Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Aug 11, 2013
Jump Nyabinghi—Robinson Stops Narh

Jump Nyabinghi—Robinson Stops Narh

The Mouthpiece 
Jump Nyabinghi—Robinson Stops Narh
Neequaye Decisions Spivey

By: George H. Hanson Jr., Esq.

Date:                          Friday, August 2, 2013
Venue:                       University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center—Newark, Delaware
Promo                        Champs Promotion
Ring Announcer:    Larry Tornambe
Referee:                     Malik Waleed & Vic DeWysocki

The Honorable Robert Nesta Marley blared over the house speakers, his majestic voice riding the rhythm as the Ghanaian warrior Ray “The Emperor” Narh, regally dressed in red accompanied by his entourage, the great trainer Kwame Asante in tow, made their way to the ring. A titillating feeling passed over me as I stood and basked in the moment, not wanting to keep my composure swaying to the music as the ropes were parted like the Red Sea and Narh—dreads bouncing—entered the square circle to rumble with the Philadelphia gladiator—“The New” Ray Robinson. Images of my homeland, Jamaica, flashed through the hard-drive of my memory. Only a Jamaican can understand the adrenaline rush—an intoxication of nationalism and feeling of longing—whenever Marley chants about the trial and tribulations of our people:

Robinson (L.) landing the straight left.

Robinson (L.) landing the straight left.

Love to see, when ya move in the rhythm
I love to see, when you’re dancing from within
It gives great joy to feel such sweet togetherness
Everyone’s doing, and they’re doing their best
It remind I of the days in Jericho
When we trodding down Jericho walls
These are the days when we’ll trod through Babylon
Gonna trod until Babylon falls
Sing your song yah!
Jump, jump, jump NYABINGHI
Jump, jump, jump NYABINGHI

The super-sized rapper Rick Ross bellowed “hustlin” over the hit track as Robinson flanked by Philadelphia’s #1 trainer, Bozy Ennis, and stable mates strolled out of the dressing room in sync to the beat of the working man’s mantra, supremely confident soaking in the adulation of their fans on their way to battle.

Hustle, hustlin’ hustlin’
Every day, I’m hustlin’
Every day I’m hustlin’
Every day I’m hustlin’

Boxing is a mercurial mistress who chooses a suitor oblivious to the repercussion or consequences. And, I don’t think she cares. There is absolutely no doubt that Ray Narh and Ray Robinson are two of the best welterweights in the world second only to the supremely talented and greatest pugilist in the galaxy—Floyd “Money” Mayweather.  However, they have not been cocooned in the protection of television contracts and the long-reach of my fellow Harvard alumnus arguably the most powerful man in prize-fighting—Al Haymon. Show me a fighter that can beat either combatants in their division and I will produce a picture of Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr.

Narh (R.) countering with the straight right.

Narh (R.) countering with the straight right.

Both Narh and Robinson have been trodding through Babylon without the comfort and support afforded to lesser talent like Keith “I Can’t Block A Jab but I am Headlining Showtime” Thurman.  Robinson has found a new home under the Champs Promotion’s banner after being dropped by his promoter after two consecutive losses to Brad Solomon and Shawn Porter. Narh who had been sidelined for two years is still vetting offers after his June 13th one-sided victory over Ronald Cruz. Given their talent and marketability, it was unfortunate that they were facing each other in a 12-rounder for the Unites States Boxing Association title without television coverage—a tragedy of epic proportions. In the words of Image Dragons on the hit single Radioactive “welcome to the new age!”  The contemporary era of prize-fighting where favored boxers—unlike the two Rays—are pampered, diapered and spoon-fed opponents from the pugilistic graveyards or cab companies headquartered in Mexico.

Narh (26 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 21 kos) attacked at the opening bell stalking the southpaw Robinson (15 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 6 kos) who sat back on the back leg, difficult to hit using his jab.  Narh took the first round because he was able to land a few jabs and straight rights to the body of his adversary. It was a tactical chess match and the gamesmanship spilled over into the next stanza. Round after round Narh pressed the action as Robinson kept his distance countering with the left upper-cut landing to the body barely missing the Ghanaian’s chin. It was Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky, the ring their chessboard each looking for that one move that would turn the tide. The rounds were extremely close with nothing significant landing and neither man gaining a competitive edge. But, you knew that this wasn’t going to be the story-line for the rest of the match.

In the sixth round they stood within six inches of each other engaging in a rough and tumble affair as both held while throwing punches with their free arm. It was a dogfight with nothing significant landing as the round defied the artfulness of the sweet science. The seventh round began and Robinson took a page out of the book of WBA & WBO junior-featherweight champion Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux using hand feints to disguise his motives. I read his mind and knew what was unfolding. Narh kept coming and the southpaw Robinson feint a right hook and threw a straight left that connected with power and precision. Narh never saw the punch that swept him off his feet as the canvas appeared to meet him midway in his descent. Somewhat shaken, he got to his feet before referee Waleed could reach the count of four.

Robinson watches as Narh falls into the ropes.

Robinson watches as Narh falls into the ropes.

The action resumed and Robinson attacked trying to close the show early. But, Ray Narh despite being hurt returned fire with punches laced with Nyquil as he attempted to decapitate his attacker with homerun left hooks. It would have been logical for the shaken fighter to get on one knee, take the eight-count and clear his head. Sometimes courage deifies logic in times of despair and a fighter’s natural instincts will become his compass. Thus, Narh fought like he was being swept in the Bermuda Triangle against his will.

He traded punches with Robinson who landed another straight right that had Narh reeling off balance across the ring to the opposite corner falling headfirst, his entire body out of the ring. Referee Waleed assisted him back into the ring and made sure that he wasn’t damaged and was able to continue the melee. The action resumed as Robinson pinned Narh against the ropes and threw combinations, which included an uppercut that landed. Most of the punches missed their mark as he bobbed and weaved to evade punishment. Prematurely, the referee jumped in and called a halt to the action declaring Robinson the winner by technical knockout at 2:33. The stoppage was early. But then again,  not every referee has the keen eye and experience as the great Steve Smoger. I am confident Smoger would not have stopped it at that juncture.

It was only fitting that the ageless wonder, IBF light-heavyweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins was ringside enjoying the night’s festivities as NABA lightweight champion “Dangerous” Dorin Spivey (42 wins – 6 losses – 0 draws – 30 kos) of Portsmouth, Virginia entered the ring. At 40-years-old Spivey, eight years Hopkins’ junior, the affable fighter appears to be up on the scorecards against Father Time similar to the light-heavyweight champion who has vowed to continue fighting until he reaches a half century. Anxiously awaiting Spivey was undefeated Samuel “Unbelievable” Kotey Neequaye (20 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 15 kos) of Accra, Ghana ready for their scheduled ten-rounder.

The taller Neequaye attacked at the opening bell, marching forward, winging shots with reckless abandon hell-bent on separating Spivey from his senses. There is nothing aesthetically pleasing about Neequaye’s style. He is an exciting banger whose offense is his defense. He throws stiff punches as thought he was goose-stepping as a member of the Russian Army and rarely ever throws his jab. Fortunately, most of his fights have been in his homeland of Ghana where he was able to build his record while learning how to wreak havoc and destroy his opponents. Hopefully, he will continue to develop against better competition on the east coast.  True to form, he tried to impose his will on Spivey who he hurt with an uppercut to the solar plexus. But, Spivey is a cagey veteran and knew how to disguise the effect and make it to the end of the round.

Spivey (R.) going to Neequaye's body.

Spivey (R.) going to Neequaye’s body.

There is much that Spivey can learn about strategy from the elder statesman, Hopkins. It is axiomatic that it is almost impossible for an older fighter to outwork a younger, stronger opponent. Round after round Spivey stood toe-to-toe with Neequaye trying to match his output with arm punch flurries instead of sitting in the pocket, planting his feet and focus on sending Neequaye unconscious into next week with an overhand right—a strategy that allowed Randall Bailey to score a knockout over Mike Jones for the vacant IBF welterweight title back in June 2012.

Neequaye kept a frenetic pace for the first five rounds hurting Spivey again in the fourth round with a hook and being credited for a knockdown in the fifth that was called in error by referee DeWysocki. Spivey slipped to the canvas after his legs were crossed and the referee thought it was a punch that sent him to the tarmac. The amazingly conditioned Spivey got his second wind, weathered the storm and outworked his opponent in the last four rounds. Neequaye was breathing heavily from expending too much energy in pursuit of a knockout. Spivey could have turned the tide with a well-placed power punch instead of the quick flurries he delivered. When the final bell sounded my scorecard had it 95-94 for Neequaye. The judges awarded him the NABA title via unanimous decision by scores of 98-91, 97-92 and 96-93.

There is an old adage in boxing that records don’t beat you, fighters do—a lesson learned by Frankie “The Freight Train” Fillipone (14 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 2 kos) of Norfolk, Virginia in a scheduled six-rounder against Philly light-heavyweight Taneal “The Spider” Goyco (4 wins – 6 losses – 1 draw – 2 kos). It probably was the Philadelphian’s record of 1 win – 6 losses – 1 draw in his last eight fights that lured Fillipone’s brain trust into the Spider’s web. Little did they know that last month Goyco scored a knockout in the inaugural Bare Knuckle Boxing show on DirecTV’s cable network.

The southpaw Fillipone took the first two stanzas of the scheduled six-rounder by using movement and boxing from a distance landing his jab and straight left. He was just a little too quick for Goyco who came forward admonished by his trainer Rodney Rice who barked out commands from the corner. The Philadelphia pugilist was able to land a body shot that hurt Fillipone at the end of the second stanza but it went unnoticed.  In the final four rounds Goyco blanketed Fillipone like a cheap seersucker suit on a balmy Georgia afternoon throwing punches with bad intentions whacking away at the body and head. He closed the gap and won a majority decision by scores of 58-56 twice with one judge scoring it 57-57—a draw.

Goyco (L.) launching the left hook.

Goyco (L.) launching the left hook.

Undefeated junior-lightweight prospect and hometown hero Omar “Super O” Douglas (8 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 6 kos) didn’t waste much time in disposing of southpaw DeWayne Wisdom (3 wins – 11 losses – 0 draw – 1 ko) of Indianapolis, Indiana. The gong sounded and Douglas stalked his opponent working the body making him live up to his last name and exercise some wisdom by keeping a safe distance. Douglas won the opening round and continued his attack raking Wisdom with hard body shots compelling him to take a knee and an eight-count in the second round. The southpaw got on his bicycle and barely survived until the bell and a well-appreciated one-minute respite.

Douglas must have had a pressing appointment that required him leaving the ring before the final bell of the scheduled six-rounder. He answered the bell for the third round with malice on his mind and knockout written all over his face. Wisdom tried to evade punishment but Douglas drove him to the canvas with some murderous body shots. Rising at the count of eight Wisdom was able to prolong the inevitable by waltzing around the squared-circle like Fred Astaire pursued by a pit-bull. However, Douglas landed a vicious left hook to his ribcage that sucked all the air out of Wisdom’s lungs distributing him to the canvas for the third time forcing referee DeWysocki to call a halt at 2:24—his first knockout loss.

Douglas (R.) overwhelming Wisdom.

Douglas (R.) overwhelming Wisdom.

During the intermission, USBA cruiserweight champion Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson was honored with a beautiful plaque for the 2012 USBA Fight of the Year—his 12th round knockout of Andres Taylor. I was ringside on that fateful night in Atlantic City on April 14, 2012 when Wilson put Taylor to sleep for over five minutes with a six-inch left hook that had the audience gasping in astonishment. Decked out in a black suit with matching shirt and colorful tie, the Philadelphia fighter showing his sartorial splendor beaming with pride accepted the award and thanked everyone.

Also enjoying the action were heavyweight contender, Amir “Hardcore” Mansour, former middleweight contender Dave Tiberi and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist and two-division world champion Meldrick Taylor who along with Hopkins spent the entire intermission accommodating fans photo requests. Professional boxers have always been the most accessible and welcoming of their admirers. Bernard Hopkins came to the fights alone—no entourage, no bodyguards!

Coach Will Ruiz left Delaware somewhat disenchanted as the judges played Santa Claus to his two boxers’ opponents—awarding them early Christmas presents disguised as decision wins. His fighter, Miguel Antonio Rodriguez (1 win – 5 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) of Philadelphia lost by split-decision to local favorite “Joltin” Joey Tiberi (9 wins – 1 loss – 0 draw – 5 kos) in a four-round lightweight bout. The shorter Rodriguez made it a barroom brawl as he outworked Tiberi in exchanges by throwing more punches. One judge scored it a draw, 38-38 while the two blind mice had it 39-37 and 39-38 for Tiberi. I guess it is difficult to win a decision in Delaware against local fighters!

Marengo (R.) connecting with the overhand right.

Marengo (R.) connecting with the overhand right.

In the opening bout of the night, Ruiz watched as his charge Hector Marengo (5 wins – 4 losses – 4 draws – 3 kos) of Arecibo, Puerto Rico outhustled Andrew “The Doo Man” Farmer (16 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 7 kos) of Front Royal, Virginia in a six-round junior-lightweight bout. Marengo landed the harder punches and pressed the action against his taller adversary. He swept the rounds and was the victim of a horrendous call in the sixth round as referee DeWysocki called a knockdown caused by a push from Farmer. One judge scored it 57-56 for Marengo but was overruled as the others had it 58-55 for Farmer who won by split decision causing a cacophony of boos from the audience.  I scored it 59-54 for Marengo who was fleeced by two judges who I believe need eye examinations or sobriety tests.

It was an exciting night of boxing at a terrific venue.;

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, whoa, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, whoa, I’m radioactive, radioactive

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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