J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: On 6/6/2014, Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY, presented a card coinciding with the Int’l Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend taking place one exit up the Thruway. Mike Tyson (Iron Mike Prod’ns), with matchmaker Chris Middendorf, offered up a staggering nine bouts extending to one in the morning before about a two-thirds capacity crowd in the circa 2500-seat arena. The fairly predictable show was carried by ESPN and consisted of record builders, with only one mild upset aided partly by the judges.
The main event was interesting while not especially exciting. Yudel Jhonson [sic], 154, a Cuban fighting out of Miami, 16-1 (9), earned a unanimous decision over Norberto "Demonio" Gonzalez, 154, Monterrey, MX, 20-4 (13), 10. The early rounds were a well-boxed checkers match, first one, then the other scoring a combo in controlled action. By the third, Gonzalez had adopted a policy of wide circling around the larger Cuban southpaw. Yudel had to do little more than keep turning to face him as Norberto was taking three steps to his one. Gonzalez lifted Jhonson’s foot off the canvas a couple times with counters, but that was his only shot, as Yudel was controlling the fight.
What was a fairly tight contest opened up suddenly at the close of round five. Jhonson caught Gonzalez on one of his wide circles and nailed him with a left, dropping him. But the round was nearly over. This evidently forced the Mexican to change tactics, as round six saw more spirited exchanging with Norberto now attacking. The session was close, but again, Yudel jolted him with a left. Norberto returned to circling in the seventh, with the stalking Cuban hurting him with a body shot. After referee Charlie Fitch gave Gonzalez a brief rest from a low blow in the ninth. Yudel more than made up for it by dropping him again with a counter left. Once more, the bell interrupted the action. Norberto mounted his most spirited rally of the fight in the tenth, but it was much too late. At least they closed with cheers, as all scores (John McKaie, Tom Schreck, Glen Feldman) went to Jhonson, 97-91.
Hotshot Sammy Vasquez, Jr., 147, Monessen, PA, 15-0 (11), made a meat puppet out of Jay Krupp, 150, New Orleans via Catskill, NY, 17-7 (8), in a scheduled eight. Krupp spent nearly the whole brief encounter jiggling on the end of the southpaw Sammy’s well-placed punches. With Krupp in a corner at the close of the first, Vasquez finished off an exchange with a crisp left that cracked Krupp to the canvas. He wasn’t hurt bad and finished the round. But in the second, Krupp was lurching off balance by way of escape when a left to the body and poking short right sent him down again. And again he wasn’t hurt bad, but spent the rest of the round herky-jerking on the end of Sammy’s punches. In the fateful third, Jay was herded into a neutral corner where a crackling exchange occurred, Krupp landing one clean right but Sammy walking right through it to put over a solid left-right that sent Jay down for the third and final time in the bout. Referee Benjy Esteves ruled a TKO at 1:19.
Ievgin Khytrov, 160, a Ukrainian fighting out of Brooklyn, 5-0 (5), did a workmanlike job dismantling Chris Chatman, 160, San Diego, 12-4-1 (5), in a scheduled six. The muscular fireplug Chatman was game and willing to mix, but was readily forced back and stood up into Khytrov’s well-placed and solid blows. In round three, he was on the ropes when a short right froze him and a sharp left hook drilled him to the floor. Chris managed to get up, but referee Dick Pakozdi called a TKO, at 2:18.
In the only upset, a listless John Williams, 139 ½, Charlotte, 12-3-1 (5), got some help from the judges while getting a majority decision over style-less but spirited Johnny Garcia, 139 ½, Holland, MI, 19-2 (11), in a poorly-fought but scrappy eight. The tall, standup Williams looked a division bigger, but allowed the smaller opponent to bring the action inside all night. Sharper straight punching by Williams gave him the edge in the early going, as Garcia suffered a cut right eye in round four. Late in the fifth, Garcia stepped back and got jolted by a sweeping left. But he was outworking Williams up to that point in the round and generally through the second half of the fight. Wynn Kintz scored 76-76, but Feldman and Don Ackerman awarded the verdict to Williams, 77-75.
Dennis Galarza, 128 ½, Brooklyn, 4-0 (2), won a sloppy but scrappy six over Gadiel Andaluz, 129, Chi., 4-7 (2), by unanimous decision. Andaluz couldn’t handle the spindly Galarza’s long reach, and suffered a bad cut to the left eye in the first. But after getting cleaned up for three rounds, Gadiel landed a big, smacking right to close round three and show he was still in the fight. In the last three, Andaluz managed to trade at closer range in ragged action, but still got the worst of it. All scores 60-54.
Sammy Quinones, 139, York, PA, 7-2 (2), won a unanimous shutout from Greg Coverson, Jr., 136, Detroit, 3-9-3 (2), in an earnest but fairly tame six. The switch-hitting Coverson proved a cutie with little on his punches while Quinones forced the fight, punched with some authority, and finished off the exchanges.
Ryan Martin, 137 ½, Cleveland, 6-0 (3), was able to breeze to a unanimous shutout of Ian James, 138 ½, Bklyn., 2-8-1 (1), in a lopsided four. James tried unsuccessfully to force the fight inside, then had no answer for the lanky Martin’s long punches. The scores of 40-36 were much too generous to the loser.
The card opened with a bang and closed with a whimper. Leo Hall, 175, Detroit, 2-0 (2) impressed with a one-shot clean KO of Bob Wilder, 174 ½, Akron, 2-4 (1), in only 0:49 of round one, scheduled four. Wilder tried looping a right over Hall’s guard and got nailed by an inside left hook, lights out! He left on a stretcher but was reported to be ok. Pakozdi refereed.
Who could blame the fighters when they had nothing left to offer at well after midnight? Isiah [sic] Thomas, 181, Detroit, 13-0 (6), and Rayco Saunders, 179 ½, Pittsburgh, 23-24-2 (10), went eight awful rounds of near total inactivity that can’t be called a "fight", or even a good sparring session. The lanky southpaw Thomas looked a division bigger than Saunders, who boxed out of a deep stance. Thomas stuck the jab out enough to win a unanimous shutout.