PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                              June 25, 2011


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Mike Jones, the most-touted local prospect of the day, preserved his collection of world rankings with a crackling right hand in round two of his scheduled ten-round main event with Raul Munoz at the South Philly Arena. Although the oft-stopped Munoz did not figure to be much of a threat to the hard-hitting Jones, the careful game of chess that is the movement of Jones' career right now did provide enough "must win" drama for the rising star to cause at least a few sweat beads for his team, if not for Jones himself. Of course everyone expected Jones to win the fight, but everyone was also aware that one slip up against the tattered veteran would set Jones back from the threshold of a championship opportunity that is clearly a part of his future.

The fact is, little was expected for this "stay busy" fight that occurred despite many factors that created "why bother?" whispers all around Philly. But the fight went on and the truth is, Mike Jones did exactly what he needed to do. Getting the job done is one thing Jones has accomplished over and over again in his nearly six years in the professional ring.

Jones has managed to stay focused despite a mountain of hype, nagging injuries, high expectations, having to learn on the job, and a big target on his back - and chin. Yes, Jones has made it through and amassed a flawless record of 25-0 with 19 KOs. There is no question that he has benefitted from near-perfect career planning and movement, but it is Jones, the talented prospect who is also a complicated over-thinker, who has kept it all together each time out. There were times when it looked like he might stumble, but Jones kept his career on track every time out.

There wasn't a hint of a stumble on Saturday night. Jones came out in the first round with KO on his mind. He measured his spunky foe with a long and effective left jab. Munoz put up a fight, trying to catch Jones with one of his wild punches. He rushed Jones and threw his shots with his mouth wide open. Jones watched and measured - he still doesn't fight on instinct. He's like a carpenter carefully using a tape measure before making his cut. But when Jones decides he's ready to make that cut, he does it nicely.

That opportunity came suddenly in round two. A steady jab poked Munoz into the ropes before a trio of left uppercuts and a chopping right hand softened him up. As a wary Munoz retreated, a body shot and a pair of crisp jabs by Jones set up a clubbing overhand right that dropped the Mexican to the canvas. Munoz rolled over on his back as referee Gary Rosato counted. As Munoz bravely began to rise, Rosato waved the bout to an end at  2:29 of the second. Munoz' record fell to 21-14-1 / 16 KOs.

The victory kept Jones' record perfect and kept the doors open for a high-profile welterweight fight. With at least a top-five rating in every major sanctioning body, options appear to abound for Jones.

After the fight, when asked who he wanted next, Jones called for "Pacman", Manny Pacquiao, the best and most popular fighter in the world today. Although Jones is the #1 contender for Pacquiao's WBO title, most likely he will be guided down a different path toward a different title. Besides his full schedule, Pacman looks like an opponent Jones should think about after a bit more seasoning.

The undercard had a split personality, featuring a few fights involving local talent and a few more that featured out-of-town Top Rank boxers.

In the "how about that" moment of the night, Atlantic City's Osnel Charles backed up his Facebook pre-fight talk against Anthony Flores of North Philly with a shocking and sudden first round knockout. Going in, the match looked like it would be the fight of the night with Charles 8-2 but NO knockouts against the 9-3-1 / 6 KO Flores - two promising junior lightweights looking to get some attention. The smart money was on Flores, who had shown some early signs of being a real prospect. But that smart money was as dumb as could be. The fighters felt each other out before Charles blasted Flores with a arcing right hand that floored Flores in his own corner. The fight was immediately halted by referee Gary Rosato.

A few frightening moments transpired as Flores lay lifelessly on his back with that all too familiar empty stare. Thankfully Flores was fine and left the ring on his own feet. It was the first-ever knockout for Charles. What a way to start a KO streak.

In another promising local bout, Phillip McCants (white trunks)took a six round majority decision over Kaseem Wilson, but the actual bout disappointed the crowd. The two junior lightweights clutched and held each other much of the way. Wilson was more composed and methodical, while McCants was the aggressor and the stronger of the two. The officials preferred McCants in the bout that was as difficult to score as it was to watch. Judge Alan Rubenstein saw it even (57-57), but Steve Weisfeld and Dave Greer both scored it for McCants, 58-56, who improved to 9-2-1 / 3 KOs. Wilson, 12-3-1 / 3 KOs, lost his second in a row. Both fighters will move on to fight again - just hopefully not against each other.

Touted amateur champion Miguel Cartagena won his second straight professional bout in his three-month old career. The North Philadelphia bantamweight halted Jaime Gonzalez of Aguada, Puerto Rico, at :49 of round two. Gonzalez tried to rattle "No Fear" Cartagena in round one with a well placed elbow, but the 18 year old Miguel didn't bother to notice. He was pumped up and clearly happy to be fighting for the first time at home before a large cheering section. Cartagena dropped his opponent twice in the first round,  showboating his way through it all. In round two he lowered the boom on his helpless foe, dropping him again and forcing referee Benjy Esteves to rescue him. The win gave Cartagena his first KO in two wins. Gonzalez remained winless, 0-2.

Junior featherweight Mike Oliver, Hartford, CT, defeated Felipe Almanza, Lorica, Columbia, over six rounds in the fight that started the night. All three judges, Steve Weisfeld, George Hill and Alan Rubenstein scored the fight 58-56 for Oliver.

Junior middleweight Glen Tapia, Passaic, won a six-round unanimous decision over Taronze Washington of Dallas.

Cuban welterweight Yordenis Ugas also won a unanimous decision over Kenny Abril of Rochester.

The long night of fights ended with a six round draw between junior bantamweights Angel Cruz and Jose Rivera. Al three judges scored the bout 57-57.

Besides slower than usual pre-sales for a Mike Jones fight, a larger than expected crowd came out to the event. The summer curse only applied to the indoor temperature of the South Philly Arena and apparently did not hurt the box office.

One long delay occurred just before the main event when the Fox Sports Net crew suffered a power failure. The live TV audience was presented another (taped) fight while the problem was corrected. Once power was recovered, the Jones bout commenced and did make the TV broadcast. 




John DiSanto - South Philly - June 25, 2011