Tag Archives: Antonio Johnson

Live Boxing Round-by-round from Grand Casino Hinckley, November 21st, 2014

We have a busy card from Hinckley tonight – nine bouts were scheduled and one was scratched, but that still leaves us with eight nicely match prizefights.  Tonights bouts will be listed from main event (top of page) to preliminaries (bottom of page), so scroll down and follow along!

Eric Draper (now 8-7 with 3 kayos) is defeated by Robert Brant (now 13-0 with 7 kayos) in round one of eight scheduled.

Note: This was a very impressive performance by Brant – much needed after a lackluster win over Marcus Upshaw in August.

Round 1

Draper, slightly taller and larger than Brant, comes out cautious, jabbing.  Brant jabs him back and then smashes Draper to the mat with an evil straight right.  What are we, ten seconds in?  Draper gets up and continues, Brant hurts him with a hard jab, then knocks him down again in the blue corner.  Again Draper rises, looking irritated.  Referee Mark Nelson checks him out and allows him to continue.  Brant rushes in and again knocks Draper down, this time leaving him tangled helplessly on the wrong side of the ropes in the red corner.  Draper looks okay, though a little wobbly, and gets up quickly enough, so Nelson allows him to continue after three knockdowns.  This time Brant traps Draper against the ropes and unleashes a merciless barrage of vaporizing power shots, and Nelson jumps between the two, ending the fight.

Jeremy McLaurin (10-8 with 5 kayos) is defeated by Rondale Hubbert (now 8-0 with 5 kayos) in round two of eight scheduled.

Note: after this emphatic win Hubbert called out Gary Eyer, the tough multiple-class fighter from Duluth.  “Somebody make that fight happen,” he says.

Round 1

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Round 2

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Hubbert knocks McLaurin down and halfway out with a furious barrage of power shots.  Against odds, McLaurin gets up, and referee Mark Nelson allows him to continue, but wisely stops the bout after one more undefended power shot from Hubbert.  TKO win for Hubbert

[Originally reported as a 3rd round TKO for Hubbert.  I am advised that the bout was actually stopped in the 2nd.  I was experiencing technical trouble during this bout and my attention was divided.  I regret the error. -Ben]

Gary Tapusoa (now 6-3 with 5 kayos) is defeated by Phil “The Drill” Williams (now 14-6 with 13 kayos) at 2:39 of round one

Note: Williams makes a ridiculously long ring entrance, circling the ring counter clockwise before climbing in.  The crowd is entertained.

Round 1

Tapusoa looks a little nervous, jabbing and throwing tentative hooks.  Well, Williams is an imposing figure.  Williams is deliberate, coming forward in a southpaw stance.  Tapusoa tries to attack and gets countered effectively.  Williams is watching for his spot.  Reaches out once and slaps tapusoa on the scalp with his right hand, pawing with his jab, using footwork to avoid Tapusoa’s punches.  Finally Williams backs Tapusoa up and floors him with a left to the body.  There’s a sickening BANG and Tapusoa sinks slowly to the mat.  Referee Mark Nelson gives Tapusoa the courtesy of a count, but nobody in the building thought Tapusoa was going to get up.

Colby Courter (now 6-5 with 5 kayos) is defeated by Antonio “The Saint Paul Kid” Johnson (now 11-1-1 with 6 kayos) by TKO at 1:45 in the fourth round.

Round 1

Johnson is scowling.  Courter tries to lead with a jab, and Johnson immediately lands a hard right.  Courter, a southpaw, isn’t fast, but he’s trying to make use of his jab.  Johnson is adept at countering that right jab with a counter right.  In the early going this fight looks like no match; Johnson will eventually time Courter and dispose of him.  Johnson comes in with his lead hand at his waist, throws a rising jab and follows with a power right.  Johnsson throws a right to the body – it looks legit when it lands, but referee Miezwa steps in and warns him for low punching.  Courter has slow hands and questionable balance, but manages to flick a right jab into Johnson’s abdomen.  Ten seconds to go and Johnson erupts, landing three consecutive right hands to Courter’s head, but the bell rings before he can really hurt Courter.

Round 2

It looks like Johnson wants to end this one quickly – he charges across the ring and attacks, but the knockout doesn’t come.  Courter trips over Johnson’s foot and reels into the ropes.  Grins in embarrassment – no knockdown.  Johnson is coming forward, coming forward – Johnson lands a lot of glancing blows, Courter lands one flush shot that jolts Johnson but does  not hurt him.  Johnson holds the body and hits.  Courter is hurt by a hard right but collects himself and soldiers on.  Courter’s corner tells him he can’t win going backwards, so he comes forward.  Johnson is snapping a fast jab that comes up just short of damaging courter, but then attacks the body and scores.  Johnson goes to the body again and Courter gestures to the ref that the punch was low, but it didn’t look that way.

Round 3

Courter is coming forward and Johnson looks a little skittish, dancing away.  Courter lands a right to the head, and Johnson responds with a counter right, only harder.  Courter charges forward, Johnson sidesteps him, and Courter stumbles into the ropes.  In a similar situation Floyd Mayweather KO’d Ricky Hatton as he passed by, but Johnson fails to capitalize.  Courter is trying to land, but keeps missing the quick and elusive Johnson.  Courter leads with a right hook and Johnson catches him again with a hard counter right.  Courter is game, but every time he attacks he either misses or takes a power shot.  Johnson punishes Courter with a hard jab once, twice.  Courter comes forward again and Johnson lands a round right hook.  Courter circles to his left as the bell rings.

Round 4

Four rounds is longer than I expected this fight to last.  Courter is tough, but slow.  Johnson counters Courter with a right, then a wicked left hook to the side of the head, and Courter goes down hard.  He gets up quickly – maybe too quickly – and the fight continues.  Johnson furries, but Courter seems okay, and things are back to nrmal.  Nor for long, though, as Johnson again catches Courter in an exchange an dd puts him off balance, then drops him hard with a left.  Referee Miezwa takes a careful look at Courter before permitting the fight to continue.  Finally Johnson catches Courter in a corner and pummels him.  I don’t know which punch did the deed, as Johnson has fast hands, but courter goes down and stays down on his elbows and knees.

Guy Smith Jr (now 2-2 with no kayos) is defeated by Delorien Caraway (now 4-0 with 3 kayos by unanimous decision after five rounds.

Round 1

Smith jabs int he early going, Caraway comes forward.  About fifteen seconds in Caraway starts throwing fast combinations of power shots, trying to make a statement.  Caraway takes a break, and Smith returns to jabbing.  Caraway is coming forward, smith retreating, and Caraway lands the first telling shots of the bout.  Smith is trying to be quick an delusive, and to hit without getting hit.  He succeeds once, then Caraway charges in and wraps both arms around him.    Caraway again goes on the attack, but Smith is unflappable, reeling backwards and steadying himself by the ropes, keeping his head up, and jabbing.  Caraway wants a spectacular outcome, and he is being very aggressively.  Finally Caraway jabs, and pokes Smith right in the chin.  But Caraway returns to his reckless attack for the last fifteen seconds or so.

Round 2

Caraway lands a hard left to the head of Smith.  That was a hard shot.  Caraway goes on the attack, landing more power shots, and sending Smith stumbling backwards.  Smith rights himself, Caraway gets himself under control, and begins to attack in a more technical manner.  Caraway is still coming forward, but Smith is continuing to jab.  Now a slow jab earns Smith a hard left to the face.  Smith backs into a neutral corner, and Caraway reaches out and tags him with a lead left.  Circling to the left, the fighters traverse the ring and Caraway shoots a hook at the body.  Smith gets away, Caraway follows, and lands a right that snaps his head back.  Smith isn’t jabbing so much now, mostly just trying to avoid the attacks of Caraway.  Caraway jabs to the body.  Now to the head.  Ten seconds to go, and both men jab a couple of times as the clock counts down.

Round 3

Caraway is the aggressor in the early going again.  Smith has found his jab, and tries to use it to keep Caraway at bay.  Caraway attacks with power shots, but misses and stumbles.  he keeps his feet and the fight resumes.   Caraway is hunching down, coming forward slowly, loading up.  Smith is getting better at anticipating the attacks and skittering away, though he stil hasn’t scored a serious punch in this fight.  Now the fighters are circling at close quarters, and Smith jabs.  Did he get his hand in Caraway’s eye?  Caraway raises a hand as if to call time, baks up, shakes his head, and the fight resumes.  This fight has become largely tactical, with Caraway coming forward unable to score, and Smith circling, moving around out of range, and throwing occasional jabs and double jabs.

Round 4

Caraway is ducking down and shooting low jabs now.  For the first time tongith Smith commits to a power combination – he missses, and Caraway counters.  Smith is moving confidently, but Caraway gets close enough to land a lead left to the body.  Caraway is showing more jabs now, but nope – forget that, back to power shots.  Caraway is crouching, coming forward, reaching, looking for any opening, but none presents itself.  Smith is backing up, throwing a jab every once in a while.  Caraway misses with a left hok, Smith misses with a jab.  Smith might never win this way, but he’ll avoid most of those power shots.  Smith misses with a jab, Caraway scores with a hard jab, then volleys and scores.  In the last ten seconds of the fourth Smith misses with a couple of wild one-twos.

Round 5

Caraway comes out wild in the fifth, and Smith latches on hard to avoid any damage.  The clinch is broken, and Caraway tries hard to score with more power shots.  Smith is backing up, Caraway is chasing and throwing bombs.  This is the pattern.  Smith is in a strictly defensive posture, but Caraway comes forward and connects with a  – left?  It’s hard to tell from here, but smith goes down.  He beats the count easily, but now Caraway is getting inside, throwing and landing big right hands with regularity.  Smith looks wobbly as he backs up with his hands low.  Caraway attacks and Smith goes down, but referee Mark Nelson rules no knockdown and the bout continues.  Smith is back up on his toes, dancing.  Caraway, who must be irritated by the tight defense of Smith, dramatically feigns a collapse, perhaps in an effort to trap Smith, but it’s too obvious and too late to help.  Bell.

Nick Compton (now 1-2 with no kayos) is defeated by Markus Morris (now 6-1 with 3 kayos) by unanimous decision after four rounds (39-37, 40-36, 40-36)

Round 1

Two lanky boxers, both come out jabbing.  Compton paws with his jab.  Morris is a little more aggressive at the start.  Compton is now coming forward, but Morris’s jab is keeping him at arm’s length.  compton charges in, landing glancing blows and backing Morris into the ropes, but Morris counters effectively and escapes.  After a brief lull, Compton is attacking again when Morris lands a sharp counter left hook that buckles his knees.  compton is a hard man, though, and resumes hs attack.  Morris’s power shots rake Compton’s face, but Compton stands his ground and keeps looking for an operning.  Now there’s a clinch and Compton pushes Morris back into the blue corner.  The clinch is broken and Compton throws a volley of power shots.  Morris escapes and the two stand face to face, both throw at the same moment, and both land power shots.  This is an evenly matched fight.  the bell rings with neither man gaining an advantage.

Round 2

Computer trouble in this round kept me from giving you an as-it-happens account, but I can tell you that the fight continues to be even, that Morris caught Compton and pinned him to the ropes with an extended volley, that Compton kept his hands up and weathered the storm.  The remainder of the round was an evenly matched battle of firepower and chins.  Both fighters look heavy-armed and slow as the round ended.

Round 3

Morris is the faster fighter in the third, but Compton continues to stand his ground and come forward.  Morris is trying to land the lead left hook and follow with a right uppercut, but he hasn’t quite timed it.  Morris throws nice straight punches, but then pulls his hands back wide, leaving an opening for a late counter.  As the round goes on, Compton is continuing to come forward, but Morris is beginning to get the upper hand with rising rights and straight rights.  Compton puts his head down and pushes forward, but Morris responds with a four-punch combination as the round comes to a close.

Round 4

This round begins like the rest of the fight has been conducted, with both men standing toe to toe in the center of the ring, neither giving ground.  Compton is circling to his right and seeking to counter Morris’s attacks.  Morris gets close and misses with an uppercut, but then lands one of a two-punch attack.  Back in the middle of the ring the fighters exchange, but Compton misfires and Morris lands flush.  Morris is emboldened, but Compton, weary as he is, counters with a couple of punches, finishing with an off-balance right.  Morris continues to come forward though, and his punches have more authority.  Morris throws a one and a delayed two, and Compton lands a counter.  Morris is landing more frequently now, though his pucnhes lack steam.  An uppercut lands flush for Morris.  Ten seconds to go, and Morris goes on a reckless attack, nullified by holding from Compton.  Bell, fight.

Ramiro Hernandez (now 3-0 with 3 kayos) defeats Trevor Marmon (now 1-3 with 1 kayo) by TKO at 2:40 of round 3.

Note: Marmon is an entertaining fighter and a tough dude, but his conditioning and his chin have let him down more than once.

Round 1

Both fighters are aggressive from the start.  After an initial exchange, Marmon moves backwards while Hernandez leads.  This fight is a brawl from the start.  Both men land, there’s a clinch, and referee Gary Miezwa tries to break them up, but Marmon won’t let go.  Now he’s warned for holding.  Another hot exchange, and Marmon gets the better of it, landing to both the body and head.  The pace slows about midround, hernandez trying to pick a spot.  He lands big, but marmon is a big swinger and lands equally hard.  But boy, when Marmon misses, he misses big!  Hernandez wants to box, and he’s trying hard to jab and move, but Marmon comes forward and swings wildly, landing occasionally.  The pressure is disconcerting for Hernandez, but he seems to have gotten the better of this round.

Round 2

Hernandez scores first, with a one-two, but Marmon comes forward and jabs to the body.  In the center of the ring Marmon lands a left.  Hernendeez is circling left and moving backwards, and when Marmon tries to score, Hernandez lands a power shots that buckles his knees.  Marmon shakes his head, wipes his nose, and attacks again.  Hernandez lands a right to the head, Marmon swings for the fences and lands a right to the head, Hernandez boxes and escapes.  Marmon comes forward and pushes Hernandez into the ropes, and after some mauling there’s a break.  Hernandez comes forward and ands a left to Marmon’s head.  Marmon is tired and is leaning on Hernandez and holding.  There’s another break, and hernandez, moving quickly, tries to box Marmon again.  Hernandez and Marmon trade, each landing one punch.  Hernandez charges in and bulls marmon into the ropes, but there’s no scoring as the bell rings.

Round 3

Marmon jabs southpaw at the same time Hernandez jabs orthodox.  Suddenly the two revert to brawling, and in a wild exchange, a tired and off balance Marmon is knocked down by a power shot.  Marmon is up and the fight resumes.  Hernandez is coHing forward aggressively.  A short hook to the body hurts Marmon, who has slowed noticeably this round.  Now Hernandez is hunting.  Marmon misses a big right and turns his back in an effort to escape.  In the middle of the ring hernandez is attacking at close quarters.  marmon might have gone down, but referee Miezwa breaks them up.  Now they’re clinching and mauling, which favors marmon.  After another break, Hernandez attacks a staggering Marmon, who is bleeding heavily from the nose.  That’s too many power shots for the referee, who calls a stop to the fight.  TKO win for Hernandez!

DeAngelo Curtis (now 1-1 with no kayos) is defeated by Joe Amouta (now 2-1 with 1 kayo) by unanimous decision after four rounds (39-37, 39-37, 39-37)

Round 1

The fighters touch gloves and the bout begins.  Amouta is retreating, Curtis following.  Amouta shoots out some jabs, but Curtis backs him into the ropes and crowds him halfway out of the ring.  Amouta escapes and resumes circling.  Curtis pressuring.  Curtis tries to unload some power shots and continues to come forward.  Amouta counters effectively and stuns curtis for a moment.  Amouta lands some loud, slapping power shots that affect Curtis’s balance.  Amouta tries to land a right and Curtis counters effectively.  Both men throw at the same time and Curtis lands better.  With the encouragement of his corner (“Hey, you hurt him!”) Curtis goes on the attack, but Amouta seems fine and gets away clean.  With ten seconds to go Curtis tries to attack but gets tied up.  Amouta throws a right that glances off Curtis’s head and Curtis sticks his tongue out.

Round 2

Curtis comes ou, bends forward at the waist, and throws one jab to Amouta’s body.  Amouta attacks, landing well with right hands and scores nicely to the body and especially to the head.  Curtis shakes it off and begins stalking.  He lands a couple of good shots, including one that leaves Amouta touching his nose.  Amouta is a retreating fighter, backing up the ropes and countering when he’s cornered.  In the center of the ring curtis lands a sharp jab to Amouta’s face.  He should do that more.  Curis, attacking, gets caught and stumbles back into his corner.  Amouta comes alive, attacking with gusto, landing a bunch of shots.  Curtis finally escapes, but Ron Lyke, in his corner, yells “Don’t stand there, or they’ll stop it.”  Curtis increases his output for the last few seconds, and the round is over.

Round 3

The fighters circle briefly to their right, then Amouta backs into the ropes again, and Curtis catches his chin with a nice right hand.  Curtis follows up with a barrage that thrills the crowd.  Amouta gets back to the scenter of the ring, where he counters Curtis well with a left to the forehead that momentarily staggers Curtis, but only for a moment.  Now the fight is in the center of the ring.  Curtis lands a low blow, but referee Gary Miezwa lets it go.  Curtis is wincing and gasping, but he’s still game.  Could he have hurt his shoulder or leg?  He’s still stalking, but somewhat bowlegged.  Amouta is looking sharper now, and comes forward with power shots as the round closes.

Round 4

Curtis is coming forward again.  No shots landed…now Curtis lands a jab that makes Amouta flinch.  It’s something.    Finally, near the red corner, a brawl breaks out at close quarters.  Curtis is throwing big shots, but Amouta is moving well to his right, ducking a lot of shots, and landing good shots.  Now Amouta is on the run and Curtis is chasing, but can’t catch him.  Curtis finally corners Amouta and lands a right hook to the body, but iwthout steam.  He lets Amouta escape.  Curtis is tired, Amouta still fresh.  Amouta backs into the ropes again, and a heated exchange lasts a good 15 or 20 seconds.  Amouta probably go tthe better of it.  Back into the center of thering, and Curtis lands a big, big right hand that snaps Amouta’s head back.  The crowd roars, but Amouta shakes it off and the two trade until the round ends.  good round, good fight.  Whoever wins, I’d like to see these two go four more rounds.

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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.

Happy New Year, and Good-Bye to 2009

Here’s a new tradition: the Happy New Year article.  Just like last year, I’m going to outline which Minnesota boxers gained ground, which backslid, and which ones didn’t make a move in 2009.

Risers:

  • Jason Litzau – Some people may have thought that Litzau was toast after being manhandled and kayoed by world champ Robert Guerrero in his only fight of 2008.  But in 2009 Litzau shined while moving up from 126# to 135#, and then back down to 130#.  It was his fight with Verquan Kimbrough that really put him back on the map, as Litzau battered the 21-1-2 Kimbrough on his way to a 3rd-round win by retirement.  That win earned him a date with ESPN, but his win against Johnnie Edwards was less than glamorous.
  • Caleb Truax – Truax was on this list last year, too.  Everything has come up roses so far for the 14-0 prospect from Osseo, though he had his bell rung by Patrick Perez before coming back to win in his fourth bout of 2009.  Truax also looked gassed at the end of his ten-rounder with Kerry Hope in November.  Nevertheless, Truax won all five of his bouts in 2009, three of them by KO or TKO.
  • Matt Vanda – It’s a bit of a surprise to me to find Vanda on this list at this point in his career, but a 3-1 record in 2009, including wins against 40-6 Tocker Pudwill and 11-1 Phil Williams, got Vanda back on track.  Vanda has reached the point in his career where he accepts that he isn’t world-class, but he still loves to fight and he’s pretty good at it.  Kind of like a woman who is appealing and desirable despite not being beautiful, a Vanda fight is usually a fun spectacle despite not being a work of art.
  • Andy Kolle – People are talking.  I have people ask me all the time why Kaos Kolle isn’t fighting more frequently.  All I can tell them is that I know he wants to, and his team is trying to make it happen for him.  For now, Kolle can look back at his March 28th win against Tony Bonsante and feel good about being Minnesota’s middleweight champion.  We’ll see how long he remains satisfied with that.
  • Antwan Robertson – How can Robertson go 1-1-1 in three fights and still be on the list of risers?  Because he looked so very good in his October 23rd win against then 6-0 Brad Patraw.  Robertson started the year as an untested 4-0 prospect whose opponents had only one win between them.  He ended the year as Minnesota’s bantamweight champ.  That’ll lift you.
  • Gary Eyer – For some reason I hesitated before adding Eyer to this list, but he went 3-0 in 2009 and won Minnesota’s fight of the year against previously unbeaten Levi Cortes in December.  Eyer, now 7-0-1, is in a pretty good place for a prizefighter: he’s undefeated and he’s exciting to watch.

Fallers:

  • Anthony Bonsante lost to Andy Kolle in March and announced his retirement.  That was a pretty good move by the Bullet.  At the end of the summer rumors were flying that Bonsante would fight again, but he didn’t and that’s a good move too.  Here’s hoping that Bonsante finds other ways to keep busy, like working for the boxing commission.
  • Zach Walters lost twice in three bouts this year.  The loss to Byron Mitchell was a bummer, but not a dealbreaker.  The win over 11-12-3 James Morrow really wasn’t meaningful.  The first-round loss to smaller opponent Larry Sharpe was the deal-breaker.  Well, it was really the 1-3 stretch that started with a loss to Shawn Hammack in ’08 that was the dealbreaker – the loss to Sharpe was merely the final straw.  Walters is retired from fighting now, and it’s for the better.
  • Allen Litzau lost his only boxing match of 2009, to unbeaten prospect Wilton Hilario.  As Litzau is less and less active his stock continues to plunge.  We need to see something good from the elder Litzau before he falls off our radar entirely.
  • Cory Rodriguez also lost his only boxing match of 2009.  Rodriguez is a good fighter – a very good fighter, but he doesn’t fight often and he’s already 30 years old.  Something’s got to give in the new year, because a 4-1 prospect on the wrong side of 30 isn’t in a position to be choosey.

Sideways:

  • Phil Williams – It’s hard to know what to do with Williams.  He had two important results this year: a TKO win against Antwun Echols and a split decision loss to Matt Vanda.  I expect to see Williams on the ‘Risers” list next year, but this time all I can do is acknowledge his mixed results for 2009.
  • Brad Patraw beat Antwan Robertson handily in March but got knocked down twice and lost to Robertson in October.  In between was a make-work fight with tough but limited Javier Segura in August.  The two fights with Robertson are what interest me.
  • Willshaun Boxley fought six times in 2009, winning two and losing three (one fight ended in a no-contest due to weather).  His wins came against pretty good fighters and his losses came against very good fighters.
  • Jon Schmidt – It probably seems odd that a 9-1 guy ends up here after going 3-0 in 2009, but Schmidt’s three wins came in the form of a split decision against Joshua Rodriguez (then 4-5, now 4-10) and blowouts against a couple of MMA guys in the boxing debuts.  The bottom line is that a guy could do worse, but not doing worse isn’t the goal.

Make a Move!

  • Kenny Kost would be a non-factor if he hadn’t recently announced that he was going back to the gym to get ready to fight again.  He’s young enough and good enough to keep fighting, and he’s been mentioned as a possible opponent for Andy Kolle, Caleb Truax, and Cerresso Fort.
  • Jon Laboda fought just once in 2009, versus Patrick Cape back in April.  It’s time for another fight.  Does Jon know that Javontae Starks wants to fight him?  I’m not sure.

Non-Factors:

  • Antonio Johnson – The Saint Paul Kid still wants to fight, he’s told me so.  But he only fought once in 2007, once in 2008, and once in March of this year.  I don’t know what the holdup is, but the clock is ticking on this once-promising career.

Minnesota Boxing: 2009 Year-End Pound-for-Pound List

Here comes the first in a series of obligatory year-end articles.  A few thoughts on these pound-for-pound rankings: (1) even though I might think a guy has the potential to be very good, he still has to earn his way up the list (2) there might be someone missing from my list, please leave a comment if you think I’ve missed the boat, and  (3) I respect every man on this list, so there’s no dishonor in being ranked lower than someone else.

  1. Jason Litzau (26-2 with 21 kayos) – No one else could have ended up in this slot this year.  Litzau went 3-0 in 2009 and made himself a factor in both the 130-pound and 135-pound weight classes.  Something big is guaranteed to happen for Jason Litzau in 2010 – either a marquee appearance on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights or a title shot on premium cable.
  2. Andy Kolle (19-2 with 14 kayos) – Kolle could only have had a better 2009 if he had fought more.  Kolle won both of his fights this year, and one of them was for the Minnesota championship in the state’s most prestigious and accomplished division (middleweight).  The news out of Duluth is that Kolle and Chuck Horton are searching high and low for a suitable opponent for a soon fight.
  3. Wilton Hilario (12-0-1 with 9 kayos) – Here’s a guy whose career was stalled due to injury for a year between 2007 and 2008, who has come back to make a major statement on the local scene in 2009.  Hilario’s record in 2009 was 3-0 with the first two wins coming by TKO.  The first win was merely work, but the second was a nice career boost at the expense of Allen Litzau.  The third and most important win was against 18-3 veteran Leon Bobo, in which Hilario showed that he can also do it the ugly way.
  4. Matt Vanda (42-9 with 22 kayos) – Skelator began his year with a February loss to John Duddy in which he was thoroughly dominated until the tenth and final round, when he landed big and had Duddy hurt, but couldn’t seal the deal.  Vanda won his last three fights of 2009, thought the first – the decision win against Pudwill –  seems to have been controversial in some quarters.  The win against Teddy Muller made an important statement – Vanda showed that he could outpunch a legitimate super middleweight.  Vanda’s defeat of Phil Williams was his highlight of the year.  With his herky-jerky dancing, taunting, and trash-talking during the fight, Vanda showed the kind of energy and bravado that were once his trademark, but which have gone largely missing in the last couple of years.
  5. Phil Williams (11-2 with 10 kayos) – This was an up-and-down year for the barber from north Minneapolis.  Down: his unanimous decision win against mediocre Isaiah Henderson wasn’t a knockout.  Up: A TKO of former contender Antwun Echols resulted in an enthusiastic endorsement from Echols, and Williams’ stock was rising fast.  Down again: the loss to Vanda was puzzling because Williams is a much bigger puncher and a much more imposing figure, but it was Vanda who took the initiative and stuck it to Williams for the first six rounds.  Williams had his moments in the last few rounds, but a few big bombs aren’t enough against a tough and determined foe like Vanda.  Williams says he’s learned that lesson.
  6. Caleb Truax (14-0 with 9 kayos) – The gregarious young man from Osseo with a college degree and a million-dollar smile did nothing but rise in 2009.  Truax won five out of five this year, with three wins coming by KO or TKO.  More importantly, Truax began to step up to tougher opponents this year; his last three fights came against men with records of 11-2, 25-6, and 12-2.  Why is Truax not ranked higher?  Because his last two opponents really stretched him.  But keep an eye on this one: a fight with Andy Kolle seems almost inevitable.
  7. Joey Abell (25-4 with 24 kayos) – Maybe you raised your eyebrows when you saw Abell ranked in this slot, but his career record of 25-4 with 24 kayos is only half of the story.  If you weren’t at Target Center on December 4th you didn’t see that Abell was one combination away from taking a knockout win in his state championship match with Raphael Butler.  That fight ended, unfortunately, with Abell getting his knockout but not the win; the knockout came on a punch after the bell.  It makes you wonder what could happen for this big heavyweight if he could just have one good night where nothing goes wrong.
  8. Dave Peterson (12-0 with 7 kayos) – Sometimes he looks like a great talent, sometimes he doesn’t.  Dave Peterson returned from a long layoff to go 3-0 in 2009, but his results were something of a mixed bag.  His win against Joshua Rodriguez was expected and his narrow victory against Cory Rodriguez looked like a big one at the time, but his TKO win against Silas Ortley should raise some questions.  Peterson was bigger and stronger, but he didn’t look tremendously fit and he got hit much more frequently than a 12-0 prospect should.  Maybe it was an unfavorable matchup, or maybe he had some bad milk before the fight.  I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
  9. Mohammed Kayongo (15-2 with 11 kayos) – Kayongo, aka the African Assassin, had only one fight this year, but it was an important one for his nearly comatose prizefighting career (Kayongo had fought only twice in the preceding three years).  Kayongo was favorably matched with an inexperienced 2-1-1 brawler, improbably for an alphabet title.  Kayongo was the faster and harder-hitting man in that fight, and his reward was a 3rd-round TKO win and the WBF Intercontinental welterweight title.  What a way to get your name back in the mix!
  10. Cory Rodriguez (4-0 with 3 kayos) – Here’s another fighter who had only one fight this year, but it was the close loss to Peterson.  Rodriguez is a guy who could be in a lot better place if he fought more frequently.  Promoters like to cast him as a money-grubbing prima donna, but this writer likes C-Rod personally and hopes that his 2010 is much better than his 2009.
  11. Antwan Robertson (5-1-1 with 3 kayos) – Robertson and his rival, Brad Patraw, could almost be tied in this spot.  After all, they split two fights in 2009.  But there are two reasons why Robertson is ranked above Patraw: first, he knocked Patraw down twice in his win, while Patraw never managed a knockdown of Robertson in his win.  Secondly, Robertson’s win against Patraw was the rematch.  A third bout between the two seems like a sure thing in 2010, but sure things don’t come to pass nearly as often as we expect.
  12. Brad Patraw (6-1 with 4 kayos) – In contrast to his absolute confidence before and during his March win against Robertson, Patraw seemed confused and unsure of himself in the October loss.  Hopefully Patraw returns to form in the new year.  His next bout is penciled in for January.
  13. Willshaun Boxley (5-3 with 3 kayos) – The difference between Boxley and the two men ranked just above him?  Boxley has been taking the toughest out-of-town fights he can get and losing.  One big win on the road would see Boxley leap over not only Robertson and Patraw, but a bunch of other names on this list as well.
  14. Gary Eyer (7-0-1 with 5 kayos) – Eyer is one of those guys who are just fun and exciting to watch.  After his big slugging match with Levi Cortes at Target Center in December, Eyer isn’t a well-kept secret anymore.  The lightweight from Duluth might be much more desirable to promoters now, but the retirement of Jungle Boy Walters could instead result in his being more carefully matched.
  15. Raphael Butler (35-8 with 28 kayos) – It seems obvious that Butler was in serious danger of a legal knockout before Joey Abell flattened him after the bell in their December title match.  The no-contest spared Butler the loss on his record, but at what price?  The NC result was the result of a brutal after-the-bell knockout that resulted in some short-term memory loss.  That’s serious stuff.
  16. Scott Ball (10-6 with 8 kayos) – Ball returned to the prizefighting ring after a twenty-two month layoff with an impressive first-round stoppage against journeyman Mike Davis.  Tall, slim, and young, Ball has a reputation as a good technical boxer with decent power.
  17. Cerresso Fort (9-0 with 8 kayos) – Hopefully Mr. Fort can continue to step up in terms of quality of opponent while duplicating his 5-0 record in 2009.  On the other hand, fans of Minnesota boxing would not like to see Fort fight the same way against Phil Williams or Caleb Truax that he did against Lamar Harris; a display of wild and undisciplined slugging not befitting an undefeated prospect.  Fort got the win in that one, but that kind of performance won’t do the job against Minnesota’s better middleweights.
  18. Javontae Starks (2-0 with 2 kayos) – Starks is only 2-0, but they were two great knockout wins.  This youngster is the kind of prospect that the state of Minnesota doesn’t produce very often.  The tall and slender Starks is unnaturally strong and fast.  Watch for improvement in his fundamentals – that will be a sign of how hard this ambitious and optimistic young man is working in the gym.
  19. Jeremy McLaurin (6-0 with 4 kayos) – He has yet to lose, he recently signed a promotional deal with MSC, and he is a strong and accurate puncher.  It’s unclear what McLaurin’s ceiling is, but it seems clear that he hasn’t reached it yet.
  20. Levi Cortes (3-1 with 2 kayos) – I’ll admit to not knowing anything about Cortes prior to his fight with Gary Eyer in December.  Now I’m a fan.  Cortes has a wicked right hand and looks very strong.  Other than that, I can’t tell you much.  He doesn’t seem to have much of a plan in the ring and he tired rapidly against Eyer, but that could have been the result of Eyer’s tremendous counters rather than any cardio deficiency on Cortes’s part.

Missed the cut:

Michael Faulk – keep winning in 2010 and you’ll make next year’s list, Mike.

Yevgeniy Shishporenok (Boris the Russian Giant) – One good win away from taking the 20th spot, Shishporenok has compiled a pretty good record against pretty bad opposition.

Antonio Johnson – Just one fight in 2009, no wins since 2007…I want to include Johnson on this list but it’s hard to justify it.  One win against anyone  in 2009 would have done the job.

Allen Litzau – not a bad fighter, but no big wins in several years.  I’m hoping to see Allen fight and win several times in 2010.

Kenny Kost – didn’t fight in 2009.  I have to consider Kost retired until he fights again.

Anthony Bonsante – retired after the loss to Kolle in March.

Minnesota Pro Boxers Who Really Need a Fight (Part 2)

Consider this article a sequel to the article of the same name from May 2008.

The good news is that there seems to be less of a logjam on the local scene than there was back then – despite a few hiccups, 2009 has been a pretty good year for boxing in Minnesota.  But it’s also true that there are still some Minnesota boxers who are frittering their prime away, or participating in fights that don’t advance their careers in an appreciable way.  The cause may be overcaution, chronic indecision, the dread of losing a glamorous record, or the simple lack of a workable career strategy.

In alphabetical order:

  • Antonio Johnson (7-1-1 with 3 kayos) Who is managing the career of the St Paul Kid?  Johnson has never been a particularly active fighter, but he did manage to fight three times in 2005 and three more times in 2006.  Since then he has only fought once each year in 2007, 2008, and 2009 – and his last two fights have been a draw to a 10-0 prospect and a loss to a 9-1 fighter in that opponent’s hometown.  As a result, the very talented and ambitious Johnson is now an inactive fighter who hasn’t won a boxing match in two and a half years.
  • Andy Kolle (19-2 with 14 kayos) is on this list because his activity rate so radically departs from what he desires.  Back in December of 2007 Kolle told me that ideally he would like to fight five or six times a year.  Since that interview, 22 months ago, Kolle has fought four times.  To his credit, Kolle has won three of the four against very credible opposition.  To his detriment, there doesn’t seem to be a cogent plan to advance his career.
  • Kenny Kost (14-4 with 6 kayos) Kost, who turned pro in 2003, fought six times in 2004, winning all six.  Since then, however, Kost has never fought more than three times in a year, so he has never been a particularly prolific prizefighter.  Yet eighteen months of inactivity is out of character even for him.  Kost hasn’t been seen in a professional boxing match since dropping an eight-round decision to Hector Camacho in April 2008.  Kost is one of those guys with other things to do – he makes his money in construction, so spring, summer, and fall are out for him.  So if he never appears in a prize fighting ring again, it might be more our loss than his.
  • Zach Walters (24-4 with 19 kayos)  Like Andy Kolle, Zach Walters trains under and is managed by Chuck Horton of Horton’s Gym, in Duluth.  Walters’ record was 23-2 and he was just beginning to make a blip on the worldwide radar in the summer of 2008 when he lost to 18-6 Shawn Hammack in a stunner.  Walters and Horton next took a fight against former world titlist Byron Mitchell in an effort to regain credibility and rake in some cash, but that turned into a fiasco when Walters suffered a bad cut on his tongue and Horton threw in the towel on the advice of the ringside doctor.  After three fights in ’08, Walters has had just two in ’09, only one of them a win, and that against 11-12 journeyman James Morrow.  Horton had done a great job of building Walters up prior to the Hammack loss, but now Walters finds himself in the unenviable position of not having won a fight against an opponent with a winning record since June of 2008, and unless something happens soon, he’ll end 2009 not having fought in six months.
  • Derek Winston (0-0)  Here’s a guy who keeps trying to go pro, and circumstances conspire against him.  Each time he’s been scheduled to fight in the past, either the fight or the entire event has been canceled.  The one time fight fans did get to see him in the ring (at the Myth nightclub in August, when Winston and cousin Antwan Robertson fought a four-round exhibition sans headgear) Winston looked very impressive.  Good news!  Winston is scheduled to face Tomi Archambeault at Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen on Friday, October 23.

The other end of the spectrum…

  • Say what you want to about Tony Grygelko of Seconds Out Promotions, but he knows who brings home his bacon, and he’s done a dandy job of keeping that man (13-0 middleweight Caleb Traux) busy.  When he steps out of the ring after his November 20th fight with Carl Daniels, Truax will have had six fights in the last twelve months.  His teammate Jeremy McLaurin, another up-and-comer, is also scheduled to box in that event and will also have had six fights in twelve months.
  • Ceresso Fort (7-0 with 7 kayos), a ward of Midwest Sports Council (MSC) is scheduled to have his fifth fight in twelve months on November 13th at Grand Casino Hinckley, with more events soon to come.
  • Until his current spate of activity began last April, Jason Litzau (25-2 with 21 kayos) hadn’t fought in 14 months and had a spot on this list locked up.  But Litzau made his return to the ring in April with a 5th-round TKO of Phillip Payne, demolished Verquan Kimbrough in 3 rounds in August, and now has an ESPN2-televised bout with Johnnie Edwards scheduled for the 4th of November.

The Fistic Mystic says:  I’m a realist – I know that there’s often something bubbling away below the surface; events are developing that I don’t know about…someone (maybe more than one someone) will be justifiably irritated to see their name unfairly listed in this article.  The best outcome would be for me to someday consider writing this article and then realize that there’s no one who fits the bill; that everyone is as busy as they want to be!

Antonio Johnson Tries Again: October 25

Antonio Johnson

Antonio Johnson

Antonio Johnson, who has endured a shoulder injury and then a series of opponent cancellations dating back to June, says he’s training to fight on October 25 in Washington state.  An opponent has not yet been named.

The Fistic Mystic says: Don’t take it for granted until the bell rings.  Something always seems to come up.

Antonio Johnson’s Next Fight: September 11

Antonio Johnson has announced that he’ll be back in the prizefighting ring on September 11, at a Dan Goossen promoted show in Fresno, California.  Johnson’s opponent will be 9-1 Francisco Santana.  No word yet on what other fighters will appear on the same card.