PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                           April 14, 2012


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South Philly cruiserweight Garrett Wilson retained his USBA title and added the NABF belt to his collection with a brutal 12th round KO of Andres Taylor in their rematch at Bally's Atlantic City Saturday night. Wilson, leading on the cards all night long, seemed to be one punch away from victory several times throughout the fight, but waited until the final round to lower the boom on Taylor.

Wilson rattled his bigger foe as early as round one before letting the Johnstown, PA boxer back into the fight. This became the pattern for the bout. Wilson would bring Taylor to the brink only to back off, time after time. Taylor did his best to capitalize on these opportunities that Wilson allowed, but did not have the firepower to capitalize completely. He did, however, have his moments in the fight, even coming close to scoring a knockdown in the fifth round. But Wilson fought through this, and everything else Taylor had to offer, to eventually close the show with the sudden and spectacular knockout. The victory improved Wilson's record to 13-5-1 with 7 KOs, and extended his unbeaten streak to seven fights.

In round one, Taylor stepped right in and plastered Wilson with a good right hand. Garrett felt the punch, but did not appear hurt. He fired right back with a left hook that wobbled and dropped Taylor. It should have spelled the beginning of the end for Taylor, but Wilson did not end it there.

It seems that the supreme self-confidence that has helped to transform Wilson into the hot commodity he currently is, actually hurt his performance against Taylor. Once he hurt his opponent, Wilson seemed so certain that he could knock Taylor out at any time, that he didn't bother to press the action. He became passive, and waited. Perhaps he was looking for picture-perfect KO.

When confidence begins to pick away at your strengths, it becomes overconfidence. Anything can happen in a fight, so it is important for a fighter to end it when he has the chance. It is even more important that he sticks to his ring identity and do what he does best.

Instead Wilson came out for round two almost sleepwalking. He laid back instead of testing Taylor's condition. Andres' legs looked heavy and was apparently still in some danger. But Wilson never pushed it. He rattled Taylor again later in the round, but refused to take him out. To his credit, Wilson continued to bank rounds, and managed to hurt Taylor in each round.

In round five, Taylor whacked Wilson with a good shot that knocked Garrett into the ropes. For a split second, referee Earl Brown considered calling it a knockdown. When the punch sent Wilson to the ropes, Brown flinched toward the fighters, as if he was about to step in for a count. However Wilson immediately came off the ropes and chugged back into the action. The moment passed, but Taylor won the round.

Taylor came out to capitalize in the sixth, and had a good round most of the way. However, late in the round Wilson hurt Taylor twice to pull out the round, and reset the momentum.

The pattern continued with Wilson winning rounds and appearing capable of scoring a knockout, if he wanted it enough. He cleaned up through round eight, winning all but one of the previous rounds.

But in round nine and ten, Wilson went especially passive, and Taylor worked hard to turn the tables. However, he couldn't do it. Wilson was just too strong and still in control of things. But Garrett seemed off. Instead of the devilish smile smile that usually stretches across his face during a fight, Wilson looked annoyed. He frowned like a man on a hot day who is stuck cutting the grass instead of watching the game in his air conditioned living room. But as always, Wilson chugged forward and did his job.

In round eleven, the perfect opportunity presented itself to Wilson. Fighting on the inside as the round wound down, Wilson landed a clubbing overhand right that hurt Taylor badly. A follow up left struck Taylor as he fell face-first to the canvas.

Taylor struggled to his feet, but stumbled a few times before steadying his legs. The bell ending the eleventh round sounded, and the referee led Taylor back to his corner. It seemed obvious that the fight would be stopped in the corner, but surprisingly Taylor was allowed to fight on. Taylor should not have been subjected to more punches.

There was no hesitation in Wilson in the final round. The old Garrett returned and he worked for the knockout. Finally a devastating left hook jarred Taylor, and he crashed to the floor, flat on his back. Earl Brown signaled the end of the fight, calling it a KO at 2:50 of round twelve.

After a few scary minutes, Taylor got up and left the ring on his feet.

Wilson had defended his USBA crown, won the NABF title and raised his record to 13-5-1 with 7 KOs. He wiped away much of the memory of his "off night" by returning to his nature and scoring yet another big knockout. At the time of the KO, Wilson was leading on my scorecard 107-101 (or 8 rounds to 3 after 11).

Taylor, who's fans packed the Bally's ballroom, slipped to 20-2-2 with 7 KOs. It was the first time he lost by KO.

With two regional belts around his waist, Wilson's ranking in both the IBF and WBC should rise.

"This wasn't about getting the win over him after our draw," Wilson said. "It's not about that. It's about winning the fight and getting closer to that world title. That's what I'm worried about, getting that world title."

After the fight, Wilson also denied any overconfidence in his performance. Quite the opposite in fact.

"The guy is extremely tough. I realized that the last time I fought him. I didn't want to go out there, give it my all, and gas out and give away the advantage," Wilson said. "The dude was tough. That right hand is ridiculously strong. He was coming to fight. He didn't bring all those people with him to watch him lose."


In the semi-windup, Detroit's Christopher Finley surprised Atlantic City's Osnel Charles by dominating most of the action and taking a unanimous six-round decision in their lightweight fight. It was a frustrating night for Charles who returned to the ring for the first time since his quick KO of Anthony Flores ten months ago. Charles came in with the better record, and was expected to win, but Finley took control of the fight with his punching power. Finley staggered Charles in the first round with a sharp right hand to set the pace of the fight. The boxers went at it after that, but Finley hurt Charles again later in the round. Charles kept moving, but Finley continued to land the hard punches. He dropped Charles in round three. Osnel rallied in round five, hurting Finley twice, but seemed too tired to push it any further. Finley bounced back to win the final round, and took the official decision by scores of 58-54, 58-54 and 59-53. I had it 59-54. The win raised Finley's record to 5-4 with 4 KOs. Charles fell to 9-3 with 1 KO.

Junior welterweight Naim Nelson of Philadelphia scored his first career stoppage when referee David Fields prematurely stepped in to halt the action in round four of a scheduled six rounder against Dontre King, Cambridge, MD. King took the first round, and Nelson came away from one exchange with blood streaming from his hairline, presumably from a clash of heads. Nelson responded in round two and three. He won the action, but looked a bit sluggish in the process. Finally in the fourth, Nelson hurt King with a combination. King awkwardly fell into the ropes, and the referee jumped in to stop it. Certainly Nelson was en route to victory anyway, but the stoppage felt rushed and robbed Nelson, 6-0 (1 KO), of a true first career knockout. King slipped to 6-10-2 with 2 KOs. It was the fourth time he was stopped.

Joshua Reyes, of Millville, NJ, spoiled the pro debut of southpaw Elvis Rodriguez, Manchester, CT, by taking the four round unanimous decision in their featherweight bout. Reyes used an aggressive style to control things, and kept Rodriguez backed against the ropes much of the time. In round two, Rodriguez' punches began marking up Reyes' face, but Rodriguez could not gain control of the fight. After the four rounds, Reyes was sporting a mouse under his left eye and a large abrasion near his left temple, but he walked away with the decision by scores of 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. I also scored it 39-37. The win kept Reyes undefeated, 2-0.

Junior welterweights Korey Sloane, Philadelphia, and Julio DeJesus, Franklinville, NJ, fought to a four round draw. Sloane won the first and fourth rounds on my card, while DeJesus took the second and third in the close fight. My final score was 38-38. DeJesus landed the best single shot of the bout, a hard right in round  two. The official decision was split, with each judge seeing it a different way. Julie Lederman scored 39-37 for Dejesus; Debra Barnes saw it 39-37 for Sloane; and George Hill had it 38-38. Sloane left with a record of 2-3-1, and DeJesus 5-3-2 (3 KO).

Atlantic City southpaw Gabriel Pham (left) won his fifth straight fight with a four round unanimous decision over Michael Mitchell of Patterson, NJ. It was Mitchell's pro debut. Pham won the first three rounds on my card, but suffered a couple of cuts in the process. By the end of the fight, his face was bloody, but he was the winner on all three official cards by identical scores of 40-36. My card wound up 39-37 for Pham, 5-0 with 2 KOs.

Philly light-heavyweight Todd Unthankmay blasted out Ronnie Lawrence of  Pottstown, PA, in their scheduled four round walkout bout. Unthankmay jumped right on his opponent, dropping him shortly after the first bell. Referee David Fields immediately called it a KO at 0:27 of round one. The win made Unthankmay 3-0 (2 KO)while Lawrence fell to 0-2. 

The ballroom at Bally's was full, with the attendance around 1,500. Peltz Boxing returns to Bally's with another boxing show on May 19 featuring Jamaal Davis vs. Harry Yorgey.




John DiSanto - Atlantic City - April 14, 2012