|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY April 19, 2013||
Story by John DiSanto
Anthony Caputo Smith beat the odds and expectations that were against him in his 10-round main event with slick Dhafir Smith in a fight for the PA state light heavyweight title. Going into the bout, few gave Anthony, a KO victim in his last start, much of a chance against the seasoned Dhafir, but the Kennett Square scrapper came to fight and brought a ballroom full of fans along with him. After the 10 rounds were over, some ringsiders wondered if he had also brought the judges with him as well.
Caputo Smith won the verdict on two of the three official cards, while one judge scored the fight a draw. Therefore Caputo came away with the win and with Dhafir Smith's state title. It was a close fight, and the scores at ringside were all over the place. However, the charges by some, that this was an unfair decision, were unfounded. This fight was a hard fought and closely contested bout that probably could have gone either way.
West Philly's Dhafir Smith was the far better boxer. He possesses an excellent jab, and when he used it, controlled the fight. The problem for Dhafir was that he did not mount a consistent offense.
Caputo Smith is a crude brawler, but he pressed the action all night long. Further, most of the action took place with Dhafir up against the ropes. This helped Anthony win points with the judges - especially in close rounds.
Caputo was aggressive from the start, winning the first round while Dhafir warmed up. In the second, the Philadelphian woke up but still hung back on the ropes, picking his shots while Caputo swung for the fences. He didn't always land, but when he did, his cheering section went crazy.
The pattern of the fight took form early and continued most of the way. Dhafir jabbed and defended while Anthony pressured. After five rounds, I had the fight 3-2 for Caputo. However, a couple of these rounds were quite close.
In the second half of the fight the pattern persisted for a few rounds, with Caputo maintaining a slight edge by pressing the action. But as subtle as his attack was, Dhafir was also landing. His punches raised a bad swelling along the right eye of Caputo. It looked bad and distorted Anthony's face, but his vision was not impaired at all.
In the final two rounds, Dhafir fought with more urgency and swept those periods. The 10th was his best round of the evening. During those three minutes, Dhafir actively punched and landed often. But Caputo held his ground and fought back, even if he didn't come close to winning the round.
The 10th round showed everyone what the fight might have been if Dhafir had kept his pre-fight word and "stepped on the gas" a little. All night he fought in short spurts and allowed Caputo into the fight by fighting passively. Had he fought the other rounds like he did the 10th, Dhafir would have won the bout easily.
The official scores broke down like this: David Greer had it even, 95-95 (5 rounds apiece), and Alan Rubenstein & Dave Braswell both scored 96-94, or 6-4 in rounds, for Caputo Smith. My score was also 96-94 for Caputo.
"It felt good," Anthony said after the fight. "Dhafir Smith is a heck of a fighter. It was a war man. I give him all the credit, but I think I pulled it out with the pressure."
"I was sparring 16, 20 rounds," Anthony said. "He's a warrior. I'm a warrior. I'm not into this trash-talk. I don't like it. We're just fighters. I give all respect to him."
The large crowd at ringside was as thrilled with the decision as Dhafir Smith was angered by it. He has suffered a number of bad calls in the past, and he felt this one was as bad as any of those. The loss dropped his record to 26-24-7, 4 KOs.
"I thought I clearly won the fight," Dhafir said. "I thought this game was called boxing, and I put on a boxing clinic. I boxed his ears off. I don't understand it."
"I thought I put on a little domination here and there," Dhafir continued. "I just don't see how the guy won. He was good at aggression, but he wasn't doing anything. I was moving, I was boxing. It's called boxing."
Just par for the course in Dhafir's career, another hard-luck result that might have gone his way but did not. But he's been here before and will push on in his campaign to be the next Freddie Pendleton. Next up for Dhafir is another stint as a paid sparring partner, this time for Sakio Bika in St. Louis. After that he'll just keep doing what he does - fight when and where he can.
Dhafir's trainer Buster Custus was annoyed by the decision, but didn't sound very surprised at the result.
"A guy like him (Caputo), you're supposed to beat up real bad." Custus said. "He'd do it for a certain amount of time, but then he let the Bull get his turn. You don't give him no turns. When his turn comes up, you walk. You don't let him come back and throw 19 punches, and it's unanswered."
"The whole time his back was against the ropes," Custus continued. "But this is the way this guy fights. We were telling him to throw more punches, or they'd rob him again. But that is how he fights."
Anthony Caputo Smith returned to the win column and lifted his slate to 14-1, 10 KOs. However instead of planning his next step or first title defense, Caputo surprised everyone after the fight.
"To be honest, I was going to say this is it, my last fight," Anthony said. "I didn't really want to do it that much anymore because of the training camp. But if he wants another fight, we'll talk and see."
It turns out that Caputo Smith will soon be a father, and isn't sure there is room for boxing in his life.
"I'm having a baby and I work so much," he said. "I work six or seven days a week. I didn't know if I wanted to keep doing it. We'll just see how it plays out. I got nothing to prove to nobody. I got nothing to prove. I'm the one in the ring throwing my life on the line. It is what it is. I love boxing. It's a fun, great sport."
Certainly his fans hope to see him again in the ring, but if he does decide to hang up his gloves for good, he couldn't go out on a higher note.
In the 8-round semi-windup, jr. middleweight Decarlo Perez, of Atlantic City, fought the best fight of his career thus far, stopping the same tough Julius Kennedy who gave Harry Joe Yorgey such a difficult evening about one month ago. Kennedy should have been given the decision that night, but he could not repeat the effort against Perez.
Decarlo won every round before stopping Kennedy at 1:49 of round five. Perez boxed beautifully throughout the fight, effortlessly whipping his punches at Kennedy with force, and seeing everything that came back his way. Kennedy barely laid a glove on Perez through the first three rounds.
Beginning in round three, Perez really started stepping on the gas, and by the 4th, had Kennedy's right eye swelling shut, and the injury helped to slow him down and limit his vision. As the round wound down, Perez had Kennedy hurt, but Julius fought back by landing a hard left hook. The bell rang but the fighters continued to tussle.
In the 5th round, Kennedy trapped Perez in the corner. Julius scored with a good shot, but Perez spun and moved out of trouble. Then Perez lashed out, hurting Kennedy again. Julius struck back but was tiring badly. Perez seized the moment and threw a volley of heavy shots along the ropes. Kennedy took the punches, but referee Shawn Clark jumped in and stopped the fight.
The stoppage felt a fraction too quick, but this fight was clearly headed in Perez' direction, and soon. However, the fifth was probably the best round of the fight. Perez looked terrific, and Kennedy was doing everything he could to turn the tables.
Perez improved to 10-2-1, 4 KOs, and appeared to be on to a new career chapter. Kennedy, fell to 7-5-1, 3 KOs, and protested the stoppage as hard as he had fought. He continued to rage in the dressing room, feeling short-changed for a second straight time in the Philly area. This time however, there was no funny business. The referee was just protecting him from unnecessary punishment.
Entertaining Julio DeJesus won a 6-round majority decision over Ariel Duran in a junior welterweight fight. The fight was fairly close, but DeJesus generally got the better of things. Duran landed hard a few times, but DeJesus always had an answer. After the full six rounds, judges Alan Rubenstein and Dave Braslow scored the bout 58-56 for DeJesus, while David Greer saw the fight a 57-57 draw. My score was also 58-56 for DeJesus, who improved to 8-3-3, 4 KOs. Duran went home 7-4-1, 4 KOs.
In a 4-round battle of featherweight southpaws, Drew Aguilar made a successful pro debut with a unanimous decision over hard-luck accountant-boxer Arthur Parker. Parker made a fast and strong start, but seemed to tire as early as round one. Aguilar won every round and dropped Parker with a pair of body shots in the final round. The knockdown added an extra point to Aguilar's margin of victory, and really made the fight feel like a beat down. All three judges scored the bout 40-35 for Aguilar, 1-0. Parker slid to 1-10-1, 1 KO.
In the opening fight of the night, heralded amateur Damon Allen made his professional start with a 4th round TKO of Joseph Ahaamid, who was also debuting. Allen landed hard in round one but either opening night jitters, or something else, prevented him from taking out his overmatched foe early. Referee Shawn Clark helped him out by jumping in during the final round. Ahaamid didn't have a prayer of winning and was sporting a bloody nose, but never hit the canvas. The time was 1:25 of round four.
Allen, 1-0, 1 KO, posted his first win, and Ahaamid, 0-1, his first loss.
It was a packed house at Harrah's Chester, thanks to the frenzied fan base of Anthony Caputo Smith and Damon Allen supporters. This was the second show of the year for Joey Eye Boxing at the same venue. Despite losing several fights in the days leading up to fight night, Eye still presented an extremely entertaining show. The Chester fights have been one of the best local series in the past couple years.