Category Archives: Philly Road Warriors

Coverage of Philly fighters competing outside of their home town.

Garrett Wilson steps into the PBC shark tank with a fight vs. Tapia on Fox Sports December 8th

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?

Continue reading Garrett Wilson steps into the PBC shark tank with a fight vs. Tapia on Fox Sports December 8th

Amir Mansour handed a disputed draw against Gerald Washington in Shelton, Washington

Late last week, Amir “Hardcore” Mansour traveled a shade under 3,000 miles to pursue an opportunity to snatch the spotlight from an undefeated prospect who was riding the easy road through the contender ranks.

Fighting in front of a sparse crowd at the Little Creek Casino Resort in the remote town of Shelton, Washington – he came within a hair (and a competent judges scorecard) of pulling off the mission against Gerald Washington, a former USC Trojan defensive lineman turned professional fighter who is being groomed under the banner of boxing’s most powerful organization.

In typical theme for a local fighter taking his talents on the road – the 43-year-old puncher was forced to settle for a hard luck draw in a fight where many viewers felt he was the better man.

Continue reading Amir Mansour handed a disputed draw against Gerald Washington in Shelton, Washington

Jesse Hart stops Jimenez in the 6th

On the under card of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in Las Vegas, Jesse Hard Work Hart upped his record to 17-0 with 14 ko’s by scoring a knockout victory over the previously undefeated Mike Jimenez of Chicago.

It was a true steamrolling with Hart clearly ahead on all score cards before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to mercifully stop the contest at the 2:13 mark of round 6. With the win, Hart collects a third regional title and gains invaluable national exposure. Prior to the fight “Hard Work” was ranked #19 in the world by the WBC.

The win should certainly move him up the ladder and force the hand of other sanctioning bodies that currently leave him unranked in the 168 pound division. With a high rating comes tougher fights but there is no stud currently sitting atop the Super Middleweight division. It may not be long before the North Philadelphian makes his move.

Stay tuned for more…

Dhafir does it in Florida! Philly road warrior likely puts Jeff Lacy into retirement

photos by Philly Keith Sports

On Saturday, December 11, 2010 – Upper Darby Super Middleweight Dhafir “No Fear” Smith entered the ring for the 50th time as a pro. That was a given. Not many gave him a chance to win the biggest fight of his career on this night.

Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010To the surprise of all, the crafty veteran did just that by taking a clear 12 round unanimous decision over for world champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy in Lacy’s hometown of St. Petersburg Florida.

The was a Lacy backed promotion from the moment the idea was conceived. Team Left Hook thought they had the “right” opponent in front of them. The entire crowd came to see the former World champion compete. The entire plan was for Lacy to shine in  this bout. It would kick start another run toward another title run, right?

WRONG!  In this fight, the well-traveled Smith was one step ahead of his more decorated foe. Smith boxed smart for the entire 12 rounds as Lacy looked to bully and throw wild bombs.

Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (7)

Smith’s work was so good, the hometown judges couldn’t even pull a fast one. The final scorecards read 118 – 110, 117 – 111 & 116 – 112 in favor of Smith.

Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (10)With the win, No Fear acquires the UBO Super Middleweight Title. He also has very likely finished the career of a one-time blue chip prospect who many thought would dominate the sport.

Congrats to Smith who once again shows that he is capable of getting it done anywhere and at anytime.

 

Stay tuned as this will likely lead to another high profile fight in the near future.

Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (1) Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (2) Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (3) Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (5) Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (6) Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (8) Dhafir Smith vs Jeff Lacy 2010 (9)

Outlaw Heads to Cali, Guns-a-Blazin’ for Shobox December 3, 2010

On Friday December 4, 2010 – West Philly Super Featherweight Eric “Outlaw” Hunter (15-1, 8ko’s) heads off to Santa Ynez, California for a live, televised 8 round showdown against undefeated Cuban national Luis Franco (7-0, 5ko’s). The bout will be broadcast around the world on Showtime’s – ShoBox “The Next Generation” series. TV’s go live at 11:05 Eastern Time.

There are a lot of opinions floating around regarding this fight. Some are saying that Franco is tailor made for a smart boxer like Hunter. Others are quietly saying that Outlaw is in over his head against a fighter with over 400 amateur bouts. The popular opinion is that Franco’s promoter Gary Shaw is trying to pull a fast one – thinking that he can catch Hunter unprepared by offering the fight on two weeks notice.

If that is Shaw’s reasoning for taking this bout, he is sadly mistaken as it is a well known fact that Hunter lives in the gym. Franco may have fought and occasionally beaten some of the best Cuba had to offer as an amateur, but Outlaw was no slouch as a pre-pro as well racking up over 180 wins and holding a spot as an alternate on the 2004 US Olympic team.

Don’t be fooled – the promoter, the TV station and most of the ticket paying audience will be pulling for Franco to win this one. It will be a lonely trek across the country for a chance at getting where many feel he belongs – amongst the top young fighters at 126 lbs in the world! Don’t be surprised if Hunter is the one with his arm raised at the end of the night.

With all of the subplots and current direction in the career of both fighters, this is an interesting bout. Hunter, since joining forces with the Cohen family, has put together his best stretch as a pro – showing a renewed dedication and consistently taking fights over the past 15 months against different levels of opposition. Hunter is trained by Sloan Harrison and is promoted by Prize Fighter Promotions.

On the un-televised portion of the show, local Light Middleweight Julian Williams (3-0, 3ko’s), a recent Gary Shaw signee, will take on Mario Evangelista (3-7, 3ko’s) for a scheduled 6 rounder. The 20-year-old from West Philly was an amateur standout and is expected to make a successful transition to the pro game.

Raymond Serrano to make his 4th appearance in Atlantic City this Saturday

Philly Welterweight Raymond “Tito” Serrano (13-0, 6KO’s) will make his 4th appearance in Atlantic City on Saturday December 4th as one of the featured bouts bought to you by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. The assignment is a scheduled 8 rounder against Geoffrey Spruiell (8-9, 2ko’s) of Colorado in the Grand Ballroom at Bally’s Casino.

Young Serrano is getting a nice push from his New York based affiliates, taking a slow but steady approach towards a run at the top. While the competition he has faced in the ring has been limited, Serrano has been in training camps with some of the best – most recently helping Mike Jones prepare for Jesus Soto-Karass and previously being in camp with Manny Pacquiao among others.

There are some local fight fans and insiders who believe that 2011 will be a break out year for the 21 year old native of North Philadelphia. After this bout, a regional title fight is probably not out of the question.

The evening is headlined by Atlantic City’s Shamone “The Truth” Alvarez (21-2, 12KO’s) taking on recent Serrano victim Ayi Bruce (17-3, 12KO’s) for the vacant IBA Welterweight Title. Alvarez is rated #7 by the USBA and is coming off a strong KO win over Alexis Camacho in this same building.

The co-feature showcases reigning WBF US Light Heavyweight Champion, Chuck “The Professor” Mussachio (16-1-2, 5KO’s) of Wildwood NJ who is signed up for an eight rounder against Theo Kruger. Mussachio is riding a three fight winning streak and is coming off what many are calling his best performance as a pro in a decision win over Tony Ferrante.

Exciting jr. middleweight, Ismael Garcia (1-0) will look to pick up his second win as a pro when he takes on New York’s, Joe Jerdon (0-1-2). Garcia-Jerdon is scheduled for four rounds.

In a four round middleweight match-up Philadelphia’s Rashad Brown (1-0) squares off against Corey Preston (0-2).

Rounding out the card is Atlantic City’s Althera Saunders (1-0) in a four round female jr. welterweight contest against Natoya Ervin (1-6).

Tickets are currently on sale and are being priced at $75, and $50 with a few limited 1st Row VIP Packages also available ($150). Tickets may be purchased by calling Star Boxing at (718)823-2000 or visiting www.starboxing.com. Bally’s Atlantic City, is located at Park Place and the Boardwalk (1900 Pacific Ave.) Atlantic City, NJ 08401. For more information call (609) 340-2000.

Farah Ennis patiently pummels Lares in Atlantic City!

On November 19. 2010 at Harrah’s Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, Farah Ennis (17-0, 11ko’s) of Germantown scored three knockdowns en route to a 7th round stoppage win over Victor Lares (15-5, 4ko’s) of Corpus Christi, TX – which earned him the vacant NABF Super Middleweight title.

Farah Ennis vs Victor Lares 2010 (5)Lares has a couple of decent spurts but overall was no match for his younger foe who took his time to find the right spots to operate.

Ennis stayed on the outside for most of the opening rounds and then accepted Lares challenge when the Texas native decided to go for broke and get inside. It turned out to be a mistake for Lares as he got dropped in the midst of putting forth his best work somewhere in round 5.

Ennis turned up the heat in round 7, dropping Lares with a hard looping right – a shot that gave the referee no option but to call a halt to the battle.

In the co-feature, “The Gentleman” Chazz Witherspoon (28-2, 20ko’s) of South Jersey scored a stoppage win over Alexis Mejias (11-6, 5ko’s) of Paterson, NJ.

Chazz Witherspoon vs Alexis Mejias 2010 (4)

 

The under card was extremely one-sided as Super Featherweight Keenan Smith (3-0, 1ko) of Philadelphia, PA, Light Heavyweight Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell (7-0, 3 KO’s) of Atlantic City; Super Middleweight Joel De La Paz (6-0, 4 KO’s) of Atlantic City and Delaware’s Joey Tiberi (2-0, 1 KO) all won convincingly. Ismael Garcia vs Corey Preston 20100 (1) Ismael Garcia vs Corey Preston 20100 Joey Tiberi vs Antonio Parker 2010 Keenan Smith vs Anthony Royal 2010 (2)Keenan Smith vs Anthony Royal 2010

photos by Paul Dempsey / Philly Keith Sports

 

Mike Jones gets the nod in a war with Soto-Karass

In the final preliminary fight on the November 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito HBO pay-per-view from Cowboy Stadium – Philly welterweight contender Mike Jones (23-0, 18ko’s) was scheduled to take on registered ruffian Jesus Soto-Karass (24-5-3, 16 ko’s). It was a prime opportunity with literally millions of people tuned in from around the globe. Many felt that Soto- Karass was tailor made for Jones style and a full scale showcase would be the result. It turned out to be a 10-round war that could have gone either way.

This match had it all. It offered a strong candidate for round of the year (round 2), a strong comeback from a fighter who seemed to be out of his feet and will also dubiously be nominated for robbery of the year in some other  publications. The Philly fight fans also got to see another thing – how Mike Jones would hold up when given a stiff challenge.

For the opening five minutes, everything was going according to the script. Jones was clearly out boxing and out banging his more experienced foe. Midway through round 2, Jones wobbled Soto-Karass and like a vulture – he swooped in to unleash something along the lines of 40 consecutive non-stop power punches on his stunned opponent. Karass covered for dear life on the ropes but still absorbed tremendous punishment. It was truly amazing display of killer instinct.

But – like the boxing lifer once told me “You can hit a Mexican boxers head all day and they will keep coming. You need to hit the body for them to fall”. Unfortunately for the Philadelphian – Karass did not go down. Somehow he weathered the storm and Jones was absolutely spent. Karass, marked with two leaky eyes, would go on to hammer a tired Jones in the middle rounds. To Jones credit – there was no quit in him – even though there were times when it looked like his legs were going to fail him.

The long awaited second wind came back somewhere near round 7 and Jones began to get himself back into the contest against an ever pressuring Karass. With the fight hanging in to balance – with trainer Vaughn Jackson in his ear telling him to “Come on man!” Jones responded like a champion – convincingly winning the final two rounds as he stood on steady legs – getting the better of hard two way exchanges with Karass.

The bout went to the scorecards which first read draw at 94-94 but was overruled by scores of 95-94 & 97 – 93 in favor of Jones. Over all it was a very good, very close fight that could have gone either way. I personally scored it a draw.

While many will argue what they thought of the decision and what they think of these guys against top fighters – it must be mentioned that this is what a pay-per-view fight should be like. The opening two bouts were a shade short of stinkers – this match had the fans (and many crowds at home) yelling and cheering at the TV. We also learned a lot about Mike Jones. He took some very hard shots, he was behind in a fight, he was dead tired at one point yet still found a way to win. I am sure he will learn from his mistake in round two – he likely won’t be let off the hook for an error like this when facing a top opponent.

With the win, Jones retains his two regional titles and picks up a third in the process. He is widely expected to compete for the WBO title in his next bout against England’s Kell Brook.

 

In the main event, Manny Pacquiao laid a whoppin’ for the ages of Margarito. Instead of cement gloves, I think he wore cement shoes as he couldn’t touch – or get out of the way – from anything Pac Man offered.

Enough is enough, we want Mayweather vs. Pacquiao!

Greg Hackett hits Pittsburgh on August 28, 2010

The last two years have been a grind for Germantown’s Greg Hackett. After facing lots of bum offers on the last minute from promoters, strict commission medical guidelines, and general life obstacles that sometimes interferes with a young fighters schedule – many would have just packed it up and called it a day.

We are told that all of that is now in the rear view mirror. Hackett is officially lacing them up again – doing it the hard way – in someone else’s backyard in search of his first win as a professional. The opponent is a fighter named Morgan Fitch and the venue is the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, PA. Weight is 168 lbs.

He knows he is going in as the “opponent” – but with risk there could be reward as the card will be promoted by Roy Jones Square Ring Promotions. Catch Roy’s eye and who knows what will happen. Listen to the interview with Hackett below…

Main Event is Pittsburgh native Monty Meza Clay (a fighter who would match nicely against some of our local talent) taking on Allan Litzau in what should be a very good super featherweight battle. Matchmaker is Mark Yankello.