|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - May 31, 2017|
If Hammerin' Hank Lundy's body is in anywhere as good shape as his mouth, he'll do just fine Friday night when he returns to fight in Philadelphia for the first time in nearly eight years. Lundy, 27-6-1, 13 KOs, takes on Mexico City's Daniel Evangelista Jr., 20-7-2, 16 KOs, in the eight-round main event at the 2300 Arena, on a nine-bout card promoted by Peltz Boxing, BAM Boxing, Joe Hand Promotions and Raging Babe.
Lundy is a guy who talks a lot, sometimes makes outrageous claims, and always promises victory. He sated with no doubt that he will knockout Evangelista on Friday night. Usually, he backs up his word. He's a skilled fighter with an exciting style and attitude. He talks first and then does his best to follow through. But the beauty of Lundy is that if he does fall short of his campaign promises, and on occasion he has, he merely resets the clock and talks a new game the next time. He promises again and never blinks, no matter how tall the task may be. His talk is the fuel that runs his motor, and his tank is never on "E".
Hank lit up the final pre-fight press conference, Wednesday night at Xfinity Live! in South Philadelphia. His time at the microphone came after most of Friday’s slate of fighters spoke, including Hank’s opponent, Evangelista. Then Lundy had the last word, right there in the spotlight, just where he loves to be.
At the press conference, his gift of gab set the stage for a fantastic homecoming performance. He vowed to knockout Evangelista. Now he just has to wait for that opening bell to show his fans – and everyone else in the building – that it is “Hammer Time” again in Philly. In other words, the main event at the 2300 will be the latest self-coronation of one of Philly’s most entertaining boxers.
"Not only am I fighting in Philly," Lundy said. "South Philly is my hood! You know that’s going to be Hammer Time."
Lundy appears more than ready to remind his local fans what Hank Lundy is all about. Fighting Evangelista is merely a prelude for his long-awaited rise to the championship. Lundy is always chasing the top tier of the lightweight division (or at times even the best at 140 pounds), and according to Hank, he’s constantly being avoided by all of them.
To that top tier, Lundy may well be a fighter that is more trouble than he’s worth. He brings an excellent mix of skills, and although once rated as high as number one, a few years ago, Lundy has remained somewhere in the top ten to fifteen for quite a while. He seethes over the fear and politics that have kept him away from his goal.
However, Lundy has had his opportunities. Last year he took the job that no one else wanted – facing Pound-for-Pounder Terrence Crawford for the junior welterweight championship. Lundy went up in weight for the bout, and made a respectable showing. He fought well against Crawford for the first few rounds, before the champion adjusted, hurt him, and then finished the job in round five. Of course Lundy wanted more, but the stoppage was the right one.
If you ask Hank about the fight, he gives Crawford his props, but talks like the fight was taken from him. He wonders why he can’t land a rematch. Apparently to Lundy, it is clear that Crawford escaped sure disaster by knocking him out.
That’s Lundy. He is his own greatest advocate. He’s his biggest fan. Every victory is just a hint at his greatness, and every defeat comes with an asterisk and a reason. Lundy is the kind of guy that can complain to the ref and spout conspiracy theories on his way down to the mat from a knockdown blow. Hank’s mouth is as fast as his hands. It is a sometimes infuriating mix, but it is one that I am always thrilled to witness – especially live.
Lundy is a ball of confidence, insecurity, rage, indignation and joy – all in one. He’s one of the most entertaining local fighters of this era – in and out of the ring. That is one distinction that is securely his, even if his own claim of being one of Philly’s all-time Top Five boxers seems to be a bit of a reach.
Make no mistake, watching Hank Lundy fight is must-see boxing. If he wins, you get a smile and that swagger. If he loses, you get a frustrated sneer and that swagger. And in both cases, you get a whole lot of talk. Talk that is often predictable, but also funny and always compelling. What must be going on in that head of his?
Hank says he will be world lightweight champion as soon as he gets the chance. I hope that is true. I’d love to see him accomplish such a feat. His winning a title is not mission impossible. It is certain that there are far less talented fighters than Lundy sporting a world title belt. However, at 33 years of age, the time for Lundy to reach his goal is now.
He may in fact get another chance in the near future. If so, it would be smart if Hank treated such an opportunity as do or die. But then again, that is Lundy’s attitude in general. He dives into his bouts and really fights. It’s something to see – either on TV or in the flesh. I for one, would never miss a Lundy fight.
So on Friday night, the place to be is the 2300 Arena. It’s Hammer Time again in Philly.
The remainder of the card is loaded with local talent in interesting matches.
Isaiah Wise, 4-1, 3 KOs, takes on undefeated Wisconsin visitor Mark Daniels, Jr., 3-0, 1 KO. Wise is learning and budding as a pro fighter. He can punch and he can box, but he is still proving himself in the ring. Every step he takes is an interesting one. For him, victory is never guaranteed. So he’ll have to earn it once again.
Promising welterweight Jaron Ennis goes for twelve wins in a row, in a six-rounder against Nicaraguan vet Wilfredo Acuna, 16-20, 12 KOs. Ennis has that championship shine to him. Most of his fights have been a breeze, but still he has looked impressive almost every time out. His southpaw foe on Friday, has been around the block a few times. That means either he’ll bring a load of bumpy, weathered experience into the bout, or he will have nothing left in the tank to truly test Ennis. Acuna has been stopped twelve times. So I’m thinking it will be the latter. Still Ennis is the Philly fighter to watch at this moment.
Popular Irish puncher Scott Kelleher, 5-0, 3 KOs, returns after a year of injury-related inactivity to face Newark’s Dion Richardson, 1-1, 1 KO, in a four round junior welterweight fight. Kelleher will attempt to recapture his career momentum in the fight, presumably before his large and loud fan base.
North Philadelphia welterweight Marcel Rivers, 1-0, 1 KO, fights Jamaal Gregory of North Carolina. Gregory brings the same record as River into the bout, but in his first fight, Rivers looked like a stern test for anybody.
Coming off a win over Willis Lockett, Catskill, NY-based cruiserweight Alvin Varmall Jr., 10-0-1, 8 KOs, faces Texan Juan Reyna, 6-6-1, 2 KOs, over four rounds. With all six of his losses coming by knockout, Reyna may turn out to be an easy assignment for Varmall in this six-rounder.
Nineteen year old featherweight Crystian Peguero, 1-0, 1 KO, tries to keep rolling against Rochester’s Saquan Felton, 0-1. In his debut three months ago, Peguero, a Philly fighter by way of Puerto Rico, looked like a body-punching prodigy, winning in three rounds against another debut-er.
Out of towners Marklin Bailey, Durham, NC, 4-0, 3 KOs, and Geneva, NY’s Vinnie Denierio, 1-1, 1 KO, fight a four-round rematch of their April battle. By all accounts, their original fight was a doosey. Bailey won that one by decision.
A pair of junior middleweights, Philly’s Tyree Crowder and Ishmael Altman of Arapahoe, NC, both make their pro debut against each other over four rounds.
The first fight begins at 7:00 PM.