J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Dover Downs Casino in Dover, DE, eased off their policy of promoting their own cards and allowed a four-wall deal on 2/21/14. Dave Tiberi (Champ’s Mgmt) and matchmaker Nick Tiberi put on a promising main event that lived up to its promise, and then some. There wasn’t quite the usual packed house, but most of the 1500 seats were occupied, and everyone saw a good fight that had the room in a high state of excitement.
Ray Robinson, 146, Phila., 17-2 (7), met Aslanbek Kozaev, 146 1/2, Vladikazkav, Russia, 25-1-1 (7), in 12. The contest earned high marks for both tactics and action. The rangy southpaw Robinson started by circling away behind the jab while the solidly built Russian tried to corner him for a payoff. After a feelout first, the action revved and the crowd was warming to it in the second. But already by the third, Robinson seemed to be feeling the pressure and was beginning to look ragged in retreat as Kozaev started to reach him. The fourth was tight, as Robinson resumed popping counters again while Aslanbek put over some hard shots.
The contest turned dramatically in the fifth. Ray was landing more while Aslanbek was scoring harder. Kozaev finally found the payoff punch late in the round...almost. Robinson’s footwork couldn’t get him out of a corner quickly enough and he was tagged by a solid right to the chin. Ray was rocked back into the ropes, taking a couple more shots as his knees buckled while the crowd erupted. He grabbed and held tightly enough to get himself out of the round.
Robinson had his bicycle in high gear in the ensuing round. Kozaev managed to jolt him twice, but was outscored by Ray’s peppery punches. Then just as it seemed the Russian might be gathering steam for a strong finish, the action made another hairpin turn. A new Robinson answered the bell for round seven.
Ray came down off his toes, kept the action and mid range and fired solid blows as Kozaev walked in. Robinson had his best round so far, and so did the crowd. Robinson stood his ground and outscored Kozaev in a heated eighth, and the crowd started a hectic ninth with a "USA" chant.
After outscoring his opponent clearly in three straight rounds of heated trading, Robinson went back on his toes in the tenth. Keeping his distance, he kept Aslanbek from catching him. The USA chant was back and fans going crazy in the eleventh, as Kozaev began to bail out desperately. Robinson took charge of the heated final round, and the crowd cheered vigorously as the bout ended with Ray grandstanding.
Brian Costello scored 117-111 while Lynne Carter and Mark D’Attilio each had 118-110, all for Robinson. Steve "Sextuple S" Smoger did his usual noteworthy job as referee.
In the eight round semi, Cornelius Lock, 125 1/2, Detroit, 22-6-2 (14), battered and stopped a seemingly used-up Rogers Mtagwa, 125, Phila., 27-16-2 (19), in 1:10 of the fourth. The returning Mtagwa put up his usual good fight but appeared worn and ragged. He missed looping punches and fell prey to Lock’s quicker, straighter, jolting blows. In the fourth, the southpaw favorite drilled Mtagwa with a straight left that spun him around into a neutral corner, face first. To his credit, Lock didn’t take any deliberate cheap shots, but tried to reach around to whack his man a couple more times. Mtagwa with his back to the ring and not doing a lot to right himself left referee Vic de Wysocki with not much choice but to stop it, without protest.
Joey Tiberi, 136, Bear, DE, 12-1 (6), had little trouble blowing out fragile Charles Jones, 130, Asheville, NC, 3-14 (2), in 2:26 of round four, scheduled six. The lanky Jones boxed out of a deep stance, swung wide punches, and couldn’t move his feet fast enough to get out of the way of incoming. The favorite was able to romp, scoring five knockdowns. Jones went down from a volley in the first, Joey finishing it off with a cheap shot. In the third, Jones went to a knee by way of escape and Joey fired another late hit. Sextuple cautioned him. He then followed up with a real knockdown off a free-swinging exchange. A round later, the underdog went down twice more from grazing blows and fans began to boo. When he went down a third time in the round, a clean right, Sextuple decided enough was too much and waved it over.
Kamarah Pasley, 198, Phila., 6-6-2 (2), and Travis Reeves, 197, Balto., 3-2-1 (1), ended in a majority draw after six dull rounds. Most of it was a gym session, with southpaw Pasley circling and flicking tentative blows while Reeves trudged in, barely letting his hands go. Travis may have stolen the first when he made Kamarah hold. Pasley appeared on his way to a ho-hum win into round five. Reeves seemed to be disinterested, but he was actually looking for the home run. He nearly got it in the fifth, the only action of the bout. Reeves caught Pasley on the ropes and drove his head back with a snapping right. Kamarah was hurt, but it was late in the round and he got out of it. Reeves was the only one fighting in the final round, and earned a draw from D’Attilio and Costello while Gail Jasper scored for him, 58-56.
The best undercard bout was a four in which Earl Platt, 192, Virginia Beach, 4-1 (3), scored a mild upset over touted David Murray, 190, Phila., 1-1 (1). The crude southpaw underdog came out like he didn’t know it and took the first with an ambitious attack. In round two, Platt played chicken in an exchange and got nailed by a right and dropped. The rest of the round was rugged, with both landing hard shots. Murray seemed to fade from the pressure in the third, with Platt catching him on the ropes and plastering him with a big left to even the knockdowns. Platt was in control in the final round and battered his foe with the crowd thoroughly entertained. Costello called it 37-37, but thankfully Jasper and D’Attilio had the better scores at 38-36 Platt.
Two winless foils were quickly dispatched in the other fours. Milton Santiago, 139, Phila., 2-0 (2), stopped Christian Daniels, 142 ½, Wilson, NC, 0-3, in 2:42. The human sacrifice couldn’t fight a lick, crouched and covered while Santiago wailed at will. Milton dug in some good rib shots until Daniels went to the canvas for refuge and Smoger stopped it.
Debuting Kyrone Davis, 159, Wilmington, made it even quicker, just 0:56 against Joshua Warf, 158, Reidsville, NC, 0-2. Warf tried but had little ability, was routed and dropped by a left hook. He got up and de Wysocki stopped it.
February 21, 2014