Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Apr 30, 2013
Caputo No Fear—DeCarlo Perez in a Zone

Caputo No Fear—DeCarlo Perez in a Zone

The Mouthpiece
Caputo No Fear—DeCarlo Perez in a Zone
Damon Allen Debuts

By: George Hanson Jr., Esq.

Date: Friday, April 19, 2013
Venue: Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack, Chester, Pennsylvania
Promoters: Joey Eye Boxing Promotions & David Feldman
Ring Announcer: Larry Tornambe
Referees: Shawn Clark & Gary Rosato
Matchmaker: Joey Eye


Listen folks, if you made it this far past the headline, you either love boxing or me. Those are your two choices! Before I delve into another descriptive, cliché-laced highly opinionated account of the night’s events I want to let you know that I could not have won the 2012 Philadelphia Boxing Writer of the Year award without you. Enough about me and more about Joey Eye who has moved seamlessly from the perennial Philadelphia Cutman of the The Year for the past 12 years to promoter extraordinaire.

Boxing is the fifth largest sports franchise in the City of Brotherly Love—it is almost impossible to debate or discuss the sweet science anywhere in the world without Philadelphia being a part of the conversation. Philly boxing took a knee after a vicious shot was delivered to its solar plexus with the closing of The Legendary Blue Horizon in June 2010. The world, mouth agape, watched stunned and wondering how this was going to end. But like the legendary Phoenix rising from the ashes, boxing hopped back to its feet with the assistance of Joey Eye and David Feldman.

(L-R) Eye,Tiberi, Caputo Smith & Feldman.

(L-R) Eye, Tiberi, Caputo Smith & Feldman.


Harrah’s Chester Casino is a 10-minute drive from the Philadelphia International Airport. A short commute, free parking, excellent casino environment and Philadelphia boxing fans have found the pugilistic equivalent of the Holy Grail! I always said that Joey Eye knows boxing! Tonight’s standing room only crowd was another tacit amen.

In the main event—a 10-rounder for the Pennsylvania State light-heavyweight title—it was inevitable that Smith would win as well as lose. But it was the underdog and Kennett Square’s favorite son, Anthony Caputo Smith (13 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 10 kos), who fought like the world was going to end tomorrow and his winning would change the course of history. Dhafir “No Fear” Smith (26 wins – 23 losses – 7 draws – 4 kos) the wily, well-traveled 31-year old Philadelphia veteran who went to Florida two years ago and sent former IBF super-middleweight champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy into retirement showed no sense of urgency—nonchalantly gliding around the ring as though he was in a sparring session. Caputo Smith came forward throwing punches hitting anything and everything that he could find with his 10-ounce gloves. It wasn’t pretty, but nevertheless it was effective.

Caputo-Smith (L.) on the attack.

Caputo Smith (L.) on the attack.

Based on the relative experience of the two combatants, many prognosticators would have argued that Caputo Smith didn’t belong in the ring. But what do most of them know about boxing? The 28-year old from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania knew that he couldn’t take a backwards step and his best chance of winning was to blanket Smith like a cheap seersucker suit on a balmy summer day.

From the opening bell Caputo Smith attacked as Smith sidestepped, evading punishment, demonstrating his defensive acuity throwing the occasional jab. The rounds were close and difficult to score. It was the classic case of the bull versus the matador—two contrasting styles. There were no knockdowns and at no point was either fighter in dire straits from a power punch. But the right side of Caputo Smith’s face swelled to the size of a golf ball from the jack-hammer jabs that found their mark. The sixth round was memorable because they fought beyond the bell bringing excitement to the raucous pro-Caputo Smith crowd as referee Rosato risked getting hit by jumping in to end the melee. There was no question that Smith won the final round as he uncharacteristically and aggressively took charge landing at will with uppercuts and straight rights hoping to close the show. Not to be deterred Caputo Smith stood his ground took some hard shots and fought back refusing to fold.

One judge scored it a draw 95-95 while the other two had it 96-94 for Caputo Smith. It was a close fight and it could have been scored exactly the same for Smith who lost his title. Some will argue that Smith was robbed. I must remind them that Erislandy Lara was robbed against Paul Williams. Richard Abril was robbed against Brandon Rios. Dhafir Smith wasn’t fleeced! Caputo Smith came to a fight while Dhafir Smith forgot that this wasn’t a sparring session. It is difficult to win rounds fighting defensively while landing a few jabs. Let’s not diminish a young man’s effort and ability to execute his game plan against a seasoned fighter with five times the experience. Kudos to Caputo!

Atlantic City’s junior-middleweight DeCarlo “3-Mendo” Perez (9 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 3 kos) is learning his craft the old fashioned way—fighting tough opposition instead of being matched with opponents from the local cemetery as is the case with some of his stable mates. Tonight was no different as he faced rugged Julius “Relentless” Kennedy (7 wins – 4 losses – 1 draw – 3 kos) of Guyana now fighting out of Windsor Hill, Maryland— a mini-version of former light-heavyweight champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson in a scheduled eight-rounder. On March 15th Kennedy was on the losing end of a horrific hometown six-round split-decision against Harry Joe Yorgey. One would be hard-pressed to find an observer who didn’t believe that two of the judges were either blind or so supremely biased that they couldn’t be impartial.

Perez (L.) landing the left hook.

Perez (L.) landing the left hook.

Riding a three-fight win streak that included a knockout of former contender Shamone Alvarez and a decision over undefeated prospect Dante Moore, Perez was the picture of humble superiority that translated in the squared circle as he was in the zone—that blissful and fulfilling state of mind fueling an exceptional level of performance. Perez took charge at the opening bell landing with combinations to the head and body of Kennedy who came forward, hands held high looking for an opening. Perez was just one step ahead of his adversary unable to do anything wrong. Round after round the Atlantic City pugilist dominated the action. There were times Kennedy pinned him against the ropes and went to work the body. But Perez countered with combinations while picking off punches on his gloves all the while bringing back fond memories of the great Wilfredo Benitez out boxing Roberto Duran while sitting on the middle strand of the ring ropes. Kennedy tried to decapitate his foe with the overhand right only to have it picked off in mid-air by Perez who saw it in flight. Yes, Perez was in the zone and displayed all of his wares impressing onlookers.

The rounds were identical and Kennedy’s eyes were swollen, closing rapidly, small slits as he came out for the fifth round. He was behind on all scorecards bleeding from the mouth, but nevertheless dangerous. Fighters like Kennedy because of their intestinal fortitude and unbelievable will to win can turn the tide with one punch. The fourth round was his best round as he landed a hard overhand right before the bell ended the stanza. Yes, the fat lady didn’t clear her throat—the Guyanese fighter reminded everyone that he was still game. Marching forward, midway through the fifth round Kennedy pinned Perez in a neutral corner and started landing downstairs to the body. But, Perez was in a zone and side-stepped Kennedy while unleashing from his arsenal. Most of the punches sailed over Kennedy’s head. The few that landed appeared more devastating because Kennedy was awkwardly sideways from Perez spinning him in the ropes. Referee Clark jumped in somewhat prematurely waiving off the action much to the protest and disbelief of Kennedy declaring Perez the winner by technical knockout at 1:49 of the fifth round. Yes the referee intervened early but it is understandable that he would rather err on the side of caution—Kennedy hadn’t won a round, his eyes were puffed-up and blood trickled from his mouth.

In a well-matched, highly anticipated six-rounder, Chester’s own Julio DeJesus (7 wins – 3 losses – 3 draws – 4 kos) squared off against Ariel “El Fuego” Duran (7 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 4 kos) of the Dominican Republic now residing in Queens, New York. The shorter, muscular highly chiseled DeJesus resembling a smaller version of former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, jumped out at the opening bell launching right hands and hooks with bad intentions. The taller Duran tried to gain separation by jabbing and side-stepping but DeJesus wasn’t accommodating in giving him room to breathe and the space to operate. This fight was held at close quarters because DeJesus was as relentless as a pimp at an all-female college. {Time out} I know some of the moral majority will be disturbed by me saying that DeJesus was as relentless as a pimp at an all-female college, but I couldn’t find a more accurate description to communicate how he was sedulous in his pursuit. Please, stop shaking your head and rolling your eyes and read on. This isn’t Sports Illustrated; I don’t have a suit editing my column.

DeJesus (L.) connecting with the straight right.

DeJesus (L.) connecting with the straight right.

DeJesus hurt Duran in the opening round with two hard straight rights shaking his foundation. But, Duran boxed niftily in the next four rounds making the fight close as his nemesis continued marching forward. The final round was clearly taken by DeJesus who was busier, throwing punches, wanting to close the show. One judge scored it a draw 58-58, identical to my scorecard, while the other two had it 58-56 for DeJesus who won by split decision.

With his great-grandfather, Mitch Allen—who lost a six-round decision to future middleweight champion Joey Giardello at the Philadelphia Arena back in 1949—amateur star Damon “Baby Dame” Allen joined the punch-for-pay ranks much to the delight of his adoring fans. The elder Allen was hospitalized earlier during the year but nothing was going to keep him away from this momentous occasion. I remember Baby Dame trailing the old man to Shepard Recreation Center’s boxing gym in West Philadelphia barely out of diapers. It was only natural that he would become a fighter following in the octogenarian’s footsteps.

Let me be frank and get to the point. Damon Allen should have been on the 2012 United States Olympic Boxing team. If someone can name a better fighter than him on that team then I am sure that I have a pit-bull in my basement who can sing show tunes and tap dance! Allen won several national championships while compiling an impressive record of 151 wins and 11 losses and is by far the best amateur prospect to turn professional in the past year. The 20-year old is a slick boxer with fast hands, excellent mobility and a good punch.

Joseph Ahaamid, also making his debut, had no business in the ring with Allen in the scheduled four-rounder. It was apparent from the opening bell that there was a wide disparity in boxing acumen. Ahaamid had nine amateur bouts, 153 less than Allen. What he lacked in experience was offset by his courage and willingness to stare down danger and remain undaunted. Allen attacked early working the head and body with every conceivable punch in his arsenal. Hands held high Ahaamid blocked many headshots but took a merciless beating to the torso. It was a one-side affair round after round as Allen’s supporters yelled throughout the contest. Despite the shellacking, Ahaamid refused to surrender and attempted to fight back. Fortunately referee Clark rescued Ahaamid protecting him from the onslaught bringing an end to the festivities at 1:25 of the final round declaring Allen the victor by technical knockout.

Allen (R.) landing the straight right.

Allen (R.) landing the straight right.

Featherweight Drew Aguilar, mixed martial arts fighter and Cherry Hill, New Jersey resident made his professional boxing debut against “King” Arthur Parker (1 win – 8 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania in a scheduled four-rounder, a battle of southpaws. The entertaining Parker, a full-time accountant who also moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter was confident that he would make life uncomfortable for Aguilar within the squared circle. The gong sounded and Parker controlled the first half of the opening round with precise movement, and a good jab. His success was ephemeral as the taller and stronger Aguilar broke through Parker’s defense and pierced his core with some vicious body shots and head shots. He dominated every round, busting King Arthur’s beak, swelling both of his eyes wreaking havoc on the tiny monarch dropping him momentarily in the fourth round with a

Aguilar (L.) unloading on “King” Arthur.

Aguilar (L.) unloading on “King” Arthur.

murderous body shot. I was surprised because nobody has ever been able to get Arthur to abdicate his throne without sustaining some injury. Aguilar was unscathed as King Arthur welcomed the final bell. No surprise as all three judges scored it 40-35 for Aguilar, the winner by unanimous decision. Long live the King.

Joey Eye and David Feldman have found the right formula for successful, extremely entertaining boxing shows as evidenced by the sell-out crowd. Fellow writer, John DiSanto quipped that if Eye could fatten lightweight Victor “The Fighting Barber” Vasquez, the biggest box-office draw in Philadelphia, up to the light-heavyweight limit he could match him against Caputo Smith and sell out a much larger venue. {laughter}

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

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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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