By Michael Amakor | August 31, 2013
On a clear night, in an area somewhat away from the hustle and bustle of they sometimes crazy streets of Baltimore is the William Myers Pavilion, one of the most unique arenas I have ever attended at what looked like a hockey rink with a ring smack right in the middle of the arena.
What was I doing here, I had asked myself before hand on the uneventful drive down the parkway while checking my navigator to make sure I was headed in the right direction, but when I rounded down West Bay Avenue I was soon appeased when I saw a long line of cars parked on the long winding road leading up to the arena and I knew I was home as I could see the unique steps of the boxing type crowd heading to a fight.
The common saying today, is that boxing is on the decline, and in some instances you could make an argument for that case, but not so for the over 400 boxing fans, aficionados and officials having their drinks in the arena all anxious and patiently waiting for the nights festivities to begin. There is a certain communal feel at these amateur shows especially those organized by local promoter Jake “The Snake” Smith, and an informality during the event that makes you feel right at home with the fighters sharing the same dugouts for last minute preparations and the crowd mingling with the fighters and officials alike along with they affordable drinks and food at the makeshift concession stand.
There is also a healthy rivalry among the local clubs who supply boxers for these events from Jake’s Baltimore Boxing Club to the legendary Mack Lewis Gym, and Umar Boxing Club which had its fighter in the first bout of the evening adding all to the familial insider feel to these events featured by Baltimore Boxing.
As I was scoping my surrounding and getting my gear together, there was a roar from the crow as Allen Bird from the Baltimore Boxing Club unleashed a combination that had his opponent covering up and trying to angle away only to get hit with a straight right that sent him flat on his back on the canvas to the roar of the crowd, he beat the count and was saved by the bell from further punishment, he went back to his corner but the fight was waved off.
Heavyweight Sam Crossed from the Baltimore Boxing Club showed why he was popular when a left cross and overhand right dumped his opponent flat into the ropes in the first seconds of that fight eliciting a roar from the crowd. Darnell Daniel was quickly checked out before exiting the ring with his trophy.
In the Super Heavyweight division the hulking John Bateman from Wales England was put on the defensive until he back stepped and cracked his opponent with an inside left that dropped him for the count, however he was unable to finish him off, but was awarded the victory.
The card also featured local celebreties like multi-time National Champion and local superstar Joey “Bazooka Joe” Veazey and 2013 Golden Gloves Champion and former Oklahoma State wrestling star Jerome Featherstone Jr. versus former champion Kevin Ottley, who fights out of Mack Lewis’ Boxing Gym.
All fighters fought, put on a good show and had their hands raised in victory, and others learned valuable lessons in pugilism in fights that might be forgotten by the fans but certainly not by these amateurs as the work their way towards professional careers.
Altogether a great night of boxing, and if you are looking for something different to do, check out Jake Smith’s Baltimore Boxing Clubs website for the upcoming schedule of events at the same pavilion so you can experience boxing at its very core and beyond the limelight of Showtime or HBO., you might find out to your surprise that you just will have a great time.
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