Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Nov 12, 2011
Judge, Jury & Executioner —Don’t Blame Ossie!

Judge, Jury & Executioner —Don’t Blame Ossie!

THE MOUTHPIECE – GEORGE HANSON

Event Date:                  Friday, October 28, 2011
Venue:                         Bally’s, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Promoter:                    Goossen Tutor Promotions, LLC
Coverage:                    Showtime – ShoBox The New Generation
Commentators:           Curt Menefee, Antonio Tarver & Steve Farhood
Ring Announcer:         Joe Antonacci
Referees:                     Lindsey Page & David Franciosi
Photos:                        www.christoneyphotography.com

I rose at 5:00 a.m. to eat breakfast and lay out my favorite Hugo Boss suit because I had jury duty—the inevitable right, responsibility or consequence of citizenship. Since becoming a newly minted citizen I was proud that I too was going to get my turn to serve my fellow Americans. I made my way to 1301 Filbert Street in downtown Philadelphia arriving 15 minutes before the appointed time of 8:30 a.m. I was sequestered with 39 others for the short walk to City Hall where we sat in one of the courtrooms in numerical order. Losing my identity I was now Juror #19 ready to be questioned by the attorneys in a medical malpractice case involving the defendant, a doctor from the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and the plaintiff, the estate of an elderly Puerto Rican lady represented by her husband. Call it fate, but after hours of interviewing several jurors and an hour lunch break the lawyers decided to settle the case. I just had the feeling that counsel for the defendant felt that it was in his client’s best interest to resolve the case instead of leaving it up to the judge and the jury. Not to be judgmental but his client looked guilty as sin!  So at 2:00 p.m., I strolled onto Market Street on my way home to prepare for another night of the sweet science.

Duran (R.) attacking Gonzales.

Last week I interviewed junior-middleweight Ossie “The Ghanaian Gladiator” Duran (26 wins – 8 losses – 2 draws – 10 kos) in another installment of www.fightkings.com radio. Duran, who began his career in his homeland of Ghana, made a pit stop in Great Britain before migrating to the U.S. four years ago has never failed to answer the bell in 36 contests. A throwback fighter, similar to Glenn “The Road Warrior” Johnson, he has made a living of fighting on enemy territory. No surprise, he’s been on the losing end of several questionable hometown decisions. Exhibiting an air of humble confidence, he reiterated that he was not going to leave the outcome in the hands of the judges.  His fists were going to be the judge, jury and executioner in deciding the fate of undefeated California prospect Brandon “Flawless” Gonzales (14 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 10 kos) who Duran was moving up one division to face.

The gong sounded and Duran attacked with a sense of urgent purpose backing up his younger adversary in an attempt to impose his will and set the tone in the opening chapter of their scheduled eight-rounder. Working from behind a stiff jab resembling a Russian soldier goose-stepping with gloves, the Ghanaian fighter pressed onward as Gonzales side-stepped, oftentimes retreating to gain separation in order to throw combinations that rarely penetrated Duran’s impregnable high-handed defense.  Working to the body and coming upstairs with the heat, Duran wobbled Gonzales twice with his missile disguised as an overhand right and a sweeping hook. However, the undefeated prospect showed a granite beard and was able to stay upright. The next two rounds followed a similar pattern with Duran driving forward behind his jab, going downstairs to the body and occasionally landing a blistering left hook or overhand right getting Gonzales’ attention. In Round 3 a slight cut was evident over Gonzales’ left eye as a hard right uppercut rocked him at the end of the round.

Duran (R.) landing a stiff jab on Gonzales.

The only inhibitor to Duran’s progress was a few pesky locks that snuck out of his tightly coiffed dreadlocks in the fifth round. Referee Page momentarily stopped the action and ordered Duran’s corner to tie his hair since his vision was limited as he was incessantly brushing them out of his eyes. I cringed, as the rogue locks became pugilistic martyrs as they were snipped away with scissors by one of his handlers and the action resumed. Probably aware that he was unable to match the wily veteran’s physical strength Gonzales resorted to his prolific amateur career—stay on the outside and throw rapid-fire combinations while evading punishment. He used his lateral movement and seemed to be outworking Duran. However, this was professional boxing and not the Golden Gloves as Duran landed the harder shots as his overhand right found its mark again in the seventh round. They closed out the final round toe-to-toe with neither man retreating as the bell was barely audible as fans cheered raucously.

Duran waited confidently for the scorecard to be read. However, his well-spring of hope disappeared like a mirage in the desert as the scores were read — 77-75 twice for Gonzales with the dissenting judge scoring it 78-74 for Duran. It is another chapter in the much-traveled fighter’s career as he is again on the losing end of a fight that he won. Despite this minor setback Duran will continue in his quest for a world championship. Gonzales moves on showing much poise in not only going the distance but also being able to withstand the pressure of a dangerous cagey veteran.

What should have been 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina’s coming out party proved to be his first setback as Artemio “King” Reyes (13 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 11kos) pressed him for eight grueling rounds forcing him to fight at a pace that he was unaccustomed, outmuscling, outhustling, outworking and crowning the 21-year-old with his first loss of his 10-fight career.  It is well-documented that the 25-year-old Reyes, an accounting student at University of California Santa Barbara, runs his family’s restaurant and cares for his father, Artemio Sr., who has been comatose since being hit by a tractor trailer while driving to pick up his son from work in 2008. Thus, we know where he gets his motivation and inspiration as he entered the ring with “4 Pops” emblazoned on the waistband of his trunks.

Reyes (R.) landing the uppercut on Molina.

Molina captured the opening round with excellent boxing, keeping his distance and working behind the jab as Reyes pursued in an attempt to turn the tide with a few overhand rights that barely missed their mark. The Olympian’s success was ephemeral as Reyes closed the gap in the second round, walking him down and engaging him in a trench war from Round 2 to the closing bell. Reyes appeared to be too strong and durable for his younger opponent who seemed like a boy being overpowered by a grown man. But to Molina’s credit he never wavered and fought hard to stave off his antagonist who just kept walking straight through his punches, blocking and parrying while landing more telling blows. We will never question the temerity of the young pugilist as he fought with great intensity. However, it was just Reyes’ night and his best performance to date! Two judges had it 78-74 with the third scoring it 77-75 — all for Reyes.

In an all-Philly match-up lanky junior-welterweight Korey Sloane (1 win – 2 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) took a majority four-round decision over southpaw Jason Sia (0 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws) in a spirited match that I scored a draw. Sia, the aggressor, pressed the action in the opening round working from behind the southpaw jab. However, Sloane settled into a groove and kept him at bay with a long left jab and some good body work in the next two rounds. Sia answered the final bell with a sense of urgency knowing that he was behind on the scorecards. With a slight trickle of blood coming from his left eye, he poured it on and hurt Sloane with a sizzling right hook and straight left. He dominated the round as Sloane wisely stayed on his bicycle. Two judges scored it 39-37 for Sloane as the final replicated my score of 38-38, a draw.

During our pre-fight interview Philadelphia lightweight Ramon “Little Weed” Ellis (1 win – 7 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos), who has been on the losing end of numerous bad decisions, reiterated that he wasn’t leaving tonight’s outcome in the hands of the judges. Sitting with a smile on his face and supremely confident, Ellis—an aspiring chef and culinary student at The Art Institute of Philadelphia—stated that his opponent, Jessie Crawford (0 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) “was going to know why they call me Little Weed —because I am coming out smoking!” The bell rang and Ellis came out of his corner like Smarty Jones at the Kentucky Derby, rearing to get to the finish line in record time. He stalked Crawford who kept his distance, raking him with some hard body shots. Little Weed was definitely blowing in the house and the round finished with him in hot pursuit. He continued his attack in the second stanza by relentlessly applying pressure like he had another appointment or a hot date in a few minutes. True to form — Ellis was not a nickel  or a dime bag — he was the whole ounce, blowing in his nemesis’ face unleashing a cloud of intoxicating fury in the form of an overhand right that crashed off  unsuspecting Jesse Crawford’s dome sending him to the canvas forcing Referee Page to call a halt at 3:00 of Round 2.

A confident Ellis in the dressing room.

Coming off his first career loss, a first round technical knockout to former Under 19 world amateur champion Joey Dawejko, heavyweight John “The Breed” Lennox (6 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 3 kos) of Carteret, New Jersey, returned to familiar territory in a rematch with tough MMA fighter Donnie “The Diesel” Crawford (1 win – 2 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Petersburg, West Virginia. Lennox stopped Crawford in the fourth and final round on the undercard of Paul “The Punisher” Williams vs. Erislandy Lara—July 9th, Boardwalk Hall. The rematch was no different as Lennox had his way with the shorter and slower Crawford peppering him with combinations, pulling back to avoid counters seeming to enjoy himself admiring his handiwork throughout the match. It would have been more competitive had Lennox been allowed to enter the ring and shadow box by himself. Lennox dished out punishment Crawford ate it all up refusing to take a step backwards or go down. Several times it appeared that Referee Franciosi was about to call a halt to this pogrom, but Crawford would roar back with life refusing to be a knockout victim. Amazingly, he made it to the final bell, beaten but still upright earning the respect of the crowd. Lennox pitched a shutout 40-36 on all three scorecards.

In an entertaining four-rounder, junior-lightweight Jason Sosa (3 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Camden, New Jersey won a unanimous decision by scores of 40-34, 39-35 and 38-36 over debuting Anthony “The Ghost” Allen of Philadelphia, PA. Allen looked sharp in the opening round boxing niftily using good movement and a stiff jab to outbox the shorter more compact Sosa. But Sosa made the necessary adjustments in the second round by working the body and being able to get close to Allen, who had problems with his unfitted mouthpiece losing it several times throughout the bout and forcing Referee Franciosi to take a point in the fourth round. It was a good contrast of style and Ellis held his own against a tougher more experienced pugilist.

You have to love a man who enters the ring in sartorial splendor and sunglasses as was the case with debuting Baltimore, Maryland junior-welterweight Kevin “The Scarecrow” Womack, who was the personification of swagger. If you look in Webster’s new abridged dictionary under the definition of the word you will see a picture of Womack peering back at you with manager James “Ponytail” Hogan in the background. The young fighter told me in the pre-fight interview to expect nothing but greatness since heavyweight great Joe Louis is his favorite fighter. I am so accustomed to hearing bravado in the dressing room that suddenly dissipates when a hard punch connects on the jaw of the once loquacious purveyor of dressing room chutzpah. As the great Michael Gerard Tyson once so aptly stated, “Everyone has a plan, until they get hit!”  However, this was far from the case with Womack who entered the ring like he was already a superstar instead of a novice who was just getting his feet wet in the punch-for-pay ranks against Philly’s Korey “The Ghost” Pritchett (1 win – 0 losses– 0 draws – 0 kos) in a four-rounder.

Womack landing the long, stiff left jab on Pritchett.

Womack’s uncanny calmness in the dressing room reached new heights when the bell rang for the opening round. There wasn’t a hint of jitters that are commonplace with the transition from the amateur ranks to the professional arena. Womack was as cool and calm as President Obama at a White House dinner—as he was in total control jabbing and parrying and pulling back from the shorter Pritchett’s lunges. I forgot to mention that despite being a junior-welterweight, Womack is probably a shade over six-feet tall. He hammered the awkward Pritchett with jabs, oftentimes going downstairs to the body and landing hooks to his ribcage.

What got my attention was the calmness and air of confidence with which the lanky fighter from Baltimore maneuvered around the ring as though he was taking a stroll through Fairmount Park on a sunny spring day.  I had to lean forward out of my chair because I was living vicariously through Womack. Mentally I was in the ring pulling back and countering with him! Womack captured the second round in similar fashion as Pritchett’s attacks from a crouching position were met with stiff jabs and counters. However, Pritchett landed two hard rights in the third round that garnered Womack’s attention as the crowd starting shouting providing an adrenaline rush for the Philly fighter who seemed like he was about to seize the moment. But it was a minor bump in the road as Womack demonstrated that he had a good chin and was able to steer through the mini-minefield and get back to his business of dissecting his opponent. The fourth round was won by Womack who repeated his earlier success and stood his ground, firing hooks and uppercuts showing that he knows how to fight on the inside. All three judges scored it 39-37 for Womack whose future is bright. The kid has the physical tools and psychological edge to be great!

It was an exciting night of boxing as the near capacity crowd took pleasure in another display of the sweet science. Duran beat Brandon Gonzales and one of the judges got it right along with commentator, Steve Farhood, both scoring it 78-74 as the Ghanaian Gladiator landed the harder more effective punches. So many times we tend to discredit a fighter for not scoring a knockout when he is on his opponent’s turf. However, the late great Edwin Valero is the only professional boxer that I know who has knocked out every man he faced in the squared circle. It is axiomatic that going to the scorecards is probably the way a victor will be decided. Judge, jury, executioner — don’t blame Ossie — this is professional boxing, the hurt business, not fencing with gloves as is the case with the amateur point system.

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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3 Responses to “Judge, Jury & Executioner —Don’t Blame Ossie!”

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