On April 16, 2016 I set off for a weekend trip to Brooklyn, New York City – the place where the hip-hop crowd paint murals of Biggie and the hipsters live in beautiful brown stones on extended tree-lined streets.
While a good portion of my time would be spent enjoying 5th Ave in the Park Slope section of the borough followed by a long Sunday morning run through Prospect Park which was hosting a Bernie Sanders rally that same day, the primary purpose of this trip was to cover boxing from the Barclays Center.
It was Saturday night, PBC on NBC, arguably the best TV series in boxing. A paid attendance of 7,628 turned out to the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. I had one of the best seats in the house as a credentialed member of the boxing media.
The majority of fan support was split between local contender Chris Algeri who was in against rising star Errol Spence Jr. in the main event while another heavy batch came to shout “Polska” in favor of IBF Cruiserweight champion Krzysztof “Head” Glowacki who was taking on longtime veteran Steve “USS” Cunningham in the co-feature.
Glowacki was making his first title defense while Cunningham chased a chance to become a three-time champion in the division. Click the link to read the full recap of the trip brought to you in part by AirBnB.
On March 30, 2016, business brought me to “The Crossroads of the World” – Times Square, New York City. It just so happened that while I was in town, DiBella Entertainment was hosting a special Wednesday night boxing event that had North Philly Jr. Lightweight contender Tevin Farmer in a featured bout. The venue was B.B. King Blues Club on W 42nd street in midtown Manhattan, a short cab ride away from where I was staying on the Upper East Side. With a last minute media pass secured and a suite already checked-in, I was making an impromptu trip to Broadway to watch a hometown fighter get his feet wet on the big stage.
On this evening, the only thing standing between Farmer and a top ten in the world rating and NABF gold was a Mexican journeyman named Gamaliel Diaz. Farmer won 13 consecutive fights coming into this one. Number 14 would likely springboard him into a new tax bracket.
Premier Boxing Champions in association with Kings Promotions came to the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey this past Tuesday for an eight-fight card. Most of the boxing matches were good, but I’ve been to flea markets with more people in attendance. The crowd couldn’t have topped 250 human beings in the audience.
But who needed asses in seats when you are broadcasting to a live national audience on the Fox Sports One network? This is new school boxing where the fighters are getting solid paydays and the revenue isn’t dependent on the gate. One single social media post by the PBC generated over 4 million views with 45,000 likes, 22k shares, and over 4,000 comments. Those numbers will make the industry Mustache Pete’s cringe.
Some say this model of boxing is not sustainable, but rumor is that PBC has a monetary war chest that will knock your socks off. Others will say that these lower-level shows are small potatoes in the grand scheme of Al Haymon’s master plan. I don’t know who is correct, but I did spot lower-level tickets being sold on Groupon for $30.
In the opening TV bout, we found out a bit about PBC’s Cruiserweight prospect Keith Tapia. He showed heart, some skill and the ability to give and take a good punch during his 10 round unanimous decision win over Philadelphia’s Garrett Wilson.
In the early going it looked like Wilson was going to pull the rug from under the undefeated prospect as he landed good power shots that wobbled Tapia in rounds two and three.
Photos by Mike McGuigan
On January 20, 2007, boxing returned to the Fernwood Resorts in Bushkill, PA. The temperatures were well below freezing in the PA Pocono Mountains and despite rumors of the show falling apart – the final product produced by Promoter Mike Fingerman, Bob Rossi & matchmaker Sonny Mistretta turned in some very good in-ring fights.
Fighters seemed to be falling off the card at record speed for various reasons. When the smoke cleared, it was St. Pete native Mario Hayes who was bumped up to headliner going in tough against knockout artist Julio Dejesus. They aren’t household names but I’ll give credit where it is due, these two put on a very good performance.
In the supporting bouts, Long Island native Tommy “Razor” Rainone hoped to give local fighter Jerry Kelly “The Outsiders Edge” and score the win.
The 0 had to go when Cameron Bright took on Heath Harris in a battle of winless warriors. The fight was dead even coming down the stretch in the 4th until one of these guys landed a straight right to score the knockout and break the goose egg.
Kevin Boswell was making his pro debut against Rafael Jastrezbski and Raffy wasted no time digging into the fresh meat. In the opener Philly’s Darrell Crenshaw boxed marvelously but after the scorecards were read, he was left with the look of a pizza man who just had his car stolen.
All of this and a photo gallery of the hottest ring girls on the planet brought to you by a dude named Cricket. Continue reading Cameron Bright gets that elusive first win at Fernwood Resort Bushkill PA 01-20-07
Photos by Jay McGuigan
New York City! There is nowhere in the world like it. On November 11, 2006, I took a weekend trip to the Big Apple for one last getaway of the year. The primary focus was a Heavyweight title fight at “The Mecca of Boxing” between IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko (46-3, 41 KOs) of Kiev, Ukraine taking on undefeated contender Calvin Brock (28-0)of Charlotte, North Carolina.
This fight would mark the younger Klitschko’s first defense of a title he won in April of this year when he administered a one-sided beating to then-champion Chris Byrd.
It was a highly anticipated contest and many fans in the near capacity crowd were waving the flag of the Ukraine inside of Madison Square Garden.
Boxing fans ans celebrities took turns making chants of “Klitschko, Klitschko” to “USA! USA!” throughout the evening.
With just one professional boxing show under our belt – Philly Keith Sports got a call to the big time. Two floor press passes to cover an HBO / Top Rank boxing event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey!
The main event was a battle between Kiev, Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko and Nigeria’s Samuel “The Nightmare” Peter to see who would be named the #1 contender in the Heavyweight division. A big puncher against a guy with a tremendous boxing skill and a suspect chin. This one was bound to be interesting.
In the co-feature, Top Rank up-and-comer Miguel Cotto faced unknown WBO Jr. Welterweight champion Ricardo Torres of Columbia. Many say Cotto has the potential to be boxing’s next big Puerto Rican star. This fight certainly helped his cause as it turned out to be a classic.
Also on deck was North Jersey native Kendall Holt taking on Vladimir Khodokovski.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Samuel Peter
This was a make or break night for the career of Wladimir Klitschko. His glass jaw is well documented but his boxing skills are under estimated. His opponent Samuel Peter is a guy who is known strictly for his power, comes in with a record of 24 -0 and hopes of becoming king of the division.
Peter is widely considered one of the up and coming heavyweights in the circuit but lacks a big name to add to the list of taxi drivers and other unknowns on his resume. The steaks are high as the winner becomes the mandatory to fight Chris Byrd for the IBF Heavyweight Title.
Before both fighters are announced, Michael Buffer asks for a moment of silence and tolls the bell 10 times for fallen warrior and Atlantic City native Leavander Johnson, who tragically died after defending his IBF title last week. Continue reading Atlantic City Road Trip! Wladimir Klitschko squeaks past Sam Peter & Miguel Cotto stops Torres in a Fight of the Year candidate at Boardwalk Hall