|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 30, 2015
Rising prospect Karl "Dynamite" Dargan suffered a major upset in his nationally televised 10-rounder against Canadian Tony Luis from Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, CT. Dargan took the first round, but the rest of the fight was all "Lightning" Luis, who earned the unanimous decision, the WBC Continental Americas lightweight title, and presumably a Top-15 world ranking with his victory. He also dished Dargan the very first loss of his professional career.
The fight began as most expected it would, with the sharp-shooting, defensive-minded Dargan landing clean punches on the forward-rushing Luis. However, beginning in round two, Luis closed the distance between the two, and began assaulting Dargan from the inside. Luis clutched Dargan close and let his hands go. Dargan tried to cover up and land counter shots, but Luis was relentless.
In the clinches, Luis effectively pushed away to land his shots and sneakily held Dargan's hand with one glove while belting him with the other. He did this over and over again, however the true key to his success was the sheer volume of punches that he threw and his ability to keep the pace frantic.
Dargan had not had a fight like this as a pro, and was clearly uncomfortable with the situation. Although on paper this looked like another bout matched in Dargan's favor, in the ring it did not go that way.
In round three, Luis landed a hard left hook that stunned Dargan. As the West Philadelphian wobbled backward on suddenly stiff legs, Luis pushed him to the canvas. Had Luis chosen to punch instead of push, he may have scored a legitimate knockdown. As it were, referee Johnny Callas called the incident a push. Either way, this was the turning point in the fight.
For the remainder of the contest, Luis bullied Dargan and banked round after round with his never-ending attack to the head and body. To his credit, when Dargan threw punches, he landed cleanly. However, his output was far too little to cap Luis' unrelenting flow. So Dargan never won another round.
In the eighth, Dargan turned away from the action pawing at his left eye. He complained that he had been thumbed, but no action was taken by the referee. Dargan's eye swelled in the following rounds, but in reality it was the least of his problems on this difficult night.
With the fight winding down, it became clear that Dargan would need a knockout to salvage his undefeated record. But each time he tried to land with authority, Luis answered with more pressure and punches of his own. The momentum of the fight never shifted Dargan's way, and Luis entered the final round comfortably ahead.
Despite his lead, Luis did not take the round off or play it safe in any way. Instead he continued punching freely, his head pressed tightly to Dargan's chest. About halfway through the round, Luis threw a wild left that landed behind Dargan's head, and the blow sent Dargan down to his hands and knees. Referee Callas ruled it a knockdown.
Dargan jumped to his feet and finished the fight, but by the final bell, he seemed to know that his winning streak had ended.
All three judges scored the fight for Luis by wide margins. Glenn Feldman and Robert Paolino both had it 97-92, while Steve Weisfeld scored it 99-90.
With the upset win, Luis improved to 19-2, 7 KOs.
The fine boxing skills that kept Dargan undefeated since 2007 weren't enough on this difficult evening. He seemed unprepared to fight outside his defensive comfort zone, and paid the price with his first defeat. He now must return to the drawing board, 17-1, 9 KOs.
However, all is not lost.
In these days where undefeated records are all the rage, a good hard loss can still improve a fighter far more than another easy win through exquisite matchmaking and moderate effort. A setback like this can be good for a boxer. It is a setback in time, but not in experience.
This fight was a good learning experience for Dargan, and should certainly season him for future nights when things don't automatically go his way. You can't win 'em all. A tough loss like this can make a fighter infinitely tougher. They used to understand that in past eras. Let's hope Dynamite learned from this tough loss and comes back more prepared than ever.
He's got the skill to go all the way. Maybe now he's got the required experience as well.
On the undercard, Dargan's Concrete Jungle teammate, Khalib "Bigfoot" Whitmore, also suffered his first pro loss. Southpaw Carlos Reyes, 7-5-1, 5 KOs, dropped Whitmore, 6-1, 5 KOs, twice and registered a TKO at 56 seconds of round two of their scheduled 4-round cruiserweight bout.
The event was promoted by Main Events.
THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS WERE SHOT BY RAY BAILEY
LUIS VS. DARGAN
REYES VS. WHITMORE