By Jason Pribila: Ringside in Atlantic City: Prior to the HBO cameras going live at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, I ran into Philadelphia boxer Gabriel Rosado. We looked at the bout sheet and I told him, “I thought you finished Charles Whitaker in Bethlehem?”
Rosado shook his head and said, “I thought the fourth knockdown finished him.”
Unfortunately for the fans in attendance, the 38-year old Whitaker (39-14-2, 23 KO) continued to fight. On this night, Golden Boy matched him against Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KO) in a light middleweight bout. The fight played out exactly as it screamed it would when the bout was made. Hopkins has never been fan friendly, and at this point Whitaker’s knees couldn’t bend on a dare.
When Hopkins would throw, he was usually able to land. However, he rarely only threw in response to the crowd booing the action in the ring. Hopkins scored a hard knockdown in the fourth. Whittaker survived and was actually doing well for himself in the sixth. Regardless, when he returned to his corner, Whitaker decided he had enough.
The bout was over and the crowd had another reason to boo.
Hopkins may have moved himself into position to be a B-side to an up and comer, while Whitaker has moved himself into position to retire to the Caymen Islands.
A super featherweight crossroads fight ended suddenly, as Edner Cherry (31-6-2, 16KO) dropped Vicente Escobedo (26-4, 15 KO) three times before the referee waved it off at the end of the fifth round.
Cherry had always been known to crack, and when his patented “Cherry Bomb” landed it was usually a short night for his opponents. After moving up to junior welterweight to challenge Timothy Bradley in 2008, Cherry is back in a division where his power has the most effect. This was perfectly illustrated when Cherry dropped Escobedo in the second.
The talented boxer from Woodland, CA steadied himself and was in the bout until he again got caught at the end of the fifth. He somehow made it to his feet and was able to continue, until a flurry sent him to the canvas at the bell. At first I thought he would be allowed to go to his corner because I did not see a clean punch land, but the referee saw otherwise and waved off the bout.
Cherry has a name and he could crack. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this win parlayed into a title shot.
When Rau’Shee Warren was a teen in Cincinnati one of the boys in the neighborhood wanted to test his skills. That boy, Adrien Broner, went home in tears. Luckily, for boxing fans, he was not discouraged and returned the gym eager to get better.
Their journeys to Boardwalk Hall took much different paths. Broner turned professional at age 19 and has compiled a record of 25-0 (21 KO) and is about to headline his second show in a row in this ring.
Warren’s dream was to win Olympic gold. However, after three failed attempts he decided it was time to get paid for trading leather.
When it came to the leather trade on this evening, Warren (3-0, 1 KO) was in a giving mood. He basically showed each punch in his arsenal as he disposed of Richard Hernandez (0-6) to record his first career knockout at 2:04 of the second round.
It is normal for the competition of decorated amateurs to actually drop from what they are used to when they first turn pro, but this was a bit of the extreme. There is no doubt that Golden Boy will keep Warren busy, but let’s hope they continue to raise his level of competition.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @PribsBoxing.
February 16, 2013