Teon Kennedy finally got himself back in the win column as he out classed veteran Carlos Vinan over 10 rounds on Saturday night, June 1st, in Atlantic City. He won by 9 and 7 point margins on the official scorecards. The last time Kennedy picked up a W it was March 26, 2011. That victory came against 15-0 prospect Jorge Diaz. Since then Kennedy has dropped a unanimous decision to Alejandro Lopez, fought to a controversial draw against Christopher Martin, and been stopped by super bantamweight king Guillermo Rigondeaux. Nonetheless, despite his year layoff since Rigondeaux, and despite his jump from super bantamweight to super featherweight, Kennedy put on a fairly dominant performance and had Vinan ready to go in the final round after dropping him with a left hook. Check out what Teon had to say after the fight:
In the co-main event Jason Sosa came from behind (not according to the judges) to stop Georgi Kevlishvili in 4 rounds (not according to the rules). A complete rundown of the Bally's Atlantic City 7 fight card follows.
Dante Selby UD4 Dan Pasciolla (39-37, 40-36, 39-37) - Heavyweights
In the opening bout of the card "Snuggly Time" Selby (219 lbs) edged the fight off his aggression and power punches although he was noticeably fatigued in the back half of the fight. Pasciolla (236.5 lbs) used his height, reach, and southpaw stance to try to out box Selby from a distance but was too passive in his approach. On at least one occasion Pasciolla's corner could be heard yelling at their man to "wake up" and asked him why he was backing up on multiple occasions. When Pasciolla came forward and put his punches together he did his best work in the fight.
However, the bout was marred by both fighters falling into clinches due to inexperience and poor balance. Once on the inside however it was only Selby who was really willing to work. Pasciolla apparently felt like he needed more room to punch. I felt Pasciolla got that room in rounds 3 and 4 as Selby gassed. However, since Selby stunned Pasciolla early in round 4, I scored the round even. It could have gone either way and a draw would not have been a bad decision. Rounds 1 and 2 clearly belonged to Selby while round 3 was Pasciolla's best. Regardless, Selby improved to 1-0-1 while Pasciolla fell to 0-1. Both fighters still have much to learn and Selby (22 years old) should have plenty of time to do it.
Sultahn Staton KO1 Sidell Blocker [2:59] - Lightweights
With merely a second to go in the 1st round a counter overhand right put Blocker (134 lbs) down and out. Staton (136 lbs) was dominating the round prior to that with his speed but didn't really hurt his opponent until the end, most likely because he wasn't turning his punches over. Nonetheless Staton improved to 2-0 while Blocker fell to 1-6-1.
I caught up with "Showtime" Staton before his highlight reel KO. Check out what he had to say here.
Anthony Burgin UD4 Nuwan Jayakody (40-36, 39-37, 40-36) - Junior Lightweights
Burgin (130 lbs) was too fast and skilled for Jayakody (127.5 lbs) to contend with, but 1 technical mistake from Burgin kept the fight interesting. Burgin had a really bad habit of putting all of his weight on his front foot and leaning in, which pretty much always put him in Jayakody's punching range. Burgin's reflexes could only do so much. When Jayakody threw the overhand right it often landed and landed flush. But to Burgin's credit he took the punches well and never appeared to be in trouble. Jayakody was the one rocked the most, usually by straight rights and left hooks. Subsequently Burgin improved to 4-0 while Jayakody fell to 1-1.
When I caught up with "Bad Boy" Burgin before the fight he was super confident that he'd become world champion in a few years, perhaps in up to 3 weight classes before all is said and done. Catch that interview here.
Ismael Garcia TKO6 Alando Swain [2:22] (49-45, 49-45, 49-45) - Middleweights
I could spend some time telling you about how I thought this was a close fight apart from the knockdowns, but all of the official judges clearly saw a different fight so what the hell do I know? In any event Garcia (158.5 lbs) played the role of the super patient counter puncher and relied on his right hand to pull him through. Swain (163.8 lbs) was dropped in rounds 4 and 6 and stunned in round 5. In both of the rounds where he went down he was clearly winning beforehand by pressing the action. Even Garcia's corner begged their man not to wait. But ultimately Garcia got the job done, finishing Swain off at the 2:22 mark of the final round. Garcia improved to 5-0 while Swain fell to 5-3. Garcia hasn't been busy since 2010 and might have to sit for a while again due to being cut outside one of his eyes from a headbutt.
Jesse Hart TKO1 Thomas Turner [2:15] - Super Middleweights
Hart (166.5 lbs) teed off with just about every punch you could imagine hitting someone with and dispatched the overmatched Turner (167 lbs) in a mere 2 minutes and 15 seconds. In a way you can say Hart knocked him all the way back to Philadelphia (area code 215). Terrible joke, I know. In any event after being dropped by a left hook Turner was stopped on his feet moments later. Turner, a former football player for Washingston State, supposedly came into this bout with 28 mixed martial arts fight experience. For whatever reason I got the feeling that boxing was not one of his stronger disciplines. Consequently his boxing record dropped to 3-4 while "Hard Work" Hart improved to 7-0.
When I caught up with Jesse before the fight he pretty much told me exactly what would happen. Check that out here.
Jason Sosa TKO4 Georgi Kevlishvili [2:21] (28-28, 28-28, 28-28) - Junior Lightweights
And finally we return to the co-main event, scheduled for 8 rounds but finished inside the distance. Kevlishvili, 132 lbs and not the fighter he once was, started the bout as expected and got bullied around the ring. But in round 2 things changed. Sosa, 128 lbs, walked in without leading with his jab, squared up, and was nailed by a beautifully timed right hand that put him on his butt. It wasn't that hard of a shot but because Sosa was out of his boxing stance it looked more devastating than it likely felt. Sosa took a few seconds to reflect on what happened, got up, kissed referee Steve Smoger, and went right back to work.
However, the knockdown seemed to have awoken Kevlishvili, who asserted himself and out boxed Sosa from the outside. There was good back and forth action in round 3, but Kevlishvili started and closed the stronger. His numerous short, accurate punches trumped Sosa's few big uppercuts in the middle of the round in my eyes. Thus I had Kevlishvili ahead 29-27 leading into the 4th round.
But the scoring controversy is nothing unusual or outlandish to say the least. There was at least 1 guy on press row who also thought Sosa won the 3rd round. The real problem is what happened in the 4th. After being hurt by right early in round 4 Sosa came back to effectively knock Kevlishvili out with an overhand right while Georgi's back was to the ropes. The punch had Georgi momentarily out on his feet and the ropes were clearly the only thing keeping him up. As Kevlishvili sat on one of the middle ropes there was a brief hesitation from Sosa, seemingly expecting the referee to step in, before he unleashed another 3-4 punches that took away what little chance Kevlishvili had of continuing left. Unfortunately Smoger was standing in a spot where Sosa was blocking his view of Kevlishvili.
I'm not really sure where the blame should be assigned, if at all. Sosa is aware that he's not supposed to hit a downed man and clearly realized that Kevlishvili was down, but Smoger didn't call the knockdown in time. Perhaps taking a point from Sosa would have been inappropriate under the circumstances but Kevlishvili probably should have had a lot more than 10 seconds to assess whether or not he could continue. Nonetheless Sosa improved to 9-1-3 while Kevlishvili fell to 12-6. See what Sosa had to say before the fight here.
PS: It just came to me. The blame should be assigned to a lack of instant replay...
Teon Kennedy UD10 Carlos Vinan (99-90, 98-91, 99-90) - Junior Lightweights
And then there was the main event, which I pretty much already recapped. But let's add some details for fun. For one, Kennedy weighed in at 129.5 lbs, not 125.5 lbs like BoxRec is reporting. Well, at least that's what my official Peltz Boxing bout sheet tells me. Also, I'm pretty sure if Kennedy was only barely above the featherweight limit my post-fight interview would have gone a little differently. Anyways, my bout sheet and BoxRec do agree on Vinan's weight (129 lbs).
But let's move on to the action. Kennedy was a bit sloppy early as he took a while to get his timing back following the year layoff. But as the bout went on and Teon used his legs more, rather than trading with his slower and more limited opponent, the fight looked easy. Teon was arguably winning nearly every round even before he started to look good doing it. Then, seemingly wanting to put on a show rather than getting a victory, Teon stood his ground in the final 2 rounds and punished Vinan with body shots. They ultimately broke Vinan down and dropped his hands, allowing Kennedy to come upstairs and floor him with seconds to go in the fight. Vinan had his moments in the first 8 rounds where he rocked Teon a few times (or at least it looked that way) but in the final 2 he just took a beating. Nevertheless, Vinan's never-say-die attitude made it fun to watch. You'd think Kennedy would have stopped Vinan if both fighters were natural super bantamweights (Vinan came down from lightweight) but Teon says he feels good at the weight. He plans to compete at either 130 or 126 in the future. Whatever the case may be, Kennedy advanced his record to 18-2-2 while Vinan fell to 10-10-5.
This event was broadcasted online by GFL and will be available on demand.