The title of tonight’s boxing event at Grand Casino Hinckley was “Cornered,” but the underlying theme seemed to be Risk and Reward. Several fighters were taking big big risks and hoping for great results – not all got what they were looking for.
Willshaun Boxley took on a 10-1 opponent from the East Coast, and it did not pay the dividends he was hoping for. Boxley is an extremely talented boxer with exceptional power and an engaging personality. He can still go far in boxing, but he’s going to have to dust himself off and start over. Boxley lost an important fight for a bad reason: inactivity. I thought that Willshaun was going to get the decision because his opponent was on the retreat for at least half of their bout. But he just didn’t generate enough offense to secure the win.
Caleb Truax fought a tentative and uncertain bout but still got the win against his most pedigreed opponent. Durrell Richards claims a 46-4 amateur record and carried an 11-2 pro record into his match with Truax. Combine Truax’s performance with Richards’ penchant for technical boxing, and you get a real snoozer. But a win is a win, and though some will say this fight proves that Truax isn’t ready for Andy Kolle, all it really proves is that Truax can beat Durrell Richards. Tack another win on Truax’s record and he’s still an undefeated prospect.
Phil Williams is obviously the big winner here. He put on a hair-raising display against a nationally-known opponent with lots of power. He took the punches he had to in order to deliver his best shots, and he got the big win. Not only that, but he got an enthusiastic endorsement from his vanquished foe. And not only that, but he got some great highlight footage to put in his portfolio. Williams saw his stock rise dramatically tonight, and as a result he might not have been bluffing when he said that he isn’t interested in Jungle Boy Zach Walters any more.
Marcus Oliveria, though he isn’t a hometown guy, deserves an honorable mention here. He fought the highest-profile opponent of his career in Otis Griffin, and he won in definitive fashion. He threw an uppercut that landed flush and was astonishingly effective against a tough and well-traveled pro. Oliveria’s stock rises for another reason, too – his win against Phil Williams last August will get him a lot more mileage tomorrow than it did yesterday.
Congratulations to Michael Faulk on his first professional win. Probably the first of many. I wanted to talk to my friend Sean Hickman about his young charge afterwards, but I couldn’t find him. Personal to Sean: Your man has respectable power and a good chin. But could you ask him please to not let future opponents hit him so easily?
I apologize to boxing fans who were following my round-by-round account of the fights. I was using a computer with a diminished battery that didn’t last like it should have. It must have been a comical (or exasperating) sight for those around me, as I kept darting for the power outlets after every fight (and during a couple of them as well). In addition I suffered some connectivity challenges that I haven’t had in previous visits to Grand Casino Hinckley. At one point I lost my connection completely and had to log back into the Grand Casino wireless system while a fight continued without me. Consequently two rounds worth of description disappeared into oblivion, never to be seen again. Hopefully this is a one-time thing.
I also want to apologize to Antwun Echols for the low-rent behavior of some local boxing fans. A few taunted him from the safety of the expensive seats, some even shouting foolishness like “Nigger keep your hands down.” Echols showed a lot more class than some of the fans at this event. I didn’t turn around to look when it happened, but I wonder whether the clown who splashed his drink on my back was one of these jerkwads.