J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: It’s sometimes remarked about the best-laid plans of mice and men. A case in point would be the Harrisburg show promoted on Friday(7/19/13 )by Julio Alvarez’ A&D Prom’ns. In conjunction with a downtown weekend festival, the boxing was held on what was called the “Dauphin County Courthouse Grounds”, which in fact was a blocked-off street. The logistics of providing the usual necessities and amenities in such an atypical setting proved daunting, and many little details went unattended. Timekeeper Madra Clay had to work from a chair, ring announcer Jake “The Snake” Smith had no notes, there were no card girls, and so on. What was conceived by matchmaker Chuck Bayley as a fine slate of four-rounders giving opportunity to young talent was whittled down to only five bouts. But worst of all was a factor that could not be controlled: the weather. Late afternoon thunder storms had the whole area on alert, with power outtages, flash flooding, and roads blocked by felled trees. Commissioner Greg Sirb, who lives nearby, instead of having an easy night, had to take an hour to make a twenty minute trip. And the weather continued to threaten throughout the show, with occasional nervous gusts of wind and sprinkles of rain.
There was nothing that could be distinguished as a main event. Prospect Rolando Chinea, 138, Lancaster, 4-0-1 (2), opened against veteran tiralhorse Damon Antoine, 141, Akron, 11-48-2 (5). Antoine always gives it a willing try, but is shot. The purposeful Chinea forced him back and stood him up off balance, so that his punches were reduced to mostly slaps. Nonetheless, after two strong rounds, Rolando found Damon still there and countering almost punch for punch, albeit Chinea’s had more authority. One big right stunned Antoine in the fourth, pulling out a close and fast round for the winner, Chinea. All scores (John Gradowski, Jack Castellani, Dave Greer) 40-36.
Debuting James Robinson, 165, York, made it a good bout in gaining a unanimous decision from winless Delvery Wofford, 163, Columbus, OH, 0-8. Both came out throwing with bad intentions and both were rocked in round one. Robinson attacked vigorously but wildly, while Delvery played ‘possum and countered. Solid exchanges were interspersed with periods of sizing each other up. James was stung by a right counter early in round four, but fought hard in a big finish.
Evincii “Pride Fighter” Dixon, 147 ¾, Lanc., 1-1, gained a unanimous victory in a good contest with debuting Malik “The Freak” Jackson, 147 ¼, Iselin, NJ. The equally tall and rangy opponents squared off in round one, with Dixon setting the pace and Jackson countering. A body-head flurry edged it to Dixon. Gaining confidence, Malik was on the attack in the second and it was Evincii who circled back in a close round. A good body attack tipped the third to the local, and Dixon removed doubt with a big final round. Both were on even terms late into the fourth when Evincii dug a left hook under the ribs and followed with a screaming overhand right that sent Malik’s mouthpiece rocketing into the crowd. The delay to replace it may have saved him, as Malik tried to cover it up with embarrassed smiles. Action resumed and Jackson fought to the final bell, but Dixon won by 39-37 and 40-36 twice.
Terrance Williams, 166 ½, Hanover, PA, 2-0 (1), was the only one fighting for three tame and dull rounds with Drew Morias, 165 ½, Detroit, 1-3. Morias bore a lot of advertising on his trunks but brought little else into the ring as the cautious southpaw scored just enough carefully placed shots to win. Finally in the fourth, Morias picked up the action and provided a good round.
At last, the rain started just before the final bout, between Danny Lugo, 153, Harrisburg, 2-4 (1), and winless Anthony Walls, 152, Akron, 0-6, but the obliging opponent allowed everyone to escape undrenched. The muscular Lugo went on the attack, landed a solid, straight right lead, then a left hook under the ribs as Anthony fell back. Walls clutched his side and sunk to the canvas for the only knockdown of the night. He made a dramatic display as he tried to rise, grimacing in pain, slumped back down, then tried to rise again as referee Gary Rosato (all bouts) waved a TKO at 2:35 and everyone skeedaddled.
Despite the problems, it was still an entertaining evening. Kudos to announcer Jake Smith. First a boxer, then a trainer, matchmaker, gym owner and promoter, the versatile Baltimorean extended his talents the hard way. Working with no script or information, the affable Smith did a yeoman task of announcing the fighters and sponsors, pumping the fans, and keeping a tense evening rolling along. Only about 200 attended. No Josh Bowles, Harrisburg’s best attraction…no contract alliance, one of boxing’s many ills. After all that, give A&D an “A” for effort.
July 20, 2013