By J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: A rival promoter has the old town of Providence humming, as Big Six Entertainment put on an ambitious show at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Promoter Roland Estrada (father of the main eventer) and matchmaker Artie DePinho planned an ambitious 8-bout card. After six good contests took place, the crowd of about 600 sat waiting. Eventually it was learned that there was a delay because they couldn’t find gloves to fit the hands of two quite large opponents, Alex Gonzalez and Salomon Becerra. It looked for a bit like the show was over, although what had already taken place wouldn’t have made a bad card. At last they did manage to outfit Gonzalez for the main event, but Becerra’s prelim with Jesse Barboza was lost. Salomon’s nickname of “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”) is perhaps an understatement. Maybe they’re more like “boulders”.
In the 8-round main, post-Olympic disappointment Jason Estrada, 237 ½, Prov., 19-4 (5), won without luster yet dominated the contest over Alex Gonzalez, 228, Vega Baja, PR, 20-7 (10). After a feel-out first, round two proved the most rugged of the fight. The two stood right in each other’s chests and whacked away. Estrada did a better job of keeping his hands clear of being smothered by Gonzalez’ bulk, and dished out punishment. After that, the contest alternated between mauling on the inside and slo-mo on the outside. The visitor’s battle plan consisted of occasional opportune rights, often followed by taunting as if Jason shouldn’t have allowed it. Meanwhile, Estrada was “making” the contest, and always able to outwork his opponent. The result was a unanimous shutout, all 80-72 (Tom Carasone, Wayne Lima, Robin Taylor). With a local promotion behind him, maybe Estrada’s fans will see him make a move yet.
Rugged Brian Barbosa, 168, Prov., 31-6 (23), was no light-footed dance artist, but proved too heavy-handed for game John “Rusty” Johnson, 177, Batesville, MS, 13-3 (10), in a scheduled six. Right from the first, Barbosa’s shots were connecting with a “thud”. Johnson could neither keep him off nor fight him off. The contest was a punishing one, and though the visitor did his best to make a fight of it, he was being relentlessly ground down by the heavier hitter. Finally in the fourth, Barbosa launched a prolonged bombardment and clobbered Rusty to one knee. A right to the body finished off the volley. Johnson gamely survived the round, but Brian had him and wasn’t going to let go. Starting the fifth, he trapped Johnson in a corner and doubled him over with a left hook. Referee Danny Schiavone stepped in immediately as John crumpled to the canvas, and called a TKO at 0:24.
In a scheduled six, Diego Pereira, 144, Pawtucket, 6-0-1 (3), was impressive stopping tough William “Chino” Correa, 143, Framingham, MA, 9-6 (8), at 2:00 of round two. The much bigger Correa was “making” the fight at the start, until a sharp left hook counter turned it around. Later in the first, another hook dropped Correa, and Diego poured it on, with William barely escaping the round and reeling to his corner. The willing underdog was back on the attack in the second, until three successive clean right leads had him out on his feet and referee Joey Lupino rescued him.
New Top Rank sensation Toka Kahn-Clary, 130, a Liberian fighting out of Pawtucket, debuted and lived up to advance billing against game but hopeless Jonathan Caban, 133, Queens, 0-3, in a scheduled four. Caban only went down once, from a left in the first, but the rapid-firing African southpaw never let up and was tuning him up like a speed bag when Lupino decided Toka had proven the point and called a TKO at 2:49 of round two.
(Photo by Emily Harney)
Rangy Jair Ramos, 142, Waterbury, CT, 3-0 (2), had no reservations about letting his hands go against Joel Alarcon, 141, New Bedford, 0-3, in a scheduled four. Two successive full-swing rights landed behind the ear and sent Alarcon to a knee to close the first. Another big right bounced Joel off the bottom rope for a knockdown starting the second, and he was clobbered throughout. When a handler signaled Schiavone to stop it, at 0:22 of the third, the incensed Alarcon left via a neutral corner and stormed from the arena.
The women’s four (two minutes) proved a good contest as usual, with popular Kali Reis, 153, Prov., 5-1-1 (2), gaining a clear unanimous decision over Lyneisha Jefferson, 156, Newark, 0-2. Kali moved purposefully behind the jab, then opened up with jarring combos that had the visitor rattled in the third. Lyneisha relied on counters and made a fight of it, but just couldn’t hold the bigger, stronger local girl at bay. Scores: 39-37 (twice), 40-36.
In a scrappy four, a disappointed Rameil Shelton, 148 ½, Prov., 0-5, failed to pick up his first win in a close contest against a delighted Jesus Cintron, 147, Quincy, MA, 1-1-1. The spirited but crude visitor started every round fast, then held off the more skilled favorite to gain a unanimous verdict that sent him leaping in a paroxysm of joy. Scores: 39-37 (twice), 40-36.