Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on May 18, 2015
Armageddon at the Arena—Mansour Defeats Dawejko, Perez Outshines Nicklow

Armageddon at the Arena—Mansour Defeats Dawejko, Perez Outshines Nicklow

The Mouthpiece  

Armageddon at the Arena—Mansour Defeats Dawejko

                                         Perez Outshines Nicklow

By: George H. Hanson Jr., Esq.

 

Date:                          Friday, May 8, 2015

Venue:                       2300 Arena – Philadelphia, PA

Promoters:                Joe Hand Promotions, Peltz Boxing & BAM Boxing Inc.

Coverage:                  ESPN Friday Night Fights

Commentators:         Teddy Atlas & Joe Tessitore

Ring Announcer:        Steve Mittman

Referee:                    Gary Rosato & Shawn Clark

Photos:                      www.christoneyphotography.com

 

There was no surprise that the venue was packed tighter than a Jamaican mini-bus at 5:01 PM on a Friday afternoon—standing room only—for the Philadelphia heavyweight

Mansour at Wednesday’s press conference

Mansour at Wednesday’s press conference

fistic fury between Amir “Hardcore” Mansour and Joey “The Tank” Dawejko I aptly labeled “Armageddon at the Arena.” The fight was for the Pennsylvania State heavyweight belt and the build-up had been masterfully orchestrated by maestro—Uncle Russell—promoter J. Russell Peltz and his protégé Brittany Rogers. Both rode social media better than Jean Cruguet and Steve Cauthen atop Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed respectively. Peltz is a promoter extraordinaire and legend has it that he once convinced a mouse that he could beat a thirty-pound Savannah cat!

Amir “Hardcore” Mansour (21 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 16 kos) is arguably the most avoided fighter in professional pugilism. Hardly anyone wants to fight the murderous punching southpaw heavyweight. The mere mention of his name and contenders and champions scamper like roaches afraid of detection running like Nosferatu at the sight of daybreak. For years Mansour has been clamoring for a showdown with current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder to no avail. Wilder and his handlers have been more silent than a deaf mute in a pantomime.

 

Unlike many cities that grow grapes, daisies and pussy willows Philadelphia is “The Capital of Boxing” filled with more fighters than Ireland has pubs. Emulating two-time cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham, Joey “The Tank” Dawejko (14 wins – 3 losses – 2 draws – 7 kos)stepped to the forefront and not only asked to face Mansour but vowed to send him helpless, hapless and comatose to the canvas.

 

Dawejko addressing his fans on Wednesday

Dawejko addressing his fans on Wednesday

On Wednesday, I attended the final press conference arriving thirty minutes late and missed all the festivities and hostilities that brought it to an abrupt ending. Mansour and his handlers were on the way out of the building as I was making my entrance. Dawejko’s fans were boisterous and made it almost impossible for Mansour to complete a sentence. With his opponent promising a knockout, the social dynamite was rife for an explosive situation and Mansour exited stage left with members of this team intact saving all the fisticuffs for paying patrons.

Dawejko, the former Under-19 world amateur champion, was a month beyond his 7th birthday when Mansour joined the punch-for-pay ranks on July 12, 1997. But fate and destiny has arare way of placing boxers in the same space and time. Thus, tonight the 42 year-old Mansour stood across the ring from his 24 year-old adversary—ready and willing to dish out destruction. Supremely talented with speed and power whatever the 5ft. 10inch Dawejko lacked in size was more than compensated with an extremely high boxing IQ.

Rihanna, Jay-Z and Kanye West blared over the house speakers in sync with the rhythm on their 2010 Grammy-winning track “Run This Town” as Dawejko—flanked by manager Mark Cipparone—nattily dressed with an exquisite bowtie—new trainer James “Buddy” McGirt and the rest of his handlers strolled briskly to the ring to the raucous cheers of their adoring fans. Mansour made his entrance with his entourage in tow shortly thereafter, entered the ring and started pacing back and forth like a caged lion reminiscent of Mike Tyson. Dawejko at 232 ½ pound outweighed his opponent by twenty-pounds. Mansour at 210 ½ pounds was almost twenty-two pounds lighter than he was for his last fight—a seventh round knockout of Fred Kassi on November 8, 2014—Sports Illustrated “Knockout of the Year.”

Referee Gary Rosato finished the formalities, the gong sounded and the combatants met in the center of the ring. Mansour came forward as Dawejko circled to the right nonchalantly like he was taking a summer stroll through Fairmount Park—unaffected but looking for an opening to strike like a cobra ready to capitalize on an incautious mongoose. However, Mansour is a cagey veteran with the mindset of a fighter pilot sitting in the cockpit of a B-2 bomber—fully aware of his surroundings anticipating and prepared for danger from all angles. The southpaw jabbed and feinted as the round unfolded as a traditional “feeling out” affair with nothing of consequence landing.

A clash of heads opened a large gash over Mansour’s right eye with over a minute remaining in the second round. With blood flowing in his right eye obscuring his vision Mansour continued his forward march jabbing as Dawejko looked for an opportune time to counter with a big punch. Karma or coincidence—another clash of heads with fifteen seconds remaining in the third stanza opened up a large cut over the left eye of Dawejko

Mansour (R.) uncorking a right hook on Dawejko

Mansour (R.) uncorking a right hook on Dawejko

who was fighting from the southpaw stance. Dawejko launched an overhand left as Mansour was coming forward and the southpaw’s shaved dome met his left eye like a cannon ball hitting an apple—his face carmine.

The fourth round opened with both men facing adversity as Mansour’s cutman Danny Davis and Lenny DeJesus in Dawejko’s corner being critical to the ultimate outcome. The fight continued as a tactical chess match with Mansour boxing using a stiff jab to the head and mid-section of his opponent. Dawejko has impeccable timing and from the southpaw stance caught Mansour with an overhand left that ricocheted off the right side of his head wobbling him momentarily his left leg leaving the canvas, both hands pointed south to the canvas. But like a gymnast after a backflip on a balance beam, Mansour was able to stabilize himself and avoid his gloves touching the canvas remaining upright regaining his composure pressing forward. The southpaw defied gravity with the agility and adeptness of someone half his weight. Blood streaking down both their faces, Mansour outworked his adversary using his jab, boxing like a heavyweight Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker. However, Dawejko one big punch was the most telling blow of the fight and won him the round.

 

Mansour boxed brilliantly with cautious aggression and Dawejko—never in trouble— showed his defensive wizardry parrying shots, shoulder rolling landing enough counter punches to deter an all-out blitz. Trainer Calvin Davis knew what buttons to push as Mansour was the busier fighter down the stretch outworking his opponent round after round. Maybe it was the jabs to the midsection or it was the length of the fight because Dawejko faded in the latter rounds. Having logged a combined six minutes and seventeen seconds in his last four fights—all terminating in the opening stanza—Dawejko was unaccustomed to going the distance or ten-rounds. His punch count dissipated but he was dangerous to the final bell.

 

Mansour won a unanimous decision 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 in a well-fought match dispelling the popular belief that he was merely a puncher. He opened many eyes that he is not a one-dimensional fighter as he was forced to out-box a much younger opponent

Dawejko (L.) and Mansour mixing it up

Dawejko (L.) and Mansour mixing it up

steeped in the art of the sweet science. Congratulations to Dawejko who not only earned Mansour’s respect but also that of a national audience. The 24 year-old heavyweight fought the most feared man in boxing sending a message that he too belongs in the top of the division.

Teddy Atlas and the overwhelming majority of the viewing audience using the Facebook application had undefeated Philadelphia junior-welterweight David Gonzalez (5 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) besting Ryan Belasco (18 wins – 6 losses – 3 draws – 4 kos) of Wilmington, Delaware. However, the fight ended in a majority draw with two judges scoring it a draw 57-57 with the third giving Gonzalez the nod 58-56. Atlas had it 59-55 while Facebook fans saw it 60-54 all for Gonzalez. Ironically, both fighters suffered their second consecutive draw.

Nothing of consequence landed over the course of the six-round bout with a left jab being underutilized. Somehow both combatants used the jab as a probe preferring to lead with left hooks and right hands. It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing bout but Gonzalez was the busier fighter dictating the pace oftentimes beating Belasco whose timing was somewhat off after being away from the squared circle for five months.

In his last bout on October 18th, Atlantic City junior-middleweight Decarlo “3 Mendo” Perez (13 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 5 kos) dismantled and dismissed hard-hitting Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson in the fifth round of their scheduled eight-rounder. In that fight, Perez survived an onslaught in the second round to methodically dissect his opponent before forcing the referee to call a halt three rounds later.

 

In an entertaining eight-round middleweight bout Perez squared off against rugged Jessie “The Beast” Nicklow (24 wins – 5 losses – 3 draws – 8 kos) hailing from Baltimore, Maryland. Nicklow hurt Perez in the opening round with a blistering overhand right that buckled his legs forcing him to clutch and clear his head. Perez is grace under pressure and never panicked getting back to the basics working behind his jab going to the body outworking and out boxing his opponent winning the remaining seven rounds on all scorecards. It was a masterful display of the sweet science as Nicklow had no answer hoping to distract Perez by repeatedly taunting him by dropping his hands and sticking

Perez (L.) working the jab.

Perez (L.) working the jab.

out his chin. Unaffected, the Atlantic City fighter obliged by bouncing combinations off Nicklow’s unprotected chin. Perez was impressive in garnering a unanimous decision 79-73 on all three scorecards.

In the pre-fight interview Baltimore welterweight Kevin “The Scarecrow” Womack (4 wins – 5 losses – 2 draws – 2 kos) was supremely confident that he was going to hand Nathaniel Rivas (5 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 2 kos) of Berlin, New Jersey his second setback. “He got stopped in his last fight. I am going to test him early. Fireworks, expect the unexpected!” stated Womack in reference to Rivas lone loss on December 13th in the same ring under the same lights—a fifth round technical knockout at the hands of Juan “The Savior” Rodriguez.

Womack danced all the way from the dressing room into the ring swept up in the moment having a good time as though he was at Mardi Gras and not about to engage in a professional boxing match. The bell rang and Womack working behind his long stiff jab caught Rivas with a few hooks to the body. The shots hurt Rivas and Womack hopped on him like a hungry man on a ham sandwich. Pinning his adversary to the ropes he threw everything at him except the referee—unloading from his arsenal. Rivas complained of a low blow to the groin but it fell on deaf ears because referee Rosato never intervened. Womack never stopped punching—landing with bad intentions forcing Rosato to rescue Rivas from permanent damage at 1:24 of the opening round.

 

Undefeated Vineland, New Jersey junior-middleweight Ismael “Tito” Garcia (7 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 3 kos) had barely broken a sweat when he dropped Tommy Ayers (2 wins – 4 losses – 0 draws – 2 kos) of Cincinnati, Ohio early in the opening round of their scheduled six-rounder. The bell rang and Ayers attacked with reckless abandon as thought he had to finish early and catch the next train from 30th Street Station— Cincinnati bound. Ayers never saw the counter right and hook that found his chin sending him to the canvas.

 

Somewhat surprised and shaken he bounced up before referee Clark could reach the count of two. The referee dusted Ayers’ gloves and the contest resumed with both fighters looking for an opening. Garcia landed another straight right that grotesquely snapped Ayers’ head backwards, sending him into the ropes forcing the referee to waive off the action and call a halt at 2:06. Garcia was declared the winner by technical knockout.

 

South Korea’s Gang Yong Kim (3 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 0 kos) lost his professional debut on January 23, 2007 and didn’t fight again until five years later winning all three fights over a one-month period in 2012. Six weeks ago he boarded a plane from his

Kim (R.) connecting with the straight right

Kim (R.) connecting with the straight right

homeland to Philadelphia to resume his boxing career under the guidance of manager Paul Lee and trainer Zahir Justice—Fast Lane Boxing Gym, West Philadelphia.

Kim lost almost 38 pounds to make the junior-lightweight limit for tonight’s four-rounder against Edgardo Torres (2 wins – 3 losses – 0 draws – 2 kos) of Vineland, New Jersey. It didn’t take Kim much time to shed the ring rust as he dropped Torres in the opening round with a left hook and straight right dominating the next three stanzas and winning 40-35 on all three scorecards.

It was an exceptional night of boxing but the night was not done because Mansour gave arguably one of the greatest post-fight interviews to fellow scribe Ryan Bivins. He shed much light on the heavyweight division that had me laughing because his timing and usage of the English language was impeccable. The great Richard Pryor was laughing from the world beyond shaking his head in agreement.

On the top heavyweight contenders Mansour said, “None of these mother&*$#!%s don’t want to fight anybody.” Using my Maury Povich voice—“Mansour is correct!” Regarding WBC heavyweight champion—Deontay Wilder​—”You make sure you tell him that he is a f*&^%#g punk. Now you have the crown in your hands—you can’t run anymore!”

The newly crowned Pennsylvania State heavyweight champion concluded by stating,”If Klitschko or Wilder calls tomorrow—we will fight! Every time I fight I put it all on the line. These guys hide behind their promoters!”

Amen!

Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!

[email protected]

 

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HansonMay82015 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HansonJenningsOaktreeMay82015 (2)

 

Womack (R ) landing the right  (2)

Womack (R ) landing the right (2)

 

Garcia on the attack (3)

Garcia on the attack (3)

 

 

 

 

Gonzalez (R ) throwing the right  (2)

Gonzalez (R ) throwing the right (2)

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HansonBuddyMcGirtMay82015 (2)

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HansonFarmerGibbsPerezMay82015 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About George Hanson., Jr Esq.

George Hanson., Jr Esq. has written 106 post in this blog.

Hailing from New Forest, Jamaica, Hanson started boxing as a teenager in Philadelphia under the tutelage of former welterweight contender, Dick Turner. He excelled, capturing four Pennsylvania State Amateur Championships—his last while a junior at Drexel University studying Accounting. According to most who have seen Hanson fight, “He is the best fighter never to have turned professional.”



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