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 cruiserweights Andres Taylor and Garrett Wilson.
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On April 14th 2012, Peltz Boxing promoted a seven fight card at Bally's Atlantic City featuring a rematch between Garrett Wilson and Andres Taylor for the USBA and NABF Cruiserweight titles. The event was organized on the sixth floor in a ballroom with around 1500 seats, ~80% of which were filled by the main event.
Among those in attendance who were not fighting included active boxers Bryant Jennings and Kendall Holt, retired boxer Vinny Pazienza, and HBO's unofficial judge Harold Lederman. The concession stands had $4 hot dogs and $5 boneless wings while drinks ranged between a $3 bottle of water and an $8 cocktail. Bouts began promptly at 7:30 PM and were all finished roughly 3 hours later. Here's how things looked before the main event:
Prior to Wilson-Taylor II, 5 undercard bouts transpired. The first 3 bouts, scheduled for 4 rounds, all went the distance. Two decisions were clear, one was controversial. In the remaining 2 bouts scheduled for 6 rounds, one ended by an expected decision while the other ended by a somewhat unexpected technical knockout. After the main event a walkout bout was added. It was originally scheduled to be a swing bout in case one of the earlier fights was stopped very early. Ironically it turned out to be the only bout stopped very early as it lasted less than 30 seconds. A description of each bout follows the jump.
1) Gabriel Pham UD4 Michael Mitchell
As is often the case when southpaw meets orthodox, this was not a pretty fight. The tall southpaw Pham fought as a counter puncher while the orthodox Mitchell did most of the stalking. Both fighters were tentative throughout the bout. Mitchell didn't jab his way inside and Pham waited too long when picking his shots. Nonetheless Pham landed more and cleaner from beginning to end despite being cut by a headbutt in the 3rd round. If any round could have gone to Mitchell, it would have been the 1st where he noticeably worked harder than his opponent. But ultimately Mitchell lost to Pham, the hometown fighter, 40-36 on all scorecards. Mitchell usually couldn't get past the jab and when he did he'd often eat a counter shot for his troubles. Pham entered the bout 4-0 while Mitchell made his pro debut.
2) Julio DeJesus D4 Korey Sloane
In the most controversial bout of the evening no judge ruled the same verdict, ultimately ending the bout in a split draw. Philadelphia's Sloane controlled most of the bout from the outside by keeping DeJesus, from Franklinville NJ, at the end of the jab. The one punch DeJesus could land however was the overhand right, which usually landed when Sloane got lazy with the jab and moved to his left, into Juliio's money shot. The jabbing and turning from Sloane appeared to be enough to win most of the rounds apart from the 3rd where he was badly stunned by one of Julio's overhands. Sloane recovered well and appeared to control the rest of the bout. No big shots were landed in the last round by either fighter. The draw came about by the judges scores of 39-37 both ways and 38-38. The crowd booed the decision, but it was understandable. Sloane's body language and retreating along with his slapping didn't do him any favors.
3) Joshua Reyes UD4 Elvis Rodriguez
In a fantastic 4 rounder between two exciting prospects, Reyes (1-0) pulled out a workman like win against the more technically savvy Rodriguez (pro debut). The offensive Reyes impressed with his will while the defensive Rodriguez impressed with skill. Reyes never stopped throwing punches and Rodriguez slipped shots and countered without holding. Much of the bout could have taken place inside a phone booth. Despite two of the judges giving the fight to Reyes by a shutout, it felt a lot closer. And if you had to guess who was ahead in the fight by the marks on each fighter's face, everyone would choose Rodriguez. Elvis stayed calm and composed throughout the bout and landed clean shots which developed marks above and below Joshua's left eye in the 2nd and 3rd rounds respectively. By the 3rd round however Rodriguez was noticeably tiring and just didn't throw enough to pull out the last 2 rounds.
4) Naim Nelson TKO4 Dontre King
Undefeated in 5 pro fights, Philly's Nelson earned the first stoppage victory of the night after a slow start which may have been a product of an accidental elbow. The elbow opened a well sized cut atop Nelson's head. By round 2 Nelson recovered and let his hands go throwing combinations to the head and body. King answered back but struggled to break through Nelson's guard. The 3rd round was more even until Nelson ended it with a big looping right hand. King continued to be shaken by right hands in the 4th round until he staggered backwards and almost fell through the ropes trying to keep his balance. The ref quickly waved it off, something that surely wouldn't have happened if King merely took a knee rather than try his best to stay on his feet. Premature stoppage aside, Nelson was well in control of the bout and a comeback for the 6-9-2 King seemed highly unlikely.
5) Christopher Finley UD6 Osnel Charles
In the fight of the night, Finley and Charles exchanged dynamite left hooks throughout most of it, one of which resulted in a 1st round knockdown. Ironically Charles landed a solid left hook before Finley but only Osnel's knees buckled. Since Charles needed the ropes to stay up, the ref ruled it a technical knockdown. Christopher later tasted the canvas in the same round but the ref called it a slip, to Osnel's dismay. Whatever the actual case may be, it didn't appear that Finley was hurt by a punch. In the 2nd round the two traded left hooks once again, this time simultaneously. It initially appeared as if both fighters lost their mouthpieces, as two objects fell, but only Finley's was replaced. Both fighters continued to swing for the fences but while Charles was limited to hooking or arching his power punches Finley also appeared to have a promising straight right hand.
However Finley didn't manage to land the right hand clean until the 3rd round, which resulted in another knockdown. The pace slowed from the 4th round onward, with Finley doing more jabbing and turning. Charles showed a lot of heart and pressed the fight in the late rounds, even if his aggression wasn't very effective. Looking at the records of both fighters coming into the bout it appeared as if Atlantic City's Charles had the edge with a 9-2 ledger and an 8 fight winning streak while Detroit's Finley was merely 4-4. But once they began trading blows with reckless abandon, Finley's 4 to 1 edge in KOs proved his power was the difference.
6) Garrett Wilson KO12 Andres Taylor
In a 12 round bout that began and ended with knockdowns, Wilson dropped Taylor with a left hook for the first time in the opening round and put him away for good with another in the final round. The first hook caught Taylor behind the ear and threw off his equilibrium, causing him to touch the canvas with one glove in order to remain on his feet. Although Wilson's corner screamed at him to finish the job right away, he must have sensed Taylor had a lot left to offer and actually spent most of the next 40 seconds retreating. But that's often a part of Wilson's style, waiting for opponents to make a mistake rather than forcing them to make one. As soon as Wilson threw another hook he sent Taylor reeling even though it merely landed on his shoulder. But after that Taylor regained his coordination and easily survived the round. Taylor moved on to better round 2 but still clearly lost.
However, by the 3rd round the tide appeared to have turned. Wilson's accuracy dropped and Taylor began to land good shots of his own. Wilson, always the type to answer right back, then swung the momentum back into his favor late in the 4th round with a volley of hooks that caused Taylor to briefly hold on. Yet once again the momentum changed in the following round as Taylor's defense substantially improved. After slipping and rolling some bombs from Wilson, Taylor landed a counter hook of his own that nearly sent Wilson off balance through the ropes. Each fighter then proceeded to trade and this time Taylor appeared to have the upper hand. Up to this point in the fight it seemed Taylor did his best work on the inside, despite being the taller fighter. After the bell rang to end round 5, Taylor raised his hands in celebration going back to his corner. Not to be outdone, Wilson regained control of the fight halfway through the 6th round when he battered Taylor into the ropes multiple times, once nearly causing him to fall through butt first. After an uneventful 7th round the action heated back up in the 8th. Both rounds were close, as was the 9th.
By the 10th round Taylor was confidently throwing combinations and won it handily. With the fight potentially slipping away Wilson came out for the 11th refocused. He lulled Taylor into a false sense of security then struck just as the round was about to end with barrage of hooks that sent Taylor crashing to the canvas. Taylor was so out of it he fell again after his first attempt to get up. Luckily for Taylor the bell rang before he even got up, so once the referee found him fit to continue the round was over. Interestingly Wilson took most of the 12th and final round off. But sure enough with only 10 seconds to go in the fight Wilson's jab found Taylor's chin and the left hook followed to separate him from his senses.
Garrett "The Ultimate Warrior" Wilson retained his USBA cruiserweight title and picked up a vacant NABF championship belt. His record improved to 13(7)-5(1)-1 and he officially avenged his only stoppage loss (to Omar Sheika) and his only draw (to Taylor). Wilson scored his second career 12th round KO, and his second at Bally's AC. The first 12th round KO came against Chuck Mussachio on November 19th, 2011. After the bout, Wilson, now riding a 5 fight and 3 KO winning streak, thanked his sparring partners. They included Yusaf Mack, Dhafir Smith, Eddie Chambers, Steve Cunningham, and rising prospect Todd Unthank-May.
7) Todd Unthank-May KO1 Ronnie Lawrence
There's little to say about this rematch. Unthank-May saw all he needed to see the first time he defeated Lawrence and wasted no time taking him out on this night. Once Todd landed a hard straight right hand over the top of Ronnie's left hook roughly 17 seconds into the bout, it was all academic. Ronnie's knees buckled and Todd wisely placed a left hook to the body to ensure his wounded prey wouldn't find the legs to flee. Lawrence proceeded to back himself into his starting corner until Unthank-May dropped the hammer once again. Lawrence was briefly supported by the ropes before Unthank-May finished him off with a left hook to the head before the ref could step in. The fight was waved off immediately, and "2 Gunz" Unthank-May emerged victorious. But who really needs to explain something you can watch below in a matter of 27 seconds?
Ryan Bivins is a staff writer for BadLeftHook. You can contact him on twitter (@sweetboxing) or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).