Tag Archives: Andy Kolle

The Best of Minnesota Boxing: 2010

It’s almost time to close the door on 2010, but before we do, let’s talk about the Best, worst, and most remarkable moments of the last year.  I don’t know whether anyone – fan, media, or official – has been to all the pro boxing shows in Minnesota in 2010.  The most likely candidate for that achievement would be Jesse Kelley of Minnesotaboxing.com.  But I’ve been fortunate to attend many of them.  This year’s “Best Of” awards are based partly on media reports and partly on word of mouth, but mostly on my own eyes.

Rules:  A fighter is eligible for consideration if he’s from Minnesota, regardless of where his fights have taken place or who he was fighting.  A fight is eligible if it took place in Minnesota or if one or both of the combatants was a Minnesotan.

Knockout of the Year

Javontae Starks TKO1 Alexander Tousignant on May 22nd at Shooting Star Casino – Starks displayed his preternatural punching power in this springtime bout in Mahnomen.  For not the first time in his career, Starks started slowly, allowing his opponent to take some free shots while Starks leaned back on the ropes.  I have no idea why he does that.  But then Starks let his left hand fly and sent Tousignant reeling.  Taking advantage of Tousignant’s vulnerable state, Starks flattened him with one more punch, and though Tousignant did somehow make it back to his feet before he could be counted out, referee Mark Nelson had no choice but to stop the fight.

Honorable mention: Andy Kolle TKO1 Darryl Salmon, Joey Abell TKO2 Josh Gutcher, Andy Kolle KO1 Francisco Ruben Osorio

Fight of the Year

Tony Lee UD4 David Laque on December 18th at Target Center in Minneapolis – Lee dominated the early going and looked to have Laque outclassed after two rounds.  But Laque refused to be worn down, and after scoring with a nice combination in the third, managed to bloody Lee’s nose before the round ended.  The fourth and final round showcased each man’s best attributes: Lee’s volumes of crisp and accurate punching versus Laque’s grit and determination.  This one turned into a real crowd-pleaser.

Honorable mention:  Caleb Truax SD10 Phil Williams, Corey Rodriguez and Charles Meier 6-round draw in which each man is knocked down once,  Ismail Muwendo RTD5 David Laque

Worst Moment of the Year

Matt Vanda’s suspension revealed in the morning on the day of his scheduled main event bout with Phil Williams – This episode hurt everyone involved.  Vanda looks unprofessional for failing to apprise the state commission of his true status, Williams is cheated out of a bout that he both wanted and needed, the commission looks inept for not knowing that Vanda had been suspended in New Jersey and was ineligible to fight in Minnesota, and both the promoter and the venue failed to notify the fans that the Main Event was no longer an officially sanctioned bout until the fans were in the building.  Some of these criticisms may turn out to be unfounded, but the appearance of wrongdoing can be as damaging as the reality.

Dishonorable mention:  Jon Schmidt and Josh Crouch are forced into a No-Contest due to a nasty cut caused by a clash of heads in round 4 of 6 scheduled.

Best Moment of the Year

If you were smart enough and lucky enough to buy a ticket while they were available, you saw the remarkable fruit of a remarkable labor when the brand new Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame honored its first class of inductees at Jax Cafe in northeast Minneapolis on October 12th.  This event, and the effort that it signifies, will have a more significant and lasting impact on the boxing scene in Minnesota than any boxing match or fight card we’ve seen in the last year.  The event was granted more coverage by the local media than they would ever give to an actual fight – even an important one – but maybe in the spirit of the moment we should be thankful for the attention given rather than resentful of perceived slights.

Honorable mention: Jason Litzau’s big win – read the next item!

Upset of the Year

Jason Litzau SD10 Celestino Caballero on November 27th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – Though it’s true that some local fans were predicting a Litzau victory based on a variety of factors (styles, weight classes, body types, Litzau’s commitment to the sport), the underlying factor is undeniably homerism.  Anyway, it’s the Vegas odds that count, and by various accounts Litzau was a 12-1 or 15-1 underdog when he stepped into the ring.

Honorable mention: Hector Orozco UD6 Jeremy McLaurin, Bobby Kliewer SD8 Anthony Bonsante, Christopher Martin SD10 Chris Avalos

Best Performance on the Road

Jason Litzau SD10 Celestino Caballero on November 27th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – It’s been reported by enough sources just how Litzau did it, but what’s most important for boxing fans in Minnesota – in the Upper Midwest as a whole – is that one of our own went out on the road and won the big one.  This win was the biggest road triumph for an Upper Midwest boxer since Will Grigsby beat Victor Burgos for the IBF Light Flyweight title in 2005.  That contest, interestingly, was also hosted by the MGM Grand.  Keep an eye on that venue, fight fans.

Honorable mention: Jason Litzau TD7 Rocky Juarez

Prospect of the Year

Ismail Muwendo (7-0 with 6 kayos) – The lithe young Ugandan billed as the “Sharp Shooter” has his sights set on the big time.  He has already come a long way, but his destiny as a prizefighter is only partly in his hands – like any fighter, his career will be influenced by outside forces including (but not limited to) frequency of boxing shows in the local market, the performance of manager and trainer Scott Tolzmann, his own health, cash flow within the industry, and other factors.  Based on the part of the equation that Muwendo can control – his performance in the ring – his future looks very, very promising.

Honorable mention: Tony Lee, Jamal James, Gary Eyer

Boxer of the Year

Jason Litzau (28-2 with 21 kayos) – Litzau’s metamorphosis from an irrepressible brawler with untapped potential into a legitimate contender at the worldwide level is the biggest and best news in Minnesota boxing in 2010, though it didn’t all happen just in the last twelve months.  One attestation of Litzau’s transformation is the fact that the man who started his career with 14 straight KO or TKO wins and once sported a record of 20-0 with 18 kayos has now gone four bouts without putting away an opponent.  Litzau has embraced the virtue of winning his fights by any possible means, even if that means substance over style.

Honorable mention: Andy Kolle


Minnesota Boxing: 2010 Year-End Pound-for-Pound List

The sport of boxing doesn’t often reward its devotees’ loyalty and emotional investment by producing yearned-for matches.  As a result, the greater part of being a boxing fan is speculating whether, all things being equal, one fighter could best another fighter in the ring.  That’s where pound-for-pound lists come in.

Here are the Fistic Mystic’s rankings of Minnesota’s best fighters regardless of weight class.  Last year’s ranking for each ranked fighter is in parenthesis following his record.  Unranked fighters are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Jason Litzau – 28-2 with 21 kayos (1) – This spot was occupied by Litzau a year ago, and this year Litzau has widened the margin between number one and everyone else.  Since the 2009 rankings Litzau has added two more good wins to his ledger: a technical decision win against Rocky Juarez and a split decision (which should have been a wide unanimous decision) over Celestino Caballero.  No other Minnesota boxer can claim one so prestigious a win in 2010, much less two.
  2. Andy Kolle – 23-2 with 17 kayos (2) – Kolle maintains his position in the P4P rankings this year by virtue of style, rather than substance.  Though Kolle went 4-0 this year with two first-round TKOs, none of his wins came against substantial opponents.  The best of the four wins was a lopsided decision win against Matt Vanda in April, but Kolle had already defeated Vanda (albeit in less decisive fashion) back in 2007.  Kolle gets to keep his spot, but like all of Andy Kolle’s admirers, I’m hoping for something bigger and better in 2011.
  3. Caleb Truax – 16-0-1 with 10 kayos (6) – After fighting five times in 2008 and another five times in 2009, Truax began to experience the typical deceleration of career progress that many prospects encounter when they become known; it becomes more difficult to get them fights that are winnable, useful, and profitable.  So management has to be more selective, and fights become less frequent.  Since last spring it’s been well known that Minnesota boxing mainstay Matt Vanda would like a shot at Truax, and that would be one of the biggest events that the Upper Midwest boxing scene could produce in the next year.
  4. Joey Abell – 27-4 with 26 kayos (7) – The fighter called “Minnesota Ice” benefits from some shuffling in the rankings this year.  Abell didn’t do anything wrong in 2010, but he didn’t fight very much.  The fights he did have went according to plan; Abell dispatched overweight journeyman Josh Gutcher in the 2nd round in April and then avenged a loss by punishing Arron Lyons for four rounds in July.  Abell’s fans look forward to a career-defining moment on January 28th, when he’s schedued to meet former world title contender Chris Arreola in Temecula, CA.  With a win Abell could find himself finally making waves at the national level.
  5. Phil Williams – 11-3-1 with 10 kayos (5) – The banger from North Minneapolis didn’t have a great year, fighting only twice and going 0-1-1 in 2010.  Williams’ performance against 18-0-1 Donovan George in January was disappointing, but his April performance against Caleb Truax was more encouraging.  Truax piled up the early rounds but Williams came on late, scoring with heavy shots and looking like the stronger man in the last two rounds of the bout.  In a development that must have been hard for Williams to swallow, he had a third fight scheduled for December 18th but it fell out at the last possible moment when his opponent, Matt Vanda, was found to be under suspension in New Jersey, hence ineligible to fight in Minnesota.  The bout was changed from a prizefight to an exhibition, and reduced from ten rounds to six.
  6. Matt Vanda – 43-12 with 23 kayos (4) – Some fight fans think that Vanda is slipping.  I’ll reserve judgement for now, but I will point out that Vanda was only 1-3 this year, and that one win didn’t come against a great fighter.  If it turns out that Vanda’s career really is winding down, that’ll be too bad for local fight fans.  Few professional boxers exude more joy for the sport of boxing than Vanda – the pleasure that Vanda demonstrates in plying his craft reminds me of Johnny Tapia in terms of being a guy who just seems to love to fight.  On the other hand, one local boxing authority has privately expressed to me a fear that Vanda will “end up tragic.”  Whether Vanda’s failure to disclose his true professional status to the promoters of the December 18th show at Target Center is a step in that direction or merely an instance of profoundly poor judgement remains to be seen.
  7. Wilton Hilario – 12-2-1 with 9 kayos (3) – Hilario’s career trajectory illustrates just how difficult it is to rise and how easy it is to fall in the boxing world.  After going 0-2 in 2010 Hilario has seen his stock fall precipitously.  Hilario’s loss to Martin Honorio exposed some serious flaws in Hilario’s game, and his subsequent loss to Cuban prospect Luis Franco showed that Hilario is a slow (or reluctant) learner.  The good news for Hilario: nope, there is no good news yet.  If he’s serious about his boxing career Hilario needs to do some fast learning and get a couple of rebuilding wins.  If not, there are some nice paydays out there for a fighter with a record like his.  Now I don’t want to be unfair to a good fighter, so I will point out that Hilario’s two losses came to very tough competition – Luis Franco in particular is looking very good right now.
  8. Ismail Muwendo – 7-0 with 6 kayos (-) In hindsight, Muwendo should have been on this list a year ago.  My bad.  The “Sharp Shooter” is a real talent, a young man who has impressed in the prizefighting ring and earned the respect of other fighters in the sparring ring.  Muwendo reportedly sparred with Jason Litzau three or four times before Litzau’s defeat of Celestino Caballero, to the benefit of both men.  Expect to see Muwendo fight at the Hyatt on January 7th, provided an opponent can be located.
  9. Gary Eyer – 8-0-1 with 6 kayos (14) – Are you surprised to see Eyer rise so far in this year’s rankings?  To be perfectly honest, so am I. Eyer only fought once in 2010, but it was a dazzling 2nd-round win against Brad Patraw, who has since reclaimed the Minnesota bantamweight strap that he had previously lost to Antwan Robertson.  In that lone bout this year Eyer battered Patraw unmercifully, to the point that the only people in attendance who protested the stoppage were Patraw and his trainer, Johnny Johnson of the Rice Street Gym.  Eyer’s size (he formerly fought as a welterweight but has worked his way down to super featherweight) and his power have made him rather an unattractive match, but his manager Todd Bechthold and trainer Chuck Horton are too smart to bet so much hard-earned momentum on a risky opponent.  Eyer’s next fight is scheduled for February 12th, but no opponent has been announced yet.
  10. Corey Rodriguez – 5-1-2 with 3 kayos (10) – That Corey Rodriguez could maintain his position on the P4P chart after going 1-0-2 in 2010 owes something to the quality of his in-ring competition.  Rodriguez fought only once during 2009, losing a close decision to unbeaten Dave Peterson in Rochester.  C-Rod didn’t fight again for nine months after the loss, then packed three fights into five months.  Moving up to middleweight to face Charles Meier, a very respectable boxer and a bigger man than Rodriguez, Rodriguez got a majority draw.  Traveling to Cleveland to fight unbeaten Ohioan Dante Moore resulted in another draw.  Finally, Rodriguez made the trip up I-94 to Fargo and came within a whisker of knocking out tough journeyman Nick Runningbear, earning himself a wide unanimous decision win.
  11. Cerresso Fort – 10-0 with 8 kayos (17) – That an undefeated prospect like Mr. Fort could be ranked lower than Corey Rodriguez owes something to the quality of his competition, as well.  Fort seemed poised for good things as 2009 came to a close, though a close fight with Lamar Harris may have (should have) struck a note of foreboding in the hearts of supporters.  But in 2010 Fort fought only once, earning a unanimous decision in a four-rounder against 3-8 opponent Steve Macomber in California.  That’s it.
  12. Willshaun Boxley – 6-7-1 with 4 kayos (13) – Sometimes an athlete’s struggles against tough competition can establish the level of his talent even as he tallies a loss.  Consider Boxley a case in point.  Boxley’s record in 2010 was a dismal 1-4-1.  The cumulative record of his opponents, however, was 54-3.  Not only that, but at least one of Boxley’s losses (against Pier Olivier Cote) was an egregious miscarriage, booed by the fans and mocked by the television broadcast crew.  Fortunately, Boxley ended the year on a better note, ending an 8-fight winless streak with a win in Canada and then earning a draw against 15-1 John Jackson at Target Center.  Boxley is still as talented now as when he was 5-0.
  13. Dave Peterson – 12-0 with 7 kayos (8) – Missing in action for an entire year, Peterson is an enigma.  Eventually he’ll probably cash in on his record for a nice payday or two against impossible opponents.  Else he’ll retire undefeated.  Either outcome would be disappointing for Minnesota’s boxing fans.
  14. Mohammed Kayongo – 15-2 with 11 kayos (9) – Here’s another fighter who hasn’t been seen or heard from in a year.  This lanky welterweight seemed to be in a good place when he TKO’d James Todd at the Saint Paul National Guard Armory in November of 2009.  Since then his name has come up a couple of times as a possible opponent for bigger names, but nothing has developed, and Kayongo and former manager Scott Tolzmann have parted ways.
  15. Jon Schmidt – 10-1 with 6 kayos (-) – Schmidt fought just twice in 2010: a no contest against 6-1 Josh Crouch in June when Schmidt suffered a bad cut, and a points win against dangerous but limited opponent Ryan Soft in October.  Schmidt will take a major step up when he faces 10-0 former Olympian Shawn Estrada on the undercard of the Abell-Arreola event on January 28th in California.  Schmidt’s career has been undistinguished so far, but the young man with a reputation of a workout fanatic has a great opportunity to shine.  All of Minnesota should be pulling for Schmidt when the time comes.
  16. Javontae Starks – 4-0 with 4 kayos (18) – Young Starks has looked like a monster in the ring when he’s fought, but his opposition hasn’t been great and he has pulled out several fights in the last year.  Now it looks like Starks has severed ties with his original promoter, MSC, and is appearing on the January 7th card presented by Tony Grygelko’s Seconds Out Promotions.  Only time will tell what the future holds for this talented youngster.  If he had been more active this year, Starks would surely have advanced further up the P4P list than he did.
  17. Vicente Alfaro – 4-1 with 1 kayo (-) – A year ago only the most obsessive fight fans in Minnesota knew of Alfaro, but now he’s the owner of wins against Brad Patraw and former Olympian Ron Siler.  Alfaro also suffered his first loss in November, reportedly a one-sided beating at the hands of 11-0 Efrain Esquivias Jr in Ontario, CA.  Nevertheless, Alfaro remains nicely positioned to fight local small men like Antwan Robertson, Derek Winston, Gary Eyer, or even Ronnie Peterson.
  18. Brad Patraw – 7-3 with 4 kayos (12) -Patraw, fighting out of the Rice Street Gym, had an uneven 2010.  First he lost badly to Gary Eyer in April, then he faced off against Vicente Alfaro and lost a second straight fight by 2nd-round TKO (his third consecutive loss overall).  Finally, on December 18th, Patraw stopped his skid with a unanimous decision win in the rubber match between him and Antwan Robertson.  The win against Robertson was a carbon copy of the first fight between the two, which Patraw dominated.  Patraw has big ambitions, but he might be wise to use the Minnesota bantamweight title strap as an inducement to make fights with other local small men before trying to move up on a national level.
  19. Jamal James – 3-0 with 3 kayos (-) – With Javontae Starks seemingly out of the picture, you can expect MSC to push Jamal James as the next big thing in Minnesota boxing.  And why not?  James is a talented technical boxer who seems to have found power to go with his speed, precision, and slickness.  The junior welterweight from south Minneapolis also has a quirky personality.  Watch him bow and flourish in the ring before a fight and try not to smile!
  20. Hector Orozco – 3-6 with no kayos (-) – 2010 was Orozco’s best year as a pro.  As the new year dawned Orozco’s record was 1-4.  Orozco’s 2010 unfolded this way: first Orozco lost controversially to unbeaten Jeremy McLaurin, a stoppage due to a cut that was ruled a TKO.  In a rematch with McLaurin, though, Orozco befuddled his 7-0 opponent and took the win.  Next Orozco was rematched with 3-0 welterweight Danny Figueroa, by whom he had been beaten in a technical decision in 2009, and gained another win.  Finally, Orozco would take a loss to end up at 2-2 for the year courtesy of the blinding speed and punishing power of 6-0-1 prospect Michael Anderson.  The remarkable thing about Orozco is that all three of his wins have been against unbeaten fighters (Figueroa, McLaurin, and in 2009, RJ Laase).  In fact, the cumulative records of all of Orozco’s opponents at the time that he fought them was 37-7-1.  How good would this guy be if he were more selective of his opponents and a little more lucky in the ring?

Missed the cut:

Scott Ball – The middleweight from Rochester lost his only bout in 2010, to Marcus Upshaw, to go to 10-7 with 8 knockouts.

Anthony Bonsante – Came out of retirement to fight Bobby Kliewer after 20 months of inactivity.  Dealing with some stress in his personal life, Bonsante had hoped for a cathartic experience.  Instead he got a tough fight and was handed a humbling loss by a club fighter.

Raphael Butler – Only fought once in 2010, was outpointed by Canadian heavyweight prospect Neven Pajkic.  Butler felt he had earned the win and been cheated, but what losing fighter doesn’t think that?

Levi Cortes – After bursting on the scene with a gutsy performance against Gary Eyer a year ago, Cortes has been missing in action.

Danny Figueroa – This Hastings-based fighter is a genuine talent, but only fought once in 2010, losing to Hector Orozco.

Kenny Kost has reportedly been seen in the gym recently.  Kost, who hasn’t fought since losing to Hector Camacho Jr in the spring of 2008, should be expected to require a tuneup bout before getting into any serious scrap.

Tony Lee – Two fights into his professional career Tony Lee has an unblemished record.  His first fight, a win against Hector Orozco, I saw and was not too impressed.  His second fight, an all-action victory against scrappy David Laque, I didn’t see, but Lee got good reviews from everyone who saw it.  I expect good things from Lee in 2011, and you should too.

Antonio Johnson isn’t officially retired as far as anyone knows, but has only fought three times in the last three years, so what’s the difference?  Johnson hasn’t been seen or heard from professionally since notching his first loss (to Francisco Santana) in March of 2009.

Bobby Kliewer had lost four in a row and eight out of nine before shocking Anthony Bonsante in December.  That’s not to say that Kliewer is a bad fighter; the book on “Sweet Dreams” is that he’s a short notice opponent for good prospects.  A couple of wins in 2011 would get this young (23 years old) veteran a ranking a year from now.  He only just missed the cut this year.

Allen Litzau – I refer back to the elder Litzau’s entry from last year: “not a bad fighter, but no big wins in several years.   I’m hoping to see Allen fight and win several times in 2010.” There’s been serious talk of matching Litzau and Gary Eyer in Duluth.  Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Jeremy McLaurin fought three times in 2010, winning controversially against Hector Orozco, losing a rematch with Orozco, and winning impressively against 3-0 Joel Flores of Michigan.  I don’t know what to make of McLaurin.  He’s a likeable young man and a talented boxer, but I’m not sure he has the chin of a good prizefighter.  McLaurin has a lot of options, so expect to see him gain a couple of wins and get tested in the new year.

Jonathan Perez just turned pro a couple of weeks ago.  It’s too soon to give him a ranking, but with some good wins we could see him make a splash.  Having a promotional deal with MSC doesn’t hurt.

Antwan Robertson suffered through a 1-3 campaign this year, his only win coming against 0-1 William Bellcourt.  Robertson is a tremendous athlete, but that athleticism hasn’t consistently translated into success in the ring.

Derek Winston has only fought twice since turning pro in October of 2009, both times taking wins against difficult opponents, but has yet to show the kind of potential that built him a reputation as an amateur.  A cousin of Antwan Robertson,  Winston has talent and access to good sparring.  Some say that Winston is a better boxer than Robertson.  With a little luck and some more favorable matching, 2011 could be Winston’s year to make some noise.

Q&A – Andy Kolle

Junior middleweight Andy Kolle recently answered a few questions for the Fistic Mystic.

Fistic Mystic: You’re coming off of a second consecutive first-round TKO win, with both of them coming on the undercards of ShoBox events.   I reported from that event that your opponent, Francisco Osorio, hit you with some good shots and forced you to walk through his power to put him away. Please give the readers your take on how that fight unfolded.

Andy Kolle: In the fight with Osorio, I came out and tried to establish my jab and make this fight more about boxing rather than going right after him.  The jab made him move into my power hand and I dropped him with a left hand that kinda hit him in the back of the head (completely unintentional, but he turned his head as I threw the punch and it was too late).  When he got up I think he was a little pissed because he came at me swinging.  During this time he got me up on the ropes but I was able to slip and block most of his shots. A few got through but I got off the ropes asap.  When I got back to the center of the ring he came right at me again, however; I wasn’t gonna let him get me out of my game and I just picked and countered his shots and landed a big left hook right on the chin and that was it!

Osorio crumbled in just under a round.

Osorio crumbled in just under a round.

Fistic Mystic: Have you or your team gotten any feedback from network people or boxing industry people following those consecutive one-round wins?

Andy Kolle: Yeah, the phone has been ringing off the hook but all the fights are at 160 and I am committed to staying at 154 as long as I can.  The showtime people seemed interested but at the same time they don’t make the fights.  But I am confident that something will come together early next year.

Fistic Mystic: It must have been special fighting so close to to your home town of Fergus Falls for the first time in several years.

Andy Kolle: It was great! The timing of the event was not the best considering it was opening deer hunting in Minnesota.  That might not matter in other states, but in Minnesota that is a big weekend!  The fans in that area have always been so gracious to me and it is a great feeling.

Fistic Mystic: You told me nearly three years ago that you were open to fighting in the junior middleweight class. Now you’ve officially made the move down from 160 pounds to 154. That doesn’t seem to bode well for you to get matched with Caleb Truax [middleweight Truax, from Osseo, is 16-0-1 with 10 kayos].   Do you have any desire or intent to defend your Minnesota middleweight title again?  If you didn’t plan to defend it would you announce that you’re vacating it?

Andy Kolle: Honestly winning that title was huge for me because of how I earned it. Titles are titles and they are a great thing to have, but they are not the only thing in boxing. I think the best thing for me and my career is to stay at 154 pounds and keep trying to push out onto the national scene. I don’t think that any MN vs MN fight is gonna further my career in the national direction.

Fistic Mystic: There have been rumors that you’ve turned down offers to fight some name guys at middleweight. If true, those rumors seem to show that you’re serious about your new weight class. Are the rumors true?

Andy Kolle: The rumors are very true, but like I said, we have made a decision to campaign at 154 and plan to stick with it.

Fistic Mystic: Do you still see any circumstance where you could end up fighting Truax or any other middleweight?

Andy Kolle: Anything is possible in this sport.  Caleb has his own thing going and it seems to be working for him.  In-state rivals are great but there is a bigger picture to this boxing world, and my ultimate goal is beyond Minnesota.

Fistic Mystic: Looking around your home state of Minnesota, there are a bunch of good, young junior middleweights coming up.  I’m talking about guys like Dave Peterson (12-0), Cerresso Fort (10-0), Jon Schmidt (10-1), Javontae Starks (4-0), and Corey Rodriguez (5-1-2).  It’s beginning to look like Minnesota’s most loaded weight class.  What do you know about these guys; have you worked out or sparred with any of them?

Andy Kolle: I have seen most of those guys fight, and I would be willing to fight anybody my team puts in front of me. The only one I have been in the ring with is Cerresso, and that was as an amateur when we fought twice.

Fistic Mystic: On a completely different subject, we’ve never talked about your experience sparring Antonio Margarito a few years ago, before the controversy with his hand-wraps and his subsequent losses to Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao.  When you were in Margarito’s camp, did you ever see or hear (or feel) anything that made you think twice about whether Margo and his team were bending the rules of boxing?

Andy Kolle: Naw man, Antonio and his team was great to us, and I still stay in contact with all those guys.  I don’t know about what they were doing in fights but when we were sparring his power never bothered me at all.  It was his relentless pressure that made him a tough guy to work with.  It was a great experience and it helped make me the fighter I am today, and I thank the whole team for bringing me in to help!

Fistic Mystic: I understand that Horton’s Gym is presenting an evening of boxing on January 8th in Duluth.  Is it possible that you’ll fight on that card?

Andy Kolle: Like I said before, anything is possible and if we can’t get something planned before that, then that is a possibility I would be open to in order stay active.

Fistic Mystic: Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I’ve always appreciated that you’re one of the most available and friendly guys in boxing in the Upper Midwest.  I think it will only help you more and more if you continue to take that approach as your career progresses.

Andy Kolle: No problem!  A big thank you to you and all the other boxing writers that keep the fans informed!

Good Work, Fighters!

Some of the fighters on tonight’s card did good work, and some of them got good work.  By “Did good work” I mean that a fighter performed well and made a good show for the fans.  By “Got good work” I mean that the fighter showed that he benefitted from the time spent in the ring tonight.

Did Good Work

Corey Rodriguez started us off right with a dominating performance in the opener.  Rodriguez is one of the enigmas of the Minnesota boxing scene.  For a few minutes tonight C-Rod reminded us all of the great promise his career once held.

I told everyone who would listen that Ishe Smith‘s fight would be a short one.  I thought he would kick the Pacheco out of Alexander Pacheco Quiroz in under a round.  But Quiroz made Smith work hard for the “W” that he had traveled all the way from Vegas to Fargo to collect.  The fight lasted all of two rounds, and they were rough and tough rounds for Smith, a very professional young fighter.

Andy Kolle had a wobbly moment when his opponent opened up on him and for a moment it looked he might be about to take a big step backwards in his career.  Then Kolle came out of his shell, walked through some punches, and then for the second fight in a row, put his opponent away with a short right in the first round.  Maybe you think that Kolle should be above getting buzzed by a journeyman like Osorio, but he showed that he can walk through power to deliver his own power.

Okay, I get that it’s early in the career of Jamal James and his opponents don’t offer much of a test.  But if you saw James fight tonight you saw a young man with great power fighting at a frenetic pace.  Eventually he’s going to have to slow down and harness more of that energy for the job at hand.  But even now there is a lot to like about Jamal James.  He is a very good looking young fighter.

Marcus Johnson showed us that he can handle a tough guy with a good record and he can do so convincingly.  Johnson also showed that he’s a sharp and snappy puncher, and he was the second quickest fighter on the card, after Jamal James.  The impressive thing about Johnson’s speed is that he is the far smoother boxer.

Got Good Work

Aaron Pryor Jr started out his fight looking awkward and unathletic, he had trouble keeping up with his quicker and more skillful opponent, and he seemed to have a hard time executing the fundamentals of the fight game.  On the other hand, he looked better and better as his fight progressed, until he began to look very capable by the time the fight ended.  Based on the improvement we saw between the first and last rounds of his fight tonight, I would say that for Aaron Pryor Jr, these were eight rounds well spent.

Antwone Smith won without looking great.  With every punch he grunts like Monica Seles, and his style doesn’t inspire poetry.  But Smith ground out a good workmanlike win against a tough and determined opponent.  Though the fight ended in an injury retirement, the win was still well-earned.

Edwin Rodriguez went nine rounds with a durable opponent tonight, the longest fight of his young career.  Rodriguez got to show off his speed, power and skill tonight, but the thing that I thought was most interesting was his stamina.  Edwin Rodriguez just proved that he is incredibly fit.

Live Round-by-Round: Showtime’s ShoBox in Fargo ND, November 5th, 2010

The Scheels Arena in beautiful suburban Fargo, North Dakota is all dressed up in blue, red, and black.  The place looks good!

Turnout is looking sparse, but it’s early.  Here’s hoping that hundreds turn out to watch Andy Kolle, the only hometown boy on the card.

The crowd is still growing after three fights, but still not impressive.

Edwin Rodriguez (now 17-0 with 13 kayos) defeats James McGirt Jr (now 22-3 with 11 kayos) by TKO when the fight is stopped at 1:57 of round 9

Round 1

The bout begins with careful jabbing from both men.  Rodriguez grazes McGirt’s chest with a crossing right.  There’s plkenty of speed in this ring, but it’s mostly going to jabs that don’t land.  Suddenly, like magnets, the two are locked together and brawling in the blue corner, but it doesn’t last.  Rodriguez seemed to get the better of that exchange.  McGirt looks a little overmatched, leaning back on the ropes and absorbing punishment from Rodriguez, but eventually h e punches his way out of that danger and back into the center of the ring.  Rodriguez backs McGirt into a neutral corner now, and may have done some damage had referee Steve Smoger not stepped in and broken the two.  The fight resumes in the middle of the ring, but neither man scores before the bell rings.

Round 2

Rodriguez, looking slightly bigger than McGirt, seems to intimidate the smaller man.  McGirt puts a good left on Rodriguez’s head, but Rodriguez responds by bulling him into the blue corner and hammering him with one good flush power shot and many lesser punches.  McGirt gets out of the corner and across the ring, but Rodriguez is really having his way with McGirt.  Back in the corner, McGirt lays on the ropes while Rodriguez rakes him again, but this time Rodriguez lets McGirt escape.  No matter, within 30 seconds McGirt is again in the corner with his back to the ropes, Rodriguez cracking him again.  McGirt gets to the center of the ring and finally acts like a man who belongs in a boxing ring, trading power shots with Rodriguez and scoring with some nice shots in the deal.  The round ends with the kind of action that’s been missing from this arena all night: both men are on the attack and neither is backing down.  Bell, and round.

Round 3

Rodriguez looks to start the third round coming forward again.  McGirt briefly stops his progress with a couple of well-placed punches, but soon Rodriguez backs McGirt into the blue corner once again and pounds his midsection with hooks.  McGirt is looking better, though, and again gains his freedom by countering and then moving.  McGirt has a nice punch when he uses it.  For the first time in the fight McGirt backs Rodriguez into a corner and turns the tables on him, waging a two-fisted attack that slows Rodriguez and leaves him looking a little unsteady.  Now the two fighters trade on more or less even terms – but McGirt suddenly rushes Rodriguez, forcing him back into the ropes and putting him off balance with power shots.  Bravado gets the better of the combatants, and they spend the remainder of the round trading punches in the center of the ring.

Round 4

This round begins a little more tame and under control, with good strategic boxing.  McGirt charges Rodriguez into the ropes and Rodriguez ends up sitting on the second strand.  Rodriguez looks unsteady again for another moment, but comes out of it and nicks McGirt with some good shots.  Rodriguez can throw a leading jab with either hand, and does so frequently.  McGirt is showing less respect for Rodriguez’s power now; instead of backing up he is just covering up.  McGirt’s mouthpiece is out.  Referee Mark Nelson pauses the fight to get the mouthpiece reinserted.  Back to action, Rodriguez gets popped in the mouth while reaching with a jab.  But at the ten-second alert Rodriguez comes alive, flurrying with hard and meaningful shots.  McGirt counters, but the intiative was Rodriguez’s at the end of the fourth.

Round 5

The fifth begins slowly with mostly cautious jabbing, but soon Rodriguez throws some walking punches, including one wild right while he was completely southpaw – that could have led to disaster.  McGirt is coming forward, and having weathered the storm of the first two rounds, is beginning to look stronger than Rodriguez.  McGirt lands a solid hook that snaps Rodriguez’s head back, but Rodriguez returns fire and scores well with head shots of his own.  Now Rodriguez is marching forward, throwing power punches with each step, and hurting McGirt.  McGirt counterattacks with a left and a right, the ducking Rodriguez ends up trapped in McGirt’s armpit.  A brief lull extends until about eights seconds before the end of the round, then the two exchange punches and that’s the fifth.

Round 6

Neither man is on the attack at the start of the sixth, but Rodriguez is inching forward and lands the first real punch of the round after about fifteen seconds.  McGirt is trying to counter Rodriguez but most of his counters miss the mark.  Rodriguez’s upper body movement is very good.  Cornered, McGirt tries to punch out but Rodriguez traps him and potshots him for about fifteen seconds, landing at least one good hookercut.  Finally McGirt gets out, but he’s mostly standing still behind his guard, not attacking and having no attack from Rodriguez which he can counter.  Finally Rodriguez seizes the initiative and comes forward, but his attack peters out with only a lunging straight right to show for the effort.  As the round ends Rodriguez once again has McGirt backing into a corner, but a big left hook misses as the bell rings.

Round 7

McGirt has good skill, but Rodriguez is pressing the action and McGirt has yet to impress.  Rodriguez puts McGirt into the blue corner yet again, and hits him hard with a one-two.  McGirt escapes again, and ends up in the red corner this time, absorbing more punishment from Rodriguez.  When they trade, McGirt looks equal to Rodriguez, but perhaps as a matter of temperament McGirt refuses to get drawn into such battles.  McGirt is skirting around the perimeter of the ring and mostly just absorbing those hard shots from Rodriguez.  McGirt manages a little flurry for ten seconds near the end of the round, but Rodriguez finishes things up this round with a nice rising hook that again snaps McGirt’s head back.

Round 8

More of the same here, as Rodriguez backs McGirt into the red corner and pops him repeatedly with both hands.  McGirt counters a few shots, but not enough to stay even with Rodriguez.  The seemingley tireless Rodrugez continues to back McGirt up, landing some nice left hooks in the process.  A left to the temple now puts McGirt on his heels, with his guard high he’s vulnerable to body shots and Rodriguez snaps a left hand into his side.  McGirt gets free and moves backwards and to his right, ending up against the ropes again.  There’s a tussle and McGirt ends up in an unusual position, in the center of the ring with Rodriguez backing into the ropes.  Rodriguez backs off and moves laterally, ending up at the opposite corner of the ring, wher McGirt hits him with his best punch of the fight, a right hand that lays him back onto the ropes.  Rodriguez comes off the ropes with a vengeance, pounding mcGirt continuously as they move across the ring, and ending up in the opposite corner again, laying hard licks on McGirt’s body as the bell rings.

Round 9

This round begins with an energized and angry Rodriguez trying to force McGirt into a war.  McGirt continues his ‘bend but dont’ break’ strategy, allowing Rodriguez to rip his body and pummel his head.  Finally referee Mark Nelson sees something that he doesn’t like and steps in between the attacking Rodriguez and the passive McGirt, stopping the fight and awarding the win to Rodriguez.

Dyah  Davis (now 18-2 with 9 kayos) is defeated by Aaron Pryor Jr (now 15-2 with 11 kayos) by unanimous decision (79-73, 79-73, 78-74) after eight rounds.

Round 1

Davis lands the first punch of the fight, a lilting left jab.  These two fighters begin by circling each other, neither man commiting to his punches.  Now Pryor backs Davis into a corner and landing a double left jab to the body, but Davis escapes.  The action moves to the center of the ring, where Davis lands a left hand that staggers Pryor momentarily.  Pryor skitters away, grinning, and Davis follows.  Now the tables are turned, Pryor smacking Davis and pushing him into the ropes with a good shot.  There’s a lull, then Pryor scores with a right-left-left combination that rocks Davis.  Pryor fails to capitalize on the score, landing only a glancing blow with a couple of seconds left in the round, and that’s the end of the first.

Round 2

Davis starts the round by scoring with some hard, snappy smacking punches.  He doesn’t have Pryor’s power, but he has more speed and maybe more natural ring savvy.  Now Davis is staying in the center of the ring, pivoting and Pryor revolves around him.  Davis is keeping his left hand down at his waist, raising it to throw double and triple jabs.  Pryor is circling the ring looking for openings and loading up.  Now Pryor lands one good left that puts Davis into the ropes, but Davis bounces back, moves around Pryor’s perimeter, and lands a left hand that snaps Pryor’s head back.  The round ends with lots of clutching and mauling, and maybe some roughhousing by Pryor.

Round 3

Davis is starting to look like the better fighter here in the third, moving quickly in and out, landing those hard, smacking punches, and forcing Pryor to chase him with glancing or missing punches.  Pryor finally lands one good shot that momentarily slows Davis, but Davis returns to battle ready to trade, if Davis will oblige him.  Davis is outworking Pryor, but Pryor’s punches are more effective on the rare occasions when they land.  Pryor, the power puncher in this fight, surprisingly shies away from Davis’s power shots.  Pryor lands a good shot and then illustrates his rawness by ineffectively running past Davis and missing with a wild shot while Davis covers up and pivots on one foot.

Round 4

Davis is headhunting.  Pryor has begun raising his arms and whirling away from Davis – if Davis figures out to go to the body when Pryor does that, this fight could end badly for Pryor.  Davis is again tryng to move in and out quickly, but Pryor has figured out how to counter that tactic with a well-placed jab.  Davis gets inside but can’t get back out, Pryor ties him up and hits the body in the clinch, hurting Davis.  Now they’re tied up again and Pryor lands a right to the head as they break up.  Davis is losing his speed advantage as he tires, and that doesn’t bode well for him.

Round 5

Pryor starts the round waving his hands in an odd circular motion that invites Davis to come closer, but Pryor hooks Davis when he gets in close.  Davis backs off, forcing Pryor to initiate the action, and finds that he can counter effectively, leading to several good scoring counters from Davis.  Davis again jumps in, lands a jab, and scoots away wihtout getting hit, as he was able to do earlier in the fight.  It’s odd that the much shorter (and shorter-armed) Davis is able to jab effectively against a lanky opponent like Pryor, but there are a few things that Pryor could improve on.  The round draws to a close with both men landing glancing blows but nothing effective.

Round 6

At the start of the round Pryor finally lands the big haymaker he’s been loading up on forever, and Davis is hurt.  As Davis reels, Pryor chases him into the blue corner and lands a barrage of hard hooks.  For a moment it looks like Steve Smoger might stop the fight, buyt Davis recovers his wits, however theleft side of his face is very red – he may be bleeding from the left eyebrow.  Davis has an opportunity to fight back here – Pryor seems very tired and slow – but fails to put together the needed rally.  Pryor is tired and slow, but he is forcing himself to throw one good, accurate punch every twenty seconds or so, and that stymies Davis’s valiant efforts.  Smoger pauses the action to look at Davis’s face for a moment, but evidently the eye isn’t bad enough yet.  The rond ends with Pryor potshotting Davis.

Round 7

Pryor has most of the advantages in the late going.  Davis is still determined to press the action, but his speed isn’t sufficient to win the day without a big punch.  Davis swarms Pryor, but Pryor responds by forcing straight punches down the middle of Davis’s defense.  Davis lunges forwward but his progress is stopped dead by a long and immovable jab from Pryor.  Pryor is working hard to put punches together now, and Davis finally lands a hard left hand to the head of Pryor, and the spectators hoot their approval.  Pryor gets up on his toes and makes himself attack with a rapid flurry of power shots.  They may be arm punches in round 7, but they’re enough to discourage any more attacks from Davis.

Round 8

It looks like Davis knows the score and the round, and he comes out looking to score big.  Davis is using all of his speed to attack, and for a moment it looks good for him, as he smacks a hard right hand into Pryor’s temple, but Pryor returns right hand for rright hand, and then some.  Pryor looks better as the fight goes on.  He has such an awkward and unathletic body that it’s surprising to see him handle an athlete like Davis.  Davis charges in on the attack but gets trapped under Pryor’s arm, and then in a clinch.  Pryor comes forward with knockout on his mind, relentlessly stuffing punch after punch into Davis’s face.  At the ten second signal Davis tries to rally, but only manages a few looping shots that miss, and this fight is over.

Marcus Johnson (now 20-0 with 14 kayos) defeats Kevin Engel (now 18-4 with 15 kayos) by TKO after the third of eight rounds scheduled

Round 1

Johnson comes out aggressive, using his obvious speed advantage to score early with both leads and counters.  About a minute in Engel finally scores with a decent left handed counter.  The pace slows a bit, and now the fighters are looking for spots rather than rushing matters.  Johnson is lighter on his feet and moves his hands more quickly than Engel can flinch, which Engeldoes quite a lot in the early going.  Johnson is catching Engel being slow in recoiling his jabs, Engel may have more natural power, but he’s going to have a challenge in applying it.

Round 2

Engel is staying closer to Johnson now, and the result is that he’s connecting more of his punches, but he may find that Johnson’s connect percentage improves as well.  Johnson cracks Engel with a wide-ranging lefft hook.  Moments later he does the same with his right.  Johnson puts his mitt into Engel’s ear before Engel can react.  Engel is flinching less now, trying to walk through Johnson’s punches to land his own.  Engel misses with a big overhand right, but Johnson fails to take advantage.  Johnson comes forward throwing with both hands.  His first two punches misss, but the last two land hurtfully.  Engel’s face is reddening.  As the round progresses Engel is looking slow and sloppy.

Round 3

The third begins in close quarters, with Engel trying to fight on the inside, but it’s Johnson who benefits from every possible strategy that Engel employs.  Johnson scores big with a right to the ribs of Engel.  Engel is hurt badly.  Johnson drops him into the ropes.  Engel rises, but he’s unsteady as the action resumes.  Johnson pounds Engel into a corner, where referee Mark Nelson jumps in and separates the two.  The fight resumes and Johnson picks up where he left off, peppering Engel with hard lefts and rights.  Engel is still hanging in there – on the principle that offense is defense, he isn’t defenseless yet.  But he isn’t doing much except lurching about with his head down and throwing wide, looping power shots that miss.  Johnson is finding the openings and taking advantage of them as the round ends.

After the end of the third, referee Nelson calls the ring doctor in for a look at Engel, and the fight is abruptly stopped.

We have an extended intermission now as we wait for TV time.  Stick with me, it’ll be worth the wait!

Andy Kolle (now 23-2 with 17 kayos) defeats Francisco Ruben Osorio (now 12-8 with 10 kayos) by KO in the first round of eight scheduled

Round 1

Kolle comes out shooting jabs at his opponent with that long right arm.    Kolle wades in with a two-handed attack, but Osorio deftly bobs and ducks out of danger.  Osorio is backing up, Kolle coming forward, and a wide right hook lands to Osorio’s head, the first scoring shot of the night.  Now Osorio is looking to counter while backing up.  Kolle is having some difficulty finding the target.  Osorio misses with a right and Kolle comes back, backs him up, and Osorio drops to a knee.  I couldn’t tell whether it was a knockdown or a slip.  Now Osorio comes to life, attacking Kolle viciously, landing repeatedly with the right hand and seeming to stun Kolle.  Kolle doesn’t like the pressure, but he seems to recognize that he’s stuck going toe-to-toe with this opponent.  The first exchange of punches is inconclusive, but the second time the two men trade Kolle finishes with a short right hand that lays Osorio out!  Osorio drops to both knees and then crumbles.  He tries to beat referee Ed Orgeron’s count, but flops over, then gets to his feet but it’s clear that he’s on no condition to continue, and the referee waves the fight off.  Kolle wins.

A looooooong intermission…

Ishe Smith (now 22-5 with 10 kayos) defeats Alexander Pacheco Quiroz (now 14-9-1 with 12 kayos) by TKO when Quiroz retires after two rounds with a hand injury.

Round 1

Quiroz starts out coming forward and popping the left jab.  The first combination of the fight comes from Quiroz, a left-right to the body of Smith.  Now another one.  Smith backs up and moves to his right, then flurries at Quiroz.  Quiroz is going to try to take Smith out early, and that’s probably a good idea – he isn’t going to outlast Smith – but Smith is faster and has better technique.  And Smith is committing more fully to his punches.  Quiroz isn’t going to knock anyone out with the slow punches he’s pushing here.  Smith is trying to flurry, but twice Quiroz pushes his head down.  Smith has no respect for Quiroz’s power and just shrugs off Quiroz’s punches behind a shoulder.  Smith lands a couple of shots – not sure which one did it, but one of them left Quiroz woozy, and as Quiroz stumbles into the ropes Smith pursues, landing about eight hard shots to Quiroz’s body.  Quiroz suddenly stands up straight and scoots across the ring, but Smith pursues him and finally referee Steve Smoger gives Quiroz an eight count.  The round ends beffore any more action can take place.

Round 2

Give Quiroz credit for coming out in force.  Quiroz swarms Smith and lands a number of shots to the body and one to the head.  Now Quiroz is getting rough, grabbing and leaning on Smith.  Smoger warns him once, the fight resumes, and Quiroz gives us more of the same.  Smoger warns him again.  Now Smith is backing up, Quiroz is coming forward.  Smith flinches in exaggerated fashion at a couple of Quiroz’s feints.  Smith protests to Smoger when Quiroz puches him down and leans on himi hard.  Freed and back in the center of the ring, Smith lands about as big a shot as you’ll ever see from him, the second punch of a one-two hurts Quiroz and sends him reeling.  All Quiroz can do is lead with his head and grab and maul.  Smith shrugs Quiroz off and hurts him again with a left hand.  Now Quiroz backs into his own corner and gets trapped against the ropes.  Smith is peppering him with big rights and lefts!  Can Quiroz last to the bell?  Yes.

After the second round Quiroz’s corner announces he is unable to continue due to an injured left hand.

Antwone Smith (now 19-2-1 with 11 kayos) defeats Martinus Clay (now 13-27-4 with 5 kayos) by TKO when Clay retires after the fifth round with a shoulder injury.

Round 1

This first round starts out ugly and tactical.  Smith has an odd tendency to shout “Ha!” with every punch he throws, and the increasing frequency of his shouts documents the growing momentum.  At the end of the round Clay drops to an knee and waits out the bell before returning to his corner.

Round 2

Smith is faster than Clay, but Clay knows his way around a boxing ring.  This is an oddly tactical bout, not much to write about.  Smith lands hard shots one at a time, Clay lands the softer shots in bunches.

Round 3

Smith is soming forward slowly, and beginning to throw more combinations.  Clay is using his head (meaning his brain) and working the angles and clinching when he has to.  Smith corners Clay and lands a good three-punch combo, but Clay bounces away looking no worse for wear.  Near the end of the round Smith puts a good one-two on Clay and this fight is beginning to turn in his favor.

Round 4

Just in case Smith thought he was getting the upper hand Clay hits him with an effect threee punch combination, ending up with two effective left h ands to the body.  Smith gets back on offnese though, landing sharp shots that appear to hurt Clay.  Clay stops moving for a moment, and to savfe himself from harm tries to clinch with Smith, Smith shrugs him off and forces him backwards with more hurtful punching.  Now the two men are standing in the center of the ring, each one moving to his right.  Clay is better off if he can get Smitth to trade.  There’s a move to a neutral corner and each man lands a couple of good shots, but Smith seems to have come out of it in better shape.   Just before the bell rings Smith lands a couple of good right hands and Clay appears on his way  down to a knee, then stops and turns his movement into an ungraceful duck.  By the time Clay comes back up, the bell has rung.

Round 5

Now Smith is coming forward more quickly and jabbing into combinations.  Clay can occasionally counter, but he’s spending more time running now.  Smith is using the left jab a lot.  Clay is backing up, changing directions, but it’s no use.  Smith is relentlessly breaking him down.  More left jabs, and Smith lands a good follow-up right to the ribcage.  Now as the round comes to a close Smith relents his pursuit and Clay bounces away again.

It appears that Clay has quit on his stool between rounds.  Smith walks across the ring to shake hands, but Clay stays on his stool with ice on his right shoulder.

Jamal James (now 2-0 with 2 kayo) defeats Wes Ronchi (now 0-1) by KO in the first round of four scheduled.

Round 1

James comes out shooting the left jab.  Ronchi is a southpaw, but James is heedless and comes forward using his speed and boom!  There’s the power!  James has Ronchi hurt.  Ronchi doesn’t go down but he gets an eight-count anyway.  The fight resumes but my guess is that Ronchi has quit anyway.  James traps Ronchi in the blue corner and hammers his defenseless opponent with power shots from both hands.  Ronchi goes down, prone.  He’s as dangerous right now as a sack of potatoes, and the fight is over.  I couldn’t tell you from this angle and this distance which hand did the damage, chalk that up to Jamal’s speed.

Corey Rodriguez (now 5-1-2 with 3 kayos) defeats Nick Runningbear (now 4-4 with 1 kayo) by unanimous decision after four rounds.  Scorecards are 40-33, 40-33, and 40-33.

Round 1

Rodriguez comes out aggressive, leading with a pawing left jab and charging in to attack Runningbear with a left-right attack.  Rodriguez lands a tentative left upstairs and then a right to the body, a nice scoring combination.  Runningbear is backing up and fighting defensively, Rodriguez cracks him with another good right.  C-Rod likes leading with that left and then following with power shots.  Runningbear finally lands a couple of shots that Rodriguez reacts to, but the offensive is short-lived.  Runningbear charges in with a couple of reckless punches that may have landed, but Rodriguez’s counters fully made up for it.

Round 2

Runningbear is again bouncing backwards away from Rodriguez’s power.  Rodriguez comes forward and Runningbear suddenly changes direction and the two trade for the first time in the fight.  Runningbear wants to attack and makes an attempt, but after a brief fusilade C-Rod freezes him with a hard counter to the jaw.  Now Runningbear is slowing down, a few hard punches have taken some of the steam out of him.  Rodriguez cuffs him about the ring, scoring with hurtful lefts and rights at will.  Near the end of the round Runningbear tries to lunge in and score, but the attempt is again short-lived.

Round 3

Rodriguez appears to be measuring Runningbear now, he may be thinking of the knockout.  Rodriguez is following Runningbear all around the ring, Runningbear is becoming reckless and undisciplined with his punches; he knows the pickle he’s in and he’s hoping to land a haymaker.  Now Rodriguez traps Runningbear in a neutral corner and batters him with several flush shots.  Runningbear has a chin!  Runningbear escapes but is cornered again on the opposite corner and again takes a merciless beating.  Rodriguez follows Runningbear into the blue corner and lands two or three hard shots.  Finally Runningbear gets caught with a triphammer left and goes down.  Back on his feet, Runningbear gets a reprive at the count of six when the bell rings.

Round 4

Rodriguez knows that he has this fight in the bag and he’s p[icking his shots now.  A monstrous right hand catches Runningbear on the head and the crowd “Oohs.”  Runningbear has no hope and no answers.  Rodriguez lands another right hand, on the ear this time, and Runningbear gets up quickly.  Referee Steve Smoger gives him the mandatory eight count and the figt resumes.  Rodriguez again traps Runningbear on the ropes and hits him – one-two – and I can’t help saying it out loud: “Stop it, Smoger!”  Runningbear is defenseless, and Rodriguez clips him with a vicious left-right that drops him again just before the bell.  Runningbear is up before the count, but the fight is over.  The scorecards are going to be ugly.

Upcoming Boxing Event: November 5th Shobox in Fargo ND

First the fights, then the commentary…

Edwin Rodriguez (16-0 with 12 kayos) -vs- James McGirt Jr (22-2-1 with 11 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for ten rounds

Marcus Johnson (19-0 with 14 kayos) -vs- Kevin Engel (18-3 with 15 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Andy Kolle (22-2 with 16 kayos) -vs- Francisco Ruben Osorio (12-7 with 10 kayo), light middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Aaron Pryor Jr (14-2 with 11 kayos) -vs- Dyah Davis (18-1 with 9 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Ishe Smith (21-5 with 9 kayos) -vs- Alexander Pacheco Quiroz (14-8 with 12 kayos), light middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Antwone Smith (18-2-1 with 10 kayos) -vs- Martinus Clay (13-26-4 with 5 kayos), welterweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Corey Rodriguez (4-1-2 with 3 kayos) -vs- Nick Runningbear (4-3 with 1 kayo), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Jamal James (1-0 with 1 kayo) -vs- Wes Ronchi (debut), welterweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Top of the Card:

Edwin Rodriguez and Marcus Johnson are the TV attractions here.  Rodriguez faces his toughest opponent yet in sturdy and experienced James McGirt, while Johnson takes his chances against Kevin Engel, who lost to Rodriguez just last April.  Engel is no slouch, but his best wins have come against opponents with records of 6-0 and 7-1.  In what has been billed as a third co-featured bout, Andy Kolle returns to his former adopted hometown to take on Colombia’s Francisco Ruben Osorio.  Osorio’s best win was a TKO of then-15-9 Steve Walker back in 2004; his record since then is 0-5, but he’s considered a credible-enough opponent for Kolle’s first venture into the 154 lb class.

Faint Praise

After consecutive losses, Ishe Smith hopes to make a return to the win column against a man with a deceptively good record.  Alexander Quiroz is 12-7, but ten of his twelve wins have come against fighters making their professional debut and he once lost to a man with a record of 0-10.  To his credit Quiroz also owns a win against 19-6 Ignacio Solar, but he’s been unable to duplicate the feat of beating an opponent with a winning record for the last six years.  Antwone Smith will lay his 18-2 record on the line against 13-26-4 Martinus Clay, but it isn’t a sure thing for Smith.  Clay is remembered in Minnesota for outscoring Matt Vanda in an 8-rounder back in 2006.  Clay isn’t a great fighter, but history shows that you never know what might happen if a tough guy hangs in there.

And Don’t Miss…

Dyah Davis and Aaron Pryor Jr each bring a sharp looking record into the ring when they meet in another super middleweight bout; the career of the winner will get a nice shot in the arm.  (Do careers have arms?)  Corey Rodriguez of Minneapolis is a late replacement for Javontae Starks and will face 4-3 Nick Runningbear, the only North Dakotan currently scheduled to appear on this card.  Last of all, if you haven’t seen him yet (almost no one has), don’t miss the opportunity to see Jamal James fight.  Young James is an unknown who is sure to be a hot prospect within a year, and this is your opportunity to find out why.

The Fistic Mystic says: Buy your tickets today for this show at Scheels Arena (the former UP Center) in Fargo.  It’s cheaper than paying for premium cable.

Early Look at ShoBox’s November 5th Fight Card

The preliminary bout sheet for the November 5th ShoBox event in Fargo, ND has been released by DiBella Entertainment, and there are a few dandy matchups and a nice local flavor.  The tendency was definitely to load up on middleweights and variations thereof, with matches of junior middleweights, middleweights, and super middleweights taking up 6 of the 10 slots on the card.  Some of the matches (ie Rodriguez-McGirt, Davis-Pryor) look brilliant on paper, while others (ie Kolle-Osorio, Smith-Pacheco Quiroz) seem to have been put together with an eye toward a quick knockout and a sure “W.”  Seldom does an evening of boxing go entirely according to plan, however, and that’s why they fight the fights in the ring and not on paper.  Tickets are available from Ticketmaster or from the Scheels Arena box office, or the fights can be watched on Showtime or followed round-by-round from ringside on the Fistic Mystic Blog.

Edwin Rodriguez (16-0 with 12 kayos) -vs- James McGirt Jr (22-2-1 with 11 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 10 rounds

Dyah Davis (18-1 with 9 kayos) -vs- Aaron Pryor Jr (14-2 with 13 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Marcus Johnson (18-0 with 14 kayos) -vs- Kevin Engel (18-3 with 15 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Andy Kolle (22-2 with 16 kayos) -vs-Francisco Osorio (12-7 with 10 kayos), middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Ishe Smith (21-5 with 9 kayos) -vs- Alexander Pacheco Quiroz (14-8-1 with 12 kayos), junior middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Antwone Smith (18-2 with 10 kayos) -vs- TBA, welterweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Mark Tucker (14-0 with 7 kayos) -vs- TBA, light heavyweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Mickey Bey Jr (15-0 with 8 kayos) -vs- TBA, lightweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Javontae Starks (4-0 with 4 kayos) -vs- Nick Runningbear (4-3 with 1 kayo), junior middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Jamal James (1-0 with 1 kayo) -vs- TBA, welterweights, scheduled for 4 rounds