Last night in Bethlehem, PA two relics from the 1990s threw down in an 8 round cruiserweight main event. It was originally scheduled to be a 10 rounder for a minor title, but Roy Jones Jr was also supposed to headline in Glen Johnson's place. However, given the one-sided nature of the fight, no one complained about the distance once all was said and done. Johnson won every minute of every round. Johnson pumped his jab from start to finish and set Gunn up for big right hands. Gunn was rocked multiple times throughout the fight but being the naturally bigger man kept him on his feet. He lacked head movement and kept his hands low, seemingly to protect his body from Johnson hooks.
Ironically when Glen Johnson first mulled a move to cruiserweight in 2009, after being offered a fight with Tomasz Adamek, the fallout eventually led to Adamek facing Bobby Gunn instead. Gunn, who announced his retirement before stepping in the ring with Johnson, stayed true to his word once the shutout decision was rendered. Gunn turns 40 later this month while Johnson touches 45 early next year. The older man wants to return to light heavyweight and make another run at a major title. His dream fight there is a rematch with Bernard Hopkins. Here's what he had to say when BLH caught up with him in his dressing room:
Johnson would also like rematches with Roy Jones and Antonio Tarver, which would at least have to take place at cruiserweight. And if one of the major belt holders at cruiserweight felt so inclined to give Johnson a shot, he wouldn't turn that down either. If he can fight with the same kind of volume he did against Gunn, and that's a big if, Johnson will be one of the busier cruiserweights in the division. It's already a given that he'll be one of the more adept technicians.
Either way, "The Road Warrior" marches on.
The remaining results from the card are detailed chronologically:
1. Travis Thompson [135.7] UD4 Julius Leegrand  (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
In the opening bout of the evening "Animal" Thompson mauled the less experienced Leegrand from pillar to post. Thompson rarely allowed Leegrand breathing room and never stopped punching, working the body and the head. Leegrand did his have moments where he was able to create some separation and hurt Thompson with right hands, particularly midway through rounds 1 and 3, but it was never enough to win the round. Thompson practically had Leegrand out on his feet at the end of the 1st and simply caused him to run out of gas at the end of the 3rd. In the last round Thompson sent Leegrand's mouthpiece flying.
Subsequently Pottstown, PA's Thompson improved to 5-11-3 while Cleveland, OH's Leegrand dropped to 4-2-1. Leegrand was a late replacement for Emil Rodriguez, whom Thompson still plans to fight again later.
2. Randy Easton  TKO1 Dante Selby [215.5] (0:53)
Up next was the first of 2 heavyweight bouts, and it was over nearly as soon as it began. Easton blitzed the smaller Selby and clipped him with a left hook that he never recovered from. Easton followed up with overhand rights and more left hooks until the job was finished. However, before the seemingly inevitable conclusion, Easton was docked 2 points for hitting Selby after the referee had stepped in to administer a standing 8 count. The unsportsmanlike conduct was so blunt and potentially lethal that the referee shoved Easton across the ring with all of his might. Fighters often get up to 5 minutes to recover from fouls that don't involve 1 point deduction, much less 2. But Dante had no such luck and was finished off under a minute later. Such is boxing. Dante's trainer Mark Robertson took to Facebook later that night:
I saw the face of a man who never knew what defeat felt like as far as boxing go's...the team had to band together and show support of a true warrior during difficult times...I know people believe in theory that "action speaks louder than words"...but tonite it was the total opposite in which..there wasn't much action but Dante Selby said the words..."I will bounce back much harder and much stronger"...as his head trainer I have to accept responsibility in his defeat much as anybody...so I wanna be the first to step up to the plate and ask for forgiveness from my team...Dante we have major work to do and see where fate takes us...Proud of you in light of. defeat.
Hopefully "Snuggley Time" can bounce back. Williamsport, PA's Easton advanced to 2-2-1 while Philly's Selby fell to 2-1-1. Easton is riding 2 straight first round knockouts and seems to have completely changed his demeanor as a fighter.
3. Mark Rideout  D6 Eric Newell [257.5] (58-56, 57-57, 57-57)
The next heavyweight bout of the night lasted much longer. Quite frankly it was too long. And that may have influenced the judges to call it a draw because from my vantage point, and the view of the majority of those in attendance, Rideout was the clear winner. Rideout rocked Newell in rounds 1 and 4 and had Newell retreating and getting beat up in the final round. So those are probably the only rounds that 2 of the 3 judges gave to Rideout. Rounds 2 and 3 were pretty even, the first of which because nothing substantial happened and the second of which because both guys had their moments. The whole fight was ugly but round 5 was probably one of the uglier ones. Newell smothered while Rideout created enough separation to land pretty much the only clean shots of the round.
People were of the general opinion that Rideout could have done more, including junior welterweight contender Hank Lundy sitting behind press row, and he expressed as much when BLH interviewed him afterward. It's like Hank said, Rideout could have got him out of there. So far Mark's talents have yet to showcase themselves in his pro career. He probably needs to get himself in better shape. But what will motivate him? This was a rematch of a 4 round split decision. There was unfinished business and Rideout should have been inspired to settle it. Instead he got the only blemish on his record. Philadelphia's Rideout is now 4-0-1 while Bethlehem's Newell is 7-2-2. The hometown fighter, and late replacement for Joe Cusumano, got an early Christmas present.
4. Miguel Cartagena  UD6 Eduardo Valenzuela [114.9] (59-55, 59-55, 59-55)
In the co-main event of the evening super flyweight prospect Cartagena came in at the flyweight limit and put on an exhilarating performance against a very durable and technically savvy Valenzuela. Valenzuela's timing gave Cartagena fits in the opening round but crowd favorite "No Fear" came back with combinations and volume to take the remaining rounds. Mexico's Valenzuela picked up his 4th loss to go along with 5 wins and 1 draw (at least as far as available records go). Here's what Philly's Cartegena, now 10-0, had to say when BLH caught up with him afterward:
Also in attendance to support Cartagena were fighters Tevin Farmer, Thomas Lamanna, and Gabriel Rosado. BLH interviewed Rosado earlier that evening to discuss his upcoming bout with Jermell Charlo.
5. Glen Johnson [193.5] UD8 Bobby Gunn [195.3] (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)
As stated previously this was a dominant performance by Miami's "Gentleman" Glen. Although it's doubtful that he'll be remembered as a legend by the public at large, former IBF cruiserweight champion Alfred Cole suggested that Johnson is during Bobby Gunn's post-fight interview:
As for Hackensack, NJ's Bobby Gunn, his journey continues training his son Bobby Jr. Good luck to both of them.
In closing here's a list of bouts originally scheduled for the card that were cancelled:
- Eric Hunter vs. Yenifel Vicente
- Derrick Webster vs. TBA
- Thomas Lamanna vs. Guillermo Ibarra
It's hard to say whether those bouts being cancelled, combined with Roy Jones Jr's withdrawal, impacted the low attendance but it certainly made the fight card less interesting. BLH was able to visually verify that "Cornflake" Lamanna and "Outlaw" Hunter still attended, but forgot to ask Lamanna why his fight was cancelled. BLH learned the day before that Hunter broke his nose during training.
The event, billed as "The Ultimate Warrior," was promoted by David Feldman. Matchmaker Don Elbaum dreamt up the card long before Feldman was involved but quite a few dance partner, date, and venue changes were made since then. It all finally materialized on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 at the Sands Casino Bethlehem. The event was aired on local TV and GFL.TV picked up online streaming rights, but not live. There’s a story behind that, but you won’t read it here. Well, you won't read it here today...