PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                     December 04, 2009


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Philly's Steve Upsher Chambers won his main event against Doel Carrasquillo at the Blue Horizon Friday night by a very comfortable margin. The scorecards all said that the 8-round bout was his - going away. A landslide even. 80-72, 80-72 & 78-74. The official cards said that the best Carrasquillo had done was win two rounds. But Doel, of Lancaster, PA, is a guy that makes things difficult. He gets under your skin and works on your confidence. Land your best shot, and he doesn't seem impressed. He'll even look amused by it. It's a hustle, but he sells it really well. Crack him with a hard right hand to the head - the best one you've got - and you'll come away doubting your punching power. Dance away from him, only to find your back against the ropes. He's not hurting you. He's not beating you. But still, things aren't going that great. That was the evening Steve Upsher Chambers had Friday night. But he kept throwing punches, and he kept banking rounds. Some rounds felt close, but it was difficult not to give them to Chambers. And by end, Steve had himself a one-sided points win. But it was a narrow landslide.

The key to the fight was Chambers' ability to keep calm and focused. Early on, especially in round three, he had to withstand some heavy artillery along the ropes. But Chambers fought back well. And when he wasn't under the gun, he kept a steady jab pumping to Carrasquillo's body. It gave him the space he needed, and it chipped away at his foe's stamina. There was one wild trade in round seven. Both fighters launched their shots ad both found their mark. At one point Chambers landed a right that jarred Carrasquillo. Doel lunged forward to clinch and wound up tackling Steve. They both landed on the canvas. Referee Hurley McCall ruled it a slip.

Chambers closed the show with a crisp and solid combo near the end of round eight. At the final bell, there was no doubt that would get the win. The judges delivered the correct scores, ignoring Doel's hustle and awarding Steve the workmanlike victory. It improved his record to 21-1-1 (6 KO). Doel fell below the .500 mark, 12-13-1 (10 KO).

Loren Myers D8(m) Gee Cullmer
8-round middleweight bout
The co-feature was a grinding and gritty affair. It pitted local 16-1 middleweight Gee Cullmer (recent winner of the Briscoe Award for 2008's Fight of the Year) against the visiting 7-7 Loren Myers, a Philly-first-timer from Frenso, California. His even record against run of the mill competition and the fact that he'd lost four of his last five made him look like an easy target for Cullmer, who was unbeaten since 2003. Add to it that the Blue Horizon is Gee's home - all but three of his fights have gone done there - and this looked like an easy match made for a house the fighter. But this was not the case. Meyers came to fight and had upset on his mind.

Gee took the first round. He looked bigger and stronger and faster than his opponent. He cracked him late in the session with a good right and it seemed that the pattern was set. But starting in round two, Meyers went to work and did everything he possibly could to control the fight. His key tactic was that he kept the fight on the ropes. Over and over, Meyers pressured Gee to the perimeter and fired away. Meyers took rounds two and three by controlling the action and landing a lot. Cullmer smacked Meyers with a few clean shots, but he couldn't match the output of the Californian.

In round four, Cullmer started to show signs of wear and tear. Marks began to show around his left eye, and he appeared winded. The fourth was another round won by Meyers. He continued to roll as the fight wore on. The fight Meyers brought to Gee was working - keep moving forward, pressure him to the ropes, and let the punches fly.

In the second half of the bout, nothing changed. Meyers kept pressing and Cullmer kept trying to make something happen. But he could not stay off the ropes, as fatigue set in. He had a better round in the fifth, but didn't do quite enough to win it on my card. In the sixth, Meyers focused on a body attack that sapped Cullmer's strength. It was the perfect move. As the fight entered the stretch, Cullmer knew he needed a KO to salvage the fight. With just three knockouts in seventeen prior fights, Gee's not the biggest puncher. But he is a powerful and determined guy. He knows what to do in the ring. But the three-minute body attack by Myers all but emptied his tank and left Cullmer weakened. There would be no rally. There would be no KO. The last two rounds saw Cullmer desperate to score the stoppage, but it never came. He hung in there, showed his grit, but Myers stuck to his plan and continued to pile up the points.

At the final bell, there was no doubt that Myers would get the decision. Announcer Larry Tornambe read the cards. The first score from judge Lynn Carter confirmed everything I had witnessed - 79-73 (7 rounds to 1) for Myers. However, this score was overturned by two 76-76 tallies (by Frank Cappuccino & Rose Vargas). The fight was a draw. The crowd booed a long and loud Philly boo. There is no doubt that some of the rounds were close, and that Cullmer perhaps won some points for his dogged effort. But in the end, only Lynn Carter got this one right. Meyers returned to California with his even record intact (now 7-7-1) and Gee kept his unbeaten streak going. In boxing, a draw is like kissing your sister. It doesn't count. So perhaps they try this one again. Matchmaker Don Elbaum announced after the bout that he'd like to pair them again next year over ten rounds. It makes sense, I guess. It was an entertaining fight. Meyers deserves a chance to claim a win, and Cullmer surely wants to improve on his performance. But it is time for Cullmer to be matched upward. What would a rematch do?  Perhaps the sparse crowd that turned out (600 or so) would return for the second fight. But everyone would each have to bring a friend to fill up the Blue. In any case, it was a earnest battle between the two. Cullmer acknowledged the boos of the crowd, and seemed in agreement. He's that kind of guy. Meyers took it all in stride. He smiled and chucked at the official result. 

Tim Johnson W4(u) Jonathan Felton - 4-round heavyweight bout

Heavyweights Tim Johnson of Port Richmond and Jonathan Felton of Stafford, VA, put on a free-swinging four-round contest. Johnson returned from a two-year layoff for this bout. He brought in a 3-1 record, while Felton's journeyman resume read 6-19. Johnson jumped out to an early lead in round one. He landed his shots, but Felton shook his head "no" with every punch he received. These professional opponents know how to work a crowd - especially at an away game.

The second round was wild. Both guys landed bombs. They both hit the canvas at one point. Johnson landed the telling blow. Felton grabbed him for support and both went tumbling. Referee Hurley McCall ruled it a slip. It should have been a knockdown (credited to Johnson). Beginning later in the round and continued in the third, Johnson whacked away at Felton's body along the ropes. In the last round, Johnson teed off with lefts and rights while Felton waited to land the big one. He almost got too. Just before the bell, Felton rocked Johnson with a hard right. Johnson was hurt, but Felton was out of time. This is what these professional opponents live for. Felton returns to Virginia with another loss, but with the bragging rights, "if I only had a little more time." The scores all read 40-36 for Johnson. A good win for his return.

Darrell Jones W4(u) Antonio Fernandez - 4-round junior middleweight bout
Flashy North Philly prospect, Darrell Jones, 3-0, took on 0-3 junior middleweight Antonio Fernandez of Brockton, MA. Jones controlled the bout with his fast hands and sharp jabs to the body. He won the fight, but tired badly by the end. Although it should have been his second KO in three bouts, Jones was unable to finish his foe due to an empty gas tank. Hard to believe. It wasn't a whirlwind of a fight. Fernandez wound up his best bolo punch a few times, but it didn't do damage. So it was a learning experience for Jones. Whatever happened in training that left him ill prepared to finish a four rounder strongly, has to be corrected. But he got the win, and that's what counts. Two judges gave him a shutout, the other saw it three rounds to one. Fenandez left the ring 0-4.

John Bolden TKO1 Nathan Perrott - 4-round heavyweight bout
Former NHL pro Nathan Perrott was surprised in his second professional fight by John Bolden of New York. Perrott had a tough time in his first bout earlier this year at the Blue. But he managed to fight through his own exhaustion to halt that foe. Not the case this time. Bolden came out and dropped Perrott three times in round one and Hurley McCall stopped it at 2:09. Chalk this one up to poor match-making. I'm not sure about Bolden's amateur background, but he certainly was further along than Perrott, who had the makings of a cult ring attraction. Given his first two experiences in the ring, I wouldn't be surprised if he hung up the gloves and went back to the skates.

Charles Hayward W4(u) Patrick Budd - 4-round cruiserweight bout

The walkout bout featured South Philly's Charles Hayward in a four-round cruiserweight fight with Patrick Budd of Dumfries, VA. Hayward was also returning after a long layoff - this one four years. Hayward looked rusty and north of his ideal fighting weight, but he displayed some skills that delighted the few remaining fans - including Philly legend Stanley "Kitten" Hayward. Charles is no relation to Stanley. But as Charles climbed the steps into the red corner, Kitten called out "He's got my name!".  Charles has a way to go before comparisons can be made between the two. But he was an accomplished local golden gloves amateur, so perhaps the 25 year old can still make some noise in the local rings. He took the unanimous decision by three scores of 40-36.

Vinnie Intrieri EXHB3 Joe Joe Intrieri - 3-round youth exhibition
As is the annual tradition of the December Blue Horizon show, unwrapped toys were collected and will be distributed to local children as the Christmas holiday nears. Another tradition is the annual youth boxing exhibition to open the show. Cutman extraordinaire, Joey Eye (Intrieri) refereed a three-round exhibition between two of his sons. Vinnie and Joe Joe mixed it up. Vinnie got the best of the action, as most older brothers do. But Joe Joe won the crowd with his attempts to score the KO. One of these years, Joe Joe will get his revenge. Their sister served as the round card girl.

One more Philly fight is left on the calendar for 2009 - a Power Productions show scheduled for next Friday (12/11/09) at the South Philly Arena. But I've heard rumblings that it may fall through. We'll see.  I could stand one more show this year - especially when Victor Vasquez, Jameel Wilson and Anthoiny Ferrante are on the card.




John DiSanto - North Philly - December 04, 2009