Tag Archives: Dave Peterson

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.


Minnesota’s Glamor Divisions

A couple of years ago it was written here that middleweight was the most talent-laden division in Minnesota boxing.  That statement could easily have been expanded to include the entire Upper Midwest – at the time the premier division boasted the premier names of Bonsante, Kolle, Kost, and Vanda.  Since then, however, the landscape has changed significantly.  Bonsante is retired, Kost might as well be for all the action he’s been getting, Kolle wants to move down to junior middleweight, and Vanda has been testing the waters of the super middleweight division.  Furthermore, no fighter is obligated to stay in any particular division, so any analysis has to allow for the certainty that weights will change over time.

With that said, what is the best division in Minnesota boxing now?

Let’s survey our most prestigious divisions.

Junior Featherweight (130#):

Players: Jason Litzau (27-2 with 21 kayos), Wilton Hilario (12-1-1 with 9 kayos), Willshaun Boxley (5-7 with 3 kayos), Ismail Muwendo (6-0 with 5 kayos), Gary Eyer (8-0-1 with 6 kayos), Allen Litzau (13-6 with 7 kayos), Hassan Wasswa (5-11-3 with 2 kayos), Darby Smart (11-4 with 4 kayos), Brad Patraw (6-3 with 4 kayos), Antwan Robertson (6-3 with 4 kayos), Vicente Alfaro (4-0 with 1 kayo)

Jason Litzau (right) lays some hurt on Verquan Kimbrough

Summary: Admittedly I’m being a little bit generous to the division by including a few men from lower divisions, but it’s a fact that in those lower divisions the fighters have to be willing to travel.  Jason Litzau is the only sure-fire world class fighter in Minnesota.  How do we know?  A sure sign that a fighter has reached that echelon is that lesser men are naming Litzau as a desired opponent.  Wilton Hilario has been on national TV before and will be again in less than two weeks.  It was less than two years ago that Tony Grygelko was calling Boxley “the second best fighter in Minnesota,” but the bright and affable Boxley seems to have no more idea how to manage his career than do the buttons on his shirt.  Proof of this fact: Boxley has now lost seven fights in a row against fighters with a combined record of 60-2, after starting his career with fight straight wins.  Hilario, Boxley, Muwendo, and Eyer are all very credible second-tier guys who fans would love to see matched against each other.

Junior Middleweight (154#):

Players: Andy Kolle (22-2 with 16 kayos), Kenny Kost (14-4 with 6 kayos), Dave Peterson (12-0 with 7 kayos), Corey Rodriguez (4-1-2 with 3 kayos), Jon Schmidt (9-1 with 6 kayos), Javontae Starks (4-0 with 4 kayos), Danny Figueroa (3-1 with 2 kayos)

Andy Kolle after a job well done

Summary: Kolle is the current Minnesota middleweight title holder, and he’s on the cusp of cracking the top 15 in the world in that division.  Though Kolle has continued to campaign as a middleweight, for the last couple of years he’s been intermittently been protesting his desire to move down a class to take greater advantage of his length and power.  Expect to see Kolle finally make that move in the coming months, and he will stand head and shoulders above everyone on this list when he finally gets to 154.  Kenny Kost gets kudos for his experience and a win total in the teens, and for beating Matt Vanda back in 2007, while slippery Dave Peterson is credited with an unbeaten record and a hard-earned win against Corey Rodriguez in 2009.  This division is thick with prospects, none of which come with greater hype and potential than Javontae Starks, who has devastating power, and whose amateur accomplishments give him a national reputation.

Middleweight (160#):

Players: Kolle, Kost, Cerresso Fort (10-0 with 8 kayos), Tyler Hultin (1-0-1 with 1 kayo), Caleb Truax (15-0-1 with 9 kayos), Matt Vanda (43-11 with 23 kayos)

Caleb Truax

Hot prospect Caleb Truax

Summary: Kenny Kost isn’t officially retired, as far as anyone knows, but he hasn’t fought for two years and he isn’t getting any younger.  Caleb Truax is seen as an up-and-comer in this division, but the truth is that usually he weights in a pound or two over the limit.  With three wins against Matt Vanda and the now-retired Tony Bonsante in the last few years and no immediate challengers, Andy Kolle rules the roost here until he leaves.  Minnesota fans have asked for a Kolle-Truax matchup, but the promoters haven’t seen fit to make that fight.  One possibility: both fighters’ management are smart enough not to want to risk cashing in their fighter for the relative pittance that an all-Minnesota fight is likely to generate.

Super Middleweight (168#):

Players: Traux, Vanda, Phil Williams (11-3 with 10 kayos), Tim Taggart (4-2-2 with 2 kayos), Bobby Kliewer (10-11-2 with 5 kayos)

Heavy handed puncher Phil Williams

Summary: Despite the fact that he usually weights over 160#, Truax has been billed and marketed as a middleweight.  Matt Vanda is small for a super middleweight, but this seems to be where he wants to live, while Phil Williams is a former light heavyweight who moved down.  Taggart and Kliewer are young guys who will gain weight with age.  My point?  For most of these guys, the super middleweight division seems to be a way station on the road to somewhere else.  Nevertheless they are here now, and some interesting matches can be (in fact have been) made.

The Fistic Mystic says: The two best divisions in Minnesota right now are junior feather and junior middle.  This quick survey of active fighters and their records suggests that while middleweight still holds the potential for some very interesting matches, it’s junior featherweight and junior middleweight that have the most potential for fireworks.

The Hot Stove League of Boxing

Hot Stove

Hot Stove

Once in a while, but not very often, an event comes up that seems to have the potential to launch a Minnesota boxer to the bigger and better things.  Or so the local boxing fan tells himself.  When it comes down to it, most of the events that we bank on to increase Minnesota fighters’ exposure either don’t happen at all (Litzau-Hilario), they go horribly wrong (Abell-Butler), they don’t bring the desired result (Hilario-Honorio), or they result in no appreciable gain for the winner (Peterson-Rodriguez).

A year ago we saw Andy Kolle and Tony Bonsante come together for an event that we all thought would elevate the winner to a bigger stage, and though Kolle won in emphatic fashion, he and his team couldn’t figure out how to spell momentum with a ‘W’.  To wit: in the twelve months since he beat Bonsante, Kolle has fought only twice, against journeymen Anthony Shuler and Pat Coleman, gaining wins and paychecks, but little more.

So here’s Kolle, now 20-2, defending his Minnesota middleweight title against 42-10 Matt Vanda.  Kolle’s title defense against Vanda, a man who he beat two and a half years ago (when Vanda’s record was a more impressive 37-4), is partly an evidence of the slim pickings in Minnesota, but also partly a result of Kolle’s stalled career.  Once again the sharp southpaw from Fergus Falls is hoping to earn a win against a crafty veteran middleweight in order to springboard himself to national prominence.

Maybe the upcoming fight between Kolle and Vanda has the potential to do that for the winner, but it didn’t happen last time the two fought, so why would it now?  Vanda’s stock hasn’t risen since 2007, and Kolle’s has risen only a little.  There’s a state title belt at stake, but it’s only a Minnesota belt, so it won’t impress the networks, coastal promoters, or other powers that be.

Just the same, local fighters, coaches, trainers, and promoters all keep trying, hoping for the best, and believing that their big break lies just around the next bend.  And that’s what keeps the fans coming back: that optimistic belief that some local hero is going to take a big step up and succeed, just like Vicente Alfaro did this weekend!

Are there other potential all-Minnesota matchups that could make a splash?

Phil Williams – Caleb Truax (coming April 23rd at the Saint Paul Armory): A win could boost Truax’s credibility on the local scene but probably not on the national level (given that he’s already beaten fighters with records equal to or better than Williams’).  And though it would certainly be a shot in the arm for Williams if he were to defeat a 14-0 prospect like Truax, he would still only be a thirty-year old super middleweight from Minnesota with a 12-3 record.

Jason Litzau – Wilton Hilario: Litzau has won three straight and is set to face a top-notch opponent in Rocky Juarez on April 3rd, on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones Jr.  Hilario recently somnambulated though a twelve-round disaster with top-notch opponent Martin Honorio.  The two who last summer seemed oh-so-close to fighting are now far apart and on divergent paths; Hilario needs to polish his skills and rebuild his reputation, while Litzau appears destined to box world-class fighters in the 130# division or above.

Joey Abell – Raphael Butler II:  For starters, both men have a reasonable expectation of a pretty generous paycheck.  I’m not sure there are any fans who would even want to see this one, but there are a few details to be sorted out.  Fines, suspensions, bad attitudes, hurt feelings…let’s just say there’s a history.  Can a fight have too much baggage?  Maybe it can.

Dave Peterson – Cerresso Fort:  This one doesn’t seem very realistic, but it would have great panache if it could be made.  Unfortunately, the undefeated (12-0) Peterson is said to have commitment issues and his record of twelve fights in seven years seems to bear that out.  Fort, though similarly undefeated (9-0), is a very different fighter: an aggressive battler who takes chances.  Fort seemed to take a step backwards when he went to war with 6-3-2 tough-guy Lamar Harris back in November and nearly got himself in trouble a couple of times before pulling out a win.  Based on history, it’s hard to say whether Peterson would be willing.  It may be too easy and too comfortable for him to fight once or twice a year against guys with 4-5 wins, and if so, why would he step up and fight an aggressive (though flawed) young prospect like Fort?

Caleb Truax – Andy Kolle:  This fight might be (probably is) the most significant possible matchup on this list.  It’s certainly the most talked-about.  Kolle, if he beats Vanda on April 2nd, will have virtually cleaned out the highest level of veteran middleweights in Minnesota.  The obvious next step, barring a surprise from the semi-retired Kenny Kost, is a match with Truax, the up-and-coming prospect from Osseo.  Though this seemed like a bad mismatch a couple of years ago, when Kolle was 15-1 and Truax just 3-0,  Truax has stayed respectably busy fighting an ever-improving quality of competition.  To date Kolle has competed at a higher level (a 6-1 record against opponents with at least 20 wins), but Truax has proven himself a strong and durable fighter while winning his last three bouts against opponents with a combined record of 48-10.  If April brings Truax a win against Williams and Kolle repeats history with a win against Vanda, this very quickly becomes an even more attractive fight.

Gary Eyer – Jeremy McLaurin:  This is another fight that has been talked about by the fans, but it’s no sure thing, as both men have tough opponents lined up for April 2nd – Eyer is fighting Brad Patraw at 126# and McLaurin is giving a rematch to Hector Orozco, who gave him a very tough fight back in February.  Even if both come through with their unbeaten records intact, it might be tough to put this fight together.  What am I saying?  I’m saying that Eyer may have to get in line.

Gary Eyer – Allen Litzau:  Eyer has his eye on Al Litzau, but Litzau doesn’t fight often, and when he does it’s usually not against opponents from Minnesota.  Though this is a compelling matchup, there may not be enough money in it for Litzau.

Willshaun Boxley – Allen Litzau:  Litzau has had his eye on Boxley in the past, but is it still there?  I don’t know.  Boxley feels that he could beat Litzau without breaking a sweat, while Litzau is confident enough that he famously confronted Boxley in the ring during a Seconds Out show.  The question is now whether Boxley’s power, elusiveness, and ridiculously long reach, combined with a lackluster 5-5 record, make him too unattractive an opponent for the notoriously un-busy elder Litzau.

Willshaun Boxley – Ismail Muwendo:  Boxley has put Muwendo on his list of desired opponents.  Rumor has it that this fight has been offered more than once to Muwendo’s manager, Scott Tolzmann.  “That fight could have been made at any time, and we’ve always known that,” confirms Tolzmann.  “Willshaun is a pretty available guy, and his name has come up before.  It’s a fight that’ll probably be made sooner or later – in fact it’s a fight that almost definitely will happen.”

Corey Rodriguez – Jon Laboda:  Though one local wag tells me that he thinks Rodriguez is secretly retired, C-Rod himself has lamented his inability to get fights and has said repeatedly that a fight with Laboda is one that he wants badly.  Though neither man fights frequently, both are well-known in the Minnesota boxing community.  The fight would be an attention-getter if nothing else, and that’s one factor that’s strongly in its favor.

The Fistic Mystic says: Some of these fights are realistic and some probably aren’t.  And yet any and every one of them could be made if promoters were ambitious enough and persuasive enough and if enough money was offered.  This last condition is probably the most exigent, considering that money is typically the most desired and least available commodity in Minnesota boxing.

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.

Big Swat, and Other Thoughts from Target Center

If I could pick one theme to characterize tonight’s fights at Target Center, it would be Big Swat.

Some guys had it and others didn’t, but as much as boxing fans love it, it isn’t always the deciding factor in a fight.

One guy who had Big Swat didn’t win.  That was Silas Ortley, who showed good power while losing to Dave Peterson – a fight that was stopped by the referee after the fourth body-shot knockdown.  Oddly, I thought that when Ortley wasn’t dropping to his knees from body shots, he looked like the stronger and more effective fighter, despite his soft and pudgy appearance.  (Yes, I have looked in a mirror lately.)

Two little guys who have Big Swat fought each other.  Gary Eyer -vs- Levi Cortes was the fight of the night and a legitimate candidate for Minnesota’s Fight of the Year, 2009 Edition.  In round 1 Cortes looked stronger and more effective.  Things were not looking good for Eyer, of Horton’s Gym in Duluth.  But starting in round 2, the two young lightweights pounded each other silly almost nonstop until the end of the six round fight.  Eyer won the decision, but this was one of those fights where you wish they could both be rewarded.  I talked to Eyer briefly after his fight, and he seemed in awe of what he had just experienced.  What did I say to Eyer?  I told him to take some time off, because he has earned it!

Two big guys whose hallmark is Big Swat fought each other, but that one ended badly due to an unfortunate case of Late Swat.  Initially ruled a DQ win for Raphael Butler (and a corresponding DQ loss for Joey Abell), the outcome has reportedly been changed to a No Contest.  Thank goodness – that was the right decision.  Thank you, Boxing Commissioner Scott LeDoux!

One man’s attempt at a Big Swat hurt his shoulder. That would be Ronnie Peterson, in his fight with North Dakota’s Tomi Archambault.  Peterson had shoulder surgery before he turned pro, and he suffered another shoulder injury tonight.  Tonight’s injury forced Peterson to quit on his stool, not something that any fighter wants to do, and certainly not with his dad working in his corner.  Get well soon, Ronnie.  If you have to have surgery again, let me know where to send the flowers.

A man who is known for Big Swat lost by quick knockout to a man who is not.  Zach Walters, nineteen of whose twenty-four wins have come by knockout, lost an incredibly quick fight by kayo after he was roughed up by Larry Sharpe, who only managed eleven knockout wins in thirty prior fights – as a light middleweight!  Sharpe moved up to super middleweight and battered a bigger, ostensibly stronger opponent.  It just goes to show you that sometimes Big Swat shows up in unexpected places.

Hector Orozco isn’t a great fighter, but he has conjured up some Big Swat before.  Against Tony Lee tonight, Orozco could sure have used some more of that BS, but Lee was too quick, too elusive, and summoned too many Little Swats.  Orozco just couldn’t find it when he needed it.

Yevgeniy “Boris” Shishporenok showed a great facility for snuffing his opponent’s attempts to uncork a Big Swat.  Totally unexpected, and very impressive.  Don’t try this at home, kids: Boris twice caught his opponent’s incoming punches in his own very strong hands like a catcher catching a fastball.  I don’t know how to convey the image to the reader, so I’m going to repeat myself: he just caught those punches in his hands and tossed them away like fungo balls.  For his part, Boris landed a phantom Big Swat that nobody really seemed to see or hear, but which flattened his opponent just the same.  Philosophical query: if a punch lands on a man’s jaw and nobody hears it, does it still hurt?  Evidently the answer is yes.

Last of all, Saverino and Jacob.  Saverino Garcia and Jacob Dobbe put on a good show, but neither man particularly impressed.  A small dose of Big Swat would have spiced things up a little bit, guys.  Maybe next time one of you could, you know, let his opponent land a big haymaker.  Just a suggestion.  Because everybody loves to see a fight end with a great big Swat!

Joey Abell/Raphael Butler and Zach Walters/Larry Sharpe Round-by-Round

Good evening, and welcome to Abell/Butler and Walters/Sharpe at Target Center in Minneapolis!  We’ve got quite a complement of media here tonight, which is a welcome change of pace for Minnesota boxing.  It’s 7:20 and the crowd is just beginning to file into the arena, so we might see a little delay in the  start of the show.

  • Note to my favorite reader: I left the phone in the van, and I’m not going back out there to get it!
  • An announcement has just come down requesting that officials report to ringside.  Let’s get this show rolling!
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page to follow along – the fights are listed in reverse chronological order.

Joey Abell (now 25-5 with 24 kayos) loses to (is not defeated by) Raphael Butler (now 36-8 with 28 kayos) by disqualification in round 1 of 10 scheduled.

Round 1

Abell is jabbing and backing up, Butler jabbing and coming forward.  Butle lands the first good shot of the night, a short right hook after Abell missed with a left.  Abell connects with a left hook to the chest of Buter, and a pause…both men fire at the same time, no advantag yet.  Now Butler jumps in and there’s a clinch.  Bobby Brunette breaks the two apart.  both men are circling to their left, and Abell zaps butler with a left.  Butler lands a big right to the head of Abell, Ice bounces off the ropes and moves across the ring.  Abell sticks a hard left into theches of butler, and Butler can be seen saying something…unclear what.  Abell bounces a good right off  the head of Butler, gets  butler backing up, and pounds him into a corner!  butler goes down to his knees, rises slowly, and the men begin punching again after the bell!  NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE HEARD THE BELL, and referee Brunette isn’t trying to break them up!  Abell clocks Butler with a thundering left hand, Butler appears to be knocked unconscious, and all hell breaks loose – the O’Connor crew storms the ring in protest, Ron Lyke and Jim Maurine go to the aid of their man, and now there’s a huge melee.  Ron Lyke is at the bottom of the pile, and Abell is arching his body of Lyke’s to protect him.

I hope this fight is ruled a no-contest and not a DQ…we’ll have to wait and see.

Ring announcer Dan Cole has announced that Raphael Butler is now the Minnesota heavyweight champion.  I’m not sure this is the case – we need a ruling on whether a title can be won on a disqualification, pronto!

Zach Walters (now 24-5 with 19 kayos) is defeated by Larry Sharpe (now 24-7 with 12 kayos) by TKO at :56 in round 1 of 8 scheduled.

Round 1

Sharpe comes right out and gets into Walters’ face, cornering Walters and battering him with an extended barrage of hooks and overhanded shots that put Walters down no more than thirty seconds into the fight!  After a mandatory eight count it’s more of the same, and Walters ends up sunken in a neutral corner, red-faced and helpless.  Referee Bobby Brunette stops the bout after just 56 seconds.

Memorable: in his post-fight interview with ring announcer Dan Cole, Sharpe calls out Matt Vanda!


Ronnie Peterson (now 3-1) is defeated by Tomi Archambault (now 1-1) by TKO due to an injury after 2 rounds of six schedulued.

Round 1

This fight begins tactically, with neither man committing to an attack, but feeling each other out.  As it develops, Archambault looks like the aggressor, but Peterson is comfortable (or seems so) backing up and fighting from a Money Mayweather-like posture.  Archambault traps Peterson against the ropes and pummels him for a good ten or fifteen seconds, but Peterson finally escapes and scoots across the ring.  Archambault may have hurt Peterson there, it looked like a right hook and it left Peterson rubbing the left side of his face.  Now Archambault has Peterson against the ropes again, and lands a long series of grunting body shots before Peterson escapes.  Peterson is not impresssing so far in the first round.  The round ends with Archambault coming forward.

Round 2

Archambault gets Peterson into the ropes yet again, and though Peterson punches his way off the ropes, he doesn’t get away and takes more punishment than he should.  Peterson is a sharp puncher, but seems to be in the habit off walking straight backward to get away from trouble, and that doesn’t work.  Archambault lands his best punch of the fight, a left to the head of Peterson, and peterson retreats again.  Peterson walks backwards into a corner again, but this time deftly executes a switcharoo, putting Archambault into the corner before – you guessed it – retreating again.  Archambault impresses by feinting a left, and when Peterson flinchhes, nailing him with a right from outside his field of vision.  This round ends as the last one did, with Archambault coming forward.

Round 3

This fight has been stopped due to a shoulder injury – we can only assume it’s to Peterson, as no one has said yet.  Archambault has now been declared the winner by TKO.


Gary Eyer (now 7-0-1 with 5 kayos) defeats Levi Cortes (now 3-1 with 2 kayos) by unanimous decision (58-54, 57-55, 57-56) after 6 rounds.

Round 1

Cortes throws the first punch, a left jab, and there’s a short lull before both men commence to throwing power shots.  Now another moment of quiet, and Cortes comes in throwing extremely hard right hands.  Eyer counters with at lesast one good body shot that could be heard throughout the arena, and after another lull Cortes charges in with a vicious left that snaps Eyer’s head back.  Cortes comes in and puts his head down, allowing Eyer to get off a monster shot to the body.  Cortes is a beast, throwing hateful punches that have Eyer ragdolling around the ring, but each time Eyer comes back with credible counters that show he’s still game.  Now Eyer tries to lead with a  right, but Cortes ducks it, pushes him into a corner, and nails him again.  Cortes lunges in and lands another snapping right, and Eyer retreats to the ropes, where Cortes flurries again until the bell rings.

Round 2

Eyer lands a good left jab that snaps Cortes’ head back at the start of the round, Cortes comes forward and misses with a right, taking a big left to the head as his comeuppance.  Eyer lands a left, ducks two big shots from Cortes, and lands a hook or uppercut.  Cortes measures, measures, and throws an overhanded right that lands flush to Eyer’s cheek.  Cortes tries the same move again, this time Eyer craftily ties him up and drags him backwards across the ring.  Cortes ducks and charges, and Eyer lands a big counter left.  Cortes’s ragin bull routine might be losing its effectiveness.  cortes connects a right hook to the body froma wide angle, eyer feints a punch and Cortes flinches.  cortes shortens up his hook and lands wit hless powerr.  Cortes jumps in again, and catches Eyer repeatedly.  Eyer backs up into the ropes and there makes a stand, firing back with hooks and uppercuts that make the crowd roar!  Wisely getting off the ropes, Eyer is again retreating while Cortes throws power shots of every variety from every conceivable angle until the bell rings.

Round 3

Cortes is stalking but not throwing for the first twenty seconds of the round.  eyer is moving back and to his left, changes direction, head fakes, and then atacks.  Cortes goes on the attack, eyer steps back and to the right, throws a big left hook , and drops Cortes hard.  Back up after the count, Cortes looks like easy prey, but when Eyer tries to finish him off, Cortes latches on hard and won’t let go until both men crash ito the ropes, and Eyer does a twisting body slam.  Cortes is looking lost, but at just the most desperate moment, lands a big hook that snaps Eyer’s head all the way back.  the two men separate, and referee bobby brunette stops the action so Cortes can be inspected by the ring doctor.  Upon the approval of the ring doctor, cortes comes back out looking for blood.  Cortes lays into eyer with a ferocious extended combination, eyer fires back in turn, and the two go toe-to-toe in the center of the ring for what seems like a full minute!  When it’s over both men are looking rough, but Cortes’ face is covered in blood from the eyes down.  Cortes is landing his leads, but Eyer is countering effectively through the end of the round.  What a round!

Round 4

eyer leads, Cortes lands two effective shots.  eyer may be better off countering.  cortes continues to come forward, suddenly eyer charges and lands one big right.  Cortes gets him back twice, and eyer finishes the encounter with a hard left.  Back to the center of the ring, where cortes attacks but is hit flush witha horrorizing eyer right that sprays blood across the ring.  Cortes is back to stalking, and as he jumps in there’s a sickening thud as the two men’s heads clash.  As the fighters separate, eyer hard a splash of blood on the back of his right shoulder.  No telling where that came from.  Cortes is throwing mostly single shots now, bleedding heavily from the mouth, Eyer waits until there’s five seconds left in the round and then flurries with his back to the ropes.  As the bell rings, the crowd applauds what is developing into a possible FOY candidate.

Round 5

The lips of Levi cortes, I must say, look like punctured and oozing sausages.  Cortes is attacking again, and Eyer seems to be getting tthe upper hand with ferocious counters that would knock a horse cold.  Cortes attacks again and again, Eyer, sometimes eats big power shots, but equally often connects with deathly counters.  cortes is down!  eyer hit him with another counter and his knees buckled – but cortes is up before bobby brunette can count .  eyer pursues cortes into a corner and pummels him, but as the two men meet once again the center of the ring, cortes hits Eyer with three big rights.  Cortes is still pursuing Eyer as the bell rings, round 5 is in the books.

Round 6

Cortes starts the scoring with a hard left-right-left that freezes Eyer momentarily, but Eyer collects himself and resumes countering.  Eyer charges forward with a left and right hook that both miss, and the combatants take a short break.  Cortes is bleeding heavily from his nose.  Cortes , coming forward, lands two straight rights and backs Eyer into a corner, but may be too tired to capitalize – at any rate, Eyer walked out of the corner.  Cortes is coming forward again, but putting his head down, he is hit with a tremendous right uppercut that the crowd didn’t seem to notice.  Two tired warriors are trading, toe-to-toe, an extended flurry like I have never seen before!  The round ends with an exhausted Cortes taking terrible punishment from Eyer’s hooks and uppercuts.

Dave Peterson (now 12-0 with 7 kayos) defeats Silas Ortley (now 4-8 with 3 kayos) by TKO at 1:22 in round 4 of 6 scheduled

Round 1

Ortly throws an alligator-armed right jab to start things off, Peterson lands a soft shot, and Ortlye goes hard to the body three times.  Peterson sees this kid is earnest, and bangs on him for a few seconds, Ortly gets inside and lands big looping hooks to the body and head of Peterson.  Peterson is moving well but punching softly, Silas is a charging bull, but despite all his uncouthness he lands.  Peterson lands a good rigth hook to the ribcage, and Ortley  leans uncomfortably to this right.  Peterson had better use that jab!@  Ortly comes charging in and lands several more winging punches.  Peterson lands three softies and Ortly misses with a big right.  Peterson’s smooth boxing is beginning to show.  Peterson alnds three more body shots without getting touched back, but on his next foray into Ortley’s body, Peterson eats another big hook.  Peterson puts his right out to hold Silas at bay, but Ortley signals bad intentions by throwing a hook at the outside of Peterson’s straightened elbow.  The bell rings with Ortley landing two more hooks on Peterson’s melon.

Round 2

Peterson is trying to be elegant, but Ortley counters his soft hook with a big heavy-handed right that moves him.  Peterson puts his head down and gets caught under Ortley’s armpit.  Ortley sportingly lets him out after throwing just two more punches, and they’re back at it.  Simultaneous punches – a right from Ortley and a Left from Peterson – land knuckle-to-knuckle in mid-air.  Ortley lands another big power shot, and Peterson counters while  moving backwards.  Peterson ducks again, and gets caught in the armpit of Ortley again.  Peterson is landing very soft lefts, then suddenly comes to life, landing three resounding rights to the body of Ortley.  Ortley is throwing with lless conviction now…Peterson lands a big liver punch to Ortley, and Ortley hesitates before taking a knee.  he’s in obvious pain, and looking like a deer in the headlights as Miezwa counts eight or ninee before Ortley rises.  Ortley’s mouthypieces is out.  Now as the bout resumes, Ortley shakes off the effects of the punch and throws a flurry of big shots that may have hurt Peterson.  The bell rings, and as Miezwa steps in between the men, Ortley throws three angry overhanded punches and then makes a challenging gesture at Peterson.  Things just got more interesting!

Round 3

Ortley is looking like the ggressor here, landing several good one-twos.  Petreson ducks inside, and Ortley lands a huge right to the ribcage!  Peterson backs up, and Ortley nails him in the face, drawing out a big “Oooooh!” from the crowd.  Peterson is ahving a hard time figuring Ortley out.  now Peterson gets smart and digs to the body with several big hooks that would hurt a bronze statue.  Ortley is punching down at the larger, crouching Peterson, and peterson is continuing to geo hard to the soft body of Ortley.  Ortley absorbs one too many body shots and goes down on his knees again, but after the mandatory eight count, it’s business as usual.   Peterson, countereintuitively, is going downstairs consistently on his shhortter opponent.  Now ortley catches Peterson with a big body shot as peterson moves backward.  Peterson flurries again as the round comes to a close, and again Ortley goes down from yet another body punch!  Ortley jumps to his feet at the count of nine, and the timekeeper rings the bell as soon as the fight recommences.

Round 4

Despite al the hurting, Ortley comes out game for the fourth.  A lunging hook from Ortley lands on Peterson, Peterson ducks duwon and to the right, and ortley alertly targets his exposed side.  Ortley catches Peterson on the ropes and lands two big shots, and Peterson escapes.  Back in the center of the ring Peterson lands three good body shots, Ortley puts his head down and bulls him backwards into  a corner – both men still punching all the way to the ropes.  Peterson gets out, and as the two reengage catches Ortley with another big body shot, and this time Miezwa waves the fight off immediately.  TKO.


Hector Orozco (now 1-4) is defeated by Tony Lee (now 1-0 with no knockouts) by unanimous decision (39-36, 40-35, 39-36) after four rounds.

Round 1

Orozco extends a hand of greeting as the fight begins, and Lee ignores it.  Orozco throws a few sharp jabs to the body to kick things of…there’s a pause in the action – I think that Lee lost his mouthguard.  Upon returning to action lee throws some ineffective but straong-looking hooks at Otrozco.  Lee traps Orozco against the ropes and lands at least two very hard shots to teh head of Orozco, but the two clinch and  have to be broken up by referee Gary Miezwa.  Lee lands a big right to the head of Orozco, and Orozco leans hard into the ropes…is he baiting Lee?  Apparently not, because as Orozco comes off the ropes Lee caches him with another shot that puts Orozco off balance again.  Orozco puts both hands on the mat, and that’s going to be a knockdown.  After the mandatory eight count, the fight resumes with Lee trying unsuccessfully to follow up and end things early.  At the sound of the ten second warning, Lee puts on a flurry that has Orozco reeling, but Orozco is a tough dude and he withstands the storm.

Round 2

the second round begins with Orozco trying to come out aggressively, but a stiff jab puts hm back in his place.  A period of tentative jabbing ends with Orozco landing a rock-hard right hook to the head of Lee.  There’s more tactical boxing with no advantage to either man, then on a clinch Lee lands a right handed rabbit punch that escapes the ref’s notice.  Orozco tries to attack but gets hit with a good two handed coutnerattack from Lee.  Lee is landing loud and hard punches, but they seem to be mostly to the upper arms and shoulders of Orozco.  Orozco shoots out a right jab and gets hit hard with a counter right.  Orozco is coming forward, but lee is getting the better of the exchanges.  Ten seconds to go, and neither man is in attack mode…now Orozco comes lunging forward, but Lee backpedals out of danger and the bell rings.

Round 3

Tony Lee is a fast and artful boxer, but Orozco is a tough buldog, not a chihuahua as his nickname suggests.  Lee lands a good flurry of power shots, but Orozco is unmarked and bounching on his toes.  Orozco shoots out right jab and sits down on a left hook to the body that lands.  Lee, coming forward, misses badly with a right hook.  Orozco comes forarrd and lands a good right, but follows through too far and ends up turning away from Lee.  No counter from Lee.  Orozco tries another right and misses completely.  Lee isn’t a bomber, but his jabs are scoring.  Orozco comes in with fire, but lee gets underneath and flurries with five punches to the abdomen.  Orozco comes back blazing, but can’t score as the round ends.   As he returns to the corner, Orozco is sporting a big, long welt above his right eyebrow.  Head butt?

Round 4

Our combatants touch gloves as the round begins, then both unload all their best shots.  Lee is a more accurate puncher, thus he got the better of that exchange.  Now Orozco is on his toes and bouncing to his right and backwards..Lee is attacking hard, but  now as he lunges in to attack there’s an apparent clash of heads.  based on the position of his head as they met, I’ll guess that Lee got the worst of it.  Orozco is smiling as he attacks, landing a nice right that lands to Lee’s head.  Lee bulldozes lee backwards into a neutral corner but does not appreciable damage, and Lee gets out.  Lee may be losing some speed, and he’s getting caught with  more regularity as a result.  lee lands abig right hand, but Orozco comes bakc hardder and rocks lee!  Lee’s hand touches the mat, but referee Miezwa ruels it a push, not a knockdown.  Not sure I agree.  Orozco, for his part, was offended that as Miezwa  broke the two men up, his gentle push put Orozco off balance, resulting in a butt splat on the canvas.  Back at it, both men are eager but unable to do any damage, the ref breaks apart a clinch just as the ten-second alert is sounded, and the round ends before any  more punches are thrown.

Yevgeniy Shishporenok (now 7-1 with 6 kayos) defeats Will Gillette (now 0-1) by TKO at :57 in round 2 of 6 scheduled.

Round 1

Boris enters the ring to Queen’s masterpiece, ‘Fat Bottom girls.’  He is introduced as a ‘rock solid 280#,’ which may be optimistic.  The two fighters come out with guns blazing, and Gillette briefly traps Boris in a neutral corner, but Boris gets out unscathed.  gillette is landing hard shots to the head and body, fighting from a crouch that might put him too far from Boris to do any real damage, but then he reaches up and lands a righthanded haymaker that snaps booris’s head back.  boris is now coming forward, but gets hit with a hard body shot.  boris catches gillette with a  good shot, but my view is obscured by referee Gary Miezwa.  Boris continues to walk forward.  gillette throws a big looping hook that boris catches with one hand and tosses aside.  Now gillette puts his head down and bulls straight into bori’s midsection, and  the referee has to break the two apart.  A lot of artless feints and head bobs lead up the the end of the first.

Round 2

Gillette lands a right jab to the body of Boris, but Boris catches another punch with his hands and casts it aside.  Gillette is ducking his head while he comes forward, and Boris, stepping back and to the left, lands a tremendous knock that puts Gillette flat on his face.  Gillette is quick to his feet, but after looking into his eyes, ref Gary Miezwa makes the call to stop the fight.  TKO!  Speculation at ringside is that Gillette may have hit his face hard on the mat and done a little self-inflicted damage.


Saverino Garcia (now 1-0-1) defeats Jacob Dobbe (now 0-1) by unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) after four rounds.

Round 1

The fight begins with a spirited exchange, Dobbe landing three hard straight rights in a row, Garcia shooting back with harder shots, but fewer.  The action moves to another corner and Garcia comes out on the wining end of another slugging exchange.  In the middle of the ring Garcia scores big with a single right hook to the head of Dobbe, and the pace finally slows.  Now Dobbe is stalking, Garcia looking to counter with lefts and rights.  Garcia scores with a snow left-right-left-right, but Dobbe gets him back with a nice counter.  Dobbe is slowing noticeably now, and Garcia is landing with both hands to the head and body.  Dobbe is trying to be the aggressor, but doesn’t have any steam left.  No sooner do I say that, than Dobbe lands a good straight right, but moments later Garcia scores with a powerful right at the bell.

Round 2

Round two begins with Dobbe coming forward, right into a hard left from Garcia.  Dobbe connects with his best punch of the night, a right o the chin of Garcia.  Then another!  Garcia counters, but Dobbe hits him hard to the left side of his ribcage.  Garcia misses with a soft right, but Dobbe fails to counter.  Garcia lands one three punch combo, then another, then too many punches for me to count!  dobbe is hurting, but he throws back and connects with two good shots.  A hard left to the face of Dobbe brings a smile or a grimace from Dobbe – hard to say which.  Now the two sluggers trade in the center of the ring, Garcia rocking Dobbe repeatedly.  Garcia tries a big left hook – Dobbe fails to move, but Garcia misses completely.  Garcia now lands several good shots from both hands.  Dobbe is stil coming forward, Garcia moving back and to his right.  Garcia lands  anice right that snaps Dobbe’s head back.  Garcia senses the round is drawing to a close and flurries…and flurries…now the bell rings and Garcia lands a hard right significantly post-bell.  Dobbe is staggered, regains his balance, and puts his hands on his knees.  I think he’s considering quitting, but he returns to his corner via a crooked line.

Round 3

No penalty to Garcia for the late shot.  Garcia comes out agggressive, dobbe counters a flurry with a well-deserved elbow.  the two trade again, and dobbe appears to be spitting blood.  A hard left jab rocks Dobbe, then another…but Dobbe returns fire, landing a good power shot.  dobbe may have connected with another left elbow to the face of Garcia.  Dobee is ducking and lunging, and landing occasionally.  Garcia is moving around…then Johnny Johnson can be heard shouting ‘Now! Now! Now!” and Garcia flurries again, but dobbe is nothing if not tough.  Garcia lands a good right hook and dobbe nods at him.  Dobbe paws with a left jab and Garcia misses badly with a right.  Garcia lands a tremendous left that impresses the crowd.  dobbe’s punches have little behind them – Garcia parries a punch in the old-fashioned style just before the bell, and this round is over.

Round 4

Dobbe looks reluctant as the round begins, but he finally lands a strong shot, a big straight right that sends s spray of sweat up from Garcia’s head.  Dobbe lands a second, similar punch, but Garcia is unmoved, backs Dobbe into his own corner and batters Dobbe.  Garcia stuns Dobbe with a left-right, then flurries again.  Dobbe continues to come forward, but is not effective.  Dobbe wipes his face with his mit and looks at the blood, casually wipes the blood on his pants, and returns to fighting.  Dobbe lands several rigths over about thirty seconds, but Garcia again sshrugs him off and flurries with a series of power shots that wilts Dobbe further.  the two nearly clinch, but mutually push each other away.  Referee Gary Miezwa breaks the two after a clash, and now the en second warning, and Dobbe lands one more big right before taking two hard counters from Garcia, and the bout is over.

Upcoming Boxing Event: Abell -vs- Butler on December 4


Target Center

Target Center

Still basking in the afterglow from Caleb Truax and Mohammed Kayongo’s wins Friday night in Saint Paul, we look forward to the next big boxing event in Minnesota.  What to watch for:

  • Joey Abell and Raphael Butler, both Minnesota kids whose careers have gone off track, meet for the Minnesota heavyweight title about a year and a half too late.  The winner will get a big career boost, while the loser will continue to be an obscure, second-tier pro heavyweight.
  • Zach Walters searches for redemption for his recent losses.  Some fans had hoped for a revenge bout with Shawn Hammack, but instead of a revenge bout he gets a match with a man (Sharpe) who beat a man (Rumbolz) who beat the man (Hammack) who beat Walters back in August of 2008.
  • Travis “Freight Train” Walker takes a bout with the “Russian Giant” – a 6-1 big dude who has yet to win a bout against an opponent with a win.  Read that again: not an opponent with a winning record, but an opponent who had ever won a fight at the time of their meeting.
  • Ronnie Peterson gets a rematch with the man, Tomi Archambault, who was briefly given credit for beating him, before the result of that bout was nullified and the bout ruled a no-contest.  As some have said, Peterson has something to prove – but no less does Archambault, who had to be upset and embarrassed by the erasure of that win.
  • Gary Eyer and Levi Cortes meet in a curious match of unbeaten local boys.  Anyone who has seen Eyer fight knows that he is fast, strong, and efficient.  Has anyone seen Cortes fight?  I haven’t.
  • Dave Peterson is matched with a serviceable opponent in Silas Ortley.  Peterson is coming off a tough, close win against previously undefeated Corey Rodriguez, so he’s earned an easier match.  It’s up to “the Prodigy” to make sure that he doesn’t take the night off, because Ortley has proved that he has a good heart and a good chin, despite his lackluster (4-7) record.
  • A matchup of young men looking for their first wins: Saverino Garcia, who is pretty good, takes on Allante Davis, who just isn’t that good.
  • Tony Lee – a very good amateur – turns pro against dangerous Hector Orozco, whose unimpressive record doesn’t give an accurate idea of his potential.

Joey Abell (25-4 with 24 kayos) -vs- Raphael Butler (35-8 with 28 kayos), heavyweights, scheduled for 10 rounds, for the Minnesota state heavyweight title

Zach Walters (24-4 with 19 kayos) -vs- Larry Sharpe (23-7 with 11 kayos), light heavyweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Travis Walker (33-3 with 28 kayos) -vs- Yevgeniy Shishporenok (6-1 with 5 kayos), heavyweights, scheduled for 6 rounds

Ronnie Peterson (3-0 with 3 kayos) -vs- Tomi Archambault (0-1), super featherweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Gary Eyer (6-0-1 with 5 kayos) -vs- Levi Cortes (3-0 with 2 kayos), welterweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Dave Peterson (11-0 with 6 kayos) -vs- Silas Ortley (4-7 with 3 kayos), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Saverino Garcia, (0-0-1) -vs- Allante Davis (0-3), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Tony Lee (debut) -vs- Hector Orozco (1-3 with no kayos), weight unknown, scheduled for 4 rounds