By Jeff Jowett at ringside: Marshall Kauffman (Kings Prom’ns) brought the Haymon show to the once-mighty Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on 4/29/16. The show was nothing if not lo-o-ong. A crowd of about a thousand attended at the cavernous Mark Etess Arena. Matchmaker Nelson Lopez presented an ambitious slate of mostly record builders that produced only one relatively inconsequential upset, and was carried on Spike TV. As is the expected norm on these shows, fans got to see developing stars showcase their wares in varying degrees of promise, and enjoyed the prolonged action.
Flint, MI’s well-known Dirrell Brothers headlined in two scheduled tens, with opposing performances. Anthony Dirrell, 168 ¾, 29-1-1 (23), made quick work of Caleb Truax, 168 ½, Osseo, MN,26-3-2 (6), and showed a flashy pair of hands doing it. When Truax missed a long right, Dirrell showed him how it was done, nailing him square with a zinging right counter. The stricken Truax wobbled back to the ropes, where two more clean rights sent him down. Up but not for long, with a perfect left-right combo dropping Caleb again. Ref Harvey Dock dispensed with the count, calling a TKO at 1:49 of the opening round. Caleb protested the stop.
By contrast, brother Andre, 169, 25-2 (16), lumbered through a crude and ineffective mauler to pick up the unanimous win over Blake Caparello, 167, Greenvale, Australia, 22-2-1 (6) in a rugged and earnest but aesthetically quite ugly contest. Seeming never able to put a clear plan into action, Dirrell started at southpaw and switched back and forth to orthodox all night. In round two, Andre was changing up in a neutral corner when the lefty Caparello stepped in with a clubbing left cross and the surprised favorite dropped to his knees. For a moment, a stunning upset appeared brewing. But it was late in the round, Caparello couldn’t follow it up, and after a rugged close-range dogfight in the third, the contest became an anticlimax. Andre’s defense was enough to keep the crude Australian from landing cleanly or putting a sustained attack together. At the same time, Dirrell took the initiative throughout and scored more blows while Caparello tried to get lucky. Andre periodically tried to work Blake over on the ropes, but between these bursts there was a lot of mauling. The war-torn Aussie was puffy under the left eye by the late rounds. Both tried to put on a big finish and the crowd enjoyed the tenth. Dirrell won all cards (Gene Grant, Lynne Carter, Allen Rubenstein) 98-91, but it was hardly an inspiring win. David Fields refereed.
The brothers’ post-fight observations somewhat echoed the performances. A relaxed, happy, and outgoing Anthony took the opportunity to promote the reclamation of his beleaguered home town, while adding, “I showed tonight that I work in the gym, and it paid off. If I work like I did this time leading up to the fight, then I know nobody can beat me…What helped me tonight was landing my shots early. I was right on top of him with combinations and controlling my jab, and that set the tone.” Observed Truax, “I don’t know what happened tonight. He just caught me early…I could have continued…I have never been down before, so I’m not used to this.” Andre assaulted the crowd with a staccato ear beating of predictions about a world-conquering future as if to convince himself as much as the public. Caparello sagely confessed, “I continued to look for the same left hand all night.”
In the only truly good fight on the show, Jonathan Guzman, 122, Santo Domingo, DR, 21-0 (21), forged ahead in a close, tough contest, then came on to stop Daniel Rosas, 121 ¼,, Mexico City, 20-3 (12), after 8 rounds of a scheduled 12. Rosas inched carefully forward and picked his shots in the early going, while Guzman circled and countered. Rosas was busier, but got rocked by a left hook when Guzman flurried in the third. Rosas had a strong fourth, picking shots well and seeming in control. This continued through the fifth until late in the round, when Jonathan again opened up. A right sent Daniel reeling and a crisp left hook dropped him hard at the bell. He got up and went to his corner dazed. But after getting nailed by a long right early in the sixth, the stubborn Mexican forged his way back into the fight once more. A good exchange closed the round. But Daniel appeared to be fading in the seventh, not stepping in as smartly and getting nailed by counters. The fateful eighth was deceptively tame, but exploded in the final seconds. The Dominican appeared to be taking the round off, bouncing around and sticking out his hands. Jonathan placed single punches smartly, but tended to flail during flurries. Just before the bell, the weary Rosas slipped to the canvas. When he got up, Jonathan seemed to take it as a cue and planted him! A ripping left-right combo crashed Daniel to the floor at the bell. He got up, but stumbled to his corner where referee Benjy Esteves stopped it.
Guzman commented, “I used a lot of concentration early and let him make errors…so I could see what he was planning to do. Once I saw the mistakes…I let my hands go.” Daniel alibied, “The ref stopped the fight. I thought the fight should have continued…I was never hurt.”
Eddie Ramirez, 139 ¾, Aurora, IL, 13-0 (9), stopped a seemingly used up Osumanu Akaba, 143 ¼, Prichard, AL, 32-10-1 (25), at 2:33 of the second of 8. Ramirez quickly took control in a brisk first behind a jab that had the southpaw fighting a rear guard action. In the second, Akaba went to a knee by way of escape from a steady tattoo of short punches, then got up pawing his right eye and slumping over until ref Dock had little choice but to stop it.
Titus Williams, 127, Elmont, LI, 5-0 (2), got virtually no challenge out of diminutive lefty DeWayne Wisdom, 129 ½, Indianapolis, 6-29-1 (3), in a notably one-sided but still action-loaded six. By the third, DeWayne was giving ground and not in the fight. Williams began whacking the body in the fourth, and a round later, Wisdom was doubled over, melodramatically clutching his gonads, as ref Earl Brown gave him a long rest and the crowd booed the act. In the final round, DeWayne was in full rout under a barrage, finally taking a knee. Scrambling frantically to escape punishment…not to mention suspension and loss of a possible payday…Wisdom went down again from a crushing left hook to the ribs, yet arose and escaped to the final bell. Rubenstein scored 60-52, Carter and Mark Constantino 59-53, quite generous to the loser.
Anthony Young, 148 ½, Atlantic City, 12-2 (5), won a routine unanimous decision from game but outgunned Juan Rodriguez, 146, Haymarket, VA, 6-5-1 (5), six. Young countered with a left hook off the ropes to neatly spill Rodriguez in the second. In round five, Anthony increased the pressure and had Juan doubled over with body shots. Grant scored 59-54, Constantino 59-55, and Carter 58-55.
Chris Thomas, 165 ½, AC, 2-0 (1), KO’d punching bag Jessie Singletary, 163 ¾, Wash., DC, 0-2, with one improvisational hesitation right that landed splat and bowled Singletary over at 2:26 of the first of an undisciplined four.
In a mild upset, Darnell Pierce, 198 ½, Tyler, TX, via Frederick, MD, 4-0 (1), stopped popular Hafiz Montgomery, 202 ¼, Toms River, NJ, 2-1 (1), when a long left out of a southpaw stance rocked Hafiz into the ropes and Darnell stepped in with a short right cross. Hafiz sagged, with ropes holding him up, as ref Dock jumped in and rescued him by throwing his arms around the stricken boxer at 1:19 of round two, scheduled four. It had been a wild and unruly contest, with the more stocky Montgomery unable to solve the puzzle of Pierce’s southpaw stance and long arms.
Crude and muscular Brandon Barrett, 248, Little Egg Harbor, NJ, 4-0-2 (4), unceremoniously clobbered hapless Alando Pugh, 236, Wash., DC, 1-8-1 (1), into a TKO defeat at 2:25 of the second of a scheduled four. Alando fell back to the ropes as Brandon stuck out his left like a battering ram, and then came over the top with a right. Pugh slid sideways along the ropes and collapsed to all fours, with Dock again stopping it.
Luther Smith, 211 Wash., DC, 5-0 (4), gained a split decision over Solomon Maye, 224 ¼, New Haven, 1-6-1 (1), four.
Chordale Booker, 152 ½, Brooklyn, 2-0 (2), KO’d Tolutomi Agunbiade, 153 ¼, Wichita Falls, TX, 3-7 (1), in 1:41 of the second, scheduled four.
Debuting Abraham Nova, 131 ½, Braintree, MA, TKO’d Weusi Johnson, 128 ½, Wilmington, 1-1 (1), in 2:56 of the first, scheduled four.