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Carto Wins First Main Event in Philly  

pics Ray Bailey
pics Ray Bailey

By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: One of boxing’s most prolific promoters, Marshall Kauffman (Kings Prom’ns) presented a card on Friday(Sept 29) at Philadelphia’s active small club, the 2300 Arena. The show was televised live on Eleven Sports. Alex Barbosa was ring announcer and Alice Grady kept time.


Popular and promising Christian Carto, 118 ¼, Phila., 12-0 (11), moved to his first main event, virtually guaranteeing an SRO crowd in the circa 1300 arena. There wasn’t space left along the walls to see an eight with Alonso Melendez, 117 ¼, Chihuahua, MX, 14-2 (12). In his first fight outside of Mexico, the tall, lanky southpaw appeared to present a challenge, boxing neatly behind a long right jab. But by round two, Carto had measured him and was letting his hands go. A poised boxer, Carto was able to move smartly within precise range to fire combos, missing few and quickly having the bigger Mexican on the defensive. By the fourth, Melendez was bleeding from the nose and being skillfully picked apart. By the sixth, he’d been reduced to a sparring partner, but came back to life in the seventh, showed more initiative, and stood up in respectable, though losing, exchanges through the final round. Christian won a unanimous shutout from John Poturaj, Dave Braslow, and Marc Werlinsky. While losing his knockout string, Carto never went wild and started bailing out, but remained collected and in control.


A bit more loose and unconventional, but with plenty of action and drama, was the co-feature eight between Jerome Conquest, 132, Strawberry Mansion, Phila., 9-2 (1), and Carlos Rosario, 132, Pennsauken, NJ, 7-3 (4). The lanky lefty Conquest moved around the sleepy-eyed Rosario, who trudged ever forward, looking for payoff punches while Conquest picked up points. Action was tense and tight into the fourth, when Rosario’s pressure seemed to be turning the tide as he landed some solid blows. But in the fifth, Carlos walked into a ripping left uppercut that dropped him with explosive suddenness. Upon arising, he met a suddenly maddened Conquest who went all out with both arms churning to put him away. Rosario’s escape was a booming shot to the culioni that folded Jerome like a mop on the floor, pounding the canvas in frustration. Referee Benjy Esteves gave the fallen warrior a long rest, after which the moment of opportunity had passed. Jerome gave away the next round, doing nothing but bicycling in wide circles. He did little fighting in the seventh too, as Carlos walked him down. But in a pivotal cat-&-mouse final round, Jerome moved smartly and picked punches well to clearly take the session. Poturaj scored 78-73, Braslow and Lynne Carter 77-74, for Conquest.


A six between David Gonzales, 143, Phila., 8-2-2-1 (2), and Darius Ervin, 141 ¼, LA, 4-1-1, produced no appreciable action and an unappreciated ending. Gonzales was unable to do anything to get close to the tall and spindly visitor, and took to lunging and falling down. For his part, Ervin couldn’t time the stumbling rushes and ended by just tying Gonzales up. This produced nothing that could be called boxing into the second round, when the wild and woolly lurching instead produced a violent clash of heads. Gonzales got the worst of it, being taken to his corner by referee Eric Dali and examined by the doctor, who ruled David unfit to continue. The result was No Decision in 1:53, round two.


A slow motion and tedious six was hard fought in its own way, between Anthony Prescott, 151 ¾, Cherry Hill, 7-7-2 (2), and Erik Spring, 152 ½, Reading, 10-2-2 (1). Prescott dominated the early rounds with straight counters as the lanky southpaw Spring walked in with arms extended wide. This climaxed in early third when Spring was rocked by a right lead. But Prescott’s dominance began to fade and he struggled in the last three. Anthony gave ground but still outscored Erik with counters. Nonetheless, there was some anxiety over the forthcoming verdict. Spring is a difficult junk artist who wins by default, and many judges score on body language. It was Erick who forced the last three. But fortunately, the judges got it right. Braslow scored 58-56, Poturaj and Werlinsky 59-55, all for Prescott.


The show opened with a sensational upset as Juan Rodriguez, 140, Haymarket, VA, 8-7-1 (6), TKO’d Maynard Allison, 135 ¾, Siler City, NC, via Phila., 9-2 (6), in 3:00 of round two, scheduled 6. The contest was cautious, with Rodriguez coming forward and Allison circling away, picking punches here and there. Then in a lightning bolt, Allison stepped in to throw a right and Rodriguez, a dangerous spoiler, launched a straight right down the pike and crumpled him like a pile of old clothes on the canvas. Maynard struggled up, initially wobbly, but his head cleared just in time to see ref Dali wave the bout over, which sent Maynard into a vehement protest.


In a contest that was more futile than ferocious, Robert Irizzary, 128, Cherry Hill, 4-1-1, gained a unanimous decision over Bryan Perez, 125 ¾, Carolina, PR, 2-8-1 (1), four. The southpaw underdog tried to make it a street fight but threw all his punches wild. Irizzary circled and pecked but put nothing together. In a climactic fourth, the frustrated Perez kept dropping his hands and challenging Robert to fight, meanwhile getting bopped. At the bell, they were suddenly best of friends. All 39-37.


Brandon Robinson, 168 ¼, Upper Darby, 7-1 (6), stopped George Sheppard, 168 ½, Norfolk, 1-3, in 1:20 of the fourth and final round of a crude but punishing battle. The gaunt and scary-looking underdog took a pounding from the sturdy favorite, especially to the body, but hung in until the final round. A clash of heads at the outset gained both a rest from Dali, but Sheppard unraveled when action resumed. Robinson drilled him with a right that spun him along the ropes, ending up draped face outward over the top strand, where it was stopped.


Two walk-out fours never made it out of the first round, with explosive and definitive knockouts. First, Alan Lawrence, 173 ½, Newark, 2-0 (2), KO’d tough Amir Shabazz, 173 ¾, Phila., 4-2 (1), in 1:24. The relaxed Lawrence and the muscular Shabazz traded solid combinations from first bell, with the quicker, more fluid Lawrence getting the better of the exchanges. Amir began to give ground. Lawrence landed a solid left hook, and then two steps later, came back with another, harder hook that sprawled Shabazz halfway onto the apron. Dali stopped immediately.


And finally, tall and elongated Rasheed Johnson, 147 ¼, Phila., 2-1 (1), dipped to his left and fired a perfect left hook-right cross combination that flattened hard luck Demetris Williams, 147 ¼, Phila., 1-4, in 56 seconds. Demetris crash landed with legs twitching involuntarily, signaling Benjy to wave it over without count.


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