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         Former heavyweight contender and title challenger Michael Grant won an 8-round unanimous decision over Demetrice King on Friday night (7/11) in the feature bout at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philly to continue his sputtering ring comeback. It was Grant's first outing in 10 months. He won the fight easily against a durable foe, but lacked the sparkle that once had much of the boxing world thinking he might be the next big thing. But that was years ago. On Friday night, he was still big and still sculpted but no longer appeared to have a boxing future. This was no surprise, and it wasn't Grant's fault, but it was depressing to see this former star going through the motions against a sub-500 opponent before a sparse crowd of less than 200.


The under-card of this under-achieving show wasn't bad, but there wasn't a knockout in sight - or even a knock-down. Given that a number of the scheduled matches were either changed or scratched at the last minute, things probably turned out better than should have been expected. For the most part the show was a grunting, bleeding, blue-collar festival of young untested talent. Not the worst way to spend a Friday night.

Things got underway with a bloody four rounder between two Philadelphia jr. lightweights. Gustavo Dailey cut Devon Ellis in round one and again in round two, while Ellis returned the favor later in the second. Both fighters bled and threw punches freely throughout the bout. Dailey seemed to have the edge the whole way. He hurt Ellis in the third, but Ellis was there to fight and always fired back. The last round was great - a real candidate for round of the year. Both fighters gave their all for three minutes. Ellis tried to claim an unlikely KO while Dailey piled onto his established lead. In the end, Dailey won the unanimous decision (39-37, 40-36, 40-36) to even his record at 2-2. Ellis, lost for the second time in as many bouts. 

Jose Guzman, of the Bronx, won a four-round majority decision in the second fight of the night, spoiling the pro debut of Atlanta native, Jamar Saunders. The action was good and close and appeared to be a sure bet for a draw decision for the two lightweights. But the long and lean Guzman wound up with a slight edge: 39-37, 39-37, 38-38. The win raised his record to 3-3-1. Saunders walked away 0-1.

Two heavyweight female boxers brawled for four rounds, but Brooklyn's Tanzee Daniels (1-0) was too fast and accurate for the porous defense of the feistier Tiffany Woodard (1-1) of Wilson, NC.

After an exhibition by Tim Witherspoon, Jr. ("Terrible Too"), and a rather rough Star Spangled Banner, the feature bouts began.

In a nice little war, substitute Alexander Mancera (8-2 / 5 KO), of Queens, beat Philly's Jameel Wilson (13-14-3 / 8 KO) in a six-round light-heavyweight fight. The win for Mancera came despite having to deal with a bad cut on his forehead that bled from the first round on. Both fighters fought hard. Wilson's best round was the fourth when he landed several clean, jarring shots. But the New Yorker's volume of punches and continual forward motion was enough to carry him to the majority decision (47-47, 48-46, 48-46).

The Michael Grant fight followed and played out over the full eight round distance. There were some good exchanges throughout. But the overall story was that Grant was just too big and skilled to allow Demetrice King to really get anywhere in the fight. King tried hard however. He repeatedly worked Grant on the ropes and in the corners. He was tenacious, and seemed unfazed by Grant's reputation and former glory. He shook up big Mike a little near the end of the fifth, but was unable to capitalize on it. Grant complained to referee Eddie Cotton that the blow was a rabbit punch. Earlier in the bout it was King with a gripe, after being doubled over by a big low blow.

Grant got in some good work and never let the fight out of his grasp. He took the decision by identical wide scores of 79-73 (7 rounds to 1) by the three judges.

Grant approaches the ring

Demetrice King

Alexander Mancera bled for 6 rounds

Jameel Wilson in his corner

Mancera after his winning effort

Cut man Joey Eye with Gustavo Dailey


The crowd was dotted with boxing celebs including Smokin' Bert Cooper, Terrible Tim Witherspoon, and Lightning Harry Joe Yorgey. Basketball legend World B. Free was also on hand.


Devon Ellis throws the right


Dailey digs his right underneath


Dailey was cut over the left eye


 Both were cut during the fight


Smokin' Bert Cooper and fiancÚ Arlene


July 11, 2008 - John DiSanto