Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Nov 1, 2014
USS Comics—The Truth About Cherry Bomb, 3-Mendo and the Fighting Barber!

USS Comics—The Truth About Cherry Bomb, 3-Mendo and the Fighting Barber!

The Mouthpiece
USS Comics—The Truth About Cherry Bomb, 3-Mendo and the Fighting Barber!
By: George H. Hanson Jr., Esq.

Date: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Venue: 2300 Arena – Philadelphia, PA
Promoters: Main Events, Peltz Boxing Promotions Inc. & BAM Boxing Inc.
Coverage: NBC Sports Network
Commentators: Kenny Rice, BJ Flores, Chris Mannix & Larry Hazzard
Ring Announcer: Joe Antonacci
Referee: Gary Rosato & Shawn Clark

Steve “USS” Cunningham was three years away from earthly existence when Blade—Vampire hunter and Black super-hero— made his first appearance in Marvel Comics’ The Tomb of Dracula #10 in July 1973. As a student at Germantown High School Cunningham developed and honed his talent for drawing. A comic book connoisseur and voracious reader he noticed that there weren’t enough superheroes that shared his ethnic origin jumping out of the pages of these graphic novels. He drew and developed characters that looked like him and today USS Comics is alive with heroes and memorable villains.

Cunningham (L.) connecting to Visinias midsection.

Cunningham (L.) connecting to Visinia’s midsection.

Allow me to add another super-hero to USS Comics—Steel Cunningham—born and raised in the badlands of the city that lies between the shadows of New York and the nation’s capital. Rising from the Concrete Jungle under the tutelage of the famed pugilistic professor—Brother Nazim Richardson—Steel annihilates men twice his size in search of the IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles. Whenever his name is mentioned champions get quieter and contenders tend to become milder —no they never get Wilder.

And tonight in the scheduled ten-round main event Cunningham (27 wins – 6 losses – 0 draws – 12 kos) was at a 73 lbs. weight disadvantage against the 278 lbs. Samoan giant Natu “The Truth” Visinia (10 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 8 kos) of Clinton, Illinois.
I had been informed that it was Visinia who called Main Events and requested Cunningham as his next opponent. It is worth noting that Cunningham was undefeated (19 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 10 kos) when Visinia was first introduced to the sweet science in 2006—as a football player at Southern Illinois University. He began boxing to stay in shape.

Joining the professional ranks in March 27, 2009, Visinia knocked out eight of his opponents in the opening round and has never fought beyond the sixth stanza. In his last fight on May 17th he defeated John Bolden by unanimous six-round decision. Despite the disparity in experience, he was confident that he would best the Philadelphian. It was easy to surmise that Visinia and his handlers assumed that a tremendous size advantage would more than compensate for the 23 fight differential between him and the former two-time cruiserweight champion. He was taking a monumental leap in quality of opposition and rounds—having never fought in a scheduled eight rounder!

Cunningham (R.) maintaining control.

Cunningham (R.) maintaining control.

David slew Goliath with a sling and a stone—Samson killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. And, Cunningham brought down Visinia with a jab, perpetual motion and body shots. From the onset, his strategy was evident as he worked behind his 82 inch jab which found its mark on his opponent’s cranium and midsection. Visinia had some success in the second stanza when he pinned Cunningham on the ropes and landed a few hard body shots that sounded like a truck tire being struck with a sledge hammer. But Cunningham absorbed the punches like a catcher’s mitt stopping the momentum of a 100 mph fastball. Like a man of steel, he never flinched.

The fight set into a familiar pace as Cunningham used lateral movement switching to southpaw when cornered creating enough confusion to change direction and resume his methodical dismantling of the gloved Sherman tank. By the fourth round Visinia’s lips were carmine as blood filled his mouth. But, he never took a backwards step as he pursued Cunningham like Iceberg Slim hell-bent on recruiting a curvaceous 25-year-old in an unemployment line. Referee Rosato awarded Visinia a knockdown in the fifth round when it appeared that Cunningham’s fall was compliments of a push and not a punch.

In the sixth round Cunningham continued wearing down the big man who was spitting blood, his face swelling rapidly. Visinia attempted to bait Cunningham in a slugfest by yelling “Come on!” as the fans chanted “USS, USS!” There was no need to gamble and the smaller boxer continued chipping away at the massive Samoan landing an overhand right that froze the giant in his tracks momentarily—probably his hardest punch of the fight. It was evident in the seventh round that the Fat Lady was in the rafters clearing her throat as Visinia was bleeding profusely from the mouth and his face swollen. Still resilient and defiant, he again invited Cunningham to “Come on!” But, the Philadelphian wasn’t taking the bait and resumed slamming Visinia with jabs and a hard right at the bell.

Before commencement of the eighth round referee Rosato was informed that Visinia was finished for the night and would stay in his corner. Steel Cunningham had vanquished another massive foe. The fight was officially over at 3:00 of round seven and Cunningham declared the winner.

There is an art to developing a professional boxer. It is a rebuttable presumption that Philadelphia junior-middleweight Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson’s handlers did him a great disservice and caused him irreparable harm by pursuing and capturing a record—19 consecutive first-round knockouts—matching the talented and gifted boxer against cadavers and cab drivers. Brunson made his debut on April 22, 2005 and never made it out of the opening stanza winning his first nineteen by knockout. Unfortunately, his growth was thwarted as these fights stunted his development as a legitimate contender.

In his 20th bout on August 15, 2008 Brunson was held to a majority draw by Antonio Soriano a fighter with a pedestrian record of 12 wins – 9 losses – 1draw – 9 kos, having being stopped in five of his nine losses.

Perez (L.) landing the left jab on Brunson

Perez (L.) landing the left jab on Brunson.

Since his world-record knockout streak Brunson is 3 wins – 2 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko. His one knockout was in his last outing on June 1st in the Dominican Republic—a first round stoppage of winless Jansel Mateo (0 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws). Recently signed by manager Mark Cipparone’s 1957 Club Management Brunson would be fighting for the first time under his new banner against tough, battle-tested Decarlo “3 Mendo” Perez (12 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 4 kos) of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was an intriguing bout because there were many unanswered questions about Brunson’s punching power and will to win in the face of adversity. What would happen if Perez made it out of the early rounds and was bearing down on Brunson?

The opening round was tactical as Perez came forward and the athletic Brunson used his jab while moving to keep his opponent at a distance. No one gained a competitive advantage except a feel for the rhythm, timing and spacing of the other. Brunson landed a good left hook before the bell that probably gave him the nod on the judges’ scorecards.

Brunson (L.) lands the left hook.

Brunson (L.) lands the left hook.

Living up to his moniker, Brunson pinned Perez on the ropes at the beginning of the second round and unloaded every conceivable punch from his arsenal that had many believing that the end of the fight was imminent. Perez was doing his best to dodge most of the barrage and was alert to throw a punch as soon as referee Clark was moving in to stop the bout—letting him know that his head was above water and he wasn’t drowning. Allow me to digress for pedagogical reasons. Perez having overcome great adversity knows how to survive when hurt. Brunson despite his nineteen knockouts never learned how to finish a fighter. The key to scoring a knockout is placing precise shots to the body and head instead of flailing away with punches in hope of landing a knockout blow or the referee stepping in to call a halt. Brunson was grossly inaccurate as most of his punches missed their mark and Perez bobbed and weaved and returned fire intermittently to survive.

Brunson shot his load after thirty seconds of blasting away with bad intentions in the hope of decapitating his adversary. Perez got off the rope and out of danger and began driving shots to Brunson’s midsection. The Atlantic City fighter had made it through the eye of the storm and was in control as the bell concluded the round.

In the next round Perez changed strategy and boxed from the outside sticking a jab and moving. He was forcing Brunson to use his legs—taking him out of his comfort zone. Perez caught Brunson with a straight right that shook him up. But the Philly fighter righted the ship and continued pursuing. The fight continued at the same tempo in the fourth round and it was evident that Brunson was tiring. In the fifth round Perez reverted to his initial strategy and commenced to stalking Brunson who tried to keep his distance. With about a minute remaining in the round Perez landed a hard right that forced Brunson to hold. He then positioned Brunson on the ropes and uncorked combinations to the head and body with precision and accuracy. The Philadelphian attempted to bob and weave bending at the waist taking punishment never throwing a punch as referee Clark called a halt to save him from further damage. Perez was declared the winner by technical knockout at 2:29

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, Edner Cherry would have no luck at all” stated promoter J. Russell Peltz at Thursday’s press conference. Cherry’s last loss was by 12-round unanimous decision to then WBC junior-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley on September 13, 2008. In nine fights since that loss, Cherry has posted 8 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 no contest – 5 knockouts. To put things into perspective, during this 6 year- span Pound for Pound King Floyd “Money” Mayweather is one bout behind Cherry with eight fights. Cherry (32 wins – 6 losses – 2 draws – 17 kos) has been sidelined for over six months since he suffered a cut in his last fight at Temple’s Liacouras Center on April 4th. I am not privy to the inner-workings of Cherry’s brain trust but I doubt if his inactivity can be attributed solely to bad luck. That would be tantamount to claiming that Mayweather’s success at the box-office is happenstance. It is inexplicable that a talent such a Cherry has been routinely shelved over the course of his career.

Cherry (L.) attacking Akaba.

Cherry (L.) attacking Akaba.

Sporting dark sunglasses at the press conference, Cherry’s opponent southpaw Osumanu Akaba (31 wins – 6 losses – 1 draw – 24 knockouts) of Accra, Ghana looked like he walked off the set of a James Bond movie. The southpaw spoke with the confidence and cadence of a foreign diplomat, “I don’t have much to say. I am trying to prove to America that I am the best.” Akaba’s brevity was only rivaled by Cherry’s honesty. The man nicknamed “Cherry Bomb”—during our brief interview—told me that “this guy is in the way and I have to move him. I am on a mission—I need to care for my family.”

Both Akaba and Cherry were tentative in the opening stanza of their scheduled 10-round junior-lightweight bout. There was more action in the honeymoon suite of newly wed octogenarians than what transpired in the first three minutes of this bout. However, the action heated up in the second round as they decided to trade punches. During one of these exchanges a Cherry left hook bomb crashed off the top of Akaba’s cranium disrupting his equilibrium sending him to the canvas. Slightly stunned the Ghanaian was up before referee Clark could reach the count of three. The action resumed and another hook dropped Akaba who made it to a standing position at the count of four and was allowed to continue. Immediately, Cherry seized the opportunity and bounced a combination off Akaba’s dome sending him backwards as referee Clark jumped in to save the falling pugilist from further punishment. Cherry continued his win streak by technical knockout at 2:15—making a statement and sending a message to all of the junior-lightweight world champions.

I doubt if I have written more about any fighters as much as I have covered Victor “The Fighting Barber” Vasquez. Over the years the Philly lightweight has been the biggest single draw in the City of Brotherly Love—selling more tickets than world champions and contenders. He is a true gladiator who doesn’t care who he faces. Schedule King Kong and Vasquez will be there ready to topple the giant.

To say fans love Vasquez is an understatement. His fan base is comprised of grandmothers, grandfathers, teenagers, kids, toddlers, lawyers, doctors, construction workers, judges, barbers, bus drivers, police officers, boxers, hairdressers, etc. I have even seen stray dogs and cats at the back of the venues barking and meowing during Vasquez’s fights!

Tonight after a six-month hiatus Vasquez (16 wins – 9 losses – 1 draws – 7 kos) graced the squared circle in an all-Philly match-up in a six-round junior-welterweight bout against the supremely talented, but rarely in top shape Gerald Smith (3 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 1 ko). Smith made his professional debut on December 7, 2007 at The Legendary Blue Horizon and was undefeated after his third fight on June 6, 2008 before taking an almost six-year retirement. He would return on March 29th suffering his first loss—a four-round unanimous decision against undefeated Wellington Romero.

Vasquez (L.) lands the  left hook.

Vasquez (L.) lands the left hook.

As Smith waited in the ring the house speakers blared:

Nineteen ninety, Chubb Rock jumps upon the scene
With a lean and a pocket full of green
The green doesn’t symbolize I made it on the top
But Robo Cop last year was a shock
The tone of the Popeye cut shook your butt
Kids are screaming, the media says
“What kind of music is this for you to dance to?”
The man with the plan and the man demands you
And Vasquez strolled out of his dressing room rhythmically walking to Chubb Rock’s “Treat ‘em Right” amidst his entourage like a conquering hero entering the gates of the Roman Coliseum. I was tempted to stand on the press row table and commence dancing but instead, “I chilled.”

Vasquez (L.) landing a straight right.

Vasquez (L.) lands the straight right.

Vasquez took the opening round stalking and landing to the body as the slick-boxing Smith delivered quick jabs. Vasquez was busier and caught his opponent on the ropes with a rapid fire combination to the body. In the second stanza, Vasquez continued his body work and was winning the round when Smith caught him a split-second before the bell with a vicious hook that sent him headfirst into the ropes which kept him upright. Referee Rosato rightfully registered a knockdown and gave Vasquez an eight-count and the fighter made it to his corner. Smith’s success was ephemeral as Vasquez won the remaining rounds with a good body attack and constant pressure. He out-worked and out-landed his opponent who showed glimpses of his former self as he demonstrated good hand speed and lateral movement. No surprise as Vasquez captured a unanimous decision by scores of 59-55 and 58-55 twice.

Other Results: Writer Ryan “Macho” Bivins dropped his pen to cover a fight from an enviable position—inside the squared circle. No, he wasn’t the referee— he was one of the gloved combatants. Yes, Bivins, a Temple University graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, made his debut in a four-round light-heavyweight match against fellow debuting pugilist Darryl “The Red Nose Pit Bull” Gause of Vineland, New Jersey. Bivins won the opening round working behind his jab sticking and moving despite Gause connecting with a good left hook. Gause pressed the action and captured the remaining rounds by outworking Bivins capturing a unanimous decision by scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37.

Welterweight Anthony “Put ‘Em Down” Prescott (4 wins – 3 losses – 2 draws – 2 kos) of Cherry Hill, New Jersey won a unanimous four-round decision over Philadelphia’s Anthony Abbruzzese (3 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 2 kos) 39-37 on all scorecards. Prescott won the opening round but was in dire straits in the second stanza from a wicked left hook from Abbruzzese followed by combinations from his arsenal. Prescott was able to hold for survival and outworked his nemesis in the subsequent rounds to earn a well-deserved decision.
Southpaw junior-middleweight Robert Sweeney (2 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 0 kos) of Sicklerville, New Jersey was impressive in capturing a unanimous four-round decision by scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37 over tough Roberto Lopez (4 wins – 7 losses – 2 draws – 1 ko) of Vineland, New Jersey. Sweeney demonstrated the art of body punching as he delivered many shots to Lopez’s ribcage and midsection. It was an exciting action-packed bout as they exchanged on several occasions in the middle of the ring.

Steel Cunningham is widely respected by his peers. And as to be expected, the Justice League of USS Comics—comprised of many of Philadelphia’s contenders and prospects—packed the building forcing me to script the following: Fred Jenkins Jr. told Da Truth to The Mouthpiece and you can Take it to the Bank because he said that it was Hard Work for the Ultimate Warrior and J. Rock—who got in The Tank—to hunt Big Foot that mythical giant who roamed the wilderness like an Outlaw!

Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!

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 (L-R) Hanson, Khalib "Big Foot" Whitmore, Garrett "The Ultimate Warrior" Wilson, Joey "The Tank" Dawejko, Jamaal "Da Truth" Davis, Julian "J-Rock" Williams, Eric "Outlaw" Hunter, Fred Jenkins Jr., Jesse "Hard Work" Hart and Derrick "Take it to the Bank" Webster.

(L-R) Hanson, Khalib “Big Foot” Whitmore, Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson, Joey “The Tank” Dawejko, Jamaal “Da Truth” Davis, Julian “J-Rock” Williams, Eric “Outlaw” Hunter, Fred Jenkins Jr., Jesse “Hard Work” Hart and Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster.

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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