Philly boxing 2008… overall it was another good year but in the same breath it has to mentioned that there was a significant drop off in the amount of action as only 17 professionally sanctioned cards happened in this year. Most nights were solid though we did have a few duds and also a few memorable barn burners. Through my eyes, there was no clear cut fight of the year winner in 2008 so I will not designate one particular match. Instead, I will highlight some of the best performances of the year. As always, it is open to discussion, feel free to comment if you agree, disagree, omissions etc. At some point in 2009, www.phillyboxinghistory.com will give out the Briscoe Awards which will recognize one fight as the best of ’08. Visit the site and cast a vote there if you wish.
Without further ado, I give you the Philly Keith Sports 2008 nominees for Fight of the Year!
Rasheem Brown vs. Jameel Wilson – 4/18/08 @ The National Guard Armory
This 10 round Super Middleweight fight capped off the most action packed boxing card in Philly for the year 2008. The state title was on the line and the then newly signed Rasheem Brown was thought to be put in prime position for a career push after recently returning from a lengthy layoff. Wilson on the other hand did not come to lay down. Brown started strong and it looked to be an easy night but Wilson came alive taking the middle rounds and both men went toe to toe down the stretch to cap off a non stop action bout. The only disappointment in this one came outside of the ring, as 3 blind judges scored only one round for Wilson on the offical cards while everyone in press row agreed that this fight was even money that could have gone either way. Regardless of the outcome, this fight proved once again that when you match two Philly fighters against each other, the fans are always in for a treat!
Ryan Belasco vs. Victor Vasquez 5/11/08 @ The New Alhambra
Coming into this fight, Delaware’s Ryan Belasco was looking to erase the stink of three consecutive sub par performances and Philly’s Victor Vasquez was taking his first real test against an area known fighter with a record above .500. While most thought it was a solid fight when it was announced, few expected to be treated to such an action packed rumble. It was give and take with Belasco carrying a slight lead as he was able to effectively box the non stop Vasquez. Belasco’s non stop jabbing caused Vasquez left eye to swell like a ballon, leaving the referee no option but to stop the fight and the commission no choice but to order a 6 month medical suspension. Vasquez is back, medically cleared to fight and wants a rematch “sooner, rather than later”. I have a feeling that Russell Peltz will be putting this together very soon.
Gee Cullmer vs. Jameel Wilson @ The Legendary Blue Horizon 9/16/08
When this one was signed, you just knew it would be a close fight. At the time, Gee recently pulled out a few tight majority decision wins while Wilson was on the wrong end of a quite a few razor thin decisions. In this one, Gee put on a boxing clinic early, Wilson showed his grit in the middle and final rounds were tooth and nail. Fittingly, this fight could have gone either way and ended in a majority decision for Cullmer who after the fight earned the designation of PA’s #1 Super Middleweight contender slot by the state athletic commission. Click the link to watch this fight in its entirety on Go Fight Live.
Mario Mina vs. Pedro Calla @ The Legendary Blue Horizon 4/11/08
Two fighters who learned their craft half a world away came to Philadelphia to make their pro debut and in the process put on a 4 round Blue Horizon classic. Mina of Ecquador was said to be a former amateur star and Peru’s Pedro Calla was no slouch either. This was a wild, two way leatherfest that ended with Calla splattered across the canvas mid way through the final round, much to the delight of the fans, who gave both men a standing ovation when the dust finally settled. Watch this fight in its entirety on Go Fight Live
On a national level, recognition goes to Steve “USS” Cunningham, who may have lost his IBF Cruiserweight title, but in the same breath won over millions of fight fans for his show of heart against Tomasz Adamek live on Versus. Cunningham won a lions share of the rounds but was also knocked down 3 times in this non stop slug fest between two of the worlds best. A rematch just has to be in order. The TV demand and money will be there you can be assured of that. The only liability here is if Adamek decided to hide.
Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik
Last but certainly not least, recognition has to be given to Philly’s main representative in the sport of boxing, Bernard Hopkins for his one sided spanking of Kelly Pavlik over 12 rounds in a fight where next to no one was giving him a shot in hell to win. Once again, people were saying he was too old or he was slowing down just as they did before his fight against Antonio Tarver and even before that in his fight against Felix Trinidad. On this night, B-Hop reminded the world that it is a terrible mistake to under estimate the Germantown native.
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