Today we throw it back to March 7, 2009 at the Legendary Blue Horizon. At this point in time it was the beginning of the end of the famous fight hall on Broad & Thompson Streets in North Philly. Little did we know that one of the worlds most famous boxing venues only had a handful of shows left in its existence.
On this evening Peltz Boxing Promotions was returning to The Blue after an eight year absence. His prized fighter Mike Jones was headlining the show and would go on to clobber Dario Eslas, a KO that caused the fans to go crazy in the stands.
The focus of this article is not about the main event but rather a unhyped six round Super Middleweight bout in the middle of the show. At the time of signing no one really gave it a second though when it was announced that Dennis Hasson would fight Garrett Wilson in a warm-up to the featured attraction. But funny things happen when two Philly fighters face off in the ring. Long after the final bell sounded, the story of this fight became more interesting as time went on.
There were many distinct differences between the two fighters and their career positions in 2009. One was a polished amateur with the backing of those putting on the event. The other was raw and hungry, not quite sure how far he could take it in this blood sport.
Now in 2016 – the loser of this bout went on to outperform many of his peers in the local industry while the winner continued to move up the ladder before the business end of things and other distractions put his career on ice. More on that in a minute…
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.
Boxing is the craziest sport on planet Earth. Garrett Wilson’s odyssey through his craft in the past year is a testament to that statement.
By everyone’s account, the year 2015 started out horribly for the Philly fighter. In mid-January, Wilson (16-9-1, 9 ko’s) accepted a huge, short notice assignment on national TV and was stopped by Russian prospect Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. It is one thing to lose to a prospect, but Wilson lost every round of this fight, maybe even every minute.
It wasn’t pretty and many were saying the time had come for “The Ultimate Warrior” to consider hanging up the gloves.
Fast forward to today – Wilson has rebounded to the point where he has a legitimate opportunity to put his name in the forefront of the 2015 Philly Fighter of the Year award conversation.
So what the hell happened in between now and then?
On October 30, 2015 – Garrett Wilson GQ won an 8 round unanimous decision over a game Pedro Martinez to cap off a solid 6 fight debut for Hard Hitting Promotions at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall.
The main event was a fight that never was supposed to be, but out of the ring circumstances caused a last minute shuffle which brought about a rematch of a 2012 bout that originally took place at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.
The original plan called for a Philly Dream Card bout between Wilson and North East Philly’s Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante – the areas two highest rated Cruiserweights.
This is a fight that some have been wanting to see for over seven years. It could have been a classic…
With about a week to go before bell time, Ferrante had to drop off of the show for undisclosed medical reasons. Fortunately, Ferrante’s trainer Mike Cassell had Martinez in camps as Tony’s chief sparring partner.
If Wilson were willing to jump up a few pounds to heavyweight – the main event could be salvaged as Martinez was already in the gym and familiar with the game plan that the old North East Philly sharp eye was cooking up at Rocco’s MMA.
Clear your calendar – there is one of those rare Philly vs. Philly fights going down at the Sheet Metal Union Works Hall tonight! Garrett Wilson GQ takes on Pedro EL Toro Martinez Jr. in an 8 round bout that should be a bomb fest while it lasts
They met before in 2012 where Wilson won by KO but El Toro said “last time I had a rematch, I demolished the guy. I’m ready to do that again” Do you think Wilson will be the one hitting the deck this time around or will history repeat itself in the main event?
June 20, 2015 marked the last day of the Spring season and the City of Philadelphia was offering great entertainment all across town. On the Northwest end, one had the option of spending the day at the Manayunk Arts Festival which shut down a two-mile stretch of Main street, replacing traffic with food trucks and art exhibits. Drive a little bit further up the road and one would have run into the Gorgas Park Solstice Festival hosted by my friends at the Roxborough Development Corporation. In South Philly, the Point Breeze pop-up carried on for another weekend just off of 22nd & Tasker while over in West Philly, Clark Park was throwing a party with free live local music.
On the East side of town, a big crowd was expected along the Delaware River with Spruce Street Harbor Park in full swing showcasing a Visit Philly beer garden and one of my guiltiest pleasures, Third Eye Blind, performing two blocks away at Festival Pier for an outdoor waterfront concert.
Even with all of these choices at my disposal, there was no doubt in my mind on how I was spending my Saturday night. I was taking the ride up I-76 West for a night of local boxing with the possibility of some light gambling and poolside beach drinks at the areas hottest new casino resort in Valley Forge. Now that the event is over, I can say that it was well worth the trip.
Contest Time – Pick the winner of tonight’s PA State Cruiserweight title bout between Anthony Caputo Smith and Garrett Wilson GQ for a chance to win this collectors edition “Bring it Home for Jerome” tape. 23 years ago this week Philadelphia Eagles rising star Jerome Brown suddenly died in a tragic car accident. His teammates used the passing as motivation – recording this Philly classic in honor of their fallen friend.
On June 20, 2015 – boxing returns to the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia with the areas premier casino resort featuring a main event that is a true pick ’em fight. The 10 round feature attraction will pit two “hungry for a win” local boxers against each other. The man who leaves victorious will be crowned the Pennsylvania State Cruiserweight champion.
There have been many parallels in the careers of Philadelphia’s Garrett Wilson (13-9-1, 7 ko’s) and Anthony Caputo Smith (15-4, 10 ko’s) of Kennet Square. Both fighters have a solid local following. Both have scored quality upset victories early in their careers. Both have spent the past two years on the road, accepting assignments which led them everywhere from Romania, to Madison Square Garden to the MGM Grande in Las Vegas. Both have tested the deep waters of the sport against competition that borders on the world-class level. Both came up short when the odds were heavily stacked against them.
Ahmed “Baby Face” Kaddour, Omar Sheika, and Terrance “The Heat” Cauthen all registered victories last night at the sold-out Hamilton Manor in Hamilton, NJ. Kaddour (22-2-1, 9 KOs) dominated Jerome Ellis (12-11-2, 10 KOs) over eight rounds in the junior middleweight main event. In twin co-features, Omar Sheika (29-9, 20 KOs) overcame a very slow start to batter game Garrett Wilson (7-4, 2 KOs) and stop him in the fourth round of a scheduled eight round cruiserweight bout, and Terrance Cauthen (34-6, 9 KOs) rode his right hook to an eight round unanimous decision over power hitter Isam Khalil (15-2-2, 9 KOs) in a welterweight bout. The eight bout card was promoted by Nedal’s Promotions.
Back in 2004, the show The Contender Season One was televised in prime time, on the NBC network. The fighters received maximum exposure, and one of the most popular fighters on the show was Ahmed Kaddour.
Fighting for only the second time in a little more than three years, Kaddour, of Aahrus, Denmark and now Trenton, NJ, was matched with cagey and resilient Jerome Ellis, of Nassau, Bahamas.