PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                     November 07, 2011


Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact




By Ken Hissner

The next generation of Philadelphia boxing newsmakers are poised to take the fight world by storm. Sixteen up-and-comers - spanning from bantamweight to heavyweight - have yet to taste defeat and are ready to take their next step toward the top of the sport. Leading the pack is Philly's hottest and most touted prospect Mike Jones.  But Jones isn't the only unbeaten standout.



25-0 (19 KO)







Jones is the highest ranked contender in Philly. He holds the #1 spot in the WBO, under champion Manny Pacquiao, and is also ranked #2 by the WBA, #3 by the IBF and #4 by the WBC. This top 147-pounder has already appeared on HBO broadcasts a few times and will get his next shot December 3 at Madison Square Garden when he opens the HBO PPV broadcast featuring Pacquiao-Marquez III. His opponent will be Sebastian Lujan of Argentina, the #4 IBF contender. The winner of the fight will earn the IBF's #1 spot and become a mandatory challenger for IBF champ Andre Berto. Jones is promoted by Peltz Boxing & Top Rank, managed by Doc Nowicki & Jim Williams, and trained by Vaughn Jackson. Jones trains out of the Joe Hand Gym. Combined record of opposition: 367-165-29.

STRENGTHS:  Size, punching power, careful development.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Targeting IBF champ Andre Berto and putting off monster showdown's with Pacquiao and Mayweather until he has more championship seasoning and more earning potential, is Jones' ideal trek to a belt, but this guy has options galore.

NEXT FIGHT:  December 3 vs. Sebastian Lujan (12 rounds)



22-0 (14 KO)

Of all the Philly fighters to come out of the amateurs as highly touted shoe-ins for professional success, Garcia may take the cake. He was signed by Oscar De La Hoya's promotional company right off the bat, branding him as Philly's own Golden Boy. The 23-year old is a good-looking, fast, skilled boxer who has become a real attraction. His spot on Bernard Hopkins' homecoming fight card in  2009 stole the show and sent the message that he was a future champ himself. From that moment, Garcia hasn't looked back. He defeated two former world champions (Nate Campbell & Kendall Holt) in his last two bouts. The win over Holt earned Garcia the #1 WBC ranking and the #2 IBF spot. He's also ranked in the top 10 by the WBA and WBO. Garcia is managed by Al Haymon and trained by his father Angel Garcia at the Harrowgate Boxing  Club. Combined record of opposition: 341-139-22. 

STRENGTHS: Hand speed, combination punching, powerhouse team, star power.

TICKET TO THE TOP: Options abound with high ranking in all the major bodies, but something says a guard-changing, mandatory shot at WBC champ Erik Morales is on the horizon, and will make Garcia Philly's first Latino champ.




17-0 (8 KO)






This 22 year old 147-pounder fights for Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. Can punch better than his official knockout percentage (47%) indicates. Rumor has it that his sparring sessions with Danny Garcia light up the neighborhood. Has also been tapped for sparring by Manny Pacquiao. Tito has already fought a main event in Philly and has had regular exposure on Spanish-language TV. He just won his first 10-rounder (vs. Angel Rios in Atlantic City). His father Ray Serrano, a former Philly fighter himself, and recent addition Felix Pintor train Tito. His home gym is at the Rivera Rec Center on 5th & Allegheny, but also spends time training in Puerto Rico. Combined record of opposition: 145-163-18.

STRENGTHS: Well connected and carefully handled.

TICKET TO THE TOP: Has looked good against the limited opposition he's faced (combined record 145-163-18), but must begin to step up his level of competition to progress to the next level.




11-0 (3 KO)






Hasson is a 27 year old 168-pounder who fought at Northern Michigan University under Philly’s Al Mitchell for 4 years, and was a Ringside amateur champion. His boxing pedigree runs in the family - he's a grand nephew of former light heavyweight champion Tommy Loughran, possibly the greatest Philly fighter of all time. Hasson is a popular boxer locally who has struggled to break out of a style that seems better suited for the amateur ranks. His career has been stalled by managerial problems and physical injuries since its start in 2008. Showed some progress in 2010, but remained inactive in 2011. Hasson is back in the gym, determined to put old issues behind him and make 2012 his breakout year. Combined record of opposition: 50-58-7. 

STRENGTHS: Intelligence, amateur experience.

TICKET TO THE TOP: Get settled with the correct manager and trainer and get to work. At age 27, Hasson's time is now to get his career on track.




10-0 (4 KO)






Jennings is a 27-year old football player-turned boxer who is still learning on the job under trainer Fred Jenkins at  the ABC Rec Center in North Philly. With a limited amateur background, Jennings is working to overcome his ring inexperience. But he is a physical specimen who is not only smart but also marketing savvy. Has won 10 fights in his 18 months as a pro. Has shown some signs of growth but has also frustratingly hovered at other times. Jennings is promoted by Peltz Boxing. Combined record of opposition: 41-56-7. 

STRENGTHS:  Intelligence, determination, athleticism, size.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Activity. Too early in the game to predict his future, but an active schedule against solid foes is the key to his graduation to the next level.

NEXT FIGHT:  November 19 vs. Kevin Franklin  (8 rounds)



10-0 (5 KO)






Gifted and accomplished as an amateur, Dargan has stalled as a pro with only 10 bouts in almost four years. Seemed to transform methodical style into a more exciting boxer-puncher approach his last time out (TKO6 Juan Suazzo). Still just an 8-round fighter at age 26, Dargan could use more fights and less careful handling by trainer / uncle Nazim Richardson and promoter, Golden Boy Promotions. A former Pan Am amateur champion (2007), he trains out of the Shuler Gym in West Philly. Combined record of opposition: 43-38-8. 

STRENGTHS:  Amateur experience, trainer.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Activity. His periods of inactivity have been deadly to his progress. He has to fight regularly to reach his potential, which was highly touted at one time.




10-0-1 (2 KO)






Speedy boxer always looks good in the ring, but has not yet faced tough opposition (69-121-20 combined record). After a slow start beginning in 2004, Evans hit a nice stride in 2010, fighting four times that year. However, he's only made one start in 2011 - back in January. A few cancellations explain this year's inactivity, but still must stay busier than he has if he wants to be relevant, especially at  age 27. Trained by Bozy Ennis, one of the best in Philly, at the Muhammad Ali Gym in Germantown. Looks like a winner and may be the sleeper of Bozy's stable, but has to develop and show his stuff soon. Managed by Moz Gonzalez and Eddie Woods. Combined record of opposition: 69-121-20.

STRENGTHS:  Speed, boxing skills.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Activity, challenging competition and exposure. 




8-0-1 (4 KO)






Already turning heads at just 21 years of age, and just 18 months as a pro, Williams looks like he may really make some noise in the sport. Had a good amateur run, posting a 75-10 record, and winning numerous tournaments. He  turned professional after a controversial decision at the state level kept him out of national Golden Gloves competition. Has stayed busy since, with 4 fights in 2010 and 5 in 2011. Signed with Gary Shaw Productions and has fought throughout the country, including two hometown starts - his debut and his most recent bout. Williams is trained by Kenny Mason, Steve "Bread Man" Edwards at the Shuler Boxing Gym in West Philly. Edwards is also his manager. This writer watched Williams spar with Mike Jones on several occasions and must say that Julian gave Jones more fight than many of Mike's opponents. Williams has great potential if brought along properly. Combined record of opposition: 51-80-4.

STRENGTHS:  Confidence, boxing basics, speed, power.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Time. More fights with the right opponents will have Williams at the door of a title shot in about two years.




8-0 (2 KO)






Trader is a 25 year old 130-pounder who has only fought once in his home town, a majority decision win over Luis Esquilin at the Blue Horizon. It was his first majority decision and showed that the fights in Philly - especially against a fellow Philly fighter - are tougher than most of those out of town. Most of his fights have been in New England, and he needs to be tested more to develop into a real prospect. Trader has had two 10 month periods of inactivity, so he needs to be more active (a recurring theme among most of the Sweet 16). He is trained by Aaron Ford at the Shuler Boxing Gym, managed by Rich Cappiello, and promoted by CES. Combined record of opposition: 18-41-6.

STRENGTHS:  Can fight, but hasn't been tested enough to tell how well.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  More activity and better opposition (has never fought someone with a winning record). Only fought once last year and once this year so far. A schedule like that will get him nowhere.




6-0 (1 KO)






This 22 year old 135-pounder appears to have the goods but has been over protected at this early stage of his career. All his fights have been local (Philadelphia and Chester), allowing him to begin to build a fan base with his pleasing style and classy demeanor. Expectations were high when he turned pro but injuries and inactivity have cooled his progression. Still looks like a fighter with real potential if he can get on track. At 22, Ocasio is still young but must be pushed to achieve his potential. Look great in his most recent bout (W6 Rasool Shakoor). Ocasio is trained by Angel "Papo" Ocasio and Rob Quinonez at the Front Street Gym, and managed by MAK Boxing Management (Manny Rivera, Kurt Wolfheimer & Angel himself). Combined record of opposition: 5-19-1. 

STRENGTHS:  Boxing ability, speed, intelligence.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Activity, better conditioning, better competition and improved killer instinct.

NEXT FIGHT:  January 13 at the Armory vs. TBA (6 rounds).



5-0 (2 KO)






Brown is a 22 year old middleweight who has not lost a round in his three decision wins. He often looks green, but has also shown potential at times. Brown has good size and reach and a jab that can take him a long way. But lapses in focus during his fights make him look more ordinary. Could pass for a relative of Joe Louis. Brown is currently enrolled at the Police Academy and will not fight again until next year. Trained by Rory Bussey at the Upper Darby PAL, and managed by Doc Nowicki and Jim Williams. In his “younger” days he served as a Bat Boy for the Philadelphia Phillies. Combined record of opposition: 9-9-3.

STRENGTHS:  Size, excellent jab, personality.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Far too early to tell, but better focus and more development are  the keys.




5-0 (2 KO)






This 21 year old heavyweight is probably his own worse enemy. Often undertrained and overweight, Dawejko has shown a lust for sparring but and aversion to training. Some say he's too small to be a heavyweight and feel he could be a force to be reckoned with at cruiserweight. But Dawejko, a natural fighter who likes the challenge of facing bigger opponents wants to fight as a heavyweight. Amazing amateur success has produced a confident fighter who might take too much for granted as a pro. Came in at the lowest weight of his career and looked good in his last outing, stopping a 6-0 John Lennox in round one. It was easily his best performance as a pro. He has continued to trim his weight, perhaps showing a new direction and dedication. Determined to stay active, but proposed monthly bouts through  the end of the year are not materializing. Trained by Danny Davis at the Joe Hand Gym. Combined record of opposition: 11-16-3. 

STRENGTHS:  Amateur experience, wicked left hook to the body, confidence, natural ability, youth.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Better conditioning, dedication, maturity, more activity and careful handling and the proper exposure once he's in the groove could help him become a contender. Rumor has it that he is about to sign a big contract with a major promoter.




4-0 (1 KO)






Southpaw Smith is just 21 years old. He won the National Golden Gloves in 2008 as a featherweight. As a pro he has a speedy, aggressive style that has allowed him to sail through his first four carefully matched fights. 2011 has been a slow year for Smith with just one fight so far. He'll reboot his career beginning January 13 in a four rounder. Smith is trained by Lemar Smith at Bozy Ennis' Muhammad Ali Gym in Germantown, and is managed by Moz Gonzalez and Eddie Woods.
Combined record of opposition: 2-3-1.

STRENGTHS:  Amateur experience, speed.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Smith can fight and has the potential to be a good one, but he's been affected by outside distractions in the past and needs to be more focused and dedicated in  2012. He also needs an experienced corner man to help bring the best in him. 

NEXT FIGHT:  January 13 at the Armory vs. TBA (4 rounds)



4-0 (2 KO)






24 year old Jenkins strikes you as an adult when you meet him. He's poised and serious and stands out from many other boxers his age. He grew up in his father's ABC Rec Center, so boxing is in his blood and has a constant part of his world.  A talented gym fighter for years, Jenkins promised his father/trainer he'd take off 100 pounds in one year if he could turn professional. Now a middleweight, Jenkins fought four times in his first year in the game and displayed solid basic boxing skills that could take him a long way.  Combined record of opposition: 4-12-2.

STRENGTHS:  Maturity, dedication, boxing knowledge, corner, combination punching.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Showed great dedication in losing enough weight to get his career started.  He’s off to a quick start and could be a real surprise down the line. But he must stay active and continue to condition his body.




3-0 (2 KO)






Cartagena is a 19 year old kid that has faced more top-flight boxers than most pros twice his age. His impressive amateur career provided him with a ton of national and international experience. A professional for just 8 months, Miguel has shown his skills against limited opposition, but this fighter has the goods. If his last fight (TKO2 Christian Cruz) is any indication, he could be a contender in two years. But he must stay focused and avoid any missteps - because everyone is watching him. He has already appeared on two Top Rank shows in Atlantic City (while they scout his touted ability), but no deal has been offered yet. Cartagena was developed by trainer Javier Varela (at the Philly Rumblers Gym). Varela co-trains the professional Cartagena with Bozy Ennis. The fighter splits his time between two gyms. Moz Gonzalez and Eddie Woods are his co-managers. Combined record of opposition: 5-8.

STRENGTHS:  Amateur experience, overall ability, personality.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Time. This kid is a natural with a bright future, but he must stay focused while he transitions into the pros. A big contract with a major promoter is surely on its way, but he has to impress them to land it. He needs to devour his competition to show that he can be as good in the pros as he was in the amateurs.

NEXT FIGHT:  January 13 vs. TBA (6 rounds)



2-0 (O KO)






Nelson is a 21 year old light welterweight who began his career with back-to-back wins in June and July before an injury to his right hand shelved him for a few months. He missed a proposed September start, but is back in the gym and ready to fight again. He gets his chance later this month in Atlantic City. Nelson has looked good at this early stage and seems to really enjoy being in the ring. He is trained by Rory Bussey at the Upper Darby PAL Gym and is managed by Doc Nowicki and Jim Williams. Combined record of opposition: 2-7. 

STRENGTHS:  Attitude, Management team.

TICKET TO THE TOP:  Too early to know for sure, but with the proper discipline and experience time will tell on this prospect.  

NEXT FIGHT:  November 19 vs. Deroy Beaton (1-2) (4 rounds).




Ken Hissner - November 07, 2011