By: George Hanson Jr., Esq.
Date: Friday, January 31, 2014
Venue: Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack, Chester, Pennsylvania
Promoters: Joey Eye Boxing Promotions & David Feldman
Ring Announcer: Larry Tornambe
Referees: Steve Smoger & Shawn Clark
Matchmaker: Joey Eye
If you are reading this unexpurgated article you are either extremely good looking, super intelligent or both. For some odd reason, ugly people avoid my work and those of average intelligence find no solace in spending time with literature that isn’t accompanied by a pack of crayons and large fonts. Thank you for your continued support as we look forward to another great year of old school Philly rumbles that began with this super-sensational night of boxing.
Brevity has never been my forte so allow me to lay the groundwork in relaying what I know about the subject of this discourse—a rampaging bull.
I grew up in rural Jamaica on a farm and my grandfather raised cows along with other animals. A pasture approximately the size of two football fields separated my grandparents’ home, where I lived, and my aunt Lucille’s house where I was a frequent visitor for numerous reasons least of all the treats and her sense of humor. I must have been about seven years-old and I was accompanied by my younger cousin Vanessa—four years my junior. Instead of journeying on the gravel road I decided that I would take a short-cut through the pasture hoping that us two small children could go unnoticed by the mean, feisty bull who roamed the pastures like the dictator of a small nation—unfriendly to unwanted visitors. Lesson to be learned—avoid a bull at all cost.
Anthony “The Bull” Caputo (14 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 10 kos) of Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania is a throw-back fighter who doesn’t say much and pays little or no attention to pre-fight diagnostics or prognostics. Thus, he never commented on or acknowledged trainer Mike Cassell’s prediction that his fighter Anthony “Boom Boom” Ferrante (12 wins – 4 losses – 0 draws – 7 kos) of Philadelphia was going to separate him from his senses in their scheduled 10-rounder for the vacant Pennsylvania State cruiserweight title. At the press conference a week aback, Cassell told me that it was not going past five rounds. It didn’t appear to bother Caputo, but it must have seeped into his psyche where it festered like an infected wound. At the pre-fight interview he told me that he was coming forward and it was going to be a war. Morale of the story—don’t anger a bull.
Well, I held Vanessa’s tiny hand as we made it under the barbed wire fence and into the pasture which had many trees growing to one side. The crazy, egotistical creature was nowhere to be seen as our tiny feet made our way further and further through the badlands. We must have been fifty yards deep into the pasture when I had the eerie feeling that we were been watched. I turned around only to see the bull that looked at me with bloodshot eyes and immediately I knew we would have to run or take our chance as amateur matadors. Since neither of us had a cape I squeezed my cousin’s hand and let her know we had to run and our choice was to head to the stone wall about ten yards away that enclosed the pasture. Four tiny feet had to cover ten yards before four huge legs attached to a bovine killing machine could reach top speed and eat up three times the distance. The fact that you are reading my account is testament to our athletic prowess.
The Boss with the Hot Sauce—ring announcer Larry Tornambe made the introductions —referee Smoger went over the rules—the combatants retreated to their corners—handlers exited the ring and the gong sounded. Caputo, sporting a crew-cut looking like a young Jack Dempsey, exited his corner like a born again Christian heading into a revival—full of energy and divine purpose—and hopped right into Ferrante’s chest throwing punches making his nemesis uncomfortable. It would have been difficult to squeeze a quarter in the space that separated the two fighters. It wasn’t difficult to surmise that Caputo’s game plan was to blanket the bigger, hard punching Ferrante and not give him room and leverage to uncork anything of consequence.
Round after round Caputo came forward and planted his head in Ferrante’s chest and went to work. Separation was ephemeral and whenever Ferrante landed a hard punch, Caputo smiled, shook his head mocking his opponent and went back to whacking away at his head and body. Smokin’ Joe Frazier would have been proud of Caputo who seemed to reenergize every time his trainer Doug Pettiford yelled “Get on him, stay close.”
Caputo was the busier fighter not giving Ferrante time and room to unload from his vaunted arsenal. He was perpetual motion—bobbing, weaving, and constantly punching. Was it pretty? No! Was it effective? Yes! Ferrante needed room to punch and Caputo was sticking to him like a cheap polyester suit in the middle of summer.
Every round followed the same pattern. But with approximately ten seconds remaining in the sixth round Ferrante finally landed a vicious right that connected high on Caputo’s head dropping him in his corner. You could hear the excitement from Ferrante’s supporters who were beginning to believe that his trainer was Nostradamus. Caputo rose and steadied himself on one knee eyes focused on Smoger—listened to the count and rose at nine as the bell brought closure to the round.
Living up to his moniker, Caputo charged out of his corner for the seventh round and smothered Ferrante capturing the round. Ferrante got on this toes for the first thirty seconds of the eighth stanza and blasted Caputo with jabs and combinations. But, this was a fleeting illusion as Caputo closed the gap and resumed at his normal work rate. The remaining two rounds were identical and the crowd cheered raucously at the conclusion of the fight. Two judges scored it 95-94 for Caputo with the third judge having the same score for Ferrante. Caputo won by split-decision and captured the Pennsylvania State cruiserweight belt.
Manager Mark Cipparone lit the fuse and Tevin “The American Idol” Farmer (14 wins – 4 losses – 1 draws – 3 kos) is the explosion. Since signing with Cipparone—the Chief Executive Officer of Rocco’s Collision Centers—Farmer hasn’t lost and is riding a seven-fight win streak. The last time Farmer tasted defeat was on October 12, 2012 when he lost by technical knockout in the eighth round to 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian Jose Pedraza. It was a humbling experience and the turning point in the fighter’s career. Since that fateful night the 23-year-old Philadelphia pugilist changed both his trainer and manager. Under the guidance of Cipparone and the rest of his brain trust, Farmer has been transformed into a leaner, meaner fighting machine—126 pounds of twisted steel and mass appeal. Much has been learned from him sparring with WBA & WBA junior-welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and former WBO junior-welterweight champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley. Dropping down one division to the featherweight limit Farmer is the consummate professional whose dedication and training habits rival those of the great Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
Decked out in an exquisite leopard print multi-panel boxing trunks—showing his sartorial splendor— Farmer made his way to the ring flanked by his entourage which included Cipparone. His opponent Noel Echevarria (11 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 6 kos) Guayama, Puerto Rico now residing in North Carolina waited patiently for the pageantry to subside—ready to get down to business in this eight-round southpaw match-up. The bell rang and Farmer controlled the action by sharp shooting with a stiff right jab and countering with quick combinations taking the opening stanza. The fight fell into a pattern as the Philly fighter showcased his hand speed, defensive prowess and overall boxing acumen entertaining the fans while out boxing and outfoxing Echevarria who pressed the action but seemed to be one step behind Farmer. Despite his physical strength, Farmer has garnered only three knockouts. It is evident that he is punching with a loose wrist or slightly slapping and not as we would say in boxing parlance “turning his hands over.” Thus, Echevarria was never in serious trouble and made it to the final bell losing a one-sided unanimous decision 79-73, and 78-74 twice on the scorecard.
In a four-round welterweight bout Jovan Sosa (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 0 ko) of Bronx, New York lost the opening round against Anthony Prescott (2 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) Cherry Hill, New Jersey but found his rhythm over the next three rounds and earned a hard-fought unanimous decision 39-37 on all three scorecards. The taller Prescott used his jab and was able to pin Sosa on the rope where he unleashed a few blistering combinations much to the delight of his fans who cheer raucously throughout. Prescott’s success was short-lived as Sosa hurt him in the second stanza with a crushing right hand that caused the New Jersey native to hop on his bicycle and motor around the ring to evade pain and punishment. But, Prescott’s mettle was outstanding as he fought tooth and nail making the rounds close using his jab and lateral movement. I scored the fight a draw because Prescott used effective movement to land his jab and right hand causing both of Sosa’s eyes to be swollen and reddened. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining fight that was enjoyed by all.
A nine-month layoff is an eternity in the life of young pugilist. Undefeated Philadelphia junior-welterweight prospect Naim “The Dream” Nelson (10 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) has been sidelined since March 15, 2013—his last fight— due to injuries and fights falling through. Tonight the likeable twenty-three year old was relieved to be back in the squared circle poised and ready to continue pursuing his dream of a world championship. But cross-town rival and opponent Chris Steele (4 wins – 7 losses – 2 draws – 1 ko) entered the ring supremely confident ready to topple Nelson from the ranks of the undefeated. Steele won the style points decked out in the most immaculately tailored and colorful trunks to ever grace the squared circle at Harrah’s. Former WBO junior-welterweight champion and budding fashion aficionado DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley beamed like a proud father admitting that he was the creator of Steele’s attractive ensemble.
If you were unfamiliar with the boxers you would have reasonably assumed that Steele was the undefeated prospect and Nelson was the one with the seven infractions or losses on his dossier. From the opening bell Steele used lateral movement and feints keeping Nelson at a distance commanding time and space appearing like a seasoned professional in a tune-up bout. He out boxed the ever aggressive Nelson who seemed to be several steps behind Steele whose sharpness was only rivaled by the vibrant boxing breeches. Round after round Steele boxed brilliantly rarely engaging in exchanges instead choosing to unload and get back on his bicycle. This was my first time watching Steele and I have to assume that he is the product of atrocious management and hometown decisions—because the kid is a boxer of the highest order.
Sensing he was behind on the scorecard, Nelson came out for the eighth and final round with a sense of urgency. He was relentless pursuing Steele around the ring being the busier of the two landing the more effective punches. Nelson needed a knockout on my scorecard to avoid his first loss. But, Steele made it to the final bell confident that he would get the decision. The first judge scored it correctly 77-75 for Steele. However, he was overruled by two blind mice cloaked in judge’s outfits that saw it 79-73 and 78-74 for Nelson who won by split-decision picking up a late Christmas present.
Chris Steele wasn’t the only fighter who was fleeced. Featherweight “King” Arthur Parker (1 win – 9 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Lancaster, PA got defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in his four-round Tet offensive with Camden’s Robert Irizarry (0 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 0 kos). The diminutive Parker who probably would have been eye to eye with the late Baby Jake Matlala has been on the receiving end of some questionable decisions. The indefatigable little monarch—a graduate of Millersville University— is a full-time accountant who also moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter. Tonight the southpaw Parker took the first two rounds by using his jab to the body and a stiff straight left. He was just too evasive for Irizarry who couldn’t cut off the ring as Parker used lateral movement to his advantage. The Camden native captured the third stanza on my scorecard by outpunching Parker. He would have won the final round but Parker landed a few blistering overhand lefts that slowed Izarry in his tracks. Parker should have garnered the decision. But again the visually impaired triumvirate ruled against Parker and unanimously scored it 39-37 for Irizarry.
Other results: 2011 World Amateur middleweight champion and 2012 Olympian Levgen “The Ukrainian Lion” Khytrov (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) of Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine now residing in Brooklyn dropped game but outgunned Romon Barber (4 wins – 6 losses – 0 draw – 3 kos) Wichita, Kansas in the second round and blitzed him in the third stanza with a vicious combination forcing referee Clark to call a halt at 42 seconds of the round.
Brooklyn heavyweight Jarrel “Big Baby” Miller (7 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 7 kos) won by technical knockout at 2:38 of the fourth round over tough southpaw Jon Hill (6 win – 4 losses – 0 draws – 5 kos) of West Virginia. Miller was simply too big—out-weighing the two hundred and thirty-eight pounds Hill by thirty-three pounds—and too skilled. Miller had the better hand speed and threw combinations while working Hill’s body. But, Hill fought courageously refusing to succumb to the onslaught until the referee decided he was taking too much punishment.
Only the truly beautiful and intelligent people read all the way to the end. So if you made it this far, there is little doubt that when God was giving out good looks and brains, you got in line twice!
Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!