PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 01, 2018  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Jano Cohen


Kings Promotions returns to the Sugar House Casino Friday night with a seven-bout card headlined by fast-rising bantamweight star Christian Carto, 13-0, 11 KOs, in the scheduled eight-round main event. This time Carto is in against Detroit’s James Smith, 12-1, 7 KOs, with 1 No Contest.

Smith looks capable enough on paper. He’s gone 3-1 in his last four, the only foes he’s faced with winning records. His lone loss in the stretch was by KO. Carto has gone the eight-round limit in his last two, but prior to that it was all knockouts for the 21 year old budding star. No one expects Smith to derail Carto. So the big question is whether Christian can begin another knockout streak.

A Carto fight is always must-see for local boxing fans. He is an electrifying performer with serious potential to go all the way in the sport. However, the most intriguing contest on this slate of fights is the eight-round co-feature that pits two Philadelphia warriors in a must-win meeting for each. Super middleweights Jamaal “Da Truth” Davis, 16-21-1, 7 KOs, and Christopher “Ice Cold” Brooker, 12-5, 5 KOs, clash in a tasty, and likely testy, encounter that should steal the show.

Hard luck battler Brooker started his career beautifully with an 11-1 run that earned him “Rookie of the Year” honors and pushed him into the fringe of the big time. However, toward the end of 2016, it was Brooker’s momentum that went ice cold.

His loss to world class Ronald Gavril began a 1-4 slide that led him to Friday’s bout with Davis. Brooker is one of those fighters who is learning on the job. Losses come and build character and experience. However, he is in dire need to turn his course back to the win column.

His last outing was a gritty defeat to rising Brandon Robinson, a talented Philly fighter with half the number of bouts as Brooker. It was a winnable match for Chris, but the actual fight was mostly Robinson.

Brooker has gone through an identity crisis between the ropes over the past two years. He’s rotated trainers and gyms, and in the process, drifted away from his winning formula of constant, aggressive pressure. We’ve seen flashes of that method in his past few fights, enough to hope he can return to the style full time, but he’s running out of time to right his course. He’ll need that style to defeat Davis. 

Speaking of a ticking clock, the 36 year old Davis, is in the midst of a comeback himself. He appeared to close out his solid journeyman career back in 2014, after dropping an eight rounder to Thomas LaManna. That was his fourth loss in a row, and Davis took no more fights for the next two years.

During that time, he also relocated from Philly to the Harrisburg area. Always a gym rat, Davis turned his workouts back into fight prep in 2017. He fought twice during the year, winning both.

Against Brooker, Davis will bring a much deeper resume into the ring. He’s faced the best rising talent in his nearly fifteen year pro career, including fights with Peter Quillin, Gabriel Rosado, Yuri Foreman, Joel Julio, Ossie Duran, and others. Davis is a skilled fighter, and his homecoming against Brooker is exciting for local fans.

Both Brooker and Davis have the ability to win this fight. Brooker is younger and naturally bigger. Davis is more experienced and has the more rounded skills. However, both have big questions to answer in the fight.

For Davis it is a question of mileage. He’s done well in his comeback, including a points win over tough Antowyan Aikens. But is he fresh enough to push back a hungry Brooker? 

Brooker’s issues are mostly intangible. He has the physical advantages over Davis, but where is his head? Can he refuse to accept the slide he’s on and reverse the path of his sagging career? It’s easier said than done. 

In any case, the fight itself is an attractive match up, and one I’ve been excited about since its announcement. Both of these fighters are terrific guys outside the ring and very good competitors inside it. Both Davis and Brooker need this win, and all of us watching will likely benefit from that scenario.

Five other bouts round out the show. Also on the card are Tyrone Crawley Jr. and Anthony Mercado in another eight rounder. David Gonzales meets Victor Vasquez over eight rounds. The three four-round bouts include: Vincent Floyd vs. Rasheed Johnson, Jerrod Miner vs. Rondarius Hunter, and Dominque Mayfield makes his debut against Ronny Hale.

The first bell rings at 7:00 PM.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - March 01, 2018