Bad Left Hook's Ryan Bivins was in the house this past Saturday night at Bally's Atlantic City to catch Peltz Boxing's card headlined by junior middleweights Jamaal Davis and Eberto Medina.
* * * * *
On May 19th, 2012 Peltz Boxing Promotions put on another thrilling night of fights at Bally's Atlantic City with quality undercards and an action packed main event. The card was seven fights deep with all but one going the distance despite knockdowns occurring in three. Some of the higher profiled non-combatants in attendance included rising heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings, unified USBA & NABF cruiserweight champion Garrett Wilson, former two time world cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham, and the world renowned trainer Naazim Richardson. Jennings worked the corners of Louis Robinson and Fred Jenkins Jr. while Richardson worked the corner of Jamaal Davis in the main event (although not as head coaches).
Davis was originally scheduled to fight Harry Joe Yorgey, but Yorgey suffered a shoulder injury roughly three weeks prior. Eberto Medina, who was actually Jamaal's last opponent, replaced Yorgey on two weeks' notice. Like their first fight, one judge ruled it a draw. Fortunately for Davis this time around both of the other judges scored it for him. Medina, now 0-1-1 against Davis, finished the fight feeling like a winner regardless. Records aside, there really were no losers on this night.
A few hours before the fights began boxers and trainers relaxed in the back room inside individual team enclosures. This left an opportunity to briefly interview some of them. Todd Unthank-May, who would later participate in the second bout of the evening, is a Philadelphia fighter out of the Mitch Allen gym. Unthank-May, so far undefeated in his brief professional career, is a light heavyweight prospect that lives by four words: hard work, sacrifice, dedication. While Todd's opponent Louis Robinson is also a Philadelphia fighter (out of the ABC gym less than five miles away) neither had ever seen the other fight. Unthank-May's fight prediction was simple enough to express in two letters, "A W." Robinson on the other hand wouldn't even say if he was going to win. He merely said, "I just come to fight." His trainer Fred Jenkins Sr. did most of the talking for him when asked why he came in over the contracted weight limit of 183 lbs. Supposedly he had "no trouble making weight" and came in "where he wanted to." Nonetheless, Robinson outweighed Unthank-May on the scales by 5 lbs and came in 8.5 lbs higher than his last fight.
While weight may have been a factor in Unthank-May vs Robinson, it certainly played no role in the main event rematch between Davis and Medina, who came in 0.2 lbs within each other. Medina, riding a career high win against 9-0 Przemyslaw Opalach, expected nothing less than victory again on this night. Jose Rosario, Medina's manager, trainer, and interpreter, expressed sentiments that Davis wouldn't see the finish line if he wasn't ready. But according to Davis, he's never been more ready. Although he was disappointed that the higher profiled Yorgey pulled out of the fight, he had no interruptions in his training camp and described his preparation as "excellent." During his 2 month camp he used Fred Jenkins Jr., Concrete Jungle, and Gabriel Rosado for sparring, the same man who stopped him in the 12th round the previous year. Davis, a humble 31 year old, said he has found a new love for boxing in recent years and still enjoys learning. The other loves of his life, his wife and four children, provide additional support to his dreams. The oldest child is his daughter Jabrea and she has three younger brothers by the names Jamaal, Aidan, and Landan. At the time of this interview their ages were eleven, nine, six, and two respectively. For their sake and his own, Davis was motivated to make his mark against Medina.
Results & Recaps
David Gonzalez UD4 Korey Pritchett (39-37 [x3]) (Junior Welterweights)
In the opening bout of the evening Philadelphia's Gonzalez made an impressive pro debut against Camden's Korey Pritchett by dictating the pace from the opening bell, defending well, and keeping his shots short and inside of Pritchett's wide blows. Gonzalez did some of his best work when he backed the taller and longer Pritchett into the ropes and punched in combination. Pritchett often found himself bending over for no apparent reason despite his corner constantly warning him not to. Gonzalez would either lean over or uppercut Pritchett when he ducked his head down as mentioned. The 1st and 3rd rounds were the most clear for Gonzalez and the 2nd was close due to a lot of back and forth exchanges. By the 4th round Gonzalez ran out of gas but already had the fight in the bag. Judges Julie Lederman, Ron McNair, and John McKaie (who scored all of the evening's bouts) all scored the fight same. After the decision was announced a heckler in the audience exclaimed "if you learn to throw an uppercut you could have won" and "if you want a better coach you can call me." Laughter ensued, granted none of which came from team Pritchett.
Todd Unthank-May UD4 Louis Robinson (40-35 [x2], 40-34) (Light Heavyweights)
For the majority of this fight Unthank-May was dominant. Robinson was dropped, out hustled, and could never sustain momentum during the fight despite having his best moments in the last round. Robinson usually held his guard high so Unthank-May often kept him occupied with jabs to the head and drove hard straight right hands to the body. While the taller Unthank-May often led with the jab, he mixed it up with lead right hands and left hooks to keep Robinson guessing. In the middle of the first round Robinson opened up with a left hook to the body and Unthank-May countered with a left hook to the head and followed it up with a right hand that seemed to catch Robinson on the temple. Although Robinson was on very shaky legs following the temple shot, Unthank-May stayed patient and just kept up what he'd been doing while Robinson found himself temporarily in survival mode. By round 2 Robinson was recovered and began to open up more and do some stalking of his own, finding brief success with his right hand.
Nonetheless, Robinson was still widely out worked and had clearly lost another round. Early in the 3rd round Robinson listened to his corner's instructions to duck under shots and move his head. This allowed Robinson to get in straight right hands to the body of his own. But Unthank-May always answered right back and Robinson just wasn't able to get into a rhythm. Robinson didn't do much at all in the last two minutes of the round. Louis, 3 rounds in the hole and puffy under his left eye, knew he needed a KO to win the fight. Thus, unlike previous rounds, Robinson actually let his hands go in the 4th. Unthank-May's mouth bled from right hands and left hooks from Robinson, but he didn't back down and instead traded shots down the stretch. There was no need for Unthank-May to go to war with Robinson, who was hopelessly behind, but the crowd sure didn't mind. Near the end of the round both fighters started to look each other over, trying to find one last big punch to put their signature on the fight. Robinson attempted to land a 1-2 while Unthank-May countered with the lead 2 that sent Robinson crashing into the ropes. The referee correctly ruled it a knockdown since Robinson needed the ropes to stay upright, but by the time he finished the 8 count the final bell had already rung. The crowd applauded as the announcer asked them "how do you like it?" It was a thrilling ending to a mostly one sided fight. Judge Ron McNair had the widest scorecard, likely giving Unthank-May both the first and last rounds 10-8.
Ibrihim King Shabazz UD4 Miguel Corcino (39-37 [x2], 40-36) (Welterweights)
Formerly known as Latwon Halsey, King Shabazz earned the first win of his professional career over the tough as nails Corcino. Shabazz's southpaw style troubled Corcino all night, particularly in the 1st round. Shabazz stayed on an angle, kept a tight defense, and drove straight left hands to the body time and time again. Shabazz had a habit of pulling straight back but Corcino was too tentative to take advantage of it in the early going. Corcino began the 2nd round more aggressively, putting his punches in combinations that allowed him connect with Shabazz's head. As a result Shabazz began to initiate more exchanges rather than pick his shots. The 2nd round would be the first and last that Corcino arguably won. From round 3 onward Corcino could no longer land effectively and was hurt with straight lefts in both of the final rounds, to the head in the 3rd and to the head and body in the 4th. The big shot upstairs in the 3rd caused Corcino to stagger to a neutral corner. But ultimately Corcino was able to cover up when necessary, gutted it out, and made it to the finish line.
Roberto Yong RTD4 Fred Jenkins Jr. (Super Middleweights)
In the upset of the evening formerly undefeated Jenkins (5-0) was stopped after 4 rounds by Yong (4-4-1). Yong, who has made somewhat of a career out of facing undefeated fighters, proved too tall, long, and busy for the plodding and passive Jenkins. Jenkins struggled to get past the jab the entire fight and was first stunned at the very end of round 1 by a right hand. Jenkins looked completely out of it but was saved by the bell. In round 2 Yong went right back to throwing and landing the right hand as Jenkins dipped to the side. Jenkins continued to not apply much pressure and continued to not let his hands go. Yong's speed, footwork, height, and reach continued to keep Jenkins out of range. Early in the 3rd round Jenkins showed signs of life. He was finally able to pin Yong against the ropes and began to land the overhand right which was available to him all along. But just as Jenkins and the crowd thought he was turning the fight around, Jenkins was caught off balance and put down by a combination. After the referee finished the 8 count, Yong chased and battered Jenkins all over the ring. Jenkins only tried to tie up Yong a few times over the remaining 2 minutes of the round and took a terrible beating. Jenkins was knocked down again at the end of the round but referee Earl Brown ruled it a slip.
Jenkins could barely even walk back to his corner after the bell rang but the fight was not stopped. Fellow journalist Kurt Wolfheimer from fightnews.com facetiously suggested that the referee didn't want to stop the fight on account of a slip. But it was obvious the fight should have been stopped once Jenkins came out for the next round still on unsteady legs. In the 4th round Jenkins continued to be unable to avoid the right hand. Because Yong was probably a little punched out from the previous round, Jenkins once again made it to the end before tasting the canvas for one last time. The last round effectively ended much like the first; Jenkins was put down by a right hand and saved by the bell. Only halfway through a scheduled 8 rounder no man could justify sending Jenkins out again, thus the fight was stopped between rounds. Not to discredit Yong, who may have put on the performance of a lifetime, but Jenkins physically looked like a beaten man before he even got into the ring.
Justin Johnson SD4 Korey Sloane (39-37 [x2], 37-39) (Junior Welterweights)
As was the case with his previous fight on the last Peltz Boxing AC card, the tall and lanky Sloane continued to be vulnerable to the overhand right from the opening bell. Sloane's footwork often caused him to be square, off balance, and falling in after throwing. He was beaten whenever Johnson closed the gap. On the other hand, his work rate caused 3 of the rounds to be reasonably close. The only dominant round in the fight belonged to Johnson, and that was round 2. Johnson bombed Sloane early in the 2nd with a right hand after a 3 punch combination. Sloane was very inaccurate as Johnson blocked, slipped, and rolled the vast majority of his shots. And whenever Sloane did land he'd end up falling inside and getting caught himself. Team Sloane clearly made the conscious decision to change tactics going into the 3rd as most of the round was spent with Sloane riding his bicycle, circling the ring, and keeping Johnson out of range. Johnson was limited to effective body punching for the remainder of the fight. Sloane moved more than he sticked and 2 of the judges apparently weren't too fond of it. Team Sloane was very displeased with the decision. Even the cutman, who goes by the name of "Back Door Willie," shook his head in disillusionment as he walked back to the dressing room. However the general consensus of press row was that the decision was fair.
Chuck Mussachio UD8 Billy Bailey (79-72, 78-73 [x2]) (Light Heavyweights)
The co-main event of the evening featured a pair of more experienced light heavyweights in their 30s. The headliner Mussachio dedicated the fight to recently departed life time friend Adam Franz. His ring entrance music seemed fitting, "Come Fly With Me" by Frank Sinatra. After a short tribute to Franz, who died unexpectedly in 2011, action quickly got under way. Bailey, despite only winning 4 of his last 18 bouts, hadn't been stopped in 4 years and had no intention of things changing on this night. Without much athletic ability at his disposal, Bailey covered up and walked his taller, rangier opponent down, got him on the ropes, and worked the body and head with punches from all angles. Mussachio remained the busier of the two but Bailey appeared to be getting stronger as the round went on. Unfortunately for Bailey, the pattern would not continue.
By round 2 Mussachio found himself in firm control, staying off the ropes. Unfazed by the barrage of jabs and straights coming his way, Bailey got a little too cocky and taunted Mussachio. Consequently Bailey was caught off balance and one of his gloves briefly touched the canvas, resulting in a technical knockdown. Although he wasn't hurt, Bailey was easily out boxed the remainder of the round from range. In round 3 Bailey just continued to absorb punches and asked for more. He fell again after tasting a left hook but it was ruled a slip. Regardless it was a clear Mussachio round. Team Bailey pulled their first veteran tactic of the evening by sending their man out for round 4 without a mouthpiece. Before any punches were thrown the referee was made aware of it and Bailey was able to catch an extended break. He put the recovery time to good use and managed to briefly hurt Mussachio. However Mussachio easily recovered and dominated the rest of the round. A cut under Bailey's left eye became noticeable, and would worsen as the fight went on. After some terrific combination punching from Mussachio in the 5th, including a particularly dazzling jab, left uppercut, left hook sequence, Bailey lost his mouth piece once more, this time during the round. Bailey, showing his toughness, kept pressing the action in the 6th round and threw hard wide hooks to the body. Quality exchanges ensued and Mussachio felt the need to turn up the heat down the stretch to make sure Bailey didn't steal it. By the 7th round Bailey's guard became easy to penetrate and the fight had become exceedingly one sided.
During a break the worn out Bailey once accidentally struck the referee. Bailey sucked it up and managed to close the round well with body shots but it was far too little too late. By the 8th and final round the crowd went into a "Chucky" chant. Although Mussachio noticeably appeared to raise his right hand in the air after landing a punch throughout the bout, it didn't become apparent to me that it was because his hand was hurting until the final round. The power that was once there had gone and he mostly had to rely on his left. Nonetheless, the left hand alone was more than enough to take the round and the fight by a wide decision. In an interview after the fight Mussachio acknowledged that he hurt both hands, which may have been a product of how hard Bailey's head was. Mussachio admitted to being thrown off by Bailey's style of punching from all sorts of angles and was impressed by how tough he was.
Jamaal Davis MD8 Eberto Medina (76-76, 77-75 [x2]) (Junior Middleweights)
And then there was the main event. This was a fight which alternated between matador vs bull and bull vs bull. Medina never switched out of his role of the bull while Davis adjusted his game plan multiple times throughout the fight. Both fighters began working off their jabs but while Medina focused on setting up body shots Davis mostly stayed upstairs and was more of a counter puncher. The round was very close in terms of clean punching and Medina was the aggressor. Round 2 started much like round 1 with each fighter working good jabs but Medina mixed in a big right hand that staggered Davis and allowed Medina to bully him into the ropes. Perhaps to buy some time, Davis pushed Medina to the canvas which led to a break in the action. The push also may have resulted in protest of the borderline body shots / low blows Medina was landing. Regardless, Medina got up and continued to introduce Davis to his right hand. Davis found himself pressed against the ropes yet again in the 3rd round but this time attempted to counter with uppercuts, one of which strayed low.
The referee Samuel Viruet gave Davis an official warning but many in attendance felt it was no different than the low blows Medina had landed earlier. Davis later met the canvas himself after attempting to move away while Medina had stepped on his foot. Eventually Medina caught and hurt Davis again with a big right hook against the ropes. Davis got a little desperate by the end of the round and was content to trade lead rights, none of which landed clean enough to steal the round. In the 4th round the ref finally warned Medina for low blows, but it didn't deter Medina in the slightest. After taking a break following losing his mouth piece, something that would occur more frequently as the fight went on, Medina landed the right hand over and over again, causing Davis to cut under the left eye. The two then exchanged low blows and the ref gave a stern warning to both to keep it clean. Davis used the break to regroup and was able to close the round well, but couldn't do enough to steal it. After clearly losing 3 rounds in a row Davis retreated from the opening bell of round 5. Medina did seem to manage to catch Davis at least once with a big shot, but curiously after it landed it was Medina's mouthpiece that went flying. Davis circled, attempted to land counter rights over the top of Medina's lefts, and shoe shined with uppercuts whenever Medina actually managed to get inside. The round was close but more importantly a turning point in the fight for Davis. In the 6th round Davis was able to counter with crisp effective shots but because he continued to leave his left hand low Medina was able to land one more lead right hand bomb near the end of the round. However, it wasn't enough to steal the round.
The 7th round was a different story and could have easily gone either way. Medina was able to close the gap early with hooks to the body and lead rights. Davis was caught on the ropes but used his uppercuts give him enough separation to spin off. The two warriors exchanged back and forth in the center of the ring. While it appeared to be the closest round of the fight, it was the first time Davis went back to his corner with his hand raised, seemingly celebrating victory. But perhaps Davis was just hoping the judges weren't paying close attention and hoped to influence their decision. And then there was the 8th and final round, a war from start to finish. After exchanging bombs in the early going, both fighters burned out and Medina was staggered backwards by a jab. Then they traded some more before a left uppercut knocked Medina's mouth piece out for the third time of the night. After getting his mouthpiece back Medina had energy for one last stand but was unable to do the damage Davis had done previously.
Exhausted, Medina intentionally spit out his mouthpiece for the fourth and final time but with only a few seconds left on the clock the referee just allowed the fight to finish without interruption. Several members of press row felt the bout was a draw, but both Julie Lederman and John McKaie gave it to Davis by 2 points. The one judge that scored it a draw, Ron McNair, was booed by the pro Davis crowd. Nonetheless Jamaal "Da Truth" Davis emerged victorious and his fans were satisfied.