|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 14, 2014||
Derek "Pooh" Ennis, 23-4-1, 13 KOs, returns to the ring tonight in South Philly. It has been more than one year since the former USBA junior middleweight champ last fought, and almost four years since he's appeared in his hometown.
Tonight he takes on Emil Gonzalez, 11-6-1, 8 KOs, of Puerto Rico in a 6-round middleweight contest that tops the card at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall on Columbus Boulevard.
The show will be the second offering by the upstart Cool Boxing Promotions (Humberto Perez and Ricardo Caraballo Sr.), who debuted in January. Cool Boxing plans to make a habit of their club shows. After tonight's card, they expect to return to the same venue in May, and are eyeing an an additional four shows before the end of the year.
Such a consistent schedule would be a welcome addition to Philly's anemic boxing output of late. 2013 produced just four pro Philadelphia cards all year. Tonight's show will be the third so far in 2014. With Cool Boxing responsible for two of them, their entry into the water may be the life raft local fans have been waiting for.
The last time Ennis fought in Philly was July 30, 2010 when he topped Gabriel Rosado in the Briscoe Award winner for Fight of the Year. It was a big win for the Germantown fighter, but his career has been floundering ever since.
Immediately following the Rosado fight, he was shocked in Atlantic City by Giorbis Barthelemy. He rebounded seven months later by winning an 8-round decision over Shakir Ashanti in North Carolina. However, Ennis then went dormant for more than a year before dropping a 10-rounder to Johnathan Gonzalez on ESPN2.
Leading up to tonight, Ennis let another year pass in between, thanks to minor injuries and other fights falling apart. It was a frustrating time.
"I was getting to a point where I was bored and didn't want to do it for a while," Ennis said.
However the hunger to fight returned as Ennis watched other local fighters, especially old rival Gabriel Rosado, excel in the sport while he sat back and watched.
"A lot of people (were) fighting for a lot of good money," Ennis said. "I always wanted to be in there. I know for a fact that the money is out there. I definitely can do it."
So Ennis returns to his hometown, and will look to make up for lost time.
"I feel 100%," Ennis said. "They can expect me to do what I do. Smart boxing and if I see an opening, I'll go for it, for sure."
Hopefully Ennis can make a statement and jumpstart his once blossoming career.
"I know his name is Gonzalez and I know he ain't been knocked out," Ennis said about his opponent and a possible goal for the bout. "It's always fun fighting in Philly. I get to do my thing for everybody."
The Ennis-Gonzalez fight is one of three 6-rounders on the slate.
Damon Allen, 5-0, 2 KOs, takes on Hector Marengo, 6-6-4, 4 KOs, of Puerto Rico, in a junior welterweight fight. Allen, of Philadelphia, topped the last Sheet Metal show, and scored a 4th round TKO over Anthony Linenfelser. Allen was one of the City's top amateurs and had an auspicious rookie year in 2013.
Undefeated super middleweight Derrick Webster, 15-0, 8 KOs, (above) faces Cuban-born Lester Gonzalez, 12-11-4, 6 KOs, in another 6-rounder. Webster, a 6-foot, 4-inch southpaw and the latest addition to the impressive D&D Management stable, is staying active after a stagnant 2013. Webster, Glassboro, NJ, scored a KO in his last bout, a scheduled 6-rounder at the National Guard Armory just two months ago.
Three 4-round bouts fill out the remainder of the show.
Warminster's 17-year old phenom Milton Santiago, 2-0, 2 KOs, (above) a high school junior, meets an experienced William Lorenzo, 3-14, 1 KO, of Puerto Rico, in a 140-pound bout. Santiago turned pro with a first round KO in January, and followed it up with another quickie in February. He'll attempt to make it three in a row tonight.
Flyweight Ricardo Caraballo, 0-1, (above) fights for the first time since his 2012 intro. He meets debuting Jose Garcia.
Philly's Seifullah Jihad Wise (above) makes his professional debut against Tampa's James Gooding, 1-4-1, 1 KO, in a 4-round junior welterweight fight.
Two other four round fights were originally scheduled for the card, but now appear in limbo.
Local junior middleweight Johnson Jajoute was scheduled to battle Martin Brown, of Tampa, over four rounds. Both fighters have a record of 1-0. Jajoute made his debut in January with the show-stealing bout on the first Cool Boxing card.
Junior featherweight Nelson Acevedo, 1-0, 1 KO, another veteran of the last Cool show, was matched with Jesus Gonzales, 2-4, 2 KOs, of Bethlehem, PA. Acevedo is an exciting crowd-pleasing battler from Philadelphia.
The first bell is scheduled to ring at 7:30PM, with at least six bouts on the program. Tickets are available at the door.