PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - February 14, 2020
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By J.R. Jowett Reporting from Ringside
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Thomas Mattice, 133 ½, Cleveland, 15-2-1 (11 KOs), and Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz, 134 ¾, MX City, 19-1-1 (14 KOs), battled it down to the wire in a ten that left the audience appreciative of a good fight but wondering who won. The short, stocky Mexican attacked vigorously, firing body shots with mean intentions but most of which landed on elbows or the kidney area. The decidedly bigger Mattice backed up and countered. This provoked Cruz to mount an even bigger attack in round two.

The flow of constant trading crested in round three with Cruz having Mattice on the run until he walked into a straight right lead late in the round that had him hurt and giving ground to the bell. The fourth became just a bit more controlled, with Mattice playing matador and the Pitbull trying to walk him down. The checkers match got even tighter in a decidedly close fifth, Cruz scoring on the inside, Mattice catching him coming in.

Thomas widened the playing field in the sixth by circling wider, as Isaac found it harder to move inside. But that didn’t stop the Mexican from having his best round in the seventh. Thomas was outboxing him until Isaac stepped in sharply with a left hook that had a shaken Mattice stumbling to get out of the way. Isaac poured it on to the bell, rocking him with a right. Isaac’s incessant pressure had Thomas merely surviving the eighth, and it looked like the Mexican would overcome the early deficit and was on a roll to the finish. Not so! In a punishing ninth, Mattice stood his ground and gained the upper hand with return fire, although he was again nailed by one big left hook as he circled away.

The tenth was a dramatic finish fitting of a good contest, with the crowd up as action was heated throughout. But Cruz was not getting inside, giving an advantage to the longer punches of Mattice.

His comeback in the final two rounds after looking like a beaten fighter in the seventh and eighth would have warranted a close decision to Mattice. But no. With the crowd collectively holding its breath, ring announcer Thomas Trieber first announced that Dave Braslow scored it 95-95. OK, one even card, not completely unbelievable. Now there should be two close scores for Mattice. But no. Steve Weisfeld and Adam Friscia both had 96-94, a majority win for Cruz! Fellas, you don’t score for aggressiveness. This is boxing, not MMA. Kidney blows are illegal and the elbows are not part of the scoring area. Oh well, it was a good fight. Eric Dali refereed.


Montana Love, 139 ¾, Cleveland, 13-0-1 (6 KOs), and Jerrico Walton, 140, Houston, 16-1 (7 KOs), also put on a good close fight which could easily have been stolen but wasn’t. After a tentative first, the southpaw Love surprised everyone with a sudden inside right hook and glancing left that put Walton on the canvas! Montana was cautious, however, and nothing else dramatic happened in the round. Jerrico got back into the fight beginning the third when he nailed Montana with a big right lead. A lot of stalking followed until Walton punctuated the end of the round with a left hook. Love got wobbled in the fourth when he stepped away from an in-&-out and got caught by a crisp right.

The second half then strangely became a mauler, as the solidly built Walton may have felt he could mug the smoother but slighter Love on the inside. It didn’t work well but it turned the rest of the contest into a tug of war. Walton never was able to get his hands going on the inside while Love put across clean shots when he could get free. In the seventh, Montana rocked him in this fashion with a right and Walton was now hanging on in self defense. Not a great contest but physically very rugged. Fortunately, the judges scored for the boxer, not the wrestler, as Love won the unanimous verdict, 77-75 from Dave Braslow and Anthony Lundy, 78-74 from Dewey LaRosa. Ricky Gonzales refereed.


Ra’eese Aleem, 122 ¾, LV, 16-0 (10 KOs), had a romp over Adam Lopez, 123, San Antonio, 19-4-2 (9 KOs), in a scheduled eight. Lopez had better pick opponents who stand in front of him, as he was a deer in the headlights against the fleet footed and quick handed Aleem.

By the second, Aleem was in complete control and in the fourth, the game but outgunned Lopez was pouring blood from the nose and getting hit with everything Ra’eese could imagine to throw when the handlers mounted the apron and signaled referee Gary Rosato that it was over. Lopez didn’t make Ra’eese look good; Ra’eese made HIMSELF look good with a dazzling arsenal of movement and two-handed volleying. The time was 1:31 of round four.


In an attractive pairing of unbeaten, Derrick Colemon, Jr, 154 ¾, Detroit, 11-1 (8 KOs), was upset in a good, close contest with Joseph Jackson, 153 ¼, Greensboro, 16-0 (12 KOs), eight. The square-shouldered Colemon stalked out of a shallow stance while the more mobile Jackson met him with counters in snappy, brick trading from the start. Sneak rights won Colemon the first while he added left hooks to match Jackson’s left hook counters in the second. After two crackling good rounds, action became more purposeful in the third. In the fourth, Joseph seemed to be getting the idea that wide circling would be more effective against the steadily advancing flat-footed target.

Going into the fifth, the contest seemed to have settled into a bitter struggle. Coleman was trying to walk him down but not terribly effective while Jackson was putting across just enough from outside. It was dramatic and riveting, but had lost the sparkle of the first two rounds. But in the sixth, Jackson was gaining momentum as Colemon lost it. Joseph was picking his punches better from long range as Derrick trudged after him. The seventh was all Jackson as Colemon seemed to have nothing left. The cautious Jackson was now bolder, as he pawed with the left in an attempt to set up payoff rights. But Derrick came out purposefully for the final round and appeared back to life before losing steam and allowing Joseph to bring up the crowd with a rousing finish. Jackson and his corner leaped in joyous surprise when they heard the verdict. Steve Weisfeld scored 77-75, Dewey LaRosa 78-74, and Alan Rubenstein 80-72.


The towering and long-limbed Rasheed Johnson, 146 ½, Willow Grove, 7-3 (3 KOs), pretty well walked over stocky Omar Garcia, 143 ¼, Monterrey, MX, 6-11 (1 KO), in a scheduled six. The Mexican hadn’t a clue on how to deal with the favorite’s long reach and swung wild from far too outside. Action ebbed and flowed, mainly dependent on Johnson. He started ambitiously, then lapsed into sparring.

In the third he worked the jab well, then poured it on to the bell. In the fateful fourth, Rasheed started digging the body. A left to the ribs sent Omar onto the apron under the ropes where he seemed to just give up for referee Dali’s count, at 2:42.


In a crude and rugged heavyweight struggle, Norman Neely, 235 ¾, Paterson, 6-0 (5 KOs), pounded out a hard earned unanimous decision over Nicoy Clarke, 213 ¼, Jersey City, 2-6, four. In his first bout to go the distance, the favorite had his hands full and wasn’t impressive. The southpaw underdog may have edged the first with inside left uppercuts as they leaned on each other. Neely decided to end it in the second with an all-out two hand volley. But he flailed out of a squared stance and didn’t get enough on the punches even though he had Nicoy on the run. The action died, then resumed to close the round, with Clarke doing a mocking dance to his corner to celebrate his survival.

The third was close, the two leaning on each other and working inside. Neely made another attempt to finish it at the start of the final round, having Nicoy virtually running and stumbling to get out of the way. But the action huffed and puffed to the final bell. Lindsey Page scored 39-37 while Anthony Lundy and Adam Friscia had it a shutout.


James Martin, 148 ½, Phila., 6-1, looked sharp in a good win over Vincent Floyd, 148 ¾, Phila., 4-9-1 (2), six. The contest was brisk throughout with the more compact Martin showing poise and generalship over the tall and rangy Floyd, a better fighter than his record looks. Martin took command quickly when a surprise overhand right push-punched Vincent to the floor in the opening round. Martin got perfect position on the taller opponent to bombard Vincent with rights in the second.

Floyd at last got his offense going in the third, but only paid for it as James took the opportunity to land snappy rights. Martin established his game quickly in the fourth with more rights, and then the heated contest began to cool down. Martin was still sharp in a tame fifth and then tried southpaw and picked his shots well to close the sixth. Lindsey Page scored 59-54, Steve Weisfeld and Adam Friscia 60-53.   


Eduardo de Oliveira Guedes Diogo, 115 ¾, Sao Paulo, 2-0 (1), won a unanimous decision over hard-luck Jerrod Miner, Phila., 114 ¼, 1-10-2 (1), four. Miner put up a good scrap and made the hero work for his win. Diogo took the action to him and used his slight reach advantage to drop in rights. In the third, the favorite went for the finisher but the game Miner is a hard guy to knock out. Jerrod was punished but hung tough and came back to win the final round when Diogo seemed to have had enough of him and gave ground. Alan Rubenstein scored a shutout while Lindsey Page and Anthony Lundy had 39-37.

Marshall Kauffman is promoting his brains out! Harkening back to the time when St. Nick’s, Marigold Gardens, the Blue Horizon and Olympic Auditorium ran weekly cards, the peripatetic promoter (Kings Prom’ns) on February 14, 2020 ran his second show in six days! Teamed with Vito Mielnicki (GH3 Prom’ns), and Art Pelullo (Banner Prom’ns), the show ran at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena and was carried on ShoBox’ The New Generation. Without a local attraction, the house was not quite full out of a capacity of about 1300. Marc Abrams handled the PR, Thomas Trieber was  announcer, and Madra Clay kept time.




Jeff Jowett - South Philly - February 14, 2020