PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                            July 27, 2012


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By John DiSanto


Hank Lundy lost his NABF lightweight title by 10-round majority decision to Raymundo Beltran Friday night at Resorts in Atlantic City. The nationally televised upset not only left Lundy without his North American belt, it likely bumped him from his #1 spot atop the WBC 135-pound rankings and derailed his chance to challenge for a world title later this year. In the 10-round co-feature, super middle-weight Farah Ennis beat Richard Pierson with a solid workmanlike performance to win his first televised fight and improve his record to 20-1.

For the switch-hitting Lundy, the timing of this his second profes-sional defeat could not have come at a worse time. Recently his world rating had been upgraded to the top spot under WBC champion Antonio DeMarco, and a title shot for the South Philadelphian seemed imminent. However, the surprise loss will force Lundy to regroup and rebuild his career momentum. 

The fight itself was a close action packed contest, and there were plenty of questions about the final verdict. The best round of the fight was the third when a bleeding Beltran first bullied Lundy to the ropes and landed serious shots that hurt the contender. His work with Lundy against the ropes became the key to the fight for Beltran.

As round three wound down, Beltran staggered Lundy with a combination. But Lundy was no wallflower in the fight. Hammerin Hank swung back just before the bell and landed his own hard right hand that staggered Beltran backwards. The Mexican tough guy refused to go down from the blow as Lundy cleared his head against the ropes. The bell to end the round sounded and probably prevented the fight from reaching a sudden conclusion - one way or the other. 

In round four, the pattern continued with Beltran forcing Lundy to the ropes and doing good work. Lundy avoided the big punches that caught him in the previous round, but he was still giving ground. By the end of the round, the bout was even on my scorecard.

Lundy got back into the groove in round five but the fight was not easy. He was being hit far too often and by the end of the round had reverted again to the ropes where Beltran was able to do his best work.

At this point observers began wondering if Lundy's need to drop a couple pounds the day before the fight was taking its toll on him. After weighing in heavy on Thursday, Lundy needed a stint in the sauna to eventually make the lightweight limit. He managed to make weight after a couple of tries, but it may have cost him. It seemed he was not in top shape for this fight.

Usually far busier and energetic in the ring, Lundy fought hard all night but seemed to lack that usual explosive quality that has marked so many of his recent fights. This Lundy had all of the skill and speed, but lacked the same strength. And without that strength, the second half of the fight would be a challenge for Hank.

Lundy did well in rounds six and seven, doing his best to work from the ropes, and counter punching many of Beltran's shots. But Lundy could not effectively channel Wilfred Benitez with his tactics and took enough punches to make these rounds close - too close for comfort. Although Lundy was never again seriously hurt by Betran's punches, he was ceding the decision, slowly but surely.

In the final three rounds, Lundy's energy was sapped and Beltran managed to have the upper hand. All three rounds were close - especially the ninth - but with Lundy's back on the ropes and Beltran punching and pressing the champion, the title was changing hands before our eyes.

The decision probably swung on round nine. If you gave the session to Lundy, your scorecard probably had him the overall winner six rounds to four. However, if you favored Beltran in the ninth, your card was likely even. I waffled back and forth with respect to the winner of the ninth, and my card reflected it.

The official scores seemed to go the same way. Judge Barbara Perez called it a 95-95 draw, but Ron McNair and John Poturai turned in cards favoring Beltran 96-94, or six rounds to 4.

The victory improved Beltran's record to 26-6 with 17 KOs, and earned him yet another regional title belt. Best known as the prime sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao, Beltran may be finally stepping into the spotlight himself. This was a solid win for the veteran boxer. 

Lundy fell to 22-2-1 with 11 KOs. The loss may have killed his chances for an immediate title shot or a big faceoff with Adrian Broner, whispers of which were circulating Friday night before the fight went the other way.

Unlike many fighters in his place might have done, Lundy took on the tough Beltran, instead of remaining idle until his title opportunity came. It may have been a miscalculation, but Lundy has proven that he wants to stay busy and fight the best. It's been his way, especially over the past few years. Perhaps this time however, he took his opponent lightly. But Lundy is a fighter, and should rebound from the setback quickly.

In the 10-round co-feature, Germantown's Farah Ennis scored his 20th career victory and for the first time, had his hand raised on national television. Anxious to look good before the ESPN2 viewers, Ennis started fast against Richard Pierson of Paterson, NJ, and took the first four rounds with a steady body attack, an effective uppercut, and heavy combination punching.

After a few rounds, it appeared that Ennis was on his way to a stoppage, but Pierson was tough and fought carefully.

Pierson staged a rally in rounds five and six when he outworked a suddenly quiet Ennis. Farah gave up his body attack during these rounds and allowed Pierson into the fight. Perhaps he was taking a breather, but Ennis let the fight change momentum, and it probably closed the window on the knockout. Pierson seemed more confident after these rounds, and it became clear that he would probably be around until the final bell.

Ennis was back in charge beginning in round seven, and showed a variety of skills. He slipped Pierson's incoming shots and countered well. Also Farah's jab started popping and contributed to his rally. By round eight, Ennis was back to his body attack, which helped set Pierson up for some good shots down the stretch.

Ennis' uppercuts began to land again, and a snappy 1-2 combo repeatedly found the mark. By the end of the fight, Pierson's eyes were swollen and he was way behind on the cards.

Judges Tony Perez and Luis Rivera scored it 98-92, while Shafeeq Rashada had it 99-91, all for Farah Ennis. My score was 98-92, or 8-2 in rounds.

The solid victory improved Farah's record to 20-1 (12 KO), and introduced him to a national TV  audience. At 29, Ennis appears to be making his move in the 168-pound division.

Pierson left with an 11-3 (8 KO) record, and snapped his win streak over Philly fighters. Pierson stopped Charles Hayward in his previous bout and also TKO'd Jamaal Davis back in 2008. He looked good against Ennis, but could not match his skills.

The evening began with a fast TKO by Ismael Garcia (pictured at right) over Kenneth Moody. The middleweight from Vineland, NJ, nailed Moody with a hard right hand. Garcia followed with another shot, and Moody turned away toward his corner, holding his right eye. Garcia jumped in and landed a few more punches before referee Sparkle Lee halted the bout at the 1:09 mark. The win improved Garcia's record to 4-0 with his first knockout. Moody, Virginia Beach, slipped to 2-4-2. All of his losses have been by KO.

In a four round war, junior welterweight Josh Mercado, Cape May, won an entertaining unanimous decision over Philadelphian Korey Sloane. Korey took the first round with his long reach and straight right hands, but the two-way action got underway shortly. 

Sloane continued to do well in round two until a rocket of a right hand by Mercado hurt him, and Sloane remained woozy for the final minute of the round.

By the third, Sloane looked tired but remained game, while Mercado stayed busy and landed many good shots.

In the final round, Mercado hurt Sloane again, and kept the pressure on him. Sloane spent much of the round in deep trouble but hung on until the final bell. Judges Perez and Rivera both scored 39-36, while Rashada scored 39-37. I agreed with Rashada's score.

After the two main fights, Atlantic City welterweight Anthony Young (pictured below left) remained undefeated, winning his sixth straight bout with a four round majority decision over Richard Andrews of Virginia. Judge Tony Perez had it even, 38-38, while Rivera and Rashada both  scored the  fight 39-37. Andrews fell to 3-2-3 (1 KO).

To call the fight between Philly bantamweight Miguel Cartagena and Jose "Chilli" Rivera the night's "walkout bout" would be an under-statement. When the NJ commission cut the scheduled six round bout to four rounds because of the length of the overall show and the late hour, Rivera walked out. When the announcement came, Rivera ducked back out through the ropes, stood on the ring apron, and refused to fight the shorter distance. After an argument and a near skirmish between the two corners, the fight was officially cancelled. It was a disappointment for Cartagena and his fans, who only expected the fight to last a couple of rounds anyway. It was the second time the pair were supposed to fight. Rivera opted out the first time too, cancelling a few days prior.

The show was promoted by Jimmy Burchfield's CES Boxing Promotions, and drew a near sellout crowd to the Superstar Theatre of Resorts Casino Hotel.




John DiSanto - Atlantic City - July 27, 2012

All Photos by Gary Purfield