Truth in advertising, yeah.
If you follow the Minnesota boxing scene and if you pay attention to the promotion of fights, you know that the theme of tonight’s boxing event at Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen was “Tomorrow’s Champions.” Tonight the fighters lived up to that billing.
Tyler Hultin forced his opponent – his exhibition opponent, who was wearing headgear – to quit after just two rounds. More impressive, it wasn’t just that Jesse Lewis was being battered (though he was being battered) and it wasn’t just that Hultin was too quick for him (although Hultin was too quick). It was both of these factors and also the much-improved precision and technique that Hultin displayed tonight. Lewis is an imposing dude, strong and well put-together, and noticeably bigger than Hultin. But Hultin was by far the better man tonight. Too bad this fight didn’t count.
Jamal James was a very good amateur, but that doesn’t always translate into a very good pro. I’m here to tell you that Jamal James looks like a very good pro. His hands are blindingly fast, and he’s developing the kind of power that makes fast hands scary. James’ opponent tonight, Justin Danforth, is tough and aggressive. Sure, Danforth has only knocked out an opponent once in his 22-fight career, so you can discount that aspect of his game. But these eyes saw an impressive performance tonight, whoever the opponent. Jamal James is going to be a force in the junior welter and welterweight classes in the Midwest for years to come.
Javontae Starks – what can I say about Starks that everyone doesn’t already know? This melancholy youngster from Minneapolis made a spectacle of his fight, in a good way. Starks’ performance, brief though it was, revealed two things about him. First, Starks benefits from a wake-up call. We’ve seen it before; he likes to feel out his opponent a bit before going for the win. In his pro debut Starks let Dan Copp hang around for a whole round before blowing him out with a single body shot. Starks backed up to the ropes and let Alexis Gonzalez wail away on him before firing back and nailing Gonzalez. Tonight Starks backed up to the ropes again, giving Alexander Tousignant a free pass to attack the body, before momentarily separating Tousignant’s mind from his body. Second, Starks is a monstrously hurtful puncher. Some fighters are gifted from birth with the ability to throw a ridiculously powerful punch (Oscar De la Hoya’s left hook or Lennox Lewis’s overhand right come to mind), and Starks seems to be one of them. Every fight fan in the room involuntarily winced when Starks connected to Tousignant’s head tonight.