to his left.  LG backs up to the ropes and lands a good one-two to the head of ES.  ES is looking more intent as the round goes on, he doubles his jab and there’s a clinch.  Miezwa breaks them.  ES comes forward again, leads with a left hook that connects, then a one-two that connects.  LG is trying to stand with him and exchange, but that tactic favors ES.

Round 8

ES must know he’s ahead on the cards – he seems satisfied to continue his successful strategy, though his output is somewhat higher.  ES throws a combination at the body of LG and the last punch looks suspiciously low.  ES is putting pressure on now, he scores frequently and staggers LG, but LG regains his composure and lands a left hook while backing up.  Now ES uses his whole body to throw a left hook that jolts LG’s entire body.  LG doubles up the jab, but ES scores with a big head shot, then another.  LG is working at maximum effort, and connecting with probably two thirds the punches that ES does.

Sebastian Fundora (now 10-0 with 6 kayos) defeats Antonio Urista (now 10-3 with 2 kayos) by TKO at 2:23 in round 2 (scheduled for 8)

Round 1

Fundora, the “Towering Inferno,” is certainly towering over his opponent.  Urista lands a sweeping left that turns Fundoras head.  Fundora is inching forward, bending forward, throwing jabs from too close in.  Urista blocks a jab and absorbs a left hook to the head.  Fundora moves with confidence, even if he resembles Shawn Bradley with his long, spindly limbs.  Urista circles around Fundora.  Fundora, boxing from southpaw, scores with a couple of jabs and begins to grin.  Urista is trying to make a fight of it, bless him.  The boxers get tied up and there they are as the bell rings.

Round 2

Early on there’s a clinch, the referee calls for a break.  Fifteen seconds later it happens again.  Urista jabs Fundora in the navel, no kidding.  Fundora circles to his left, misses with the jab.  Urista inches backwards into a corner, then comes out to his right.  Fundora doubles the jab.  Urista bulls forward, throws a combo, lands a right to the head.  They break, and Fundora comes forward lands a decent combination, backs Urista into the ropes and connects solidly with some power shots.  The crowd thinks it’s almost over, but Urista slugs his way out.  Fundora corners him again and flurries continuously almost to the point of exhaustion – you can see him slowing down as he rains punches down on the hapless-appearing Urista, and suddenly Urista lashes out, cracking Fundora with a big hook to the head.  Fundora blinks and the bell rings.

Round 3

Fundora comes out and leans on Urista right away, draping himself over Urista.  Urista want none of it, and lands two hard rights to Fundora’s head.  Fundora backs Urista into the ropes again, but this time Urista turns him around and puts his forehead in Fundora’s chest.  Break.  Fundora uppercuts and hooks Urista.  Urista clinches and lands a shot to the head.  This is becoming competitive!  Urista steps forward and lands a straight right and a left hook.  Fundora snaps Urista’s head back with a uppercut, but Urista is game.  Fundora traps Urista on the ropes but doesn’t look like he knows what to do with him and Urista slips away.  Fundora traps him again, this time he score with a flurry of power shots.  Urista is backing up.  Fundora jolts Urista with a jab and then paws at him until the bell.

Round 4

At the start of the round the ref brings Urista to see the doctor.  Doc allows the fight to continue.  Urista’s mouth is hanging open.  Fundora circles his prey.  Urista left hooks Fundora and sprays sweat into the crowd, but Fundora smiles.  Fundora is coming forward, but Urista attacks back and connects with two more solid shots.   Urista flurries but and Fundora comes forward, punching all the while, corners Urista, who punches forward and then escapes to his left.  Fundora sees no danger now and he’s measuring his shots, trying to land effectively.  Urista, a warrior, is getting the worst of it.  Fundora pursues Urista into a neutral corner and pop-pop-pop scores until the referee steps in and stops the fight.

Leon Lawson now (8-0 with 4 kayos) defeats Brandon Adams (now 4-7-1 with 2 kayos), by Unanimous Decision (60-54, 60-54, 60-54) after 6 rounds.

Round 1

This is a size mismatch, with the long Lawson towering over the diminutive Adams.  Adams is trying to out-quick Lawson though, ad in the early going there’s no competitive advantage to either man.  Lawson connects with a pushed power shot, but it’s a single score.  Lawson is beginning to show more aggression, and though most of the movement is tactical, Lawson does score with a hard straight right that knocks Adams off balance.  Again though, it’s the only scoring punch in a short combination.  The fighters tangle and Adams shoves Lawson, who touches that mat with his glove.  It’s no knockdown though.  The round ends with Adams whiffing on a haymaker.

Round 2

Lawson is tying to sharpshoot Adams from the heights, and it appears to be working.  He connects with a right to the body of Adams, and a smattering of jabs that annoy Adams.  Adams is bobbing and coming forward, grabbing and grappling, trying to find an opening to get inside against Lawson.  Adams scores with a left (?) that moves Lawson, but again it’s only one punch.  Adams is determined, and that counts for something.  Adams lands a short shot to the cheek of Lawson and Lawson counters.  Lawson uppercuts Adams’ face, there’s a brief exchange, and Lawson lands one more right before the bell.

Round 3

Adams is ducking and coming forward.  He ducks under a right hook from Lawson but doesn’t counter.  Lawson continues to jab and sometimes throws a right.  Lawson scores with a one-two.  Adams ducks into an uppercut.  Adams is still coming forward, but ineffectually.  Lawson likes the one-two.  There’s a clinch and a clean break.  The two exchange jabs then Lawson scores with a couple of rising hooks.  Lawson tries again and Adams ducks under his attack.  Lawson is scoring mostly in ones and twos, Adams hardly at all.  Now Lawson is carrying his forward (jab) hand at his waist.  Adams tries to attack but the bell cuts him off.

Round 4

This is not an action fight, but a tactical one.  Lot of jabbing, feinting, and ducking.  Adams lands a hook – just one.  The boxers circle for a while, Lawson nearly backs into a corner, but then escapes to his left.  Lawson lands a soft jab, then another.  Adams is shuffling cautiously forward, the two tangle, and the referee calls for a break.  Lawson jabs, misses, hesitates, then lands a glancing right to the body.  Lawson is trying to be more busy and lands a left hook to Adams body.  Ten seconds to go and Lawson misses with a one-two, Adams lunges forward and misses, and the bell sounds.

Round 5

Adams starts the round coming forward but lands nothing.   Lawson goes back to the jab and a lull ensues.  Adams chases Lawson into a corner but doesn’t score.  Adams comes forward again and Lawson connects with a right to the body.  Adams can find no openings, because Lawson – not an action fighter – is adept at using his height to his advantage.  Adams gets inside and scores one left to the body, but Lawson comes around him and score his own body shot.  Lawson smiles.  Adams is getting more aggressive, there’s a clinch, and Lawson falls to his knees – no knockdown.  Adams chases Lawson into a corner and Lawson makes him miss, turns him around, and lands a single punch.  Bell.

Round 6

Adams knows his situation and attacks with some urgency in the final round, but not with effect.  Lawson score with a soft jab, then a right hook to the body.  Adams is willing to follow wherever Lawson leads.  Adams gets inside but Lawson grabs on and smothers him.  Someone behind me is shouting “Doe da Jab! Doe da Jab! There we go!”  Nothing is happening.  Adams tries to attack, Lawson lands a single right.  Adams circles, makes punching motions, skitters away.  Back inside Adams finally throws a combination and connects with a couple of punches.  Lawson hides behind his shoulder.  More posturing and the fight is mercifully over.

Efetobor Apochi (now 5-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Aaron Chavers (now 8-6-1 with 3 kayos) by TKO at 2:18 in round 1 (scheduled for 6).

Round 1

Apochi is all business as he backs Chavers into a neutral corner and pounds him with body shots for thirty solid seconds, punctuating the attack with a head shot that leaves Chavers wobbling toward the red corner.  Chavers finds his way back into the same neutral corner and takes some more punishment before finally leading Apochi on a meandering trip to the neutral corner on the other side of the ring.  Along the way Chavers manages to throw two combinations.  But Apochi is sharp and aggressive, and he continues to hound Chavers back into the first neutral corner, where he unloads some more, finally landing a smacking right that sends Chavers reeling to his right.  Referee Mark Nelson wisely calls the fight off.

Gary Antonio Russell (now 12-0 with 10 kayos) defeats Nick Otieno (now 31-15 with 13 kayos) by KO at 1:18 in round 1 (scheduled for 8)

Round 1

Russell comes out southpaw, the grizzled veteran Otieno orthodox.  Russell is using speed and a pawing jab to establish the pace, then scores with a hot hook to the head and drops Otieno without shedding any perspiration, as referee Mark Nelson counts 10.

Willie Jones (now 6-1 with 3 kayos) defeats Celso Ramirez (now 7-1 with 7 kayos) by TKO at 2:32 of round 2 (scheduled for 6).

Round 1

Ramirez and Jones are busy from the start, and power shots begin to fly not fifteen seconds into the bout.  Both boxers are hurrying and getting just a little wild.  Ramirez throws a combination that’s all blocked by Jones, but follows with another shorter combination that connects and excites the sparse crowd.  Jones is coming forward now, and walks into a counter left from Ramirez.  There’s a clinch and a clean break.  Jones lands a sweeping let hook and Ramirez grabs.  Referee Gary Miezwa breaks them apart again.  The combatants trade in the center of the ring, and Ramirez begins to retreat.  Ramirez stops his retreat, goes on the attack, but gets turned into a neutral corner where Jones snaps his head back with a left hook-uppercut hybrid.  Ten seconds to go and the fighters trade then fade until the bell.

Round 2

The second round begins at a more sensible pace, Ramirez lands a body shot and Jones counters with effect.  Jones continues to come forward, but Ramirez momentarily freezes him with a short hook.  Jones is concentrating more on the jab, Ramirez inching backwards and dodging it.  Jones lands a big straight right, Ramirez clinches and then shakes his head on the break.  Jones is scoring now with regularity and it looks like a matter of time before Ramirez goes down.  Ramirez is down!   He rises to his knee and then to his feet before the count of 9, but he doesn’t look good.  Jones attacks with power shots, Ramirez helpless to avoid his attack.  Referee Miezwa jumps in and waves off the bout, Jones wins by TKO!

Getting Heated in the Cold

Tonight’s outdoor boxing show at Grand Casino Hinckley has been planned for months.  Back when the casino brain trust approved the idea, must have seemed reasonable to them to suppose that on August 25th the weather would be pleasant, or at least temperate.  Nobody could have guessed that it would be frigid and unpleasant.  I suspect that the warmest (if not the most comfortable) people at the event were the boxers, after a round or two of exertion.  But even the darkest cloud can have a silver lining.  As Mark Nelson quipped, “At least there are no mosquitos.”

For Caleb Truax, tonight’s cloud was the boring dog of a fight he found himself in.  For eight rounds it was the least interesting bout Truax has participated in since Durrell Richardson in 2009.  The silver lining for Truax was the victory.  If I’m to be fair, I have to point out that Truax hadn’t fought in a full year, and ugly or not, he forced the stoppage by breaking his opponent’s jaw.  Hopefully better things are coming soon for the Golden one, because a boxer’s expiration date often begins with the number 3.

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Truax takes a swipe at Leatherwood

Tonight’s match involving Tony Lee and Markus Morris was supposed to be for the Minnesota State Super Lightweight title held by Morris.  However, after Morris failed to make the designated 140 lb weight limit, he was made to forfeit the title.  So Lee could take the championship belt with a win, but win or lose, Morris would lose the belt. Outcome: Morris won the fight and lost the belt.  Now Minnesota has no champion in this weight class.

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Kudos to Al Sands for his emphatic statement against the incredibly hostile Mengistu Zarzar.  I have to admit that I didn’t think Sands would win.  I remember seeing Phil Williams blow Sands apart like a hand grenade two years ago, and I had a pretty low opinion of his chin.  Guess I was wrong.  Zarzar tested that chin with some big wallops, but Sands stood up to him and earned the win by TKO.

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It was a battle of unbeatens when Nate Rubin and Ramiro Hernandez teed off on each other tonight.  Rubin had the right demeanor and a sturdy chin; he was unfazed by everything Hernandez threw at him.  But he couldn’t seem to catch up to Hernandez’s speed.  In boxing we talk a lot about speed, and this was a good illustration of why.

Ve Shawn Owens may or may not have had the fastest hands on display tonight, but he certainly put his speed on display in a way that no one else did.  Owens’ hands were a blur, and his opponent will back me up on this.  Owens overwhelmed his opponent with hand speed and punch volume, with the result that his bout wasn’t competitive.  Owens has talked about a match with Antonio Johnson.  There’s a big difference in quality of opponents faced by each man, but this is beginning to look more like an attractive matchup.

Speaking of uncompetitive bouts, did you see Anthony Palmisano obliterate Ivey Nixon?  Not if you blinked, you didn’t.  Palmisano may have a future in boxing.  He’s fit, he’s handsome, he’s reasonably talented, and he fights out of Duluth.  No city in Minnesota embraces boxing like Duluth.

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Last time DeLorien Caraway fought (and won) the decision was criticized on this blog.  You’ll read no such criticisms tonight.  Caraway looked fantastic in his rematch with Gilbert Venegas.  Venegas is a canny, experienced fighter who brings plenty of pride and fire into the ring, but Caraway needed only two or three rounds to leave him behind.

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The first bout of the night involved a prospect name Adrian Taylor and an opponent named Tristan James.  Taylor might have been expected to blow James out of the water, which he didn’t do.  But he did look strong, fast, clever, and reasonably refined.  At this stage in his career it’s tough to judge Taylor.  He performed well, though, and he’s worth watching.

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Final thought: if tonight’s cold didn’t tie you up in knots, you must have been dressed more warmly than me.  What I’d like is a sauna and a masseuse, but what I’ve got is a pillow and a blanket.  I will get by.

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Professional Boxing: August 25th 2017 at Grand Casino Hinckley

Caleb Truax (now 28-3-2 with 18 kayos) defeats KeAndrae Leatherwood (now 20-5-1 with 13 kayos) by TKO at 2:23 of round 10 in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds.

Round 1

Our combatants start the fight with circling.  Leatherwood is inching forward and throwing light jabs that don’t connect.  Now Truax begins coming forward, throwing jabs and little more in the early going.  About a minute in Truax throws a jab followed by a right hand that loops over top, but it’s mostly blocked by Leatherwood.  There’s a clinch, broken up by referee Mark Nelson.  More circling and jabbing.  Round one ends with no significant action.  Was anything learned?  Round 2 will tell.

Round 2

Leatherwood comes out and immediately throws a double jab, followed moments later by a left-right that lands to Truax’s head.  They trade, then clinch, and ref Nelson breaks them up.  Truax lands a hard jab that pushes Leatherwood back.  Leatherwood lunges in, Truax doesn’t give way, and there’s another break.  More circling, more jabbing, Leatherwood tries to duck in but gets caught in another clinch.  Truax comes forward and Leatherwood counters.  Referee Nelson pauses the action to warn Leatherwood – it appeared it was for swinging his elbows.    More tactical movements, then Leatherwood scores a glancing right hand to the head of Truax.  There’s a flurry at the bell, but nothing of importance is landed.

Round 3

Leatherwood opens the round with a jab to the body.  After much  mauling, Truax lands a straight right to the body of Leatherwood.  In the event, Leatherwood’s head clashes with Truax’s and the fighters are both warned.  Almost immediately they go back to a clinch, and try to punch their way out but in the end Leatherwood is warned to keep his punches up.  The pace is picking up as Truax ducks under a hook and it bounces off  the top of his head.  Both men want to get in close, and the result so far has been a close-quarters clash with few clean shots landed.

Round 4

Leatherwood jabs effectively for the first seconds of round 4, but before long we’re back in a clinch and it’s a shoving match.  Truax deftly slips a jab but doesn’t counter.  Leatherwood steps forward and let hooks Truax.  Things are getting rougher.  In a clinch again, Truax is throwing rights to the body.  Truax is bleeding profusely from the left side of his nose, but I didn’t see how it happened.  More clinching, and the bell rings as ref Nelson pulls the tangled fighters apart.

Round 5

Leatherwood jabs crisply to start the round, but again Truax pulls him into a clinch.  Break.  Leatherwood jumps in and throws a big right to the body of Truax.  Ref Nelson warns Leatherwood again, but I don’t know for what.  They’re back in a clinch again.  Neither man can create the distance necessary to land anything significant.  Now they’re shoulder to shoulder and their hands are working more freely.  Leatherwood grunts as he digs an uppercut to the body of Truax.  Still in close, but finally the hands are moving.  Leatherwood is getting the better of it now, throwing hooks to the body and head of Truax.  Truax punctuates the round with a 2 or 3 punch combination at the bell.

Round 6

Leatherwood is trying to throw double and triple jabs.  it doesn’t take long before they’re head to head, shoulder to shoulder again, with Truax throwing multiple uppercuts to the body.  We come to a point where there’s an inch of space between the fighters and they both try to attack, nullifying each other completely.  Mark nelson calls time out and talks to both fighters, but I couldn’t hear what he said.  After the confab we have more mauling and brawling and the round ends without resolution.

Round 7

Both fighters are showing more urgency now, hopefully having been warned that they’ve been very ineffective and inconclusive.  Still, each encounter seems to end with more clutching.  Finally there’s a clinch in which Leatherwood throws two borderline-legal punches to the side-back of Truax, then a punch to the back of the head, and ref Mark Nelson deducts a point from Leatherwood.  Though it continues to be an ugly fight, the activity level of both fighters has been improving.  Still, it would be hard to award this round to either man without the point deduction.

Round 8

An exchange at the start of the round sees Leatherwood lose his mouthpiece.  Once it’s reinserted the fighters resume their wrestling match.  Suddenly Truax lands a big shot, followed by a right that stumbles Leatherwood.  The crowd thinks that Leatherwood is more hurt than he is.  There’s another clinch and Truax gets away with a hard uppercut landed during the break.  More grabbing and dancing, and Leatherwood connects with a hard right, but only one.  There’s more holding, and Nelson warns Leatherwood for holding.  “One more time,” he shouts.  Immediately the fighters go back to head-to-head and maul to the bell.

Round 9

Chest-to-chest to start the round, but again there’s an interlude of action in which both en land good hooks.  Truax puts his head down and pushes Leatherwood into the ropes.  Leatherwood hooks his right arm around Truax’s left and they grapple.  Truax finds the space to land a big right hook that electrifies the crowd, but only for a moment.  Again Truax’s head goes down and it looks like he’s bleeding from his left cheek.  Truax suddenly lands a thunderous right to the head of Leatherwood that gives him the momentum for thirty seconds or so, until Leatherwood lands a glancing right that backs him off.  The crowd sees resolution coming and enthusiastically cheers the end of the ninth.

Round 10

Leatherwood loses his mouthpiece in the early going.  Truax has the momentum now, and he’s throwing everything at Leatherwood, but at times that leaves him vulnerable.  Leatherwood loses his mouthpiece again in a clinch, and though the crowd (and Truax’s corner) are accusing him of spitting it out, I don’t think he did.  Moments later Leatherwood has another point deducted for holding.  Truax is going to town, and Leatherwood is now bleeding – a lot – from the mouth.  Referee Nelson calls time and brings Leatherwood to the doctor, who briefly inspects Leatherwood.  Nelson stops the bout.  It’s over, and Truax is the winner.

Markus Morris (now 11-3 with 7 kayos) defeats Tony Lee (now 11-2-1 with 3 kayos) by TKO at 2:16 in round 3 of a bout scheduled for 8 rounds.

Round 1

Morris opens the action with jabs, but he doesn’t land.  Tony Lee follows suit.  After some inconclusive swinging, Morris catches Lee going backwards and lands a right in the red corner. Early on Lee is bouncing, moving, going backwards.  Morris is following, but nobody is scoring.  Lee connects with a good left, but only one.  Morris follows Lee into the blue corner, tries to catch him, but Lee attempts to spin away.  It’s a messy one so far.  Now Lee lands a big right (?) that momentarily stuns Morris, and though he pursues, Lee is unable to capitalize.  By the time the round ends, Morris looks recovered.

Round 2

Immediately there’s a clinch, but the fighters punch their way out of it.  Lee is working backwards, Morris following him again.  Lee’s corner wants straight punches: “One-two, straight down the middle!”  These two are not powerful punchers, so the fight is likely to go long.  Morris misses a series of punches, Lee misses with a triple jab.  Morris lunges forward and misses his target, nearly falling into the ropes.  Morris comes forward and Lee catches him, freezing him momentarily.  Lee begins to come forward, but Morris zaps him with a right hand that leaves Lee discombobulated for a moment.  Lee pulls himself together, and bell.

Round 3

Both men comes out winging, and though considerable skill is in play, it has an artless look.  Neither man scores for a time, and then Morris catches Lee with a left to the belly that drops him to his knees.  Lee is up quickly and resumes the fight, but Morris has renewed confidence and moments later knocks Lee’s mouthguard out, then pounds him into the ropes with a right.  Referee Gary Miezwa begins the count, but I don’t think he finished it before calling the fight to an early end.

Al Sands (now 20-2 with 18 kayos) defeats Mengistu Zarzar (now 6-1 with 5 kayos) by TKO in round 8 of 8 scheduled.

Round 1

Sands, substantially taller than Zarzar, comes out jabbing.  Zarzar opens up with a frantic attack of incredibly wide and wild hooks, and flails away until he loses his balance and falls down.  No knockdown is registered.  The fight resumes and Sands is punching from outside.  Sands comes forward and lands a single right to the body.  Zarzar’s counter is so wild that he spins halfway around.  Sands steps forward and thrwows a left that Zarzar ducks underneath.  Sands follows Zarzar into a corner and lands a one-two, then Zarzar torques himself into the center of the ring.  Sands is moving deliberately, Zarzar is out of control.  Sands throws, Zarzar latches on, and when Sands backs up Zarzar falls on his hands and knees.  No knockdown.

Round 2

Sands is moving forward from the start, jabbing.  Zarzar attacks furiously, but ineffectively with those wide hooks.  Sands follows Zarzar into a neutral corner and lands a jab, then a sharp left hook.  Zarzar is all anger and aggression.  Sands is coming forward, beginning to potshot his opponent.  Sands catches Zarzar bending forward and uppercuts him.  Zarzar lashes out and connects with a hard shot to the shoulder, and Sands raises his eyebrows.  Sands follows Zarzar into a corner (again) and lands a jab, then Zarzar grabs onto him and pushes him into the center of the ring.  Sands follows Zarzar ito a corner (again) and lands two punches of a flurry.  Zarzar is moving herky-jerky, like he’s exhausted.  Sands ducks a big left hook and the bell rings.

Round 3

Sands jabs forward and Zarzar explodes with aggression.  After a moment of clutching Zarzar throws a wild flurry full of attitude and anger.  There’s a clash of heads and Zarzar is cut in the corner of his right eye.  Sands is jabbing, jabbing, and finally follows with a right.  Both men throw left hands at the same time, and though Zarzar’s lands harder, Sands looks better.  Zarzar throws a left-right and both punches land.  Sands is cool and collected and continues to stalk.  Zarzar is trying to push his shorts down and Sands attacks, catching him by surprise.  Zarzar is gasping now, throwing one or two punches at a time instead of the extended flurries that characterized the early going.  Sands sharpshoots him and Zarzar clinches as the round comes to a close.

Round 5

Sands is following, Zarzar lunging for single punches now.  Sands is getting the better of it, being  more aggressive in the early part of round 5.  Zarzar backs into a corner for the umpteenth time and Sands pursues.  Zarzar looks absolutely exhausted, and Sands continues to follow, throwing more than he lands, but scoring occasionally.  Zarzar scores a single left, and the clock runs out on round 5.

Round 6

Zarzar comes out jabbing, but there’s nothing behind the jabs.  Sands continues to follow, using the formula that has worked so well thus far: follow Zarzar till he runs out of real estate, then connect with a one-two.  Sands lands a power shot to the body, then another to the  head, and Zarzar is wilting.  Zarzar is reeling, Sands picking his shots and beating him mercilessly.  Zarzar puts h is head down, with ten seconds to go comes back up and lands one wide left that lands flush and thrills the crowd.

Round 7

Referee Mark Nelson calls time and the doctor examines Zarzar’s bleeding eye.  The fight resumes and Sands comes forward – this time Zarzar doesn’t retreat but counters, and both men land.  There may also have been a clash of heads.  Sands continues to stalk, throwing one-twos, but he looks less fresh, and less balanced than he has looked.  Zarzar backs into the blue corner ropes and Sands catches up, throws a weak arm punch and then a stiff one-two that scores.  Zarzar lands a big single shot.  Sands comes forward and Zarzar catches him coming in, but Sands walks through it and scores another left-right.  Zarzar is bleeding from the nose.  Sands stumbles, but then keeps coming forward, landing more effective shots.  The bell rings and Zarzar sneers before returning to his corner.

Round 8

Zarzar comes right out, mauls Sands, and then lands a glancing left that sprays sweat into the air.  Sands is going downstairs-upstairs and though he looks tired and wobbly, and somewhat stiff-legged.  Sands chases again, Zarzar bends down, and Sands goes body-head, scoring with both.  Zarzar is throwing back, but Sands lands a big right that sends Zarzar stumbling backwards across the ring.  He rights himself in the ropes.  Zarzar is attacking, but his attack plays out and Sands catches him with a left to the temple.  Sands clobbers Zarzar and it looks like it’s all over, but somehow Zarzar keeps his feet even as Sands pummels him with more rising hooks.  Zarzar stumbles the entire width of the ring to his own corner, and referee Mark Nelson stops it.  Sands wins.

Ramiro Hernandez (now 9-0 with 7 kayos) defeats Nate Rubin (now 4-1 with 2 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (60-54, 59-55, 59-55) after 6 rounds.

Round 1

Hernandez opens the bout with some off-target jabs.  The fighters circle, and Hernandez lands a right to the ribs.  Rubin is inching forward, now inching back.  Hernandez scores again.  Rubin snaps a triple jab that connects.  Rubin is switching stances and moving.  Referee Miezwa warns Hernandez to keep his punches up, then pauses the action moments later to pull Rubin’s shorts up.  Now the fighters exchange in the center of the ring, neither man gaining an advantage.  Hernandez is trying to be fast and throw short punches, causing to short-arm several times.  Hernandez lands, and Rubin shakes his head dismissively.  Ten seconds to go, and Hernandez goes on attack, outlanding Rubin to close the round.

Round 2

Hernandez comes out aggressive, touching Rubin to the body and head.  Rubin comes forward but isn’t connecting.  There’s an exchange, and Rubin connects with a right hook.  Hernandez looks more polished.  Hernandez comes into range and Rubin connects with a good body shot.  Hernandez smiles as Rubin jabs him to the body.  Hernandez is moving in and out with alacrity, scoring with fast power shots.  Rubin jabs and Hernandez clinches.  Hernandez attacks and connects, but then Rubin holds his arm and throws a couple to the body.  Rubin connects with a left and a right to show he’s still in the fight, and round 2 ends.

Round 3

Both men are trying to out-quick their opponent.  Hernandez lands a left that rocks Rubin, but Rubin shows no concern and comes forward again.  Now they’re circling to the left, Hernandez inching forward.  More circling, Rubin keeping his hands low.  Hernandez with a left to the body.  Rubin connects to the head of Hernandez.  Hernandez is getting aggressive, and things are getting heated.  Rubin scores twice.  Hernandez snaps Rubin’s head back with a hard jab.  Rubin ducks and Hernandez scores with an uppercut.  The pace quickens with seconds to go in the round, but no significant punches are landed.

Round 4

Both men land jabs. Hernandez is punching from angles.  Rubin comes forward and scores with a left, then shoves Hernandez away.  Hernandez lands a jab, then misses with a crossing left.  Rubin is having trouble catching up with Hernandez’ speed.  Hernandez is having trouble landing clean punches. Hernandez comes forward, throws a flurry, and lands a right to the head of Rubin.  Rubin counters and lands the same. Hernandez attacks and scores with several power punches.  There’s a tactical lull, and Hernandez comes forward.  Rubin seems more comfortable inside, but he isn’t scoring enough to win when he gets there.  Round 4 ends with mauling and glancing blows from both men.

Round 5

Hernandez is being encouraged by his corner to come forward, and he endeavors to comply. Rubin lands a thudding right, but doesn’t follow it up and Hernandez seems unaffected.  Hernandez is coming forward and scoring.  Rubin ducks a punch but doesn’t counter – he has the elements to win, but isn’t putting them together.  Hernandez holds and hits but isn’t warned.  Hernandez attacks again and scores – not a lot, but more than Rubin.  Hernandez holds and hits again, and is warned this time by a scowling Gary Miezwa.

Round 6

Hernandez comes forward, misses a right, and retreats to the ropes.  Rubin scores with a single punch.  There’s an exchange, both fighters land, and Hernandez is warned again, this time for low punching.  Now Hernandez comes forward, Rubin retreats, and Hernandez chases.  Hernandez has trouble scoring as Rubin clutches and ducks.  Each man scores, but Hernandez outlands Rubin by 2-to-1.  Rubin lands a punch to the back of Hernandez’ head and is warned by ref Miezwa.  Rubin is looking for an opening, but he can’t fill it when he sees it.  Now Rubin scores a couple of times, then a third time…but Hernandez fights back with effective power shots.  The fighters are trading power shots for the last fifteen seconds or so of the final round, both men landing but neither man hurt.

Ve Shawn Owens (now 7-0 with 7 kayos) defeats Brandon Phillips Black (now 1-3) by TKO at 2:45 of round 2.

Round 1

Owens comes out with intent to end it early.  After some quick jabbing from both parties, Owens lands a one-two and then corners Black, trapping him in a corner and throwing a large number of punches in a very short time.  Black is hurt and on defense, and Owens gives chase, battering him all over the ring.  After a complete circuit of the ring Owens corners B Black again, but Black surprises by landing a single hard counter shot that causes Owens to pause for a moment.  But the pattern is set, and Owens spends the remainder of the bout chasing and throwing.  With about five seconds left in the round Black catches Owens again, but those are his only two good moments in the entire round.

Round 2

Black comes out standing up and jabbing.  Owens resumes stalking, and follows Black into the blue corner where he lands a number of big punches.  Black backs away again, eventually sneaking in two good counters.  Owens is shuffling forward, setting his feet, and throwing combinations – more leisurely now.  Owens catches Black on the ropes and lands three right hooks in a row.  Black looks alert though, and continues to look for opportunities to shoot back.  Owens looks in danger of punching himself out – can anyone sustain this pace?  Owens continues to attack, and referee Mark Nelson stops the bout at 2:45 of round 2.

Anthony Palmisano (now 2-0 with 2 kayos) defeats Ivey Nixon (now 1-2) by TKO at 1:58 in round 1 of 4 scheduled.

Round 1

The bout begins with aggressive work from both men.  Palmisano looks the stronger of the two, but Nixon looks slippery.  Palmisano is the aggressor, working with cool detachment and a serene face, Nixon looking to counter.  Mid-round Palmisano lands a single monster right that crumbles Nixon – Nixon collapses as if boneless.  A dazed Nixon  surprises everyone by rising to his feet, and though he’s wobbly, referee Gary Miezwa permits the fight to continue. The outcome is a forgone conclusion.  Palmisano pounds away at Nixon, who seems to need to fall but can’t, and finally Miezwa steps in and calls – it – Palmisano by TKO.

Delorean Caraway (now 10-1 with 5 kayos) defeats Gilbert Venegas (now 15-30-5 with 8 kayos) by Split Decision (54-56, 60-54, 59-55) in six rounds

Round 1

Caraway strikes first, landing a left-right-left to the body of Venegas.  After Caraway flurries a few times, Venegas responds with shots to the body.  Caraway is starting quicker tonight than the last time we saw him, intending to send a message.  Caraway is busy, throwing tons of power shots with impressive speed.  Venegas, however, is occasionally landing a big right hook to the head, when he can time Caraway.  This is an action round, and the fighters trade leather to the end.

Round 2

Caraway goes first again, landing a single jab, then throwing an extended combination.  Venegas is pursuing Caraway, but Caraway is alert and aggressive as he retreats.    Caraway is jab-jab-jabbing as he backs around the ring.  Venegas throws a few jabs, but he’s really looking for an opening for a big overhand right.  Caraway has a lightning fast jab, and he’s using it effectively.  Caraway goes to the body, and Venegas counters with a big single left to the head.  Another exchange, and Caraway is landing more frequently than Venegas.  Round 2 ends with ten seconds of tense inactivity.

Round 3

Caraway starts with three jabs, then three more.  NA single jab.  Caraway with a right-left to the body, then he looks to the head, and now he goes back downstairs.  Venegas is standing in there, shuffling forward, but unable to pull the trigger.  Venegas with a single jab.  Caraway throws a right and Venegas finally responds with three power shots.  Caraway scores again, then Venegas comes out of his shell and lands a nice combination to the head and body.  Venegas with a single right, but it’s a soft one.  Caway is backing up, leading Venegas all over the ring, pausing occasionally to sharpshoot him.  Venegas continues to come forward, but his punch output – though powerful – is low.  Venegas again lands a single soft right to the head, but follows with an effective flurry. Two hard jabs from Venegas cause Caraway to shake his head.

Round 4

Caraway starts the round with about ten fast, unanswered shots.  Caraway lands a glancing left that causes Venegas to wobble, only momentarily.  Venegas is stalking, but Caraway is leading with greater volume, power, and accuracy.  Finally Venegas throws a five punch combination that lands to the body of Caraway.  Caraway likes to throw that jab from a low position, and Venegas takes advantage, landing a hard right, but Caraway is wearing him down.  Venegas is tiring, but Caraway loks the same as he did in round one.  Venegas flurries to the body while Caraway simultaneously flurries to the head.  Caraway continues to lead Venegas on a chase, potshotting him as he retreats.

Round 5

Venegas throws the first punch of this round, but Caraway responds with a long, hard flurry.  Venegas is throwing single punches now.  Venegas lands, Carway counters and bounces backward.  Caraway misses with a series of jabs.  Venegas misses a right, and Caraway counters.  Caraway’s corner calls for more punches and Caraway obliges.  Referee Mark Nelson breaks ups a clinch.  Caraway lands a number of showy punches. Venegas backs hi into a neutral corner and connects with two or three hard body shots, but Caraway flutters away.  Venegas is coming forward, but he can’t catch Caraway.  Venegas lands one punch, Caraway counters with a single shot, and the bell rings.

Round 6

Venegas’ left eye is looking swollen.  Caraway starts the round with jabbing again, but Venegas stifles him.  Caraway throws a long combination, and finishes with a single head shot that freezes Venegas.  Venegas continues to come forward, and he can’t land.  Caraway looks the best I’ve ever seen him.  Caraway is talking to the crowd, then he ducks his head and clinches.  Venegas throws a one-one-two, but Caraway moves him with a hard counter.  Venegas comes forward, Caraway pummels him again.  Venegas doesn’t have the tools to catch up with Carraway’s speed and movement, but he’s dogged, and finally gets Caraway backed into a corner and lands a series of hard punches.  Caraway comes out of the exchange looking no worse, and goes back to work.  Ten seconds to go, and Venegas lands a single right, then both men trade punches to the bell.

Adrian Taylor (now 4-0 with 3 kayos) defeats Tristan James by UD (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) in four rounds.

Round 1

The first round begins with both men engaging in tactical exploration.   It doesn’t take long for the strength of Taylor to show, as he bulls, clinches, and pops James with impunity.    Taylor’s quick hands allow him to land straight punches that seem to shock and annoy James.  Mid-round the fighters get in close and James manages to get his hands under Taylor’s guard, and he throws a flurry of uppercuts, landing one in particular that makes Taylor flinch. The round ends as it began; Taylor scoring with more straight punches.

Round 2

James intends to come out jabbing, but Taylor gets inside in a hurry.  Taylor finds a target for his right hand on James’ face.  The bout is becoming less competitive, a Taylor is able to avoid James’ punches, which are quickly losing their steam.  Taylor lands a one-two to the body.  James responds by backing up with a sequence of ineffective jabs.  James clinches, and referee Gary Miezwa separates the combatants.  Taylor measures the distance with a stationary left hand, and James responds with a flurry that fails to impress.  Additional activity produces no action before the bell.

Round 3

James looks frustrated as the round begins.  Taylor jabs the head, then the body.  Taylor lands power shots to the body.  James is circling to his left, but Taylor’s crisper punching breaks his pattern and forces him to retreat again.  Taylor lands a hard jab, James responds with three punches that score.  James, the taller fighter, is trying to keep his distance, but Taylor is stalking him.  Taylor strikes James’’ ribs with a hard right that shudders James.  James comes forward throwing punches – Taylor’s corner shouts “I want pressure, don’t you dare go back!” and Taylor responds with a flurry of effective power shots.

Round 4

Taylor leads with a jab and then lands a huge straight right that impresses the crowd.  James dances around the ring, then comes forward with an aggressive rally.  Taylor lands a right-left-right that drives James backwards. Taylor is sharpshooting him now, scoring almost at wil.  James blocks a right and counters, but his punches are ineffective.  Taylor shuffles forward, measure the distance, and lands a short flurry that ends with another big right.  Now they’re mauling, and James puts his head down and bulls forward, pushing Taylor into the ropes in his own corner.  They return to the center of the ring and trade short power punches.  Taylor gets the better of the exchange, and they separate.  James is trying to score as the round comes to a close, Taylor counters sporadically and then ducks the remainder of James’ offensive output.

Boxing and Figure Skating

Quick, name a sport where the winner is determined by judges instead of by an objective scoring system.  If you said figure skating, you were right.  And if you said boxing, you were also right.

One of the great beauties of boxing is that it’s a one-on-one encounter, and either competitor can end it at any time, leaving absolutely no doubt about who’s the winner.  One of the great flaws of boxing is that if neither competitor is able to end it, the outcome is decided by judges.  Three of tonight’s boxing matches were decided by the judges, and in each case (Quinterio/Farmer, Amouta/Perzynski, Caraway/Rodriguez) there was a substantial contingent of fans and friends who were dissatisfied with the result.  This writer, in all candor, thinks that Farmer, Perzynski, and Rodriguez deserved the wins in those three bouts.

It’s risky business to make sweeping generalizations based on a small sample size, but Tony Palmisano looked like a promising up-and-comer tonight against MMAer BJ Lacy.  Palmisano is big, strong, and fast.  He’s also fit and good looking.  Of course one match doesn’t make a career, but give him a few more fights and Palmisano could become a fan favorite in Minnesota’s paper-thin cruiserweight division.

It was a heartwarming moment when RJ Laase, fresh from his one-round destruction of Jacob Fox, proposed to girlfriend Brittany Koller in the ring, in front of an enthusiastic and supportive crowd.  As you might expect, Laase was walking on air afterwards.  All talk was about desired rematches with Benito Tovar and Rondale Hubbert.  There were legitimate questions asked about the matchmaking between 12-3 Laase and 2-2 Fox, and perhaps those questions deserve to be answered, but for now, it’s easy to just be happy for such a talented and likable young man.

Veshaun Owens, you have been overlooked.  Coming into this bout you were 5-0 with 5 knockouts, but that was against dismal competition.  Tonight you faced a strong and difficult veteran in Romon Barber, and you dominated the match from beginning to premature end.  Is it time to move up to bigger and better things, Mr. Owens?  You made it clear that you think so when you asked for Mohammed Kayongo and Antonio Johnson in the near future.

Joe Amouta is an affable and likable man, and easy to cheer for.  Unfortunately I find myself the same position twice now, with young Amouta.  A year ago, on April 15th 2016, Amouta received an undeserved victory against George Carter Jr, and tonight he was gifted a split draw in a bout that it appeared he had clearly lost.  One onlooker argued earnestly that Amouta was displaying ring generalship and defensive mastery in this bout, when all I saw was a guy sucking wind and running.  I don’t mean to be unnecessarily harsh, and I know boxing is harder than it looks, but I thought that Travis Perzynski had thoroughly tamed Amouta in tonight’s bout.  I was astonished when the result was announced as a draw, and so was a very large and very vocal segment of the crowd.

It’s becoming clear by now that Delorien Caraway is a tremendous athlete with a limited repertoire.  Caraway is really good at loading up, springing lightning-fast attacks, and hurting opponents with limited numbers of unexpected punches.  Why does this work?  Because the punch that does the most damage is the one you didn’t see coming.  What happens, then, when Caraway faces an opponent who is calm, collected, and savvy enough to keep his eyes open and to anticipate the attack?  He’s stymied, that’s what happens.  Tonight Jerome Rodriguez was that calm, collected, and savvy opponent.  For unknown reasons the judges saw things differently, but to these eyes Rodriguez was the clear winner.