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Story by Ken Hissner
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions kicked off the Atlantic City Hall of Fame weekend with a seven-bout card at the Ocean Casino Resort’s Ovation Hall. In the scheduled 10-round main event, D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard and Elias “Latin Kid” Espadas butted heads in the opening round, and the resulting cut to Espadas forced an end to the fight two rounds later. Because the butt was accidental, the fight was ruled a No Decision in the third. 

Ballard, 20-0 (13), 159.8 of Temple Hills, MD, and WBO & WBC Latin champion Espadas, 18-4 (13), 159.2 of Yucatan, MEX, felt each other out for the first two minutes before the clash of heads occurred. Espadas came away with a cut on the left eyebrow and referee Benjy Esteves Jr. brought in the ring physician to check out the cut. After the pause, the fight was allowed to proceed.

In the second round, Espadas came out knowing the cut might be a factor, and by the end of the round had Ballard against the ropes. The ring physician checked the cut again between rounds, and in the third round Espadas opened and put Ballard back on the ropes.

Shortly afterward, Ballard rocked and battered Espadas until referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. stopped the action and called the ring physician in to check the bloody cut. The fight was stopped and ruled a No Decision. 

"I want to give God the glory," said a disappointed Ballard who was in charge at the time of the stoppage.


In the co-feature, Eddie Gomez, 23-3 (13), 146.4, of Bronx, NY, stopped Saul "Navajo" Corral, 30-14 (20), 146.4, of Sonora, MEX and Douglas, AZ, at 1:55 of the second round after scoring three knockdowns.

In the first round, Gomez outworked the oncoming, taller Corral in a close round. In the second, Gomez put Corral down twice with head shots. Corral was able to beat the count of referee Ricky Vera. However, Gomez came at him immediately, driving Corral into the ropes and down for the third time.  Referee Vera wisely waved it off.

An emotional Gomez said, "My dad died six days before my last fight. This win was for him". 

Super Lightweight southpaw George Rincon, 7-0 (4), 139.8, of Carrolton, TX, scored a knockout over outgunned Greg "Spyder" Young, Jr., 4-2 (1), 141.4, of Hoover, AL, at 2:01 of the fourth round of a scheduled six rounder.

In the first round southpaw Rincon used a vicious body attack to back up Young for the entire round. A right hook body shot dropped Young for the 8-count by referee Harvey Dock.

In the second, Young moved more, using his legs as Rincon went to the head after trying to stop Young with a body shot. It didn't look like Young would make it this far, but he showed heart. In the third round Rincon kept outworking Young, who spent most of the round moving.

In the fourth round several right hooks to the body almost had Young ready to drop. Finally, the body beating overcame the game but outclassed Young, and he went down for the second time in the fight. He took the full 10-count of referee Dock on a knee. 

Super middleweight Franchon Crews Dezurn, 5-1 (2), 167.6, of Baltimore, MD, stopped Kayla "Lady Beast" Williams, 0-3-1 (0), 164.2, of New Iberia, LA, at 1:40 of the fifth round of a scheduled eight.

In the first round, both fighters let the leather fly as Crews got in many overhand rights to the chin rocking game Williams. In the second round, Crews had Williams holding on from a combination to the head.

In the third, head shots from Crews were taking its toll. Then in the fifth, Williams kept coming forward but overhand rights by Crews forced referee Dock to wisely call a halt to the fight. 

Super lightweight southpaw Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed, 25-2 (13), 141.4, of Washington, DC, easily defeated game Angel "Hit Man" Hernandez, 15-14-2 (9), of McAllen, TX, 141.8, over eight rounds.

In the first round, southpaw Reed had too much of everything for Hernandez who finally landed his best punches in the final seconds of the round. The second round was Reed's with good body and head countering but Hernandez made it a better round coming forward getting his body shots in.

In the third, Reed turned up the action using his speed and combinations throughout. In the fourth round, Hernandez stayed inside and was eating leather from Reed who had too much overall for him. 

In the fifth and sixth rounds, Reed had his way, although Hernandez never stopped trying. In the seventh with his back against the ropes, Reed outworked the ever-trying Hernandez. In the eighth and final round, Reed had to wonder what was holding Hernandez up after he rocked him with a combination to the chin halfway through the round. Reed had Hernandez missing quite a bit and countered him well.  

Scores were Layton 78-74, Barnes and Lundy 79-73. This writer scored it 80-72. Referee was Ricky Vera.

Super middleweight southpaw "Top Shelf" Gabby Pham, 11-1 (5), 167.8, of Pleasantville, NJ, beat Georgian southpaw Jaba Khositashvili, 4-1 (2), 167, of Philadelphia, PA, over six rounds.

In the first round, Khositashvili kept up the pressure against the taller southpaw Pham until late in the round when a straight left made the glove of Khositashvili touch the canvas. It caused referee Harvey Dock to give him an 8-count.

In the second, Pham countered well while Khositashvili kept pressing him. In the third round, Khositashvili was finally able to land a flurry of punches that kept Pham in a corner. Pham quickly moved out of there and gave his opponent a boxing lesson. 

In the fourth, referee Dock warned a frustrated Khositashvili for hitting behind the head. The fight continued in the same pattern, with the taller and rangier Pham not allowing his opponent to get inside.

In the fifth round was one of the most competitive of the fight, but Pham still controlled the action. In the sixth and final round, Pham started showboating as the crowd yelled "Gabby, Gabby".

Scores were Barnes and Layton 59-54, and Lundy 60-53. This writer also scored it 60-53. Working the corner of Pham was head trainer Chino Rivas. 

In the opening bout super lightweight Daniel "Danny Boy" Murray, 5-2 (0), 140, of Barnegat, NJ, defeated southpaw Leonardo "The Chosen One" Kenon, 3-6 (1), 136.6, of Quincy, FL, over four competitive rounds.

In the first, both boxers took turns leading. In a close round, Murray seemed to land the more effective punches. In the second round, Kenon used a good left uppercut when inside. This was another close round that Kenon seemed edge.

In the third round, the fight continued to be close. In the final round, both fighters knew the decision was on the line, and Murray landed the strongest single punch of the round. In a close fight like this, you hate to see a loser. Scores were Barnes and Layton 40-36 with Lundy and this writer 39-37. Benjy Esteves, Jr. was the referee. 

The ring announcer was Mark Fratto. The matchmaker was Javier Razo. In attendance at ringside were two-time world heavyweight champion "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon, WBO heavyweight champion "Merciless" Ray Mercer, IBF Cruiserweight champion Al "Ice" Cole, three-division world champion Iran “The Blade” Barkley, 1972 Olympic gold medalist "Sugar" Ray Seales, WBF welter champ Greg Haugen, light heavyweight and heavyweight champion and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Michael "Jinx" Spinks, and doing commentary for the Facebook broadcast, former middleweight champion Bernard "Executioner" Hopkins. 




Ken Hissner - Atlantic City, NJ - June 20, 2019