Monday, May 20, 2019

WWE Money In The Bank 2019

By Steve Ward

Now that the dust has settled from Wrestlemania, it’s time for what has become one of the biggest pay per views of the year (aside from the “Big 4”) as it has dictated the landscape of WWE year after year. This year’s installment of Money In The Bank emanated from the back yard of WWE Headquaters at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Six titles were scheduled to be contested on the card that also boasted two massive Money In The Bank Ladder Matches and a steel cage match between The Miz and Shane McMahon. One factor to take into consideration heading into this event, was whether WWE would push the envelope with their PG rating and pedestrian booking due to the ever increasing pressure being put on by AEW who will present their debut pay per view, Double Or Nothing, next Saturday in Las Vegas.

Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose vs. Ember Moon vs. Dana Brooke vs. Natalya vs. Bayley
Winner: Bayley

My only real gripe with this match was that it did not feature Alexa Bliss, other than that it was quite entertaining and a great opener to the main card. Towards the conclusion of the match, it appeared that Sonya Deville was going to hand the victory to her running mate Mandy Rose after an impressive display of strength where she threw Rose into a fireman’s carry and scaled the ladder with her on her back. Just as the briefcase was at Rose’s fingertips, Bayley emerged from nowhere to race up the ladder and shove the women off of the ladder leaving her unopposed to retrieve the Money In The Bank contract.

United States Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (c)
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

This match presented an opportunity for Rey Mysterio to seek redemption after he was embarrassed by The Samoan Submission Machine at Wrestlemania with a submission loss in barely a minute. Well Rey certainly gained retribution as he countered a power bomb attempt by Joe and rolled him into a pin to steal the title on a missed call by the ref as Joe’s shoulder was off the mat.

Steel Cage Match
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Winner: Shane McMahon

In another Wrestlemania rematch, The Miz sought retribution for his Falls Count Anywhere loss to Shane last month…this time however, it was going to be settled in the carnal confines of a steel cage. After a grueling contest, Shane-o-Mac won in quite entertaining fashion. With Shane McMahon hanging on from the top of the cage on the outside and The Miz attempting to pull him back in from the inside, McMahon slipped out of his shirt to drop to the floor for the victory.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Tony Nese  (c) vs. Ariya Daivari
Winner: Tony Nese via pinfall

“The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese made the second defense, first on pay per view, of the title he won from longtime champ Buddy Murphy at Wrestlemania. In a match that the crowd was just not into unfortunately, Tony Nese put his athleticism on full display, including execution of a 450 splash, on his way to retaining the Cruiserweight title.

WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Winner: Becky Lynch

In the first of two title defenses scheduled for “Becky Two Belts” on the evening, The Man squared off with Lacey Evans. Lacey Evans put on a strong showing in her first pay per view singles match as she took Becky to the limit. In the end, Becky reversed a pinfall attempt by the Southern Belle into the Disarmer for the submission victory.

As Becky started to leave for the locker rooms, she was intercepted on the ramp by Charlotte Flair.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Winner: Charlotte Flair via pinfall

As it appeared that Becky would overcome adversity and retain both of her titles, Lacey Evans returned to ringside and delivered a Woman’s Right to The Man while the referee was engaged in a ten count directed towards Charlotte who was outside the ring. Charlotte then returned to the ring and delivered a big boot to Becky to regain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Flair and Evans proceeded to lay waste to Becky until the new Miss Money in the Bank, Bayley, came to the rescue. After Bayley subdued Charlotte, she immediately cashed in her briefcase, ascended to the top turnbuckle and landed an elbow drop to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion!

Elias vs. Roman Reigns
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Elias shattered a guitar over Roman’s back as he made his way through the backstage area seemingly taking him out of the match. After Elias proceeded to insult the city of Hartford he was greeted with a Superman Punch on his way out. Roman then tossed Elias back into the ring and as soon as the referee called for the bell, Reigns speared Elias out of his boots for a laughably fast victory.

WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. A.J. Styles
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

This match was a bit of a snoozer until A.J. Styles stepped it up a gear and executed a Styles Clash. Styles then attempted to seal the deal with a Phenomenal Forearm, however, Rollins caught him with a knee to the face that dropped him to his knees. Rollins then super kicked Styles and followed up with the Curb Stomp to retain his title.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado) vs. Lars Sullivan

Well this wasn’t exactly a match. Lars Sullivan made his way to the ring and left a pile of carnage without an opening bell ever ringing. Essentially, this was WWE exposing Lars Sullivan to a pay per view audience as he continues to lay waste to everyone in his path every week.

WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi Kingston

Kevin Owens baited Kofi into a title match after he posed as a member of the New Day for a couple weeks prior to turning his back on them during Kofi’s match with Shinsuke Nakamura a couple weeks ago. Kofi was able to withstand a Pop-Up Powerbomb and then turned the tables on Owens top rope senton attempt to land the Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall victory.

Men’s Money In The Bank Match
Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor vs. Ricochet vs. Andrade vs. Mustafa Ali (now known as Ali) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. ???
Winner: Brock Lesnar

Sami Zayn was supposed to be the eighth competitor in this match until Braun Strowman earned a small measure of payback after Zayn enlisted Corbin and McIntyre to help him “earn” the final spot in this match recently on RAW. Zayn who was found hanging upside down in the back earlier in the evening got a trip to the hospital while Strowman was banned from the building. The crowd was under the assumption that there would be a replacement but the opening bell rang with only seven competitors in the ring…that is until the ring had later transformed into a war zone. The shocker of the night occurred as it seemed that Ali was going to retrieve the briefcase until the unmistakable music of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar resonated through the arena! Lesnar made his way to the ring, disposed of Ali, and scaled the ladder to become Mr. Money In The Bank.





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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pancho Villa

By Chris Mealey

Arguably one of the greatest flyweights to ever lace up gloves, Pancho Villa (Francisco Guilledo) is known as a real balanced fighter, originating from the Philippines. Villa was the 110 lb version of a classic Smokin' Joe, or an old-school Jack Dempsey with less KO power. Boxing's first "Asian star to make a name within America," Villa, had tremendous heart and practically unrivaled respect for the sport of boxing which makes him a significantly likable boxer.


The honor and pride he carried into the ring was nothing short of admirable, on top of his performances in the ring. Weary if his opponents were about to fall, Villa would even go to his own or neutral corner once he had his opponent on the canvas. This fact is interesting, because it was not an official rule in the early 1900s. You could stand anywhere in the ring after a knockdown occurred during this era of pugilism. The game-plan and style was pressure, yet Villa knew how to back up and utilize generalship when needed.

The notable, yet critiqued fights here, are with legends Jimmy Wilde and Jimmy McLarnin.

The Wilde fight would be Pancho's "greatest" critiqued KO victory, as Jimmy decided to take another tough fight, after a dramatic loss to Pete Herman. Wilde had close to a two year layoff, which was out of the norm for his taste, but decided to take the fight out of confidence, as well as to [please his fans. Jimmy had huge heart like Pancho and was a well known legend in the ring, yet this fight proved to be too much, as well as his last. Pancho would batter him almost as bad as Herman and ended up dropping Wilde in the seventh round.

McLarnin - Villa is filled with conspiracy, due to Pancho's wife releasing a certain statement decades later. Before the fight, Villa had an infected tooth extracted the morning before his match with Jimmy McLarnin. Villa entered the ring with a badly swollen jaw to face McLarnin, and despite this, Villa survived a bad beating and lost on points. The conspiracy began months after this fight, when he had several more teeth pulled from the same infection. Blood poisoning caused Pancho to cancel his last fight, and sadly, he passed from the disease.

Pancho's wife gave birth to their son right after his passing, and she stated his death was caused by an intentional overdose of anesthesia. She insinuated that this was the result of a gambling conspiracy to murder Villa for losing to McLarnin, as Villa was highly favored to win the fight.

A Closer Look at Pancho Villa:

Height/Weight - 5'0/110 lb. 

Division - Flyweight Champion

Career Record - 77 - 4 - 4 (22 KO victories) (Never been knocked out)





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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

J-Roc Crashed the Party and Left with Hurd's Belts

By Frank Bartolini, Ringside

Fairfax, VA - The EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University played host to the WBA and IBF Super Welterweight Champion Jarrett Hurd, Accokeek, MD,  homecoming jubilee. Philadelphia’s Julian “J-Roc” Williams crashed the party and left with Hurd’s belts.

All those in attendance loudly cheered for Hurd as he entered the ring in Redskins gear. Then there was a collective gasp when ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr announce that Harold Lederman had pass away earlier in the day.

From the opening bell, Williams applied pressure on the champion. Expecting Williams,153.8 lbs, to box from a distance, Hurd,153.8 lbs, looked baffled when the challenger employed a in your face approach. Unable to quickly adjust to Williams, Hurd hit the deck in the second after absorbing a quick combo to the head followed by a left hook. Once Hurd regained his faculties, he may have realized Williams' strength was almost equal to his. Unable to employ his customary bullying tactics, Hurd was behind the eight ball. Hurd admitted this saying: “He was a lot sharper and a little better than I thought. They had a game plan that worked better.”

Getting his bearings a few rounds into the contest, Hurd futilely tried to employ any limited physical superiority he possessed to no avail. During round eight, Hurd was cut over his left eye. Battling with true grit and determination, Hurd was able to bag a few rounds. J-Roc never let go of the momentum he obtained in round one continuously snapping Hurd's head back with uppercuts. Throughout the affair, Williams utilized a nifty move when he backed Hurd against the ropes by stepping to his right as if he was throwing a right hand and releasing a blind side left hook to the chin. This tactic caught Hurd  several times and buckled his knees. Closing the show, Williams dominated a worn out Hurd in the last round.

Just looking at the expression on Hurd’s cut and bruised face left no question of the outcome. Judges Steve Weisfeld and Robin Taylor scored it 115-112 . Alfred Polanco score was more in line at 116-111, all for the new champion Julian "J-Rock" Williams.
            
Exuding nothing but class, the former champ Hurd said: “I”m going to come back. He was the better man tonight.” Losing his belt and undefeated record, Hurd is now 23-1 (16 ko’s).

Raising his record to 27-1-1 (16 ko’s) the new King J-Roc said: “The whole world doubted me. I outclassed him. I was a five to one underdog. The only people that believed in me were my team”.

Following this effort J-Roc surely accumulated more believers. 

Prior to winning the title in the main event, Williams left the sanctity of his locker and indiscreetly sat alone in a chair behind press row to watch his stablemate Stephen Fulton capture the International Boxing Organization Super Bantamweight title.  

Turning in a splendid performance, Fulton, Philadelphia, PA, outfought, outclassed, and outright beat Paulus Ambunda, Swakopmund, Namibia, to garner a twelve round unanimous  decision. Weighing in right on the button at 122 lbs, Fulton fought flawlessly. Regulated to nothing more than the canvas, Fulton painted his masterpiece, while Ambunda hardly landed a punch. Floored by a right to the head in the eighth, Ambunda continued to press forward even as his chances of victory were very thin. Unscathed and appearing as if he did not fight yet, Fulton had his hand raised after twelve heats, Without contemplation all three judges scored it a shutout 120-107 for Fulton.

Fulton said: “It’s like a perfect game. Look no marks on me. I feel great. After he got up from the knockdown I saw he kept coming forward,and outboxed until the end.” Already looking for greater challengers, Fulton went on to say: “I want to fight every world champion in my weight class. My choice would be to fight Daniel Roman next.”

Popular consensus dictates Philly has the best fight scene in the USA. Not as renowned, DC and the surrounding area's pugilistic landscape is good and produces world champs. Notably the fight card was filled with locals attempting  to show off their wares which made it remarkable how these two Philly natives stole the show.

A near packed house of 7,500 filled the arena. TGB promoted the festivities in association with Premier Boxing Champions. It aired live nationally on Fox Saturday night on prime time television.




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Saturday, May 11, 2019

“Hot Sauce” Henderson Harnesses His Dozenth Victory

By Steve Peacock, Ringside

Pro boxer Kalvin “Hot Sauce” Henderson returned to the City of Brotherly Love on Friday night to attain win #12, preserving an undefeated record by repeatedly knocking down and ultimately taking down Antowyan Aikens.  

Referee Benji Estevez stopped the bout at 2:14 of the third round after the Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Henderson (12-0; 8 KOs) sent Aikens (13-7-1; 1 KO) of Mays Landing, NJ to the canvas for the fifth time.

This successful contest was Henderson’s 2nd consecutive match via King’s Promotions/Titans Boxing Promotions and likewise was his 2nd consecutive victory at the 2300 Arena in South Philly.

At the start of this super-middleweight competition Henderson appeared to hold, at best, a slight advantage over Aikens. But by round two, “Hot Sauce” clearly established himself as the dominant pugilist.

A left jab by Henderson during the second round had hurtled Aikens to the mat—the very place to which Hot Sauce then returned him moments later.

Indeed, Aikens actually took a trio of trips to the canvas that round, including another one immediately prior to the bell bringing the 2nd to its inevitable conclusion.

Henderson in the 3rd once again downed Aikens with a left jab then dropped him to the canvas yet again before referee Benji Estevez stopped the bout, thereby giving the TKO victory to Hot Sauce.

Back in December, Henderson at this same arena had handed to Brandon Robinson only the second defeat of “B-Rob’s” career. Though Robinson in that bout fared slightly better—duration-wise, anyway—than Aikens on Friday, he nonetheless had received an eye-bloodying, mat-visiting loss at the hands of Henderson in late 2018.

Robinson likewise returned to South Philly this weekend to face a different opponent—and with different results as the following segment of this report will show.

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS

Brandon “B-Rob” Robinson (13-2; 8 KOs ) of Upper Darby, Pa. in the evening’s co-main event emerged victorious over DeVaun Lee (10-6-1; 5 KOs) of Jamaica, Queens.

B-Rob soon after the bout had begun threw a right jab that stunned Lee, but by the end of the round Lee reciprocated, stemming his opponent’s brief momentum and momentarily causing Robinson to wobble.

Over the next two rounds B-Rob held the advantage, with Lee remaining in contention to say the least. Indeed, by the fourth a resilient Lee looked like he was gaining and not losing ground, though the fifth revealed—however briefly—that Lee could be in trouble.

A relatively even exchange took place between the two boxers in the last three. Robinson appeared to minimally maintain the edge in the sixth, but barely.

Notably, Robinson and Lee took turns connecting a hard right just before the 10-second warning at each of the final rounds, with B-Rob landing a furious fist at the end of the seventh and Lee similarly reciprocating prior to the timekeeper’s “clack” nearing bout’s end.

The judges scored 77-74 for Robinson, 76-75 for Lee, and 77-75 in favor of Robinson, who won by split decision.

SUPER BANTAMWEIGHTS

Raeese Aleem (14-0; 8 KOs) of Las Vegas quickly set Ramiro Robles (15-9-2) of Queretaro, Mexico on his ass. Upon standing, Aleem slammed Robles with a left uppercut and right jab. Moments later, after a brief respite thanks to an inquiring referee, Aleem leveraged that same combo and dropped Robles to his knees. The bout was over at 1:51, and Aleem won by way of 1st round TKO.

LIGHTWEIGHTS

This match can be summed up in two sentences: Alycia Baumgardner (7-1; 5 KOs) of Fremont, Ohio quickly pummeled Gabriella Mezei (9-18-5) of Romania with multiple left-right combos, jabs and uppercuts. As a result, the bout barely made it past the one-minute mark (1:08) before being stopped, and Baumgardner by way of TKO was subsequently crowned USBF Women’s Silver Champion.

WELTERWIGHTS

Philly favorite Paul “The Punisher” Kroll (3-0; 3 KOs ) unleashed a combo of head and body shots against  Vincent Floyd (4-7-1; 2 KOs) in the first—that alternating barrage of rights and lefts quickly indicated the end was near for Floyd. Sure enough, the referee stopped the bout at 2:27, and Kroll was deemed victor by way of TKO.

MIDDLEWIEGHTS

The first of four consecutive 1st round victories at this event, Ryan Umberger of Philly (2-0;  1 KO) just seconds into the match knocked to the mat a befuddled Daryl Fenton (1-5-1), who fights out of Washington, D.C.  “The Cockney Reject,” as the London-born Fenton is nicknamed, continued to sustain a battery of unrelenting Umberger shots until the ref jumped into to the stop this beating at 1:34. Umberger is now on a three-win, three KO streak.

FEATHERWEIGHTS

Antonio Dubose (11-2-1; 2 KOs) of Philly and Weusi Johnson (3-12-1) of Wilmington, Delaware went the full length of the scheduled six rounder. Dubose landed several left jabs that elicited responses from the audience throughout the first two rounds. At the very end of the third, Johnson was striking Dubose with significant force, and appeared further reinvigorated in the fourth.  Dubose at one point slammed an overhand right into the face of his opponent, but there was not much more to speak about either contender. Dubose emerged victorious by way of majority decision, with the judges scoring the bout 57-57, 58-56 and 59-55.

JR. MIDDLEWEIGHTS

First up was LaQuan Evans (1-1) out of Philly, facing Hector Mercado (3-10) of Puerto Rico. Evans started out literally on the wrong foot, nearly sliding a leg out of the ring, and Mercado wisely seized upon that error. Undaunted, Evans came back and mightily landed multiple shots that reminded his opponent that one slip does not make for a less formidable foe.  By the third, Mercado seemed fatigued, and could not get a break until Evans slipped to the canvas, albeit momentarily. Despite Mercado’s seemingly uncertain position, he landed enough shots to achieve a point advantage over Evans. The judges scored it 38-38, 39-37, and 40-36 for the majority decision in favor of Mercado. 



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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Carnival of Champions

By Gene Pantalone

Author of From Boxing Ring to Battlefield: The Life of War Hero Lew Jenkins
Available on Amazon

“This is a superb book that I highly recommend to all boxing fans. It is a great read.”
(Al Bernstein, Hall of Fame Boxing Analyst, Showtime)

From Boxing Ring to Battlefield is an engaging read. Katie Jenkins. . . comes across as a particularly interesting character. . . . I knew next to nothing about Lew Jenkins when I started reading From Boxing Ring to Battlefield. I feel as though I know him much better now. (Thomas Hauser, Boxing Writers Association of America Nat Fleischer Award, author of book Missing nominated for four Academy Awards)



In July 1937, promoter Mike Jacobs, who at the time was such a dominate promoter he was known as Mr. Boxing, had the idea to put together an unprecedented boxing card with four championship bouts. He would promote it as the Carnival of Champions. Jacobs committed to four title fights to be staged at the Polo Grounds where the New York Giants baseball team played their home games. The four championship bouts would match world lightweight champion Lou Ambers against Pedro Montañez, world welterweight champion Barney Ross against Ceferino Garcia, world bantamweight champion Sixto Escobar [the first native of Puerto Rico to hold a title] against Harry Jeffra, and French middleweight champion Marcel Thil against Fred Apostoli. Before the fight date arrived, controversy arose over the middleweight bout. Thil regarded himself as the world middleweight champion. The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) recognized Freddie Steele as the champion. Under NYSAC compulsion, both boxers had to sign an agreement stipulating that no title would be at stake if they wanted to fight in New York.

Jacobs signed a contract stipulating for him to pay lightweight champion Lou Ambers $65,000 with an opportunity of 20 percent of the gate. It was an all-time high guarantee for a lightweight. In time, Jacobs had every fighter signed to an elaborate scale. Besides Ambers’s contract, he signed his challenger, Montañez, for $40,000. He signed Ross for $35,000, Thil $30,000, Escobar $12,500, Garcia $5,000, Apostoli $5,000, and Jeffra $2,500. If his receipts reached the $350,000 mark, Jacobs predicted he stood to realize a sizable profit. Though not a large sum of money by today’s standard, in 1937 it was exorbitant. Jacobs did not ignore his philanthropy for the event. He committed 10 percent of his profits to the House of Calvary Cancer Hospital.

Mike Jacobs had committed about $200,000 of his own money. He believed that with the Polo Grounds tickets scaled from $3 to $16.50, he might achieve a gate of $500,000. When it was suggested that a financial loss on the event was a possibility, he grinned and shrugged.
“What of it?” he said. “We’ll all have a lot of fun, won’t we? We’ll see some good fights and give a lot of fellows some work.”

Three of the Carnival of Champion fighters trained at Madame Bey’s boxing camp in Chatham Township, New Jersey, and another three trained at Dr. Bier’s camp in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, where Joe Louis trained for most of his fights. World lightweight champion Lou Ambers, world bantamweight champion Sixto Escobar, and middleweight challenger Fred Apostoli all trained in Chatham Township. Whitey Bimstein, who was in the corner of more champions than anyone in the history of boxing, trained all three. Ceferino Garcia, Marcel Thil, and Pedro Montañez trained in Pompton Lakes.

Ceferino Garcia, Marcel Thil and Pedro Montañez at their training camp before the fight in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

For the lightweight title bout, Charley Goldman, better known as a trainer, was Ambers’s new manager succeeding Al Weill [Weill would become Ambers’s manager again after this event]. Goldman and Weill would collaborate to campaign many fighters, including undefeated world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.

Journalists, photographers, and fans inundated the Bey camp before the Carnival of Champions date. One of the most remarkable facets of the training of Lou Ambers, Sixto Escobar, and Fred Apostoli at Madame Bey’s was the friendliness among them in the camp. When the press was told they would share Madame Bey’s camp for the Carnival of Champions, many anticipated that animosity would result. Nothing transpired. Madame Bey, who ran the camp, structured their training to avoid conflict. Escobar started first at one o’clock, Ambers followed at two o’clock, and Apostoli at three o’clock. Just one happy family, a reporter said.

Madame Bey talking to Mike Jacobs at her boxing camp.
On September 13, Al Buck reported on the fighters for the New York Post. He asked Ambers if he thought he had won the night Montañez received a close and disputed decision in their previous ten-round nontitle bout at Madison Square Garden. Ambers, ever the sportsman, gave his reply.
“I don’t know,” Ambers answered. “I never know who is winning when I’m fighting.”
Ambers was asked how he liked his new manager, Charley Goldman.
“Fine,” Ambers said as he winked. “Swell.”

Goldman said nothing. Heavyweight Tony Galento, Dumb Dan Morgan, a former manager, Kid McPartland, the former lightweight boxer who retired in 1905 and now was a boxing judge and referee, Al Weill, and manager Joe Jacobs, who had managed Andre Routis, Max Schmeling, and Tony Galento, were also at the camp. Weill asked how Ambers looked.

“Better than he’s looked for some time, but he gets hit with too many right hands,” Joe Jacobs observed. “I counted ten during the three rounds he boxed with Augie Gonzales.”

“I’m rolling with ’em, Joe, and I’m not quite right yet,” Ambers explained to Joe Jacobs. “Gonzales is a smart young fellow, and I honestly only felt three of his punches.”

On one day, the press asked Whitey Bimstein, trainer of all three at Bey’s camp, about the bouts.

“The winners?” Whitey said. “They’re all here, Escobar, Ambers, and Apostoli.”

Sixto Escobar with Whitey Bimstein.
As the big event neared, and thinking of ways to maximize the revenues, promoter Mike Jacobs made a shift in the order of the fights for the Carnival of Champions at the Polo Grounds. Marcel Thil of France would open the event against Fred Apostoli. Jacobs said he changed the fight order to enable European newspapers to receive news of the fight some hours earlier than if it had been later. In the second bout, he put the Barney Ross match with Ceferino Garcia. The third bout would be Lou Ambers against Pedro Montañez. The finale would be Sixto Escobar and Harry Jeffra. A preliminary bout would open the program at 7:45 in the evening, and the Thil-Apostoli bout would begin at 8:10.

On September 23, 1937, Mike Jacobs held his Carnival of Champions at the Polo Grounds. It was an unprecedented event in boxing history. The event started on time at 7:45 with a four-round preliminary bout of such little importance that Mike Jacobs forgot to list the fighters [it was a lightweight bout between Young Chappie and Auggie Gonzales that resulted in a draw]. Amongst the crowd of 45,000 were governors, United States senators and congressmen, mayors, judges, lawyers, bankers, stockbrokers, industry leaders, society people, stage and screen stars, and figures from many fields of sport. WNBC broadcast the event over the radio. It was fifty-five rounds of championship fights. Not one knockdown occurred.

In the first title fight of the night, though only the Boxing Federation of Europe considered it a championship bout, Fred Apostoli, in the only fight not to go fifteen rounds, defeated Marcel Thil. The Frenchman was stopped in the tenth round with a severe cut over his right eye. Thil led on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. This was the thirty-two-year-old Thil’s final career bout. Apostoli, along with most of boxing, considered Freddie Steele the world middleweight champion. Apostoli could not claim the title.

Fred Apostoli and Marcel Thil bout.
In the second title bout, Barney Ross broke his left hand during his bout yet still retained his welterweight title with a unanimous decision over Filipino Ceferino Garcia, who claimed Ross head-butted him. “In as masterful an exhibition of boxing, as admirable a demonstration of fighting courage and as determined a stand a champion has flashed in recent years, Ross matched his wits against the power of his challenger’s punches and won the unanimous decision,” reported the New York Times.

Barney Ross and Ceferino Garcia bout.
Next, Lou Ambers retained his lightweight title by avenging his previous loss to Montañez. Both judges gave Ambers the edge, with the referee scoring it even. The unofficial Associated Press scorecard had it overwhelmingly for Ambers with a 12-1-2 score. “At every turn... the shifty, unorthodox Ambers was the master,” reported the New York Times.

Lou Ambers sang in his dressing room, as he often did, “Put on your old gray bonnet with the blue ribbons on it.”

“Save those gloves,” Ambers shouted, hardly missing a note in his song and then started to dance. He traveled to his hometown of Herkimer, New York, after the bout with his brothers Joe and Angelo, his friend Father Gustave, and a lucky pair of boxing gloves.

Lou Ambers and Pedro Montañez bout.
Sixto Escobar lost his bantamweight title to Harry Jeffra in a lopsided match to the surprise of many. Jeffra “so far outclassed Escobar as to make the match surprisingly one-sided,” reported the New York Times. Harry Jeffra, despite winning, complained because he fought around midnight. Escobar also stated his annoyance claiming the delay made him cold.

“Ten o’clock’s my bedtime,” Jeffra declared.

Sixto Escobar and Harry Jeffra bout.
Of the 45,000 in attendance, 32,600 were paying customers. The gross receipts were $232,644. After the $20,000 stadium rental and other expenses, the net amounted to $198,634. After paying the $190,000 guarantees to the fighters, Mike Jacobs had a little profit, but it set future matches for Jacobs that made the night worth it.

A video of the event exists on YouTube that was uploaded by the Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas.

Photos used in this article is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. Code §107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use.



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Monday, May 6, 2019

Hurd vs. Williams Preview

By Frank Bartolini

This Saturday night in Fairfax, VA , at the EagleBank Arena, Jarrett “Swift” Hurd of Washington D.C., returns home to defend his IBF and WBO Super Welterweight belts against Julian “J Rock” Williams. Entering the tiger’s lair of frenzied DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) fight fans, Williams appears to be Hurd’s toughest opponent to date. It has been two and a half years since Williams suffered the lone loss of his 28 fight career. That defeat came at the hands of then IBF Super Middleweight king Jermall Charlo via fifth round kayo. Over the course of his nine year career, Williams has established himself as a take-on-all comers boxer. Because of this, Williams has the best resume of any combatant that Hurd has faced. Born and bred in Philadelphia, which is two hour Amtrak train ride away from  Fairfax VA, Williams is a decided underdog. Being from one of the toughest fight scenes in the world, Williams effort will not be detoured by unfavorable odds and boisterous hometown supporters.

Even Philly’s most prolific boxing scribe Ken Hissner of Boxinginsider.com thinks the cards are stacked against  Williams saying, “I thought J Rock would win the first time he challenged for a title, but the Philly Jinx happened. J Rock isn’t beating Hurd." 

Not at all overconfident, Hurd is not taking his challenger lightly and is still hashing out his strategy. “It’s hard to tell what type of fight it's going to be. I want to say he’s going to try to box and get through the twelve rounds.”

It is likely Hurd will employ his usual style of moving forward behind his jab, stepping aside and uncorking combinations. Eventually Hurd wears down his opponents due to his size and strength. Using these tactics Hurd gets to his opponents during the second half of contests.

Addressing the shoulder surgery that saw Hurd sit out for eight months in 2018 he said, “I feel strong and my shoulder is one hundred percent. During training, I forgot I even had surgery.” In hopes of a homecoming celebration,  Hurd said, “I’ve got the city behind me, and I couldn’t be happier about that.”  Meanwhile Williams has plans on ruining that party.

The match will air live nationally on prime time television on Saturday night with the Fox Network broadcasting it.



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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Judgement Day in Bethlehem

By Chris Mealey

Describing the atmosphere and overall vibe within The Sands Casino boxing event would be similar to the weather surrounding the venue that night. A consistent display of thunder and lightning. The Weigh-In, along with the numerous fans in attendance were thrilled from start to finish. This is a recap of "Judgement Day" and each fight will be given a brief summary, starting from the first bout 

[Fight 1] Radzhab Butaev vs Silverio Ortiz 

This 6-round contest between welterweights started off with outside fighting, as Butaev established his jab early. Possibly the most fouls/warnings called of the night, followed by one rabbit punch that costed Butaev one point on the cards. Despite the deduction and some successful right hands by Ortiz, Butaev continued to win rounds through back peddling and fighting off the back foot, earning a unanimous decision (judges scored 59-54 and 58-55 on two cards).

[Fight 2] Khainell Wheeler vs George Sheppard 

"Thunder and Lightning" was the vibe and that electrifying energy was brought on early through Wheeler's pro debut. From controlling the ring with great generalship and  huge body shots that forced Sheppard into putting the ear muffs on. The fight ended up getting stopped early at 2:47 into the first round and with that a big debut for Wheeler.

[Fight 3]  Janelson Bocachica  vs Garbor Gorbics 

Boacachica engaged by keeping Gorbics on the ropes, landing combinations. A comfortable first round would set the tempo for even more dominance by Boacachica, landing at will round after round, though Gorbics showed much heart and took every punch well. The punishment by the end of round three would be too much for Gorbics' cornermen, as they would stop the contest before opening the next round.

[Fight 4] Yeuri Andujar  vs. Edgar Cortes

There's always at least one fight that is difficult to score due to close rounds by two aggressive boxers. The fight between Adujar and Cortes would be the first bout of the night to fit that category.  Round number 1 bounced between outside boxing and then with combination punching by both men, suddenly Andujar went down from a a mix of bad footing and a punch landing, hence a legit knockdown getting scored. Yeuri charged in round 2, scored a big right to put Cortes down, making up for the last round. Cortes looked for the lefts and was smothered at times, then Cortes found the left to get a knockdown of his own. This was arguably fight of the night and from round 3 onward, there was success in both boxers that led to a majority decision. One judge scored it a draw at  56-56 and  two had scored 57-56 declaring Yeuri Andujar the winner.

[Fight 5] Ricky Nuno vs. Rasheed Johnson 

Tactical first round and start to this fight. Both boxers felt the jab out and then changed tempo in round 2 after Johnson landed the first big right hand.  Johnson found rhythm from round 3 onward, jabbing the nose causing Nuno to bleed, occasionally dropping his hands. Johnson charged in round 5, landing BIG shots as the blood poured from Nuno's nose got worse. Huge heart shown by Nuno, but the fight would be stopped before the next round - earning Rasheed Johnson a victory

[Fight 6] (ABO championship bout) Martino Jules vs. Danny Flores 

Possibly the 'boxing clinic" of the night. The intellect and overall ring IQ the flashy Martino Jules was astonishing to say the least. Round 1 can actually describe the majority of the fight by Jules, as the southpaw landed significant left hands at will, utilized eye friendly footwork and defense, and simply dominated. Jules must really love this sport, because the boxer was full of smiles even during the few times he was hit flush.  A clear unanimous decision was earned for Jules, as all three judges scored the fight 60-54.

[Fight 7] Fight 7 Jonathan Torres vs. Jerrod Miner

Round 1, the boxers were feeling their jabs out. Good counters by Miner at the start of the bout, Torres answered back each time with strong combos. This was the tempo set for the rest of the fight, more counters by Miner, but slightly more pressure and effective punching by Torres. Miner appeared desperate for a knockout in the final round, as he charged in throwing everything he had forcing Torres to use his defense and footwork. A strong finish by Torres would lead him to a unanimous decision victory, earning scores of 39-37 and 40-36 by two judges.

[Fight 8] Erik Spring vs. Nicholas Hernandez 

This writer emphasized "fight of the night" with a previous bout, but as the co-main event, the clash between these skilled jr. middleweights proved to have the most energy as well as entertainment. Both southpaws measured their jabs from the opening bell with Spring landing combos, Hernandez pressured well, but also fought effectively on the outside. Body work by both boxers turned into long exchanges until the end of the first round. The tempo was set from that point on, and the crowd roared for the rest of the fight. When Hernandez, or Spring looked to be struggling, the thunderous chants of "Nikki!" Or "Erik!" appeared to wake up the fighters, seemingly giving them extra stamina and punch output. Each round was similar in that sense and the boxers had spent a lot of time fighting in the pocket, landing stark punches until the final round. The fans around me all had mixed opinions on who won, some even calling it a draw. It would be Spring who acquired the unanimous decision with all judges scoring the contest  77-75.

[Fight 9] Frank De Alba vs. Ruben Dario Lopez

The main event of Judgement Day may not be the highlight for most fans who were in attendance, considering there were hours of intense action prior. A somewhat slower start by the boxers, not wasting any energy and picking their punches carefully, Lopez "wore the ear muffs" as he spent a lot of time trying to block De Alba cutting corners with more aggression. De Alba banging the body, then came up top in what could best be described as the early rounds and overall, his aggression was the highlight of the entire fight. Lopez had some flashy footwork in the final rounds, but it was questionable as to why he didn't engage more to win rounds. It was a decisive performance by De Alba and three judges scored the fight 80-70, a clear sweep.

Another one in the books, and overall, a great night of boxing presented by Kings Promotions and Titian Boxing Promotions. Kings will have their next event in Philadelphia, at the 2300 Arena on May 10th for another night of action. The Weigh-In is looking forward to more intensive boxing bouts to come and we can only hope they continue to keep up with the potent atmosphere Judgement Day presented at The Sands Casino.

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