In this world some people follow the rules of scoring fights, where 90% of a score is based on clean punching, and some people don't. Scratch that. Most people don't. Consequently many fighters who abide by the rules of the sport are often penalized for it rather than rewarded. We might as well stop calling professional boxing a sport and throw it under the umbrella of "sports entertainment" along with pro wrestling.
Dhafir Smith is not an entertainer to the casual boxing fan (and most are casual, including the people reading this). He hits, doesn't get hit back, and usually just does enough to win. He's not a knockout artist. He's not high volume puncher. And he does not really care about giving ground to his opponent if he can do the same job he was doing anywhere else in the ring.
And why should he be concerned about getting pushed backward? By the book, ring generalship can no more win a fight than defense. Go ahead and penalize a guy for "running" if you want, but you also need to penalize the opponent for missing him with punches. The two categories cancel each other out and they're worth less than 10% of the scoring criteria in the first place. And guess what? If the opponent can't land clean punches then his aggression obviously isn't effective. Thus the effective aggression category becomes null by default. So even if your math is terrible, you only need to concern yourself about who's landing the clean punches anyways. And who landed those punches when Dhafir Smith defended his PA State light heavyweight championship against Anthony Caputo Smith?
It was none other than "Dangerous" Dhafir "No Fear" Smith. Go ahead and look at each fighter's face after their battle:
One guy's face was wrecked. The other didn't have a blemish on him. So why did "The Bull" win? Well, you could say he paid for it.
Anthony's manager David Feldman, who also scored the bout for Dhafir, sat next to me and revealed that his fighter sold nearly 300 tickets single handedly. Those fans passionately thought their man won and booed the judge that had the audacity to score the fight a draw. I wonder what they would have done to me if I was a judge and submitted my 98-92 card for Dhafir. Better yet, what would have happened to Doghouse Boxing's Ken Hissner if he dropped his 100-90 card for Dhafir? Poor Ken isn't even in good enough shape to run away.
The point is simple: the place was packed with Caputo Smith fans, not Dhafir Smith fans. They paid to see their man win, in what may have been his final fight. If so, I'm happy for Anthony that he can retire on a career high note. He's a really nice, humble guy and a good interview. He explained his reasons for mulling retirement after the bout (family related) in the post-fight interview below:
Results and recaps of the complete card:
1. Damon Allen (137.5 lbs) TKO4 Joseph Ahaamid (137 lbs)
Joseph Ahaamid fought the entire fight shelled up behind a high guard, offering next to no head movement. He seemed to be hoping that Allen would blow his load and tire out in the later rounds, something that the 4 time national amateur champion and Olympic trials participant has been guilty of in the past. Ahaamid was not so lucky.
Allen punished Ahaamid every minute of every round, especially to the body which turned red. After 3 rounds of pacing himself Dame's corner told him to "turn it all the way up" going into the final round. Dame complied and it led to a mercy stoppage by the referee, official time 1:25.
After the fight Dame said he felt great and appreciated all of his supporters who came out to see him make his pro debut. "Baby Dame" T-shirts were rampant in the audience. Check out my interview with Damon earlier in the week here.
2. Drew Aguilar (125 lbs) UD4 Arthur Parker (125.25 lbs)
Aguilar, an active MMA fighter making his pro boxing debut, pitched a shutout on all judges' cards (40-35, due to the knockdown in the last round). His relentless pressure was too much for the slick Parker to contend with, who was bullied around the ring from start to finish. Parker took such a beating that his corner probably should have thrown in the towel during the 3rd round. Parker fought much of the 4th in survival mode and was still dropped by a right hook to the body. He was thoroughly bloody, beaten, battered, and bruised by the end.
After the fight I caught up with Aguilar in the locker room. Watch the video here and share it with your MMA friends.
3. Julio DeJesus (139.25 lbs) MD6 Ariel Duran (139 lbs)
In a bout where I felt Duran clearly won rounds 2, 3, and 5, he still had to settle for a majority decision defeat (57-57, 58-56, and 58-56). DeJesus, the crowd favorite, was the aggressor but did not work his jab and usually missed wildly with hooks. On the other hand Duran was very effective with his jab and fending off DeJesus on the inside by tying up 1 of his arms. As Duran got more and more confident he landed lead right hands more frequently. DeJesus's corner urged him to jab and follow with the overhand right, but DeJesus wouldn't do it. Honestly the main thing that made the fight even (arguably) was Duran's body language. DeJesus could miss a punch and Duran would respond worse than DeJesus after taking a clean power shot.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that DeJesus twisted his ankle in round 2. Adrenaline must have kept him going because he was limping badly on his way out of the ring once the fight was over.
4. DeCarlo Perez (155.75 lbs) TKO5 Julius Kennedy (156.5 lbs)
In the co-main event of the evening "3mendo" Perez showcased his superior technical skills and pretty much lit Kennedy up for the first 3 rounds. However, Kennedy lived up to his moniker "Relentless" and finally got himself into the fight at the end of round 4, as he rocked Perez with some huge shots. It got so intense in there that both fighters continued to fight well after the bell. For round 5 Perez came out more defensive and used his footwork to keep Kennedy off of him.
However, he eventually let Kennedy "trap" him on the ropes and countered with vicious uppercuts that sent Kennedy reeling. Perez rallied until the referee stopped the fight at an official time of 1:49. The stoppage may have been a tad early. Kennedy's protests were understandable. Perez had shown signs of decline and there was still another 3 rounds scheduled.
You have to feel for Kennedy, who was unlucky to drop a decision to Harry Joe Yorgey a month earlier. That makes back to back fights where he's felt shafted. The 33 year old hasn't won a fight since 2009, the same year he upset Aaron Pryor Jr. Meanwhile the 22 year old Perez advances to 10-2-1 and looks good enough to become a player someday.
5. Anthony Caputo Smith (176.25 lbs) MD10 Dhafir Smith (175.5 lbs)
Going into this bout I caught up with both Dhafir (days before) and Anthony (hours before). I got the sense that Anthony was a little nervous while Dhafir may have been overconfident. Anthony's nervous energy translated into his "bull" like fighting style while Dhafir's lack of concern for his opponent told me he had "no fear" of losing. But when you're Dhafir Smith and you've gotten the short end of the stick as much as Emmanuel Augustus, you should ALWAYS be afraid of losing.
Even though I thought Dhafir clearly deserved to win regardless, he still could have done a lot more. And that was the general sentiment shared by ringside writers, members of his team, and even his trainers. His opponent had no business even being competitive with him. Several thought that Dhafir should have knocked Anthony out. And perhaps if he knew he had to, he would have. But for whatever reason he fought the fight like a man confident the judges would do the right thing.
Nonetheless, I gave Dhafir rounds 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. I did think round 1 was iffy, as was one of the later rounds, but worst case scenario Dhafir won the fight close. Even the rounds I gave Anthony were debatable. I simply could not fathom how to generate a Dhafir loss. "No Fear" gave "The Bull" a jabbing lesson. In many ways it reminded me of Steve Cunningham's rematch with Tomasz Adamek. I half expected the even scorecard to be changed to Caputo's favor, too.
Fortunately things didn't get any more ridiculous and the original cards held (95-95, 96-94, and 96-94). Subsequently Anthony Smith improved to 14-1 and picked up a career best win while "The Rocky of West Philly" fell to 26-24-7. I just wish someone would hurry up and find him an Apollo Creed.