In another Feldman family production "Champions of Tomorrow" returned Wednesday night at Philadelphia's Roxxy @ Bamboo Bar for a third installment. As was the case for all CoT events that preceded it, the venue was small but packed. If you were late finding a seat, roughly by the opening bell, you simply did not get one. In the main event Brian Donahue squared off (literally) against Kamarah Pasley and ate a lot of clean shots for his troubles. Nonetheless "The Wildman" Donahue escaped with a draw. Two of the three official judges saw the fight 57-57 while the third judge and all of press row had it 58-56 for Pasley. Donahue won rounds 2 and 3 on aggression and volume but apart from that I couldn't tell you the other round judges saw for him, although Donahue thinks it was the 4th. Still, because Donahue forced the fight many fans congratulated him on the performance, leaving me to wait a solid 10 minutes before interviewing him as they shook his hand and took pictures.
Donahue is far from the cleanest or most technically adept boxer you'll encounter, but he puts on a show and pro boxing is really more "sports entertainment" than sport after all...
I know; I know. Amateur scoring is screwed up too. So that needs a different excuse (unless of course you actually consider it entertainment). But I digress...
Getting back to the matter at hand, it's time to play blame the victim. "Black Magic" Pasley, who admitted as much in our post-fight interview, is on another level skill wise to Donahue, the naturally smaller man. He really didn't need to put on his track shoes to win this fight. Most of us ringside expected Pasley to completely trash Donahue going in. So while I do believe that Donahue clearly lost, he at least exceeded my expectations. Pasley should have got him out of there. But he didn't. Now it appears we're headed for a rematch, where Pasley gets to come in batting .500 once again (Pasley is now 6-6-1 while Donahue is 2-5-2).
Oh, did I forget to mention that this was for the vacant XBC (Xtreme Boxing Championships) cruiserweight title? I didn't? Geez, it should have been automatic for me to associate a 6 rounder with a fancy title (the belt actually was quite pretty).
Moving on, we'll end with a round by round rundown of the complete card in chronological order:
1. Daniel Pasciolla UD4 Lonnie Kornegay (40-36, 40-36, 39-37)
Despite being the far shorter man Kornegay easily outweighed Pasciolla by a whopping 40+ pounds. By his rotund shape I estimate that the additional weight might entirely be in Kornegay's stomach. There's really no wonder why the man is now 1-10-2 as a pro. Pasciolla didn't look too confident doing it, but he clearly out boxed Kornegay each round. Pasciolla's lack of confidence led to him pulling straight out which then led to Kornegay catching him with a few bombs. I never thought it was enough to steal rounds, but apparently 1 judge did. Most of the time Kornegay just wanted to clinch and was content to be out hustled. Just about anyone that can survive Kornegay's first thrown punch of the round (his best) pretty much has the fight in the bag.
2. Fred Jenkins Jr MD4 Ruben Ortiz (38-38, 39-37, 40-36)
Jenkins returned in good form following a 17 month layoff, partially due to a foot injury well after his last fight (and only career loss). I only thought the first round was particularly close as Ortiz's awkwardness took a while to adjust to, sentiments shared by most. Overall the cleaner work came from Jenkins, to the body and head, and it wore Ortiz down. After getting rocked by a left hook upstairs at the end of round 2 Ortiz's activity dropped and Jenkins' pressure increased. But, for a fighter that came in 0-1, Ortiz was pretty competent and did enough to earn a draw in the eyes of 1 judge (Dave Greer). Nonetheless Jenkins advances to 6-1.
Aside(s): Ortiz could have lost a point for punching well after the final bell. Jenkins came in 4 pounds over the middleweight limit.
3. David Murray TKO3 Mike Moore (1:01)
In the best fight of the night Philly's own David Murray made a sensational pro debut in the cruiserweight division by stopping the relentless Mike Moore inside of 3 rounds. Moore didn't offer much in terms of skill but was all over Murray like white on rice. He was shaken twice in the opening round by a left hook and an uppercut but continued to walk through Murray's best shots and got in some good ones of his own. But a man can only take so much punishment before be begins to break and Moore began to bleed underneath his left eye in round 2, impacting his vision. This allowed Murray to sneak in an overhand right at the end of the 2nd round that buckled Moore's knees. Murray repeated the punch in round 3 and took Moore out for good. Moore impressively beat the count but was in no condition to continue.
4. Lonnie Jackson Jr UD4 Josh Beeman (39-36, 39-36, 38-37)
Skill for skill this may have been the biggest mismatch of the night but it wound up a close fight as Jackson coasted following a knockdown in round 2. When Jackson was on top of his game in the opening rounds he switched stances at leisure and boxed circles around Beeman. Beeman attempted to duck Jackson's punches but it caused him to get sent to the canvas in round 2. He nearly spent the full 10 count complaining to the referee that the shot (what appeared to be a left hook) was to the back of the head, but resumed fighting once he realized that wasn't going to buy him any time. As Jackson sat on his lead in the final two rounds Beeman applied pressure, worked the body, and broke through Jackson's weak defense. Jackson would have done better defensively if he just jabbed rather than simply trying to evade contact. But after scoring the knockdown in round 2 he had nothing to fear, unless of course Beeman returned the favor.
Aside(s): In Jackson's in-ring post-fight interview he did the Floyd Mayweather routine and talked about hard work and dedication. This is coming from a fighter that not only ran out the clock in his most recent outing, but is now 3-0-1 after debuting in 2009. He's immensely talented but observers just aren't seeing the hard work and dedication, especially from a guy that was "born ready." Fighting in the stacked light welterweight division, Jackson will immensely need to step it up to make it at world class level.
5. Kamarah Pasley D6 Brian Donahue (58-56, 57-57, 57-57)
This bout was detailed at the beginning of the article, so now I'll just tell you what the fighters thought of their performances (which you would already know if you watched the above videos). Donahue knew he lost the opening round (thanks to being rocked by a left cross) but thinks he did enough in rounds 2, 3, and 4 to earn the draw. Ironically his best round may be the same one he claims he was thumbed in (round 2). Unless losing his vision was a delayed reaction, I don't see how that explains his late round fade. But "it is what it is," as Donahue told me in a different context. At the end of the day he was clearly the more marked up fighter but was also the one who didn't run.
As for Pasley, quite fleet of foot for a 39 year old, he agrees that he spent too much time thinking and not enough time letting his hands go (especially early on). Smart fighters, such as Pasley, often fall victim to trying to pick the perfect moment instead of trying to make the current moment perfect. Pasley is a college graduate who majored in Communication Psychology undergrad and Communications with a focus in PR and Advertising post-grad.
And apparently he reads my work.
Quite frankly I was shocked by that (as depicted in the video I shared). I guess I should tell more people what my name is when I interview them? Meh... I rather enjoy pretending "Ryan Bivins" doesn't actually exist in the real world. It's really not that farfetched. Over the past 3 years I spend most days of the week in a boxing gym where everyone knows me but the vast majority have no idea what my real name is. And no, they don't call me "sweetboxing" either. More know my actual name than that...
And that my friends is what you call a tangent, one of my favorite words ever since I took 7th grade algebra, which meant something entirely different there...
But all tangents aside, what's important to remember is that both Pasley and Donahue are ready and willing to rematch immediately, probably at the next "Champions of Tomorrow." Although, if you're among those that thought Pasley easily won and is capable of doing much better, I suppose you don't actually want to see a rematch, but, uh, like, um, well, you see, ahhhhhhh...see you at CoT IV!!! Until then I'll take my leave. I actually might have a fight later today...
By Ryan Bivins
The full CoT III card should be available on SportsTitan.TV in a few weeks. The photo gallery atop this page is courtesy of Darryl Cobb Jr.