|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY April 19, 2012||
OCASIO & SOSA IN ARMORY REMATCH
Lightweights Angel Ocasio and Jason Sosa are set to give their rivalry another go on Friday night (April 20) in the main event of Greg Robinson's Power Productions latest offering at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philly. The pair met in January at the same venue for the same promoter in what was expected to be a real grudge fight over six rounds.
That initial bout started well, with both boxers digging in and making a stand, but after a couple of rounds, the action slowed and the grudge seemed to fall away. After six rounds, two of the three official judges scored it even. So the fight was declared a draw, setting up an obvious rematch.
This time Ocasio and Sosa are scheduled to fight eight rounds with their bout elevated to the very top of the nine or ten bout card. As a sweetener, the fight will also be for the USBC lightweight title. The winner leaves with the rematch bragging rights and shinny new belt.
The last time out, Ocasio appeared to be the better fighter. Sosa was tough but could not match Angel's speed or skills. To be fair, Sosa seemed affected by the first-round head butt that opened a cut over his eye and by his account affected his vision for a few rounds.
"After the head butt, I couldn't see for three rounds," Sosa said in his strained high-pitched voice at Monday's press conference. "I didn't say anything to my corner, but after about three rounds, I got my vision back and was able to get back in the fight."
Although he was clearly affected by the accidental clash of heads, from ringside it seemed that Sosa's late rally occurred because Ocasio tired badly at about the fight's mid-point.
Angel, coming off perhaps his best showing - wipeout of Rasool Shakoor five months before - may have taken the 4-1-1 Sosa lightly. Ocasio's fight began falling apart once his wind started to betray him. The fade was exactly what the hard pressing Sosa needed to make his run in the fight. He got aggressive and Ocasio had problems keeping the Camden fighter off him. Still I thought Ocasio did enough to edge Sosa after six rounds.
The questions that surround every rematch are 1) will it live up to the first fight and 2) which fighter will make the necessary adjustments to do better.
The first question has a simple answer. The rematch should easily be better than the first fight. The first fight fell short of expectations in my opinion. What that first fight needed was a couple more rounds to really push matters to a clear-cut resolution. If it was an 8-rounder, things might have been different. Let's hope that their familiarity encourages the fighters to pick it up right where they left off. The extra two rounds, main event status, and the fact that a minor belt is up for grabs should give the fighters plenty to fight for.
As for which fighter will make the proper adjustments, I have to go with Ocasio. His skills are sharper than Sosa's, and he'd be crazy to come into the fight in anything less than great condition. He knows that Sosa is tough and can fight a grinding battle.
If the photos that the 6-0-1 (1 KO) Ocasio has been posting on Facebook are any indication, he appears to be in terrific shape. Although muscles don't always translate into boxing shape, I think this time they might.
Somewhere, there is a good fight between these two. Don't buy the hype about the first fight. It wasn't great, but the rematch can be. Both fighters are warmed up and should be ready to go, and it could very well be a good one.
The semi-windup features bantamweight Miguel Cartagena, 4-0 (3 KO), in a six-rounder against Jose Rivera, 3-5-2 (0 KO). There is some question as to whether it will be Rivera or some other fighter that gets into the ring with Miguel (below). The truth is, it doesn't matter. This is a spotlight fight for Philly's Cartagena, a world class amateur just getting revved up as a pro. Whomever steps in with him Friday night is likely to be dispatched fairly quickly. This guy is that good, and he is not yet in the "true test" phase of his young career. This is another chance for him to show off his skills and build a fan base. I'll be there eating it up. I think Cartagena will eventually take Philly boxing fans on a great ride up the rankings. So let's enjoy these early days of his career for what they are.
Three more six-rounders are scheduled. Kensington heavyweight Joey Dawejko, 6-0-1 (2 KO), returns from a six-round draw in Chicago to face Excell Holmes, 2-0-1 (1 KO), of Buffalo. Dawejko is a talented young fighter who needs to keep active. This will be his third fight of the year, already making 2012 his busiest year so far - and it's only April. Dawejko is always shorter than his opponents, and the streak continues with Holmes. But when he's on, Dawejko is one of the slickest heavyweights you'll see.
Jamaican cruiserweight Vernon July, 10-0-2 (4 KO), returns to Philly to face Jaywon Woods, 9-1-1 (5 KO) in an appealing six round bout. July, now fighting out of Maryland, impressed fans on his last visit about a year ago. Woods, a Virginian now fighting here, won at the Armory in January. This match has the makings of a show-stealer.
Although Tim Witherspoon Jr. is scheduled to fight a six round lightweight bout, he is still without an opponent. Chances are his fight will be scratched Friday night. He was at the press conference Monday, but with a little more than 24 hours to go, no opponent may be preferable to anyone they might throw in with him at this point. Witherspoon had the fight of the night in the last Armory / Power show. Although he lost to Tevin Farmer by six round decision that night, it was a memorable match that was perhaps Witherspoon's most entertaining showing so far. Witherspoon has a record of 6-2-1 (2 KO). Bet the house that his record is exactly the same on Saturday morning. [Note: publicist Kurt Wolfheimer assures me that Witherspoon has an opponent.]
Five scheduled four-round fights round out the card.
Likeable Philadelphia super middleweight Brian Donohue (right), 2-1 (0 KO), continues his comeback from major personal hurdles Friday night to face John Bowman, 1-0-1 (0 KO) of Dover, DE. This will be Donohue's second fight back after a six year hiatus from boxing that included drug addiction and homelessness. After what he's been through, boxing must feel like a piece of cake.
Shuler Gym heavyweight Georgiy Guralnik, 2-0 (1 KO), takes on Canadian Taffo Asongwed, 2-10-7 (0 KO). Taffo, who has fought in the area a few times recently, doesn't usually win, but he always provides a good test. Nicknamed "The Chemist", Guralnik (left), may not need his college chemistry degree Friday night, but he will have to be on his game to add his name to the list of fighters who've beaten Asongwed.
In an all-Philly welterweight bout, Saud Clark (below) makes his pro debut against Tyrell Boggs, 0-4. The hard-luck Boggs is still looking for his first pro win.
Super middleweight Isiah Seldon, the son of former heavyweight champ Bruce Seldon, puts his undefeated, 6-0 (3 KO) record on the line against Randy Campbell, 3-9 (2 KO), of Ohio. Seldon, Somers Point, NJ, fights in Philly for the first time.
The last bout features out-of-towner Travis Peterkin, 4-0 (3 KO), a Brooklyn light heavyweight against a fighter yet to be named.
Rumored to attend the fights Friday night are Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez and his legend-in-the-making son Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Supposedly they will be in Philly to promote an energy drink product they endorse. If they come, it will add quite a bit of glitter to the evening.
Tickets will be available at the door.