PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                     December 15, 2011


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In a move that surprised very few, the California Boxing Commission overturned Chad Dawson's second round "knockout" over Bernard Hopkins recently. The October 15th Los Angeles controversy that ended with an injured Hopkins unable to gain his feet after being dumped to the canvas by Dawson, left the North Philly native with a separated shoulder and no title belt. A couple of weeks later the WBC called the fight a technical draw and restored Hopkins' championship status. However, that decision was NOT the official ruling that would impact the fighters' records. Enter California and their regularly scheduled December 13th meeting. After their prolonged review of the fight, California called the debacle a No Decision. A "No Contest" would probably have been the proper call. But why split hairs? The fight was no fight, and that's basically what the record will read. Unfortunately, the WBC has mandated a rematch between the two light-heavies. Although I'm curious to see the pair fight to a real finish, I can't imagine it will be very pleasant (or exciting) to watch.


Danny Garcia, the 23-year old Golden Boy protégée, becomes the next Philly fighter to get  a world title shot. Garcia, a Harrowgate Boxing Club product who was signed by De La Hoya's promotional company form the start of his pro career, has looked like a class act and future champion from the beginning. While other recent Philly risers have received more attention as title threats, Garcia has quietly and steadily improved his stock and become a real contender. He defeated his second former champion in October, and did so with ease. Garcia's title dreams can now be focused on the WBC junior welterweight crown and all-time great Erik Morales. Danny faces the Mexican legend on Saturday, January 28 at the Reliant Arena in Houston. The fight will be televised by HBO. It's a good match for the streaking Garcia, 22-0 with 14 KOs, and one that he should be able to win. Morales, 52-7 with 32 KOs, is great, but his best days were several pounds - and several years - ago. Still "El Terrible" will always be dangerous, and Garcia will need to be sharp and ready for the 38-year old. But Garcia is a guy who has yet to have a bad day - in the ring or in the gym. He oozes championship pedigree and should make Philly proud next month.


Former two-time cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham gets a chance to take the IBF belt for the third time, when he faces Yoan Pablo Hernandez in a February rematch. Cunningham was jobbed in October when his first meeting with Hernandez was stopped on "cuts" after six rounds and handed to the challenger on a dubious technical decision. Hernandez did drop USS Cunningham like a ton of bricks in round one, but was unable to sink the battleship. The rest of the bout was all Cunningham - except for the decision.  Of course Steve must return to Germany for the fight, but that is old hat for the globe-trotting  boxer. Given the raw treatment he received from not only the judges but his own promotional company as well, Steve would be well-advised to score a knockout over the lanky southpaw. He did seem to be wearing the Cuban native down at the time of the first fight's stoppage, so hopefully he can pick up right were he left off in October.


Middleweight Lajuan Simon was dispatched in his try for the middleweight title last weekebd (12/09/11). WBA champion Gennady Golovkin made short work of Simon, landing a devastating left hook that dropped Lajuan for the count. The total elapsed time of the fight was 2:17. It was an impressive win for the champion, given that Simon had never been stopped before. Lajuan is one of Philly's best - and most likable - fighters. He is also one of our best kept secrets, not getting a fraction of the press and attention he deserves. Back in 2009, Simon dropped a close decision to a then-undefeated Arthur Abraham in his first title try. That fight was also in Germany and untelevised, like his most recent outing. Simon's record now reads 23-4-2 with 12 KOs. It was his second loss in a row. Now he'll have to regroup and try to pick up the pieces at age 32. Not an easy task for any fighter. 


Camden's Max Alexander dropped a lopsided 10-round decision to Roy Jones Jr. last weekend (12/10/11). Alexander was looking at the fight as a way to re-enter his old "up-and-comer" status, but Jones still had enough left to out-speed and outwork the cruiserweight who now lives in North Carolina. Max still sounded hopeful when I spoke to him a few days after the bout. He said he felt proud that he could hang in there with the all-time great, and felt that he gave Jones enough trouble to make him aware he was in a fight. "I hurt him in the tenth, and if this was a twelve round fight, I would have gotten him out of there", Alexander told me. You have to love the confidence of fighters. "Roy was in shape, and he was still fast," Max, 14-6-2 (2 KO), said. He also said that he hopes another high-profile boxer will give him a shot based on his performance. He'd love to fight Antonio Tarver.


Former Canadian lightweight champion Arthur King passed away December 14th at age 84. King compiled a fine pro record of 63-13 with 20 KOs between 1946 and 1957. Although he fought most of his bouts in Canada where he was a staple at the Maple Leaf Gardens, King still has a strong Philadelphia con-nection. In 1948, infamous Philadelphia manager Blinky Palermo bought King's contract and assigned his house trainer Jimmy Wilson to him. Wilson was one of the best trainers in those days and in King, found much to work with. The fighter had a excellent boxing skills and looked like a real title threat. The partnership led to eleven Philly appearances including local wins over Eddie Giosa at Shibe Park and Calvin Smith at Toppi Stadium. King also faced Paddy DeMarco, Joe Micelli, Chico Vejar, Tiger Jones, Teddy Davis and Del Flanagan as a pro. Arthur King was born February 23, 1927. He died Wednesday in his native Toronto, after years of declining health.


Donald "Red" Ryder also passed away recently. The North Philly flyweight had much success as an amateur in the 1940s. He placed second in the 1946 Silver Gloves tournament. He returned the following year (1947) and again placed second in the same competition. After an uneventful 1948, Ryder returned in 1949 to give the Diamond Belt tournament a try. Ryder once again was the runner up. Three major amateur tournaments with three second place finishes. A fine accomplishment albeit frustrating to get so close to the top. His amateur run led to a brief professional career (1-6) between 1949 and 1954. Red Ryder fought four of his six bouts in Philly at the Arena, Cambria and the Met. He also fought once in Atlantic City. His biggest pro start probably came in his second fight when he was stopped by Frankie Sodano in two rounds. Ryder's lone professional victory came in his very next outing when he halted Tommy Chiorano in two rounds in Atlantic City. Ryder died on November 25th.




John DiSanto - PBH Notebook - December 15, 2011