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22 OCTOBER 2018

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Lebron Impresses, Robinson Escapes In AC

By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Having established a lasting club presence and fan base in Philadelphia, promoters/matchmakers Manny Rivera and Wil Ruiz (Hard Hitting Prom’s) expanded their empire to the once-bright lights of Atlantic City. On 6/30/17, the Dynamic Duo re-opened the Tropicana to boxing, where “The World’s Greatest Man”, Don Elbaum, once ran WEEKLY shows in the Glory Days of the early ‘80s. The Showroom drew a nice crowd of about 1500 fans. Matchmakers are caught in a Devil’s Bargain between providing action fights and keeping the ticket-sellers winning. These two seem to be doing a nice job of walking that tightrope. All the heroes won, but had to work for the wins, as none of the underdogs quit, laid down, or retired in place. Everyone had to work, and fans enjoyed the long, post-midnight card. Patrick Michael Fattore did the announcing, Ray Ryan was timer, and Kurt Wolfheimer publicist.


The co-feature 10 was a good contest between adopted headliner Luis Lebron, 125, San Juan, 9-0-1 (4), and Manuel Bottis, 125, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros (Santiago), DR, 22-1. With the recent local history of Dominican imports with glossy records, and Bottis fighting away for the first time, this one looked like a quick blastout. It wasn’t. The underdog came out actively attacking, but Lebron’s better hands took the opening round. Bottis just increased the work rate and got very much into the constant inside trading. A close fourth tied it for the hero, with Lebron having a good fifth to forge ahead halfway through.


The second half was all Lebron, but not for lack of effort by the visitor. Bottis leaned forward on spindly legs, didn’t have his feet planted, and threw push punches. But there were lots of them, and the volume kept him in the fight. But it was also working against him, as he leaned into solid, short inside counters that wore him down and jolted him repeatedly in the later rounds. Nonetheless, the underdog fought with spirit to the final bell. Lebron won the unanimous decision, fairly. Lynne Carter had the best score, 98-92. Mark Constantino had 99-91 and Kason Cheeks a shutout. Sparkle Lee refereed.


Fan favorite Branden Pizarro, 137, Phila., 6-0 (3), put a spectacular finish on a crowd-pleaser six against game Angel Hernandez, 137, San Juan, 2-4 (1). The two spent no time on introductions but began slamming away at first bell, Pizarro holding the edge with better hands. Action started fast and escalated, and by the third, it was bombs away! Pizarro still entertained his fans with grandstanding, but managed to stay focused better than in some previous efforts, and it paid off. He was dishing out decidedly more than he was taking. By the fifth it was wide-open trading, every punch a home run. Hernandez missed badly with a wild left uppercut and Pizarro mocked him with an exaggerated replica, then apparently decided to show Angel how it was done. Branden drove him back with a smoking two-hand volley, finished by a sweeping left hook that crashed Hernandez to the canvas shortly before the round ended. The two smiled and touched gloves at the bell, but there was no loss of momentum by the favorite. Pizarro came out full blast for the final round, again nailing a big left hook. Hernandez faded back, took a knee, and stayed there while referee Sparkle counted him out at 0:26.


Another big ticket seller, Christian Carto, 119, Phila., 10-0 (10), made short work of diminutive Juan Guzman, 113, Santiago, DR, 22-8 (12). Guzman was too small and had no choice but to come in, where Carto, now looking like “Gorgeous George”, had the trap set with the right uppercut. Action was brisk but brief. The underdog hit the canvas four times in various manner. After the knee touched and it was ruled no knockdown, Carto removed all doubt with a volley topped by a booming right uppercut. The now desperate underdog tried for safe harbor at close quarters but again a foot went out and it was ruled a slip. Finally, after another ripping uppercut, Guzman crumbled, and Sparkle called a TKO, at 2:30 of an action-packed first of six.


Promising Sam Teah, 140, Phila., 11-1-1 (5), bombed out game Ken Alvarez, 140, Toa Baja, PR, 8-6-2 (3), in 1:48 of the third of a slugfest, scheduled six. There was no boxing for points here. All punches were thrown with bad intentions as action escalated into the fateful third. Teah was winning the fight but Alvarez was trying to turn it around by making it a death match. He was rocked several times but battled back until he lurched into a crushing right from over the top, crashing onto his face as referee Eddie Claudio waved it over without count.


By contrast, Jose Gonzalez, 124, NYC, 8-0-1 (2), against Guadalupe Arroyo, 124, Puebla, MX, via Huntington Beach, CA, 2-6, was a comparatively tame tactical contest, six. Arroyo was the aggressor, but looped and windmilled his punches. The southpaw Gonzalez boxed well within himself, wouldn’t be drawn into street fighting, and managed to consistently get inside of Arroyo’s wider punches and pop short, straight points. In the fourth, Arroyo complained to Claudio for the second time that Gonzalez was sneaking in low blows during inside mixing. Claudio cautioned but did not penalize the offender. Jose then responded by opening up and putting punches together, having Arroyo hurt to the bell. The last two rounds remained close, with George Hill favoring the underdog’s work rate in the scoring, 58-56, but Debra (sic) Barnes and Allen Rubenstein awarding the spilt decision fairly to Gonzalez, by 58-56 and 59-55, respectively.


Another split decision was even closer, with a point deduction making the difference, in a six between Ariel Lopez, 121, Puebla, 7-0 (5), and hard luck Charles Clark, 123, Dallas, 1-3-1 (1). Clark was the better boxer, but Lopez got away with the win. The rangy Clark jarred the aggressive Lopez with sharp, straight punches in a no-nonsense first. Lopez did the right thing style-wise and upped the pressure in round two, trying to bomb away with Clark on the ropes. Ariel managed to force the action inside in the third, with Claudio giving him a brief rest from a low blow. Lopez appeared to have the fight won in the fourth with constant body-head pressure, the seemingly fading Clark holding on. But the pendulum swung sharply at the start of the fifth, as the now dominant Lopez stepped out of an exchange and was staggered by a sweeping left hook counter. With his foe on the hook, Charles went all out to finish it, but landed several successive low lefts while trying to keep Ariel from holding. Claudio had little choice but to stop the action, take a point, and give Lopez a break. Ariel then fought back well for the rest of the round, and neither distinguished himself in the critical sixth. Rubenstein scored 57-56 for Clark. Barnes had 58-55 for Lopez. Hill had 57-56, giving Ariel the win, deserved under the circumstances.


Popular Jeremy Cuevas, 137, Phila., 4-0 (3), again wowed fans with a spectacular KO of Jonathan Valarezo, 136, Esmeralda, Ecuador, 0-2, in a scheduled four. In a battle of lefties, there was good mixing from first bell, with Cuevas finally swarming the taller Valarezo on the ropes. Jonathan tried to escape the heat by sliding to his right, but Jeremy launched a cannon of a weird, sidearm left that swept Valarezo off his feet, crashed him to canvas, and left it for referee Harvey Dock to count him out at 2:28.


Mark Dawson, 147 ¼, Phila., 4-0-1 (3), gained a hard-won shutout from William Hill, 146, Detroit, 2-4, four. Hill tried with sneak counters but lunged awkwardly at the bigger southpaw, with Mark constantly looping his arm behind William’s neck and forcing him down. The underdog took a beating and suffered a puffy left eye in the second. But he cut the favorite’s left eye with a butt in the third, causing some anxiety when the doctor took time letting Mark out for the final round. But in good action, Dawson circled well and countered, to nail down the win.


In boxing, you can never take it for granted, and that helps keep it interesting. In the “walkout” co-feature 10, now well past midnight, Ray Robinson, 148, Phila., 24-2 (12), and Breidis Prescott, 148, Miami, 30-11 (22), were engaging in an eminently forgettable sparring session until the seventh, when the roof fell in! Prescott tried to strike, the southpaw Robinson threw a counter left, and somehow their heads collided in a “helmet-to-helmet” that would have made Jack Tatum cringe! Most purported fouls in boxing are accompanied by acting jobs that would embarrass Richard Burton, but not this time! Prescott was propelled backward and onto the canvas, bleeding from every opening in his head, and seemingly in convulsions. He had to be removed on a stretcher in an eerie and frightening scene. Robinson won a Technical Decision, all scores 70-63, at 2:26.


In memory of K.O.J.O.

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