Photos by Jeff Bera
Philadelphia’s big fight weekend kicked off on Broad Street this Friday the 13th but I am sorry to report that the normally dependable Don Elbaum put together one of the worst cards in recent memory at the Blue Horizon.
The starring role went to undefeated heavyweight hopeful Joey Abell, who played the role of Jason Vorhees as he stalked, gashed and damn near killed professional punch sponge Louis Monaco over four extremely one-sided rounds.
The under card featured United States Army Staff Sergeant Samuel Brown of Kentucky who getting in one last fight before deploying to Iraq for a third tour of duty in January. The 32-year-old Heavyweight told me before the fight that he was fulfilling a lifelong dream of fighting at the Blue Horizon on this night. On this night he would fight Michael Rhoades – the 1995 Pennsylvania State Golden Gloves champion in the super-heavyweight.
Other action included the professional debut of Philadelphia’s Bryheim (Clinton B.) Douglas who sent a guy flying out of the ring, Minnesota based Middleweight Dave Peterson making his second start at The Blue and a fight featuring Don Elbaum’s latest charge Ran Nakash – a hand-to-hand combat instructor for Krav Maga which is Israel’s most elite combat school.
In the evenings “main event”, Joey Abell (9 – 0 9ko’s) looked to continue his rise and popularity in his new boxing home when facing journeyman Louis Monaco (15 – 33), a fighter who has one of the most impressive loss ledgers in pro boxing history.
Monaco has been “doing the job” since 1995. His 33 career losses contain a laundry list of notable fighters. His first career L came at the hands of Eric Esch, better known as the 400 pound “Butterbean”. Since that Loss, Monaco has been taken out by the likes of former world champions Vitali Klitschko, Lamon Brewster, Trevor Borbick and Buster Douglas. He lost to contenders Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, Michael Grant, “Fast” Fres Oquendo and Lawrence “Goofi” Whitaker to name a few. The last time he was in Philly, “Fast” Eddie Chambers was taking him to speed school.
To Monaco’s credit – he does hold a clean 10 round decision win over former World Heavyweight champion Michael Doakes in Doakes next to last fight as a professional. He also knocked out Peter McNealy in Denver in 1996.
He was supposed to provide a test for Joey Abell who has been knocking the opposition silly. In reality he turned out to be another victim of the lumberjack’s wrath.
For four rounds, Abell used a slightly improving right jab to set up powerful straight lefts while getting no resistance from Monaco.
The third round was the worst as Abell beat his opponent all over the ring from bell to bell. The fight lasted :30 into the fourth before the referee mercifully called a halt to the contest.
To Monaco’s credit, he was obviously felt the power but he has the distinction on being the first man to not be put to the canvas by the Minnesota powerhouse. Please Elbaum, please put Abell in against someone who can actually give him a test!
The co-feature showcased another Minnesota native, this time it was Dave Peterson (6 – 0 5ko’s) administering a through beating to an outmatched Kenny Meeks (1-1).
Peterson worked the body like an auto mechanic and disposed of his opponent early in the second frame with a combo to the ribs.
Don’t think Peterson has gone unnoticed by the Philly Middleweight wolves. A couple said they would gladly fight the Minnesota native who has been knocking them out at the Blue. Hook up some Jamaal Davis vs. Peterson there Elbaum!
In Heavyweight action, Samuel Brown of Fort Campbell, KY realized his dream of throwing down at the Blue Horizon. The Staff Sergeant squared off against a rotund Michael Rhoades (3 – 0 – 3, 1ko) who tipped the scales at a whopping 342 lbs.
This was a good, back and forth battle for the majority of the four rounds. Rhoades had true skills for a man his size. At times he would pull a King Kong Bundy move, lunging inside and using his weight to take the action to the ropes.
Brown was game and would respond with good shots to the body. “SSG” also fired off combinations upstairs when the opening was available.
Lots of inside fighting in this one as Rhoades made a point to smother Brown whenever possible. SSG couldn’t miss to the body but did have trouble connecting upstairs.
The fight went to the scorecards and Rhoades took a disputed split decision victory much to the dismay of the fans.
While Brown didn’t win the fight, he did win the respect of the Philly crowd who gave the American hero a standing ovation and chanted “USA USA” as he left the ring.
Tel Aviv based Heavyweight Ran Nakash (3 – 0 2ko’s) bills himself as the “Israeli Mike Tyson” scored a good knockdown but had a hard time finishing off North Carolina’s Gary Leavander (2 – 7) while cruising to a unanimous decision win.
In the opening bout, Philly’s newest lightweight Bryheim Douglas (1 – 0) made the most of his pro debut and battered an outgunned Rob Ganaway (0-6) over four rounds. In the final seconds of the last round, Douglas laid an assault on Ganaway’s ribs which sent the North Carolina man through the ropes and into the arms of the ringside cameraman.
He miraculously beat the count but still lost a lopsided unanimous decision.
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