Philadelphia super lightweight, Tyrone Crawley (7-0) sat down for an interview with Matt Ward this evening at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Crawley is scheduled to fight Puerto Rico'sAnthony Mercado (10-3, 9 KOs) in an eight round bout this Friday, March 2nd at the SugarHouse Casino. This bout is part of a seven bout card that is promoted by King's Promotions. The card is headlined by a bantamweight bout between Christian Carto (13-0, 11 KOs) and James Smith (12-1, 7 KOs). For more information on this action-packed night of boxing, visit the King's Promotions'website.
Finally! The People’s Red Head has come back to The Weigh-In!
UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway made his film debut in “Den of Thieves.” It goes to show what winning a UFC title and dominating a division can do for you. Holloway finds himself making his film debut with good company. The movie “Den of Thieves” stars Pablo Schreiber. For those of you living under a rock, Pablo was in “The Wire,” which is one of the greatest shows of all time.
On top of that, Pablo plays a crooked guard on “Orange is the New Black.”Pablo is Spanish for your dad. To all the readers out there, this guy is your dad. Do not Google that! This is a fact that predates Google. The film also stars Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
The film is a heist movie with a great plot twist. As someone who has viewed the film, it is worth the watch. Is it going to change your life? Probably not. However, I know that half of you are running around watching “The Bachelor,” or “Biggest Loser,” so you have time in your lives to watch a good movie. This movie is a great heist movie.
(Dustin Johnson circa 1996)
Although Holloway does not have a main role, he kills it in the little screen time he receives. Another pleasant surprise is that Michael “The Count” Bisping makes a cameo appearance as well. I will not spoil the movie, but Bisping also kills it on the big screen.
You may ask why I am writing this piece about two fighters with minor acting roles in a lesser-known film. The reason for this piece is to show how talented the fighters of mixed martial arts are. They are like any other athlete you praise, with the exception that they might have the toughest job in the world.
The UFC has allowed fighters to do so much beyond fighting. Just like all the major sports, we are starting to see the athletes of MMA crossover into acting, commentating, and other professions. Sometimes this sport is looked at and criticized for how gruesome it can be. When blood is spattered in the Octagon, it is easy to lose sight of the individual and what this sport, or match, actually means.
(Hollywood and Sport)
It was great to see Holloway and Bisping share the big screen. I hope the movie does well, and look forward to seeing them in future Hollywood endeavors. It is great to see two hall of fame fighters represent the UFC outside of the sport. We are proud of you boys. In fact, the last time I was prouder of two grown men was when the Ward Brothers finally gave up their shared race car bed. It should be noted that they gave up this sleeping arrangement in 2016, so please spare me the “race car beds are awesome” hate mail.
Professional boxing returned to the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City last night after a ten year hiatus. The Showboat itself is a shell of its former self. The games, restaurants, and bars that once graced the main floor of the building are now gone or closed up, and what remains is a cavernous and gloomy building. The card, which will be remembered by most spectators as one of the biggest and longest in recent memory, featured eleven professional bouts and was promoted by New Jersey's Rising Star Promotions. The ring and surrounding chairs were set up on a former casino floor where I'm fairly certain my grandmother played slot machines throughout the better part of the 1990's.
The main event featured a welterweight bout between veteran contenders, Thomas LaManna (25-2-1, 9 KOs), the defending WBC FECARBOX Welterweight Champion, and Gabriel Bracero (24-3-1, 5 KOs). LaManna, who had a clear height advantage over the shorter and stockier Bracero, attempted to use his advantage in reach early in the opening frame. In the second round, Bracero got inside and effectively worked "Cornflake's" body. LaManna, who is not known for his knockout power, caught his opponent's attention in the third round with a straight right hand to the head. Through four rounds, it was evident at times that Bracero was having some issues adjusting to LaManna's style. In the sixth round, Bracero caught LaManna with a right hook to the head that appeared to hurt the "Pride of Millville, New Jersey". Bracero picked up momentum and connected on a series of head shots in the eighth that sent LaManna to his corner with a bloody nose. A low blow to LaManna briefly stopped the action in what appeared to be a close fight at that point in the ninth round. LaManna, looking to stay ahead on the cards in the tenth, pinned Bracero up against the ropes and landed a series of big punches to his challenger's head and body. The judges scored the bout 97-93 for Bracero, 98-92 for LaManna, and 95-95 a draw. The competitive matchup ended in a split draw. Former world champion, Paulie Malignaggi, who was ringside covering the fight for Fight Night Live!,asked the two men in the post-fight interview if they would consider a rematch. Both fighters appeared open to the idea of facing off again in the near future.
Junior lightweights, Andrew Bentley (3-3) and Donald Smith (6-0, 3 KOs) fought in a four round bout. Bentley, a Jersey City native, had former light heavyweight fighter, Bobby Rooney in his corner. Smith, the Philly fighter who was looking for his sixth professional victory, got the "award" for largest entourage of the evening. Bentley, a scrappy fighter, who gave Smith problems on the inside at times over the course of the bout, could not solve the height and reach problem that he encountered with his opponent. Smith was able to control every round by landing the bigger shots and cleaner punches. Early in the fourth round, Smith tried for the knockout by throwing big hooks at the head and body of his opponent. Bentley survived the round only to lose on the cards by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Donald Smith.
Frederic Julan (9-0, 7 KOs) fought Edgar Perez (7-24, 3 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout that was scheduled for six rounds. Julan, a transplant to New York City from France, controlled the bout from the opening bell. The veteran Perez appeared unconditioned and soft in the abdomen. Julan put his power on display in the second round by landing a vicious multi-punch combo that fazed his opponent. In the third round, Julan knocked Perez down with another multi-punch combo to the head and body. Perez pulled himself up from the canvas only to be stalked around the ring by his opponent. Julan landed a series of big shots to Perez' head and body, but had difficulty cutting off the ring. Had Julan been able to, the fight would have been over in the third round. Perez, who had enough after the third round, refused to answer the bell marking the beginning of the fourth round. Julan, the winner by TKO, has won his sixth straight bout by knockout.
In a battle of junior welterweight fighters with losing records, Brooklyn's Laquan Lewis (2-9, 2 KOs) fought the hometown fighter, Osnel Charles (12-18-1, 2 KOs). Lewis came out swinging for the fences in the first round, and landed a big left hand to Charles' head during the round. Charles replied with big body shots that pushed his opponent backwards. In the second round, Charles hit Lewis with a left hand to the head that appeared to stun the fighter. Lewis answered this shot with a left hand to the head of his own that sent Charles to the canvas. In the fourth round, Lewis answered the bell with a swollen right eye. Charles,hungry for a knockout, landed a multi-punch combo to the head and body of Lewis that ended the bout at the 33 second mark of the fourth and final round. Charles celebrated his victory with the Atlantic City fans by jumping over the ringside guard rail into the crowd.
Long Island's Tommy Rainone (26-8-3, 6 KOs) fought Ecuador's Eduardo Flores (23-30-3, 14 KOs) in an eight round, welterweight contest. The two fighters spent the first round feeling one another out. Rainone controlled the tempo of the bout in the second round. Rainone had to be examined by the referee, Eric Dali, after being hit with what appeared to be an accidental headbutt in the third round. Flores spent much of the remainder of the round landing rabbit punches to the back of Rainone's head and neck, that went unnoticed by the referee. By the fourth round, Flores appeared winded and desperate to make it through the eight round contest. The dirtiness of Flores' fighting style especially became evident in later rounds when he continued to hold and punch Rainone in the back of the head. Rainone caught Flores' attention in the fifth round when he hit him with a nice right upper cut to the body. The judges scored the bout 78-74 for Flores, 77-75 for Rainone, and 76-76 a draw. To the displeasure of the crowd, the fight ended in a split draw.
Welterweights, Ernesto Perez (1-0), in his professional debut, fought Steve Moore (0-3) in a four round bout. Perez, the South Jersey fan favorite, controlled the tempo of the fight. Both fighters let their hands go in the first round and fought a fan pleasing and action-packed round. In the fourth round, Moore, realizing he was behind on the cards, threw big punches at his less experienced opponent. These blows had no impact on Perez, who went on to win the contest by unanimous decision (39-37 twice and 40-36).
The opening bout of the evening featured a four round bout between junior welterweights, Jahmal Dyer (4-1, 2 KOs) and Venderley Miranda (1-3, 1 KO). The action began in the second round when Dyer pinned Miranda up against the ropes with a multi-punch combo that hurt his opponent. Miranda was the aggressor in the fourth and final round. He threw several big right hooks, a few of which found their mark. One of these hooks stunned Dyer, who attempted to escape the onslaught. Seconds later, Miranda hit Dyer in the head with a right hook that left him dazed and defenseless. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr. saw enough at the 2:14 mark of the fourth round and stopped the fight. Miranda, the underdog on paper, won his first professional bout by TKO.
The evening's card also featured four bouts that followed the conclusion of the main event. Heavyweights, Darius Taylor (0-3) of North Carolina and Mike Rashid King (1-0, 1 KO) of Arizona by way of Brooklyn fought in a bout that was scheduled for four rounds. Rashid King, a 40-year-old rookie, knocked out his opponent at the 59 second mark of the first round with an overhand right to the head of Taylor.
The first swing match of the evening featured Larry Pryor (10-17, 5 KOs) and Alvin Varmall Jr. (15-0-1, 12 KOs). Varmall Jr., a cruiserweight who trains out of Cus D'Amato's Gym in Catskill, New York, knocked his opponent into the ropes with a right hand to the head in the second round. In the third round, Varmall again went on the attack when he pinned his opponent up against the ropes with a multi-punch combo. Pryor, although clearly hurt, covered up enough to prevent his opponent from finishing him off in the round. Varmall controlled the late rounds of the contest, but Pryor fought a defensive focused fight that allowed him to make it to the final bell. The judges scored the bout 60-53 and 59-54 twice for the winner by unanimous decision, Alvin Varmall Jr.
Corey Weekley (0-1) and Robert Terry (1-0), fighting their professional debuts, fought a four round, middleweight contest. Terry was the aggressor in the first and second rounds, when he landed a series of multi-punch combos to Weekley's head and body. Weekley demonstrated his toughness by absorbing these blows. The abuse continued into the fourth round when Terry tee'd off on his opponent at will. Weekley, desperate to not be kayo'd, wrapped up with his opponent for the bulk of the round. The judges' scorecards all read 40-36 in favor of the winner by unanimous decision, Jersey City's Robert Terry.
The final bout of the evening featured middleweights, Omar Kabary Salem (2-0) and Leon DeShields (0-3). Salem, who is known as the "Egyptian Magician" (Not Tarbash from the Jerky Boys...), landed big body shots, consisting of left and right hooks, on DeShields in the first round. A Salem left hand to DeShields' head in the second round hurt his opponent. The judges' scored the bout 40-36 three times for Salem. The final bout ended at 12:40 AM on Sunday, February 25th.
John DiSanto of Philly Boxing History.com and the Briscoe Awards recently sat down with Matt Ward to discuss the 11th Annual Briscoe Awards. The Briscoe Awards is an annual award ceremony that honors the best of Philadelphia boxing from the previous year. "The Briscoe Awards are named in honor of legendary Philly middleweight Bennie Briscoe and the trophies given away – the Briscoe Statue and the Briscoe Medal – all bear the deceased icon’s likeness. The event brings together the local boxing community, including the award winners, their families, past and present boxers, fight fans, other boxing people, and general sports fans."
Check out their first of two Bonus Round interviews on both SoundCloud and iTunes:
Thomas "Cornflake" LaManna (25-2, 9 KOs) is set to face off against Gabriel "Tito" Bracero (24-3, 5 KOs) this Saturday, February 24th at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City. LaManna, who is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Samuel Amoako last November, will defend his WBC FECARBOX Welterweight Title in a ten round contest against the Brooklyn native. Bracero last fought and was defeated in July of 2016 by fellow Brooklynite, Paulie Malignaggi. Bracero's other two losses came at the hands of tough veteran fighters, DeMarcus Corley (2012) and Felix Diaz (2015).
Long Island'sTommy "The Razor" Rainone (26-8-2, 6 KOs) is scheduled to fight Eduardo Flores (26-29-3, 15 KOs) in an eight round, super welterweight bout on the undercard. Rainone is coming off of a six round majority draw against George Sosa last November. Flores, who can be described as an active fighter, last fought on December 16, 2017 when he was defeated by unanimous decision by Marvin Cordova Jr.
Finally! The People’s Red Head has come back to The Weigh-In!
The clock strikes 4:59 a.m. An annoying alarm begins to wail. In the distance there is the faint sound of crickets chirping. Walter White is finishing up a batch of blue meth. Saul Goodman is plotting a fake slip and fall accident at the corner of Pico and Aztec. The former champion turns off her alarm clock, and finishes lacing up her sneakers. She has been up for 30 minutes already, and is preparing to go for a run. The rest of Albuquerque lies asleep. The champ catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror before she walks out her front door. She is swollen, and bruised, only a few days removed from a unanimous decision loss to Cris Cyborg.
If you have not figured it out by now, we are talking about former champion and future hall of famer, Holly Holm. She is already back on the training circuit. While you all lie in bed, she begins getting after it. Who is she fighting you may ask? No one knows, not even Holly. However, she is in a constant state of readiness, and never shies away from a fight. She has fought all comers.
Although she was only the champ for a brief time, let us not forgot how she earned her belt. Holm defeated former champion and legend, Ronda Rousey. With her victory against Rousey, Holly propelled herself into a different stratosphere. Her career and the upset victory became analogous with Moby Dick. Holly captured her white whale. For those who know Holly’s decorated kick boxing career, a win over Rousey was not even really an upset, it was expected.
Holly then fought Miesha Tate, whom she was dominating. We
all know how that one ended though. Even though Holly was ahead on the
scorecards and would have likely cruised to victory, she remained engaged
against Tate. Tate ultimately ended up choking Holly out. That is right, Holly
did not tap out, and she chose instead to let the darkness of being choked out
consume her. For all of the men who read my articles, reread that last
sentence. Many of us would not dare go dark, but Holly has little, if any,
fucks to give.
Here we are, months after her historic rise to the upper
echelon of the women’s division. Holly fights Cris Cyborg, a woman Ronda never
faced, and refused to face due to all of the doping rumors surrounding Cyborg.
Cyborg has been feared by the entire featherweight division, and for good
reasons. Cyborg had remained unchallenged heading into her fight against Holly.
The fight starts, Holly’s skill is on display early. Both fighters are landing meaningful shots. Both fighters are bleeding from the nose, and wearing the bruising of combat. Holly goes the distance with a woman that no other competitor could even last past the first round. It is even more of a testament to Holly’s mindset. For those who write about the inconsistency of Holly, I challenge you to really look her track record.
Let us examine where those Holly went against currently are. Ronda just signed a contract with the WWE. While the athletes of the WWE are some of the best in the world, Ronda was never the same after her loss to Holly. We look forward to seeing Ronda in the WWE. Matt Ward has already made signs for her first Monday Night Raw appearance. It is also rumored that our very own LuisCortes may be a consultant regarding Ronda’s entry music. There will be more to come on this in the future, but also remember, do not believe everything you read.
Tate, who to her credit, defeated Holly to become the champion, is now retired. You can catch her latest work form the broadcast booth, where she is doing quite well. I am not saying Tate retired due to her fight with Holly Holm, but it is interesting that she did not want to rematch Holly, and elected to retire after her loss to Raquel Pennington. Again, I am not taking anything away from Tate. Tate had a lot of mileage on her and was perhaps the second best female mixed martial artist of all time. What I am doing is illustrating Holly’s resume. There is not a woman in the sport Holly has ducked. She fights all comers, and even after a loss to Cyborg, remains the top of the bantamweight food chain. I for one hope Holly gets another title shot in the future. I cannot think of a woman who deserves it more.
For those of you who ever see an alarm clock that is scheduled to go off at 6:00 a.m., know that by the time you are in the McDonald’s drive-thru, Holly has ran up mountains. When Steve Ward awakes next to an 18-year-old conquest he swiped right on the night before, know that Holly has already rolled for several hours. When Matt Ward arises to put on his Spider Man undies, Holly has completed ten rounds of sparring.
The question is not what is next for Holly. The question is, who wants some? Holly, the consummate professional is ready and willing. As the dust settles and the sun sets in the Albuquerque sky, Holly sleeps with one eye open, always ready.
Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai aka Wisaksil Wangek (44-4-1, 40 KOs) will face Mexico's Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25 KOs) in a 12 round bout for the WBC World Super Flyweight Title on February 24, 2018 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Rungvisai is coming off of his first successful title defense against Roman Gonzalez, a fourth round knockout, on September 9, 2017. He previously defeated Gonzalez for this title on March 18, 2017. Estrada has won ten straight bouts since losing to Roman Gonzalez on November 17, 2012. His most recent victory was a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Cuadras on September 9, 2017.
Long Island'sTommy "The Razor" Rainone (26-8-2, 6 KOs) is scheduled to fight Eduardo Flores (26-29-3, 15 KOs) in an eight round, super welterweight bout on Saturday, February 24th at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Rainone is coming off of a six round majority draw against George Sosa last November. This fight is part of a 12 bout card that is promoted by Rising Star Promotions.
Check out Matt Ward's Bonus Round interview with Tommy Rainone on both SoundCloud and iTunes:
This Saturday, February 17th, British super middleweights, George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) will square off at the Manchester Arena in England. This marquee matchup headlines a six fight card promoted by Wilfried Sauerland of Team Sauerland Promotions, and is part of the World Boxing Super Series. Groves, the WBA Super World Super Middleweight Champion, has won four straight bouts since capturing his title on April 9, 2016. His most recent victory was a fourth round knockout of the previously undefeated, Jamie Cox, on October 14, 2017.
Eubank Jr., the defending International Boxing Organization World Super Middleweight Champion, has won eight straight bouts since suffering his first and only career loss to Billy Joe Saunders on November 29, 2014. His twentieth career knockout came on October 7, 2017, when he dropped Avni Yildirim in the third round of a scheduled twelve round contest.
The card also features the following bouts:
Ryan Walsh (22-2-1, 11 KOs) vs. Isaac Lowe (14-0-2, 5 KOs) - twelve rounds, featherweights (BBBofC British Featherweight Title)