Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Jul 3, 2011
It’s All About the Manny, Manny!—Jones Wins, Charles Steals the Show!

It’s All About the Manny, Manny!—Jones Wins, Charles Steals the Show!

By: George Hanson Jr., Esq.

Date: Saturday, June 25, 2011
Venue: Asylum Arena, Philadelphia, PA
Promoters: Peltz Boxing, Top Rank & Joe Hand Promotions
Ring Announcer: Lupe Contreras
Referees: Benjy Esteves Jr. & Gary Rosato
Matchmaker: J. Russell Peltz
Coverage: Fox Sports Net

The history of the sweet science is wrought with stories of pugilists sacrificing everything for the love of the game. Many old-timers will recount the glory days when it appeared that fighters were driven

Jones (L.) connecting with the jab.

by their indomitable wills to be the very best. Money was always a consideration, but it wasn’t topping the list of motivating factors. That brings me to English singer/songwriter Jessie J. (Jessica Ellen Cornish) bellowing on her 2011 chart-topping single Price Tag:
It’s not about the money, money, money….It’s not about the Cha-Ching; Cha- Ching…Ain’t about the Ba-Bling Ba Bling…Forget about the Price Tag…”

Jones (L.) connecting with the jab.

The 23-year-old singer is too young to have lived through boxing’s Camelot years, having grown up in the Internet age of instant gratification and unrivaled selfishness. I don’t know whether or not she is a boxing fan. If she is, I am here to tell her that it is all about the Manny, Manny—Manny Pacquaio. Fight him and you will hear cha-ching, ching and undoubtedly you will be able to afford the ba-bling, bling! Thus, it is all about the money against our current backdrop—“an era of carefully guided careers—boxers fighting infrequently, skillfully crafted public personas…” (The Mouthpiece, December 28, 2010). Why else would Uncle Russell, promoter J. Russell Peltz, tacitly approve the media campaign for his fighter Mike Jones as a possible opponent for Manny Paquiao?

I can’t hate the player or the game. Uncle Russell has learned from the 1983 faux pas when his fighter, USBA middleweight champion, Frank “The Animal” Fletcher, lost an opportunity and mega-fight with middleweight champ, Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Instead of staying put, Fletcher fought tough contender Wilfred Scypion and lost a 12-round unanimous decision. The public was clamoring for a fight between Fletcher—who was a highlight reel on NBC’s boxing—and Hagler. Three months later Scypion was rewarded with a shot at Hagler’s title, Fletcher’s spot, and was trounced in four rounds. Fletcher’s ill-advised fight and resulting lost cost his promoter plenty of cha-ching, ching. Remember the price tag!

Jones (24 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 18 kos) amazingly is the No.1 ranked contender for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title and thus, tonight’s bout was to prevent ring rust from gathering since his last fight was in February. I don’t know if a safer opponent could have been selected because the 35-year-

Jones (R.) digging to Munoz’s body.

old Raul “El Toro” Munoz (22 wins – 13 losses – 1 draw – 16 kos) of Topeka, Kansas looked like he had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Posting a .500 record in his last 10 fights, losing four of them by stoppage, the shorter Munoz was the path of least resistance to ensure that Jones didn’t suffer the same fate as Fletcher 28 years earlier in February 1983. Better safe, than sorry.

Jones (R.) digging to Munoz’s body.

The gong sounded and the fighters met in the center of the ring with Munoz, sporting a small tire around the midsection, advancing. Jones jabbed and landed several blows to the body with Peltz one row behind me yelling, “Snap the left hand!” At the start of his career, I thought the six-feet-one-inch Jones had the potential to be the second coming of Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns. But, those expectations went out the same window as my dreams of Smarty Jones winning the Triple Crown. Jones’ jab is a probing range finder, not the laser sledge-hammer that Hearns once used to rock opponents heads off the hinges, setting up the wicked right hand that rendered them comatose. Jones is not Tommy Hearns—Uncle Russell had to remind him to put some steam on the jab.

The Philadelphia fighter was like a rapist in a blind nudist colony—having his way with the short, pudgy immobile victim! Jones handily won the opening round and replicated his success through the second round. Munoz continued pressing the action on legs of a shot fighter. He moved like he was stuck in quicksand, shuffling forward with the gait of an octogenarian. No surprise when he walked into an overhand right that leveled him to the canvas. Rising at the count of eight, Referee Rosato wisely called a halt to the pogrom at 2:25—raising Jones’ hand in victory much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

Charles (L.) applying pressure to Flores

Let me mount my soapbox and proclaim that lightweight Osnel “Prince” Charles (8 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) is on a mission from God. I know certain religious zealots will declare this a blasphemous proclamation by an overzealous writer. However, when you grow up on the island of Jamaica you tend to become in tune with nature and oftentimes the unexplainable. Therefore, refrain from being dismissive, continue to read and you may discover that these aren’t just ramblings brought on by the effects of an extensive boxing career. No, I am not delusional or entering the early stages of dementia. I just know that some inexplicable force is driving Charles and that one day he will board a plane bound for his hometown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti with a world title around his waist. The first time I met him, I told my trainer, Charles Ramey, that there was something special about this kid from Haiti. It was Charles’ third fight, as he lost his second in a row by a unanimous four-round decision to Angel Ocasio on February 26, 2010 in this same ring. The fight was a tactical chess match with Charles showing his mettle by rising from a second round knockdown to outwork Ocasio, capturing the third stanza.
Charles, who now resides in Atlantic City, has been on a seven-fight win streak since that fateful meeting with Ocasio and I have been fortunate to witness five of these matches. Rapidly improving, he fights with controlled aggression, like a man possessed reaching down in a deep reservoir of transcendent energy that guides his every movement in the squared circle. Adding to the mystique is his team of three handlers (Bill Johnson, Arnold Robbins and Darnel Parker). There is something unique about how these men seem to be in sync, communicating without saying much in the dressing room as they prepare Charles for battle. Johnson, the quiet and demure head trainer, is clearly at the helm leading with the reverence and grace of the Dalai Lama. As Bob Marley sang, “There is a natural mystic blowing through the air.”

Two weeks ago, I posted the fight poster on my Facebook wall stating that Philadelphia’s Anthony “Flawless” Flores vs. Charles would be the “Fight of The Night.” It was off to the races as both fighters and their supporters joined in the discussion with bold prognostications. It became a heated debate that burned like a forest fire for two weeks, blazing at Friday’s weigh-ins with their handlers having to separate them. Charles vowed that Flores would have to kill him to win. And several of Flores’ fans commented on the Haitian’s lack of power, since he registered only one knockout in 10 outings. This became the most highly anticipated Philadelphia fight in recent history with an Ali-Frazier-like shroud of trash-talking and brash promises.

I don’t know if it would have made a difference which lightweight was across the ring from Charles for this scheduled six-rounder. It could have been WBO/WBA lightweight champion, Juan Manuel Marquez, and it would not have mattered because Charles was mentally and physically in a place that very few have ever ventured. He walked to the ring with an air of humble superiority like Dutty Boukman, high priest and leader of the Maroon slaves, about to give the signal to begin the Haitian Revolution on that memorable August night in 1791. Resplendent in his traditional blue and red trunks, the color of the Haitian flag, Charles was the picture of serene confidence as his handlers parted the ropes for his entrance. The likeable and stoic five-foot-eleven Flores (9 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 6 kos) entered with his entourage to the roar of his hometown supporters. Having been pilfered of a decision in his last bout on March 18th against Georgi Kevlishvili, Flores was riding a two-fight losing streak and his brain-trust was confident and had already chalked up a victory—the actual fight was a mere formality. The majority of responses on my Facebook page overwhelmingly supported the theory that Flores was going to thrash the Haitian and send him back to Atlantic City licking his wounds.

Charles (R.) watching as Flores is falling.

Napoleon and his French army misjudged Boukman’s ability to touch the fighting spirit of the slaves. Their haughtiness cost them dearly as Haiti became the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion. This resonated in my mind as the bell rang and Charles marched forward with a sardonic smile on his face, backing up the taller Flores who tried keeping him at bay with a long jab. The round was rapidly developing when Charles connected with a sizzling left hook that landed on the side of Flores’ head shaking him up. However, the lanky Philadelphian is tough as a month old pretzel and ate the punch and continued jabbing. Flores threw the occasional right as the grinning Charles came forward stalking him like a lion hunting a gazelle, waiting for the right moment to pounce on his prey.

And here is where the legend begins. Flores was recoiling his jab slowly when Charles attacked with a wicked, vicious overhand right that left his side like a heat-seeking missile crashing on Flores’ jaw with such force that he was unconscious as he capsized on his right side, head bouncing off the canvas. You could heard the air conditioner humming and roaches fornicating in the men’s room as an eerie silence engulfed the room as the medical team and Flores’ handlers rushed into the ring. The fallen fighter was almost motionless with the only movement being an occasional twitch in his legs. Charles was on his knees with his head down almost touching the canvas in what appeared to be a state of prayer instead of celebration. Nearly ten minutes expired before Flores recovered and left the ring wearing an oxygen mask. Referee Rosato then announced Charles as the victor by knockout, 1:49 of Round 1. Jones’ picture loomed on the fight poster. However, it was Charles who stole the show, leaving an indelible mark in our memories with one of the most devastating knockouts in history. If he didn’t have a promotional contract before this encounter, he will have one before his next bout.

Oliver (R.) sticking Almanza with a right jab.

You have to love featherweight Mike “Machine” Oliver (24 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 8 kos) of Hartford, Connecticut. Despite a scheduled featherweight title fight with newly crowned WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido on July 23rd in Mexico, Oliver risked everything by fighting in a six-rounder against slick-boxing Felipe Almanza (18 wins – 24 losses – 4 draws – 9 kos) of Lorica, Colombia. Oliver, who hasn’t fought in exactly one year, reiterated that he “needed the work in preparation for Almanza.” Let me state the obvious, you would be hard-pressed to find a manager that would allow his fighter to risk a title fight evaporating due to a loss or injury in a meaningless tune-up less than a month before the scheduled date. If you spend enough time with Oliver you will realize that he is far from being crazy, he just marches to the beat of his own drum.

Oliver (R.) sticking Almanza with a right jab.

With trainer, former super-middleweight contender, John “The Ice Man” Scully, in his corner the southpaw Oliver stormed out of the gate and pinned Almanza to the ropes. He unleashed what seemed like a 20-punch combination before settling into his rhythm. Boxing from a distance he truly worked on sharpening his tools as he pulled out every weapon in his arsenal. The slick-counter punching Almanza attempted to lay traps, however, Oliver’s speed and guile never allowed him to fall prey. I guess Oliver knew what he needed as he shook off the one-year ring rust round after round by boxing masterfully, while avoiding head clashes that could open a cut. It was a fistic showcase of Oliver’s vast array of skills. He controlled the action in preparation for his huge opportunity in July. Oliver was awarded a unanimous decision 58-56 by all three judges.

2008 Olympic Bronze medalist lightweight Yordenis “Baby Boy” Ugas (7 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 4 kos) of Cuba, now competing as a welterweight, left little doubt that he should be placed at the top of the charts as a future star. The Cuban, who defected in 2010 and is now trained by former middleweight world champion John David Jackson, is a relentless, efficient punching machine who throws short shots and attacks the body like Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum. Standing a shade under six-feet, he is an impressive physical specimen who bears an uncanny resemblance to former Philadelphia welterweight contender, Frank “The Silk” Montgomery as pointed out by my fellow ringside journalist, the ubiquitous Ken Hissner. Not only does Ugas resemble Montgomery, but he also has the same rapier jab that tears into an opponent’s facial tissue, rattling the brain while causing contusions. Ugas, who was also a 2005 World Amateur champion, seems to enjoy the process of breaking his adversary’s spirit.

Despite an unwavering body attack and constant pressure, tough southpaw Kenny Abril (11 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 6 kos) earned everyone’s respect by refusing to be overcome by Ugas in their six-rounder. Ugas whacked away at the body as Abril returned fire while using his legs to transport him momentarily away from the relentless Cuban. In round four, a vicious right hook followed by a precision-placed combination deposited Abril to the canvas. Tough as the hide of a Florida gator, Abril rose at the count of nine, held on, cleared his head and hurt Ugas with a combination— taking over the remainder of the round before the bell sounded. I scored the fifth round for a fully recuperated Abril who outworked the Cuban. Ugas got back in the driver’s seat for the final round and captured a unanimous decision by scores of 60-53, 59-54 and 59-55 of an entertaining spirited match.
Ugas (L.) attacking Abril.

Other Result: Passaic New Jersey’s junior-middleweight Glen Tapia (9 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 5 kos) pitched a shut-out, winning all six rounds over tough Taronze Washington (14 wins – 15 losses – 0 draws – 7 kos) of Dallas, Texas, capturing a unanimous decision 60-54 on all scorecards. However, sometimes how you win is just as important as the victory. I was seated near Tapia’s corner listening to his handlers and their instructions. Throughout the match Tapia slapped with his combinations and never stepped with his right hand, instead he just turned his right leg. Washington realized that Tapia couldn’t hurt him and applied constant pressure. Not once did Tapia’s trainer reprimand him for slapping and not turning his punches over. Tapia’s technique left plenty to be desired and it appears that he is in need of someone who can teach him the art of boxing. If he doesn’t learn how to punch properly, everyone will be calling him Glen “Slapia.”

Since I assisted in the corner of welterweight Philip “The Mongoose” McCants (8 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 3 kos) it is a rebuttable presumption that I am biased. Thus, brevity will be the course in describing this all-Philadelphia match-up. McCants captured a six-round majority decision over southpaw Kaseem Wilson (12 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 4 kos). One judge scored it a draw 57-57, while the remaining two had it 58-56 for McCants. It was an uneventful match with Referee Rosato becoming too much of a hindrance by being too involved instead of letting the fighters work their way out of clinches. He pushed McCants so frequently and so hard that I began to question his motives.

Philadelphia bantamweight Miguel Cartagena (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) dropped Jaime Gonzalez (0 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws) of Puerto Rico twice in the opening round and again in the second stanza forcing Referee Estevez to call a halt at 49 seconds of Round 2. Gonzalez was like a deer in the headlights and appeared as though this was his first time ever putting on a pair of boxing gloves. Gonzalez belonged in the squared circle as I do in the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon over Baghdad!

Super-flyweights Angel Cruz (5 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 4 kos) of Puerto Rico and Jose Rivera (3 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 0 kos) of New Rochelle, New York closed the show with an action-packed six-round draw. Cruz used every angle and was perpetual motion while out-boxing his shorter adversary. I thought he was the clear winner. However, all three judges had it even at 57-57.

It was another wonderful night of the sweet science in the City of Brotherly Love. Perched at ringside enjoying the action was the ageless wonder—former middleweight champion and current WBC light-heavyweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins. Seated directly behind me and cattycorner to Hopkins was Philadelphia welterweight, great Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, who won a decision over Hall of Famer and three-division world champion Emile Griffith. The 10-count was tolled for long-time boxing commentator and CNN’s first sports anchor, Nick Charles, who lost his battle with cancer earlier during the day, passing at the age of 64.

The shrewd and frugal Hopkins understands the importance of matchmaking and the significance of a Pacquiao vs. Jones match. B-Hop, who will be defending his title against former champion Chad Dawson in the fall, October 15th on HBO’s pay-per-view, knows that it’s all about the money, money. He never forgets the price tag!

Rest in peace Nick Charles—you will continue to live in our hearts and minds.

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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