Fight night, spars and jabs
We’ve got a long list of spars and jabs to get to today in Lovey Land in the world of boxing, so let’s get it on. First, Thursday night was the 19th annual “Fight Night” charity event at the Washington Hilton ballroom, and it did not disappoint. The economy may be in the tank, but there is still fuel enough for a roomful of powerful men drinking, smoking cigars and being hosted by hundreds of beautiful models.
Excess is still alive and well, and raised a lot of money for Fight for Children, the nonprofit association that raises money for education and health care for low-income children in Washington. One donation came from the government of the United Arab Emirates — $500,000. The list of boxing legends who were on hand included Joe Frazier, Jake LaMotta, Gerry Cooney, Aaron Pryor, Earnie Shavers, Buster Douglas, Michael Spinks, Ernie Terrell and Ray Mancini. Brooks Robinson, Bob Feller and Dick Butkus were also in attendance. The musical act was called Blood Sweat & Tears, but, without David Clayton Thomas. Let’s face it, they might as well been called Manny, Moe and Jack without the lead singer who is so closely identified with the band.
The Washington Nationals were a big presence at the event. Owner Mark Lerner, fellow owner and team president Stan Kasten were there, as well as manager Manny Acta and three of his players — Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes (who did not show up earlier in the day at the ESPN Zone to unveil the Nationals new uniforms because of a last-minute scheduling conflict, according to team officials. There was also a Washington Nationals chopper cycle auctioned off, as well as a ticket package for National games, that included a trip to Houston on the team charter when the Nationals play the Astros in 2009. The ticket package was valued at $50,000. It went for $35,000. Not a good sign.
The Redskins had a presence of sorts — the Washington Redskins cheerleaders, who put on a dance show in the ring that would have made Ben Rothlisberger pass out. The only thing missing from the routine was a pole in the ring. The fight card was short — just three bouts —but two of them were good battles, very competitive. Junior welterweight Bayan Jargal — “The Mongolian Mongoose” — from Arlington stopped Doel Carrasquillo of Lancaster, Pa., in the eighth and final round, though the fight should not have been stopped. Carrasquillo went down but got right up and said he could have continued, and it sure seemed that way.
And in the other co-feature, Joshua Snyder and John Mackey fought to a six-round decision draw — another poor call. Snyder dominated the fight and should have won the decision. It was not a banner day for District boxing officials. The worst, though, came in the opening fight, Henry Mayes from Baltimore faced Willis Lockett from Takoma Park, and in the first round, Mayes nailed Lockett with a hard right hand. Lockett stumbled, and his legs were shaky, but never went down. Mayes should have had the chance to go in and finish Lockett off, but referee Billy Johnson stepped in and called a standing eight count. There is no such thing as a standing eight count under District boxing rules, though. Johnson’s interference gave Lockett a chance to recover, and he came back in the second round to batter Mayes, and Johnson stopped the fight at 1:34 of the second round, an apparent victory for Lockett. But Mayes’ cornere protested because of the standing eight count that should have never happened, and later District boxing officials ruled the right a no contest.
This is one of the reasons that while live boxing shows are flourishing in the suburbs around the District, but not in the city — the haphazard way the business of boxing is conducted by the city’s boxing commission.
Show Place Show
Tonight — Friday — promoter Bobby Macgruder is putting on a live boxing show at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. The main event will be an eight-round heavyweight bout between Horace Grant (12-2, seven knockouts) of Bowie and Robert Davis (32-8, 20 knockouts). Also on the show is undefeated rising heavyweight Seth Mitchell (7-0-1, four knockouts) facing off against Dan Whetzel (9-14-2, five knockouts) of Toledo, Ohio. Also, Boone Pultz (35-2, 15 knockouts) of Odenton will square off against Maurice Winslow (1-7-1, one knockout) in a four-round bout, plus several other matches.
Bernard Hopkins on Jones-Calzaghe
Bernard Hopkins, fresh off his stunning victory over Kelly Pavlik, will be watching Saturday night’s pay-per-view fight between Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones, Jr., at Madison Square Garden. He has a rooting interest for his pocketbook. A Jones victory could mean the long-awaited rematch between Hopkins and Jones, who defeated Hopkins in a unanimous decision to win the middleweight championship in a show at RFK Stadium in 1993.
“I think if Roy Jones does what I think he will do, Joe will have to fight differently this time,” Hopkins said in a conference call with reporters earlier this weeki. “Roy has been saying he will fight differently. He is fast and can hurt you….I think Roy Jones wins by unanimous decision.”
The only way Jones will win, though, is if he is willing to take some chances and take some punishment to dish it out. He doesn’t like getting hit, and hasn’t shown the heart to come back in the ring when he is taking a beating, like he did against Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. As far as Hopkins-Jones II, if it ever does happen, unfortunately, it will be about 10 years too late from when it should have happened.
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Friday, Nov. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com