J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Dover Downs in Dover, DE, ran their first card of the post-Mansour Era on 11/22/13 to a near full house at Rollins Center. The casino/racetrack promotes their own cards under direction of Ed Sutor, with Nick Tiberi matchmaker. Headliner Amir Mansour, whom they developed, has been spirited away by Peltz, but apparently without hard feelings. Amir was color commentator for the delayed TV telecast. Their most popular attraction, Michael Stewart, was honored on his retirement. "I’m Special Guest every night," Stewart commented. "I built this place."
The top matches were short and sweet...explosive, that is. There were no bad decisions, and the lone upset occurred in the walkout.
Edgar Santana, 140, Spanish Harlem, NYC, 29-4 (20), got rid of shifty veteran Michael Clark, 139, Columbus, OH, 44-9-1 (18), in 2:27 of the opening round of the top 10. Action was brisk while it lasted, with Clark wishing to box but Santana forcing him into an exchange. The favorite landed two solid body shots and, as Clark attempted to pull away, finished it off with a long right to the chin that spilled Michael. He didn’t seem to be all that hurt, but floundered on the canvas, finally righting himself. It wasn’t in time to beat referee Vic deWysocki’s count. "Not only me, but my whole team did the homework," Santana explained during ring announcer Larry "Torma" Tornambe’s post-fight interview.
Omar Douglas, 128, Wilmington, 11-0 (9), repeatedly doubled a crushing left hook body-head to cut down the movement of shifty southpaw Jean "Evangelista" Sotelo, 130, Miami, 18-12-2 (9), in the co-feature 10. Sotelo didn’t step away quickly enough in round two and was reached on the end of a long left hook. Rattled, he fell back to a neutral corner, where Omar mugged him and dropped him with a short right. The game Sotelo tried to hang in but was catching stick, bleeding from the nose, and barely got out of the round. Next round, the battering began anew when suddenly the underdog’s handler decided he needed no more, mounted the apron and signalled surrender to referee Billy Johnson at 2:33. No one was more miffed at the abrupt ending than Omar!
Another surprise ending was precipitated by the ref rather than the corner in the walkout four. Unbeaten Lamont Singletary, 193, Dover, 6-0 (3) going in, figured to sharpen his skills on Travis "Severe" Reeves, 195, Balto., 3-2. But in bruising trench warfare, the muscular underdog took it straight to the equally imposing favorite and just outslugged him on the inside. Finally, Singletary was drilled by a wicked straight right that sent him reeling to the ropes. Travis pounced and proceeded to open up when suddenly Johnson stepped in and waved the bout over,at 1:33. Lamont thought it was just a break and was stunned when he realized he’d lost! The angry fans booed vigorously.
A crowd-pumped and free-swinging "Dusty" Harrison, 147, Wash., DC, 19-0 (11), never gave slick boxer Marlon Lewis, 141, Memphis, 6-3-2 (2), a chance to get started in their scheduled eight. Dusty blew Marlon out in a tornado of an attack, starting with a crunching right to the kidney and grazing left hook behind the head for the first of three knockdowns. After Lewis had gone down twice more, unable to escape the sheer fury of Harrison’s assault, deWysocki, described by scribe Dave Ruff as "the Arthur Mercante of Delaware", rescued Marlon with a TKO at 2:20, opening round.
Mike Tiberi, 175, Townsend, DE, 21-1 (7), took a unanimous shutout of pudgy Edgar Perez Villanueva, 175, Arecibo, PR, 5-7 (3), in a tame six. Despite the one-sided scoring, the rounds were actually close, with Tiberi doing little and Perez less. Mike judiciously fired body-head volleys, just enough to take each round. Edgar looked disgusted.
Alexis Guerrero, 197, Delmar, MD, 10-0-1 (5), got all he wanted and then some from difficult switch-hitter Galen Brown, 196, St. Joseph, MO, 41-24-1 (24), in a good six. Brown circled away with an unorthodox style and peppery counters that gave Alexis trouble. After two close rounds, Guerrero stepped up the pace in the third, then placed his punches well in a dominant fourth. Alexis got a scare early in the fifth with a cut right eye that spurred Galen to action in his best round. But Guerrero bounced back in the final round with clean shots that nailed down the unanimous win. Brian Costello scored 58-56, Marc D’Attilio 59-55, and Dorothea Perry 60-54.
In a punishing slugfest, the more compact punches of John "Church Boy" Bowman, 163, Dover, 7-0-1 (1), got the better of game and tough Jess Noriega, 166, Lynchburg, VA, 2-8 (2), with a unanimous shutout, four. Bowman kept a tight guard and lashed back with jolting shots against Noriega’s wide blows. The underdog put up a crude but stern resistance and made the hero earn it.
Commissioner Dave Holland of VA ran the show. Dover Downs is considering scaling back the number of shows in the coming year, but fans certainly would be the losers. This has been one of the most consistently successful promotions in the Middle Atlantic area.