PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             June 04, 2010


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On a sweltering June night at the Blue Horizon, rising super middleweight Farah Ennis was the only one present who didn't break a sweat in the oppressive heat of the legendary arena. As the temperature soared to well over 100 degrees, Ennis consumed his opponent in less than one minute with the same powerful burst that he displayed his last time out in the same ring.

On paper, his fight against Steve Walker of Hannibal, MO looked like it very well might be a quickie. But Ennis was clearly in a hurry to get out of the heat. On second thought, perhaps it was Walker who was in the hurry. After a brief circling, Ennis landed a looping right hand upstairs that Walker managed to block. But that didn't stop him from toppling over from the blow's force. He did manage to rise, but was quickly back on the canvas with Farah's next flurry. It did not seem like the actual punches were the deciding factor. It was more like Walker had sized up his poor chances after feeling Ennis' power and just decided to call it a night.

As he knelt in a neutral corner, referee Gary Rosato waved the fight to an end with a disgusted look on his face. As the commission doctor rushed into the ring nervously, Rosato's expression told him to take his time. The message was clear - Walker just quit. The time was just 56 seconds of round one. Walker walked out with a record of 24-25. It was the 21st time he was stopped. The undefeated Ennis improved his record to 14-0 with 8 KOs.

I can't say that the brevity of the fight was much of a disappointment. After sitting through four preliminaries that each went their four-round limit, the heat was making everybody anxious to go. Even the usually talkative Vernoca Michael, promoter and owner of the Blue, kept it mercifully brief on this night, cutting short her 65th birthday celebration.

Following the Ennis blowout, Philly featherweight Coy Evans took a unanimous decision over hard-as-nails Babaro Zepeda in their six-round co-feature bout. Zepeda came in just 9-21-2, but he had only been stopped once in his career. Although there were moments when it looked like Evans might get a KO, Zepeda was just too tough to fall.

Much of the bout was waged at close quarters. Evens showed good body work and took every round in the fight. He hurt Zepeda as early as round two, but it was clear he wasn't going anywhere. The fifth round was closer than the rest, but Evans still won it by being busier and sharper.


Finally in the sixth and final round, Evans managed to drop the Chicago brawler, but Zepeda dutifully got up and kept fighting. Evans almost put him down again before the last bell, but Zepeda proved that he is a real survivor.

All three judges (Robert Grasso, Rose Vargas & Pierre Benoist) scored the fight the same: 59-54 for Evans. The unanimous decision raised Coy's record to 9-0-1 with 2 KOs.  

The night started with a four round jr. middleweight bout between Philly's "Dangerous" Darrell Jones and southpaw Marcus Hall of Rochester, NY. I thought Jones ran away with the fight. He looked especially good in the third round when he landed some beautiful shots including a showy straight right hand. Hall fired back well and landed a hard right hook. Jones took it well and resumed his attack.

In the end, I felt Jones had taken every round. The official scores were a little different. Judge Joe Pasquale had it even at 38-38. Rose Vargas gave all four rounds to Jones (40-36), and Robert Grasso scored it 39-37 for Jones. The win brought Jones to 4-0 with 1 KO. Hall fell to 3-2 with 2 KOs.

Next up, southpaw Keenan Smith of Philadelphia won his second professional start with a unanimous decision over Rafael Montes of Lawrence, MO. It was a faced-paced fight. "Killa Keen" swung freely from his wide-legged stance. In the second, he started throwing and landing flashy power punch leads. In the third round Smith showcased his uppercuts, spearing Montes repeatedly from underneath. Late in the fourth and final round, Smith almost dropped Montes on two occasions. However, a tough Montes stayed on his feet. Smith took all four rounds. Two of the three judges (Pierre Benoist and Joe Pasquale agreed, 40-36. Rose Vargas scored it 39-37, giving Montes one round. Smith left 2-0, while Montes evened out at 1-1.

Female jr. middleweights Olivia Fonseca, North Philly, and lefty Akima Stocks of Newark, NJ waged a thrilling war over four two-minute rounds. Stocks came away with the victory by majority decision. Stocks clearly won the first round, but Fonseca rallied back for the remainder of the fight. Every time Stocks landed, Fonseca fired back. She dug down deep and fought a gritty fight. I thought she did enough to win a 39-37 nod. But the officials had it the other way. Robert Grasso saw it 38-38, while Joe Pasquale liked Stocks 39-37, and Pierre Benoist saw it 40-36. So Akima Stocks came away 4-0 with 3 KOs. Fonseca evened out her record, 3-3-2 with 2 KOs, but it was a good performance - one of her most entertaining. Olivia came away with an ugly knot of swelling at her left temple. The egg-sized lump started to rise in round two and just kept getting bigger as the fight progressed. Fonseca was bigger and stronger. She was able to push Stocks around, but Akima was the harder puncher. And it showed on Olivia's face.

The final preliminary was another four rounder. Lightweight Van Oscar Penovaroff of Kailua Kona, Hawaii won every round en route to a unanimous decision over Philadelphia's Kywame Hill. He caught Hill off balance with a stiff jab that put him down. Later in the same round, Penovaroff hurt Hill with a right. A tired Hill held and bought time in round three, and offered little more in the last round. The official scores were all for Penavaroff. Pierre Benoist had 40-35 (as did I). Robert Grasso and Rose Vargas both scored it 39-36. Hill left 1-4-1. Penovaroff stayed undefeated at 6-0-1 with 4 KOs.

The ring announcer was Larry Tournambe. The alternate referee was Vic de Wysocki. In attendance was Al "Ice" Cole, Kevin Johnson, Khalil Farah, Tommie Speller, and Simon "One Punch" Carr who has traded his boxing career for one as CEO of his Punchline clothing company. Darrell Jones wore a pair of trunks from the line.

The Blue Horizon goes quiet for the remainder of the summer, returning Friday September 10th.



Sixty miles away from the sweltering Blue Horizon, the other boxing show of the evening played out at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino, presumably in heavenly air conditioning. By all accounts of the fight, it was a terrific battle. Chuck Mussachio took the ten-round decision over Tony Ferrante in a thrilling contest by unanimous scores of 96-94, 97-93 & 98-92.

Mussachio jumped out to an early lead and built upon it as the fight progressed. But Ferrante fought back hard and nearly pulled the upset in round nine when, behind on the cards, the Northeast Philly fighter hurt Mussachio. Ferrante tried to capitalize in the final round, but ran out of time. By the end, the faces of both boxers told the story of this fight. It apparently was a real beauty. With the victory, Mussachio took the World Boxing Foundation belt that Ferrante won last summer. It sounds like these two guys should do it again in the future.




John DiSanto - North Philly - June 04, 2010