Sunday, October 27, 2013

Boxing Returns to Convention Center

Antonio Magruder tops David Warren Huffman (r)

Top Flight Productions hosted a Pro-Am boxing card at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center last night, showcasing some of the area's best young (and old) boxers. Three amateur contests and seven pro fights entertained a full house for almost five hours (six, if you arrived at 7:00 like yours truly.) Ty Barnett defeated Carlos Velazquez in the main event, via a 10-round unanimous decision.

Doors opened at 6, and fans were allowed ringside at 7; but there was some confusion as to when the card would actually start. When it finally did (after 8) there was plenty of action, but no shortage of hiccups either. The fight between amateurs Keeshawn and Deron Williams (no relation) was delayed several minutes, while Keeshawn's corner secured a bucket. Bucket in tow, Keeshawn went on to win the bout.

Shadeed Floyd and Sri Lankan Nuwan Jayakody fought to a four-round majority draw (the third judge scored it 39-37 for Jayakody) but the main story was the lights... or lack thereof. The announcer called out, "Can we please get the lights back on?" several times, before someone finally flipped the proper switch (over 10 minutes later.)

Landover's Larry Recio won his pro debut

Terron "The Kid" Grant improved his record to 7-0 with a majority decision over Damon Antoine (11-51-2.) Antoine (who put on an entertaining fight) somehow was ahead on one (blind?) judge's scorecard 39-37; while the other two (saner) judges had it 40-36 for Grant. Antonine appeared completely shocked and incredulous over the outcome... no doubt the result of losing his 51st fight out of just 64 total bouts. 51 losses... Now that's dedication.

Amateur Cornell Hines (above) defeated Jonathan Ladson

Pro fight #3 was a display of futility as Joshua Parker (4-0) topped Darrell Martin (4-16) in what can best be described as a hugathon. One of two fun-loving gals (Hi Evelyn) seated next to me hit the nail on the head, when she remarked that there was a "lotta damn huggin'" goin' on. Amen Ms. Evelyn! Parker won a majority decision (40-37, 37-39 and 38-37.)

In between the hugathon and the best fight of the night, was a "Geritol championship" between two guys I'll affectionally describe as older. One was my age (45) and the other not far behind (either 36 or 37) and the pair slugged it out over three one-minute rounds. It was a real crowd pleaser; and I hope Top Flight revisits this caliber of fighting in the future (BTW, no lady fighters? It's 2013... let's get with it!) Boxing is entertainment too; and I bet the fans would love it.

Ring Girl

Next up were the big boys (at least compared to the majority of 125-140 pounders.) Middleweights Larry Recio and Louis Teel battled in a straight-up donnybrook, with Recio coming out on top for a unanimous decision (39-37, 40-36 and 40-36.) Recio (1-0) dominated the action, but Teel (0-3) proved impossible to finish. Should Landover, Maryland's own Recio find his power switch, he could have a really bright future: He certainly knows how to mix things up technically. P.S. Teel took a serious beating of sorts outside the ring, as fans gave him a hard time for his high (you had to see it, to believe it) shorts. To his credit, the Las Vegas fighter took it in stride, even flashing a few smiles at his own expense.

Suitland, Maryland's Antonio Magruder won a yawner over journeyman David Warren Huffman, using his superior speed to secure a 40-36 win on all three scorecards. In the co-main event, David Grayton (6-0, 5 KOs) had an even easier time, dispensing with Roberto Lopez in another 40-36 sweep.

With midnight fast approaching (and a busy Sunday on the books) I missed out on the 10-round main event between lightweights Barnett and Velazquez, won by Barnett (now 22-3.) When I left, the crowd was still totally into it: Man, am I getting old or what? DC obviously has a healthy appetite for what used to be the ultimate fighting sport (MMA, please come back to the nation's capital!) There isn't a bad seat in the house, and outside of the aforementioned minor slips, it proves a great way to spend a Saturday night.