It’s true that when the unofficial end of summer takes place and Labor Day passes that the boxing schedule begins to turn up the heat for the fall. This year has been no exception. With so many ways for boxing fans to be plugged into the sport, and with so many different outlets distributing fight cards, it can be easy for fans to lose track or miss out on a specific fight, fighter, or all-around fight card that they were anticipating. With that in mind, I thought I would take some time to give you a few quick reminders about a great fight that took place last Friday just outside of Philadelphia, along with some other key dates regarding boxing and the city of Brotherly Love.
War at Parx Casino (September 20th)
Joe Hand Promotions may best be known as the king of closed-circuit television on the east coast, especially in the Philadelphia area. However, they do have a stable of fighters that they manage and have a ton of relationships that run deep into all areas of the sport. As a result, fight fans in the Philadelphia area are treated to a handful of fight cards each year. During the past two years, these shows have taken place at the Xcite Center located inside of Parx Casino. Last Friday seemed to be an exciting local show that featured five fights. There were some knockouts and a farewell to the always hard-working Jamaal Davis, a super middleweight from Philadelphia that never reached the likes of Madison Square Garden or the elite level, but always gave paying fans his best effort both in victory and defeat. His loss in a six round fight marked the end of his career.
After four fights, the fourth being another quality victory by the recently signed to Lou Dibella Entertainment Jr. lightweight Joshafat Ortiz (7-0) (4 KO’s), Ortiz needed six rounds to out work and out box Anderw Bentley an awkward southpaw. It was then time for the main event, featuring another local fighter signed to Lou Dibella, lightweight Stevie Ortiz. What took place next after the bell sounded for round one was eight non-stop edge of your seat rounds of pure action. Ortiz started out by taking a lead in the fight by out boxing his determined opponent Alejandro Salinas. In the second round, Ortiz, thinking he had hurt Salinas, moved in for the kill but was greeted by a thunderous left hook from Salinas that floored Ortiz. Clearly hurt, Ortiz was still shaking off the buzz from the knockdown in the prior round when he again started to establish control in the third, only to once again show his willingness to exchange power shots.
When Ortiz landed on his back, being dropped this time by a right hand in the third round, it seemed like the fans were witnessing an upset win for Salinas. Unlike the first knockdown where Ortiz was able to get up with a clear mind, this time he was clearly one more power shot away from being completely knocked out. To his credit, Ortiz was aware of this fact and started to hold and move around the ring to avoid the nail in the coffin shot from Salinas. Being down two rounds to one after three in an eight-round fight is not often hard to overcome, but with both of those rounds featuring knockdowns, Ortiz was down three points.
War back into the fight is what Ortiz needed to do and he did. With his prospects of victory all but dead in the water, Ortiz changed the tide into him potentially regaining control of the action. He did this by utilizing his boxing skills and a powerful overhand right that continued to connect from a distance to the side of Salinas’ head. Over the next five rounds, fans got all types of continued drama in each round as both warriors struggled to assert themselves as the dominant fighter of each three-minute stanza. They both got hurt or were stunned on numerous occasions. There was no let-up in either fighter and both fighters swung for the fences as the ringside clapper went off to signify ten seconds remaining in the fight. Fans rose to their feet and applauded both men for their effort, resourcefulness, determination, and mostly for the exciting entertainment they granted everyone lucky enough to witness their fight. Ortiz would walk out of the ring the victor winning a majority decision with two judges scoring the fight 76-74 and the third having it even 75-75. With the victory, Ortiz improves to 11-0 (3 KO’s), while the game Salinas dropped to 10-3 (9 KO’s). This fight could easily be granted the honor of Philadelphia fight of the year for the almost completed 2019.
Next Friday night, October 4th, from the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, the boxing community will be celebrating the golden anniversary of J. Russell Peltz’s involvement with the sport. Peltz has been the king of boxing in Philadelphia and has a long and beautiful history with the sport, that at times in his life’s journey has played various roles. It’s been his savior, a place of refuge, and his passion. Along with whatever else he has needed it to be to survive. Emily Pandelakis wrote a wonderful feature story that detailed all the ways that Peltz has impacted boxing history, as well as the ways boxing has impacted the history of Russell Peltz as a man. Click here to read the piece, it was truly wonderfully done.
As for the actual night of action on October 4th, Michelle Rosado of Raging Babe has put together her second show at 2300 Arena to honor her mentor that will feature an eight-fight card. Local fighters like Marcel “Celly” Rivers, Osnel Charles will be featured on the card, along with an appealing rematch between Isaiah Wise against Roque Zapata. Zapata gave Wise one of his losses. The main event features a young prospect that has all the tools and natural ability to go far in the sport, as Victor Padilla fights for the second time this year after almost a two-year absence from the ring. At the age of just twenty, time is still on his side.
Stay tuned for a feature article next week that will look at just how after 50 years in the sport, Russell Peltz feels about the business and the way things have changed since he first started promoting fights in 1969. Tickets for the show are still available but are going fast. Contact (215) 765-0922 to purchase your seats for this historic night.
One of the most talked about young contenders in the sport, Jaron “Boots” Ennis (23-0) (21 KO’s) returns to the ring on October 5th. He will be featured as the co-feature of a Showtime Championship Boxing card. In the main event, Claressa Shields will try to capture the WBO junior middleweight championship against Ivana Habazin. This fight is a homecoming for Shields as it takes place in Flint, Michigan. For Ennis, this is just his second fight in 2019, after being one of the most active prospects in the sport since turning professional in 2016. His long lay-off was due to some issues from a managerial standpoint, but with all things cleared up, he continues to march forward to prove that he is indeed the future of the division and the sport.
Next week we will look at just what some of those issues were that kept him sidelined for the majority of 2019, why he feels that it hasn’t stopped his progression, and his answer to many critics who look at his record and feel that he has faced soft opposition to pad his record. Stay tuned to The Weigh-In for continued coverage, along with a look at the unification welterweight fight between Erol Spence and Shawn Porter this Saturday night on Fox pay-per-view
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