7:17pm – I’m sitting ringside with Willshaun Boxley, and he’s filling me in on how the world works.
7:34pm – The lights go dim and the crowd begins to murmur.
First bout of the evening:
Patrick Cape (now 5-4 with 3 kayos) defeats Daniel Schlienz (now 7-16 with 4 kayos) by KO in round 3 of 4 scheduled.
Schlienz enters the ring first, accompanied by AC/DC. Cape follows to the strains of Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down.
The bout begins with both men demonstrating their elusivity. No punches landed in the first thirty seconds. Cape bounces a right off of Schlienz with no effect. Much feinting and ineffectual jabbing. An overhand right lands for Cape, now a soft left hook to the midsection of Schlienz. Another right. Now Schlienz walks into a right, and he begins bleeding from the nose. However, the expected aggression is generally lacking from both men. Schlienz back Cape near to a neutral a corner, but Cape punches his way out. Blood continues to flow from the nose of Schlienz, and another right hook lands for Cape. Cape is showing a tendency to duck and punch at the same time. Cape lands a right hook to the temple of Schlienz, and now a powerful right to the jaw. This round ends with Schlienz failing to land a single meaningful punch.
Schlienz comes out with intent, walking Cape down. Cape is poking out jabs. Schlienz lands his first hook of the fight, and the crowd says ‘Ooh.’ Schlienz back Cape into a corner, where Cape throws a power shot that buckles Schlienz’s knees, but the two tie up and Schlienz regroups. More pawing, and Cape catches Schlienz coming in. Cape lands a big right. A good right hook lands to Schlienz’s midsection, and he returns the favor to Cape. Cape lands a right hook to the ear of Schlienz, and now Schlienz is wide-eyed as he continues to stalk. Cape seems too quick for Schlienz, punishing him as Schlienz tries to come forward. Cape’s jab is coming on, Schlienz is becoming more tentative. Now Schlienz lands a right hook to Cape’s jaw. Cape is smiling as he surveys Schlienz’s bloody face. An exchange of soft hooks ends this round.
This third opens with much ducking and juking but few punches. Schlienz throws the first punch of the around about fifteen seconds in. Now Cape backs himself into a corner, then lands a right hook to Schlienz’ head. A right lands to the body of Schlienz, then a right lands to the body of Cape and a few seconds later a right to the jaw of Cape. Cape backs way back into a neutral corner and gets hit with a power shot, but he smiles and tries to pretend he didn’t feel it. Now Cape backs into Schlienz’s corner and lands a good right. Schlienz face is covered in blood. Schlienz lands a hook to the body of Cape and hurts him, but Cape still looks like the stronger man. Now a good right hook lands on Cape’s jaw. Cape backs into a corner again, but this time comes out with both guns blazing, lands a series of power shots on Schlienz, and Schlienz goes down hard, the back of his head slapping the canvas hard. Referee Gary Miezwa counts six, then stops the fight as Schlienz is clearly unable to sit up on his own.
Note: there seemed to be a bit of a rush to get Schlienz back on his feet before he was ready, and he wobbled back to his corner before plopping down on his stool. Schlienz seems okay as he leaves the ring, but hopefully he’ll receive some medical care and a reasonable suspension before he’s allowed in a ring again.
Second bout of the evening:
Gary Eyer (now 5-0-1 with 4 kayos) defeats Scott Robinson (now 3-9-1 with 2 kayos) by TKO in round 1 of 5 scheduled.
Scott Robinson enters the ring first, serenaded by some hippety hop music. I’m not a fan (of the music). Gary Eyer follows him in wearing his customary tie-dye outfit, serenaded by Culture Club’s ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ – this is Eyer’s signature ring-entrance tune.
Robinson rushes out to the center of the ring to engage, but Eyer lands the first punch. Robinson deserves some credit for his aggressiveness, as he lands three left jabs in quick succession while coming forward. Eyer bounces a monstrous right off of Robinson, but Robinson comes back with two good left hooks. Now Eyer rings Robinson’s bell with a huge right hook to the temple, and another power shot lands as Robinson rushes backwards across the ring. Both men still seem very confident, and neither respects the other’s power, but Eyer puts Robinson to the mat with several hooks and overhand punches. Robinson rises and after a mandatory eight count he lands a glancing left hook to the temple of Eyer – Robinson seems genuinely unhurt, despite what we just saw. Now Robinson lands a one-two, followed by a left hook to the body. Eyer’s right finds Robinson’s ribs, and Robinson seems hurt but does not go down. Eyer misses with a right and takes a Robinson punch to the face for his trouble. Eyer follows up with a series of strong shots that put Robinson down on his his knees, his head and upper body protruding through the ropes. Referee Mark Nelson is decisive in stopping the fight immediately, but Robinson, who seems very lucid, is incensed. Fight over.
Third bout of the evening:
Cerresso Fort (now 5-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Joshua Rodriguez (now 4-7 with 3 kayos) in round 4 of 6 scheduled.
Rodriguez enters the ring to some non-descript pop music. Fort is accompanied by a live rap performance by a black guy in Harry Caray glasses.
The round begins with Fort, visibly larger than Rodriguez, landing multiple right hands, but taking a forehead to the temple when he gets too free and easy coming in. Fort is confident to a fault, lunging and jumping forward as he throws. Things slow down a bit, and now both men are conservative in their movements. Fort lands a nice power shot, but Rodriguez is unmoved. Mark Nelson sends Rodriguez to a neutral corner and asks Fort’s corner to cut some loose tape from a mitt. Now Fort comes back out with a vengenace, landing repeated power shots to the head of Rodriguez, who looks aggravated but unhurt. Fort’s left jab is now landing with regularity. The two now begin circling, and Rodriguez catches Fort with a flurry as Fort attempts to come forward. Fort responds with tremendous aggression, landing a series of power shots that snap Rodriguez’s head back repeatedly. A lengthy lull at the close of the round ends with Fort landing a vicious right hook at the bell.
Fort’s greater reach is clear, and he uses it – but not to full advantage, as Rodriguez occasionally catches him with a lead or a counter. The two men trade in the center of the ring, Fort landing the last and hardest shot. Fort bounces on his toes and switches up his feet a couple of times, then hits Rodriguez with a strong hook. The two trade again, and again Fort comes out on top. Rodriguez’s posture is changing; he’s beginning to hunker down even as he comes forward. Fort lands a strong left hook, punching through his target, then does it again a few seconds later. the two are moving more slowly now, and referee Nelson isn’t running so much to keep good angles. In the last few seconds before the bell Fort lands two one-twos, and the round comes to an end.
The pattern that’s emerging is that Rodriguez can land a lead here and there, but Fort makes him pay every time. Fort pumps the jab a few times and it serves to emphasize how infrequently he’s been throwing it. Now Rodriguez lands a strong left hook, but it’s a single punch. Fort throws a hard straight right that puts Rodriguez up against the ropes and draws blood from his nose. Rodriguez continues to buy his offense at a heavy price, as Fort smears his blood around with lefts and rights. Fort covers up and allows Rodriguez to bounce a couple of power shots off his forearms, and and emerges after twenty seconds of relative inactivity to land about five good power shots that clearly hurt Rodriguez. A huge left jab to the face draws an audible grunt from Rodriguez. With five seconds to go Rodriguez opens up and for the first time in a while lands a few punches without eating any counters from Fort.
The combatants land simultaneous short rights, then commence to circling. Fort connects with another good left hook, Rodriguez a good shot of his own, and Fort a good right that would knock out a horse. Rodriguez backs into the ropes and takes a tremendous beating, Fort landing a series of six to eight power shots flush and undefended. Mark Nelson stops the fight just before Rodriguez takes a knee, and Rodriguez, knowing that the stoppage is good, spits his mouthpiece out with pronounced disappointment.
Fifth bout of the evening:
Brad Patraw (now 5-0 with 3 kayos) defeats Antwan Robertson (now 4-1 with 3 kayos) by unanimous decision after 6 rounds
The orchestral theme to Superman heralds Antwan Robertson’s ring entrance, and Robertson enters the ring in full Superman regalia, including a red cape. Wow – Antwan’s made a trip to the costume shop! Now Brad Patraw bounces out of the locker room with a full mohawk. In black stencil on the back of Patraw’s trunks is the word Kryptonite. Looking good, guys. The mood in this room is electric.
The two men rush out to the center of the ring and touch gloves, and Patraw immediately goes on the offensive, roughing Roberton up and forcing a clinch. Now the two begin to circle and feint. Robertson charges forward but in doing so forgets to throw a punch, then backs off and lands a jab. we have a clinch, some wrestling, and an angry warning from referee Gary Miezwa. Robertson seems not fully prepared to deal with Patraw’s aggressiveness. Now Patraw drops his right hand and swings it like a pendulum, daring Robertson to clock him. It may be a little early for that, Brad. The two are jabbing, ducking, and showboating. Patraw lands a hateful right hook to the body of Robertson and Robertson follows ten seconds later with a straight right that throws Patraw off balance. Patraw corners Robertson and lands a single right to the body. As the round draws to a close Patraw chases Robertson down and lands a few more single punches, including one to the chin.
Patraw hurries out and immediately lands a single right jab, and Robertson is on the retreat again. Robertson is trying to out-quick and out-clinch Patraw, and lands a major right hook to the head. Patraw responds with vigor. Robertson does it again, landing another single right hook. Patraw throws two punches to the back of Robertson’s head and is warned. Now Robertson is smiling, and it looks more like glee than show. Patraw lands another punch to the back of Roberton’s head, unseen by the referee. Patraw corners Robertson and lands a good right hook, but that’s it for offense. Robertson lands a straight right, again a single punch. Robertson is boxing, Patraw is rushing in with aggression. Miezwa puts a pause to the action so Patraw’s shoelace can be retied, and everyone in the crowd is shouting insructions to both fighters. Patraw chases Robertson down throwing jabs that don’t land, then puts a right hook into Robertson’s ribs just before the round ends.
The pace is beginning to slow in this one. Patraw lands a wide left and a wide right, then lands a stinging right to Roberton’s ribs. Robertson fights back in anger, landing two fierce hooks, then taunts Patraw. Patraw is incensed, but tones things down and throws several jabs to the body. A winging left hook lands for Patraw, then a jab to the face. Robertson is doing a good job of protecting his body, and the two clinch again, ending in a wrestling match and an intervention by Miezwa. Robertson has his right hand at his waist, Patraw drops his left. Single punches are landing, and Robertson puts his head down and bulls forward. Patraw puts Robertson in a headlock, angering the crowd. Now Patraw batters Robertson into a corner, allows him to escape, chases him down again, and lands a couple of vicious hooks in the opposite corner of the ring. Bell, and the round is over.
Robertson lands a right and then throws his first three-punch combination of the fight. Patraw is content to follow for a time, then corners Robertson and hurts him there. Robertson escapes and runs, but is caught and hurt again. Robertson appears distressed. Patraw’s speed and technique are overcoming Robertson’s athleticism and taunting. This round is going decisively in Patraw’s favor, and he begins to taunt Robertson by hanging his face out to be hit. Robertson is unable to pull the trigger. Exiting a clinch without the referee’s direction Robertson lands a good right to Patraw’s head, and the two circle and stare for the remainder of the round.
Patraw lands a left hook. Robertson is warned to keep his punches up, I did not see the cause for this warning. Patraw is stalking, Robertson is retreating. Patraw’s face is now expressionless as he is focused on his goal. Miezwa pauses the fight again so that Patraw’s shoelace can be retied…again. Do they offer a course in shoe-tying in the St Paul public schools? Patraw lands a strong hook to Robertson’s head. Robertson is very athletic but seems to lack direction in the ring. Robertson lands a huge right hook which causes Patraw to grin. You know what a grinning fighter means – it means that hurt. Patraw continues to press the action, and Robertson flinches at a feint for the first time as the round draws near its end. Patraw lands two combinations that make Robertson grin, and the bell sounds.
The early action in round six is nonstop and exciting. Robertson obviously knows that he needs an knockout to win, and he is going for broke. About midway throught the round there’s a lull in the action, and then Patraw fires back with three hooks that land. Robertson has decided to retreat, but the ropes stop him and he’s caught again. Robertson tries to spin out of a clinch and Patraw manages to halt his right hook before it lands to the back of Antwan’s head. Patraw has Robertson hurt now, and with blood in the water he’s going for the kill. Robertson is getting backed up and hurt, and he has no answer for Patraw. Now a wicked Patraw left hook lands at the ten seconds warning, and Patraw charges forward, does a high-stepping dance, and lands a couple more power shots at the final bell.
Fifth and final bout of the evening:
Main Event: Andy Kolle (now 18-2 with 13 kayos) defeated Anthony Bonsante (now 32-11-3 with 18 kayos) by TKO in round 3 of 10 scheduled, to take away Bonsante’s Minnesota middleweight championship.
After two well-performed anthems (tribal and national), the entrances are delayed by an apparent altercation in the crowd. What was that I said about a charged atmosphere? Kolle’s signature ring-entrance music begins and the crowd erupts. Kolle enters the ring in a shiny black plastic ensemble, shirt and shorts. He brings an entourage with him, and they play to the crowd for a good two minutes as the music blares. Now Bonsante’s contingent screams for their man as he approaches the ring to Sammy Kershaw’s I Got It Honest. Something you don’t see every day: each man has his own announcer – Greg Lowe for Kolle, Dan Cole for Bonsante.
And they’re off. Kolle starts pumping the right jab early, Bonsante takes a moment to get going. First punch to land is a left jab from Kolle to Bonsante’s midsection. The crowd begins to chant for Kolle, and Kolle lands a stiff left jab to Bonsante’s gut. Bonsante charges in for the first time tonight but is unable to get inside. Another try results in Kolle’s right elbow contacting Bonsnate’s nose, but no evident damage is done. Kolle continues to jab and Bonsante is moving backward. Now Bonsante lands a right hook and chases Kolle into a corner but departs without getting inside. The two trade jabs from the outside, but neither is landing effectively. Now Bonsante lands his first earnest punches of the night, a couple of angry right hooks, and the two clash and trade. Bonsante is unable to stay inside for long, and the round ends with Kolle splashing another jab into Bonsante’s face.
Bonsante lands a left jab to Kolle’s face, then gets inside and lands wide hooks to both sides of Kolle’s ribcage. A clinch devolves into a Bonsante headlock, but the two part ways. The two trade briefly, and Bonsante gets the better of it. Bonsante is having some success with hooks to the body, but he leaves himself open and Kolle lands a strong left to his face. Bonsante gets inside again and surprises Kolle with a left hook to the face. Now Kolle is closing the distance, and that’s to Bonsante’s advantage. Another left lands to Kolle’s head, and he responds with a three punch combination that misses completely. Another three-punch combo also misses for Kolle. Kolle is having trouble landing the jab, Bonsnate gets inside then stands up, briefly lifting Kolle off his feet. Bonsante is tagged with a combination of three hard hooks to the face as the round ends, and he walks back to his corner looking annoyed.
Early on it’s all Bonsante, but then the two begin to trade and Kolle lands several good hooks that hurt Bonsante. The two circle and trade, then Kolle lands a hook that stuns Bonsante and a straight left that puts him out cold. Referee Mark Nelson begins to count as Bonsante lies prone on his stomache with his butt in the air, and Bonsante suddenly comes to and rises to his feet. After the mandatory eight-count Bonsante is unable to continue, and the fight is waved off! Nelson stops the bout at 1:37 of the third round, and Minnesota has a new middleweight champion!
Conclusion: Bonsante grabs the microphone and graciously announces that Kolle is a good kid and hit him with a good left. Bonsante says that he had a good run as state middleweight champ and that if he had to lose his title to anyone, he’s glad it was Kolle. For his part, Kolle dedicates his win to the people of Fargo-Moorhead and asks that folks volunteer in the ongoing flood fight.
The crowd here tonight was great, and no matter who you supported, you should be glad for the great turnout, exciting atmostphere, and compelling bouts.
Note: Referee Mark Nelson explains his decision to stop the fight: “I almost told Bonsante to walk toward me, but then instead I decided to ask him a question. I asked him if he was ready to continue and he said ‘No.’ I asked him again, are you ready to continue? And he said ‘No” again. Bonsante is an old pro and I’ve worked his fights before, and he knows what I expect of him. I could have waved it off but I wanted to give him every opportunity to continue, and he wasn’t ready to go. So I stopped it.