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Gatti-Robinson All But Forgotten As Gatti-Ward Legend Ascends

Bernard Fernandez

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There are some names that are meant to be coupled forever: Sonny and Cher, Magic and Bird, Bonnie and Clyde, Romeo and Juliet, Tracy and Hepburn, DiMaggio and Williams, Borg and McEnroe.

And, of course, Ali and Frazier.

Arch-rivalries, and arch-alliances, stir the soul and fuel the imagination. That is as true in sports as it is entertainment, crime and literature, and there is no realm of athletic competition that lends itself to such mental associations as much as boxing, which pits one individual against another. When a clash of figurative titans is repeated often enough, it takes on the trappings of legend, more so than can ever be the case with single confrontations, or when teammates are involved. If Ali-Frazier is accepted as the gold standard, then the next level, just slightly down from the summit, consists of such revered series as Zale-Graziano, Pep-Saddler, Robinson-LaMotta, Holyfield-Bowe and maybe a few others.

Now ask yourself this: When anyone mentions the late action hero, Arturo Gatti, which opponent immediately comes to mind? The answer, in most cases, has become obvious.

“Irish” Micky Ward.

But while the Gatti-Ward trilogy continues to ascend in the pantheon of boxing’s most acclaimed rivalries, with ample justification, the effect is the gradual diminishment of other bouts involving Gatti that also were so fiercely competitive they also deserve to be carefully stored away in fans’ memories as if they were family heirlooms. Gatti-Ward, Parts I, II and II, is terrific when considered as stand-alone segments or in its entirety, but not so much that the names of Wilson Rodriguez, Angel Manfredy and Rafael Ruelas deserve to be pushed off to the side, gathering dust.

But the principal victim of the continuing rise of Gatti-Ward is Ivan Robinson, who made the mistake – he didn’t know it was a mistake at the time – of winning both of his immensely entertaining slugfests with Gatti in 1998, the first of which was voted Fight of the Year by both the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring magazine, although the rematch was a virtual carbon copy of the original.

If Robinson could have peered into the future, like some sort of pugilistic Nostradamus, he might have recognized that it would have served him better to have split those two fights with Gatti, creating a huge public demand for a rubber match. He would have recognized that he needed to take up golf and play a few well-publicized rounds with Gatti, and later on to agree to train the Italian-born, Montreal-reared, Jersey City-based fighter in the closing stages of his career. But it was Ward who did all that, and the back story of his friendship with Gatti took on a life of its own, each intersection of their lives embellishing what had taken place inside the ropes.

Dec. 12 marks the 16th anniversary of Robinson’s second bout with Gatti in Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, a fight so exhilarating that it left the combatants physically and mentally drained, but everyone else in attendance and those watching on HBO craving a third meeting that, alas, was not to be.

Lou DiBella, then the senior vice president of HBO Sports who later would form his promotional company and serve as an adviser to Ward, was almost hyperventilating after Robinson’s razor-thin, unanimous 10-round decision, which would have ended in a majority draw had not referee Benji Esteves deducted a penalty point from Gatti in the eighth round for low blows. Gatti got the nod on the official cards by margins of 97-92 and 95-94 (twice).

“This is unbelievable,” DiBella said after the last punch had been fired, and probably landed. “You have to go back to Zale-Graziano, something like that, to even find something to compare to it. I mean, it’s ridiculous.

“It doesn’t get much better than that. Maybe these guys should just fight each other all the time.”

An interesting suggestion, but one in stark contrast to the scene in the ring after the final bell had sounded. After the traditional postfight hug of exhausted and respectful rivals, Robinson’s manager, Eddie Woods, announced on-camera that his guy had forever concluded his business with Gatti.

“We ain’t fighting Gatti again,” Woods said with an air of finality.

Asked if he went along with what Woods had said, Robinson wearily agreed. “You heard my manager. There won’t be a Robinson-Gatti III.”

Interestingly, after Robinson failed to take advantage of the opportunity that had been afforded him by his back-to-back conquests of Gatti – the Philadelphia lightweight lost a one-sided decision to Manfredy in his next bout four months later – two things became increasingly apparent. One, having twice gone to hell and back against Gatti while wearing a gasoline overcoat, Robinson was never the same as he had been on those two supercharged nights. And two, as his newfound star power began to ebb and Gatti remained a box-office draw and HBO staple, that third meeting he had said he would never consider became the object of a desperate quest that would not reach fruition.

“I know I can get another fight with Gatti,” Robinson said on Aug. 17, 2004, after he lost a desultory eight-round split decision to journeyman Reggie Nash at the Valley Forge (Pa.) Convention Center. “If I can just put together a couple of good wins …”

But it didn’t happen for Robinson, whose fast-handed style at his peak was so likened to that of another Philly fighter, two-division world champion and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Meldrick Taylor, that some took to calling him “Meldrick Lite.” Robinson, whose preferred nickname is “Mighty,” was 27-2 after his second points nod over Gatti, but just 5-10-2 following the second Gatti fight, finishing with a record of 32-12-2 with 12 victories inside the distance.

It was a good career, all things considered, good enough to earn Robinson enshrinement in both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Boxing Halls of Fame. Still, the lingering impression is that Robinson too often was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rated No. 1 by USA Boxing in the 132-pound weight class heading into the 1992 U.S. Olympic boxing trials, he lost a controversial decision to Julian Wheeler and then another in the box-offs, thus failing to gain inclusion on the American team that competed in Barcelona, Spain. He also likely made a likely misstep by declining, at Woods’ urging, to accept a high-visibility bout with Oscar De La Hoya in Madison Square Garden because his manager believed he wasn’t quite ready for a matchup with the “Golden Boy,” whom Robinson had faced several times in the amateurs. Jesse James Leija got the MSG gig with the emerging superstar instead, and Robinson never again got the chance to mix it up with De La Hoya.

In what would prove to be his only shot at a world championship, Robinson lost a unanimous decision to IBF lightweight titlist Philip Holiday of South Africa on Dec. 21, 1996, in Uncasville, Conn. He was released by his promotional company, Main Events, following his third-round stoppage by Israel Cardona on July 1, 1997, and he was viewed by as damaged goods, or at least in decline, when he was offered an HBO date against Gatti, who was coming off an eighth-round stoppage defeat, on cuts, in another slam-bam war against Manfredy on Jan. 17, 1998.

Hardly anyone expected what took place that night in Boardwalk Hall on Aug. 22, 1998. But Pat Lynch, Gatti’s longtime manager, had an uneasy feeling that Robinson might be something more than a mere bounce-back opponent for his man.

“Eddie Woods will tell you I didn’t want the (first) fight with Ivan,” Lynch recalled when interviewed for this story. “I thought he was a little too slick and too good a boxer for Arturo. I had watched a tape that Carl Moretti (then a Main Events executive) had given me of a fight Ivan had lost to some Spanish kid (Manuel De Leon), where Ivan didn’t look that good. But even so, you could see flashes of that skill, that slickness. I thought to myself, `Maybe this is not a guy we want to fight right now.’

“So, yeah, I always looked at Ivan as someone who would be a really difficult opponent for Arturo because of his style. I wasn’t surprised that he was as tough as I thought he’d be. What did surprise me was the way he stood in there and traded with Arturo. He didn’t run and make Arturo go after him. He was right there.”

Robinson, then 27, had decided beforehand that his best strategy was to meet Gatti head-on. If he lost, and was lackluster in doing so, his chance of regaining semi-elite status might be gone forever. And, besides, he knew that Gatti, as big a puncher and as much of a shock absorber as he was, was available to be hit. So why not just turn it loose?

Second seconds into the first round, Gatti’s left eye was discolored and puffy. That eye began to bleed in Round 3, but Gatti recovered enough to floor Robinson in the fourth and the action remained fast and furious to the final bell. When it was over, Robinson, a 5-1 underdog, had won by margins of 98-93 and 96-94 on the scorecards submitted by Melvin Lathan and Steve Weisfeld, respectively, with Ed Leahy going with Gatti by 96-93.

“Exceptional. Exceptional,” said Lathan, who is now heads the New York State Athletic Commission. “I don’t think I breathed the whole 10 rounds. Just wonderful.”

Said a tired but very happy Robinson: “This was my best fight, even though it wasn’t a championship fight. I thought I would get him out of there, but he always came back. He’s like a stick of dynamite.”

There was an instant demand for a rematch, of course, and Robinson, who made $51,000 for the first fight, snagged a career-high $400,000 payday for the do-over, which he imagined would be fought more on his terms.

“I could have made the first fight a lot easier,” Robinson said as the days to the rematch counted down. “(Trainer) Butch (Cathay) was telling me that after every round. But in that fight, I had something to prove. Six months ago, nobody knew who Ivan Robinson was. Everybody had written me off.

“I know I have the best chin in the lightweight division. I wanted to prove – not to the fans, but to myself – that I could take Arturo’s best shot. That’s why, at times, I stood there with him and got hurt. And you kind of get lured into that because, well, Gatti is just so easy to hit. There wasn’t a problem hitting Gatti then. There won’t be a problem hitting him now. There’s never been a problem hitting Gatti. The question I had in my mind was whether I could withstand his pressure. I’ve done that. For this second fight, I don’t have anything to prove to anybody.”

But you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Gatti again turned the heat up on Robinson, and the same kind of war was fought at close distance. As was the case the first time, the Philadelphia in Robinson was brought out when he was challenged.

“I learned from being in the first fight that when you hurt Arturo, I guess that makes him mad,” Robinson said. “It makes him go deeper into the gas tank.”

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Now saddled with a three-bout losing streak, it was thought that Gatti was the fighter that needed to be rebuilt; Robinson was seen as the hot property. But Robinson was easily outpointed his next time out by Manfredy while Gatti continued to be what DiBella called “The Human Highlight Reel.” Their paths separated, Robinson drifting toward lesser revelance and Gatti moving on to megafights with De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the trilogy with Ward and eventual induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Asked for his memories of Robinson, DiBella said, “He was a warrior, and a quality fighter. Those two fights with Gatti brought the very best out of him.

“But Gatti was the draw. He was the HBO fighter. Even though Ivan won those fights, you didn’t see him gain anything from that. It wasn’t like he started getting all these big fights with big-name fighters. His career didn’t take off all of a sudden because of him beating Gatti twice. Gatti was still that guy. He could lose a fight or even a couple of fights and still be someone everyone wanted to see more of.”

Lynch also thinks that maybe Gatti-Robinson has been somewhat shortchanged by history, at least in comparison to Gatti-Ward.

“I think maybe that has been the case,” Lynch said. “I think those two fights have been kind of lost. Arturo’s fights with Ivan were just incredible. They were very competitive, the crowd was on its feet pretty much from the beginning of each fight through the end. It’s just that everybody was so sold on Arturo’s trilogy with ward, which deserves everything that it gets. But that doesn’t change the fact that Arturo’s fights with Ivan were great, great fights.”

Prior to his Nov. 13, 2012, induction into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, Robinson said he didn’t think Ward had bumped him all the way out of the spotlight as far as co-billing with Gatti is concerned.

“I’m pleased that so many people recognize what I did in my fights with Gatti,” he said. “I will always love Gatti. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be as known as I am today. And I don’t (begrudge) Micky Ward for the acclaim he gets for his fights with Gatti. They were great fights and he deserves all the praise for what he did.

“My only regret is that me and Micky Ward never fought. I wanted to fight him, he didn’t want to fight me. I guess it was about money; it usually is when a fight doesn’t get made. But don’t get me wrong. I love Micky Ward, too. I’m just glad to be in the mix of fighters who are always mentioned for being in great fights like the ones we had with Gatti.”

Now 43, Robinson is still in boxing as a trainer, working with young fighters at the Harrowgate Boxing Club in Philly. He said he is blessed to be in good health, and he is too busy with looking ahead to fret about what he might or might not have done in the past.

“I always felt that I was a great fighter,” he said. “I had some losses that I shouldn’t have had before Gatti, and that’s on me. But when I was able to get in that position again, I relished it. I thought I could beat Gatti, and I did. I did it twice. He was going to have to kill me to beat me. I think he did more in the first fight than he did in the second fight. After the fourth round of the second fight, I think he knew there was nothing he could do to beat me.

“I was a good fighter then, a smart fighter. I got what I could get and then I got out. Everything else is what it is. I got to be satisfied with that.”

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Is There a “Peck’s Bad Boy” in Boxing Today?

Ted Sares

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Henry “Hennery” Peck, popularly known as Peck’s Bad Boy, is a fictional character created by George Wilbur Peck (1840–1916). “Peck’s Bad Boy” has been defined as one whose bad behavior is a source of embarrassment or annoyance, but to many it refers to a mischievous prankster. The answer probably is somewhere in the middle with the label referring to anyone whose mischievous or bad behavior leads to annoyance or embarrassment.

In boxing, no one seemed to better epitomize the expression than Muhammad Ali. When Howard Cosell asked Ali why he was being truculent during an interview. Ali fired back, “I don’t know what truculent means, but if it’s good, I’m that.”

It was high camp and anyone who took Ali or his perceived arrogance seriously missed the tongue-in-cheek quality of what was going on. To this writer, he was 98 percent mischievous and maybe 2 percent annoying.

“…“Floyd Patterson was dull, quiet, and sad … and Sonny Liston was twice as bad… The fight game was dying… promoters were crying…” — Cassius Clay

I said I was ‘The Greatest,’ I never said I was the smartest! — Muhammad Ali

Ricardo Mayorga

Later, an especially nasty Nicaraguan provocateur came along by the name of Ricardo “The Matador” Mayorga, but the nastiness was more pre-fight hype than anything else and after his fights, he could be seen hugging his opponents. Often he was seen smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer before leaving the ring and that in itself was pretty unique. He soon established an infamous reputation and used this to sell tickets. Mayorga won world titles at welterweight and junior middleweight, playing the villain to Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, and Miguel Cotto, among others.

Despite being savaged by Trinidad, Ricardo showed that he was not lacking in heart. Against De La Hoya, he said, “I hate bitches and I’m going to make you my little bitch…” He was again savaged.

He caused a stir when he slapped Shane Mosley’s girlfriend on the butt at a press conference, triggering turmoil. In the fight, Mosley avenged her butt by sending The Matador to Bullfighter Heaven with a beautiful left hook launched after a slight head fake to the right.

He told Cory Spinks, “I want to sew a pair of nuts on you so you can stand and fight in front of me next time like a man.”

As writer Jimmy Tobin put it: “Sure, he [Mayorga] was upset at the Spinks decision, but Mayorga understood public expectations of him and had to push the envelope to ensure expectations were met. However enraged he might appear, the vitriol felt fabricated, rehearsed, a gimmick. That gimmick would soon be all Mayorga had left.”

And that really says it all about the Matador. Manufactured and well-timed outrage and faux insults. No serious fan ever really bought into it. Mischievous? Hype? Absolutely.

Mayorga was good at running his mouth but he was no Peck’s Bad Boy.

Today we wish him well as he struggles with substance abuse issues.

Tyson Fury

“I haven’t seen a fighter with that much charisma since Muhammad Ali”– Bob Arum

There is at least two Tyson Furys. The first one possessed a classic Irish wit and was rarely lost for words, constantly seeking attention including impromptu singing. However, keen observers sensed he was putting everybody on half the time, and it was all a joke with him.

Heavyweight boxing hadn’t had this type in a long time—not since Ali. Heck, the Gypsy King was a showman. Many thought his temperament might be a big problem and that he should be more self-deprecating, but he couldn’t care less what others thought about him. All the rhetoric and loud mouthing was likely a load of blarney and he knew it better than anyone. While he surely could have taken himself more seriously and embraced humility, that simply wasn’t what the early Fury was all about.

Fury was more like a Peck’s Bad Boy than anyone since Ali. But much of what he said along the way was embarrassing and vicious. He denounced homosexuals and Jews, among others. This was hardly viewed as amusing, but perhaps it was a byproduct of fighting a number of different demons including severe weight gain, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

After reaching the heights, he stumbled badly off the stage. However, he made a remarkable comeback and this time around he was clean and sober and showed a great desire to help his fellow man.

“I said some things which may have hurt some people, which as a Christian man is not something I would ever want to do,” Fury said in a May 2016 interview for the BBC. “Though it is not an excuse, sometimes the heightened media scrutiny has caused me to act out in public and then my words can get taken out of context. I mean no harm or disrespect to anyone and I know more is expected of me as an ambassador of British boxing and I promise in future to hold myself up to the highest possible standard.”

The 6’9” giant is currently an ambassador for the Frank Bruno Foundation, a mental health charity.

Interestingly, the title to Fury’s autobiography is “Behind the Mask and that suggests that the current Fury is the real Fury.

He has been called the UK’s answer to Ricardo Mayorga. Maybe in terms of early nastiness, but the current Tyson Fury (Batman suit and all) is more Ali than Mayorga.

Adrien Broner

“I came into town, and I got his belt and his girl.” – Adrien Broner referring to Paulie Malignaggi

A few might argue that Adrien Broner is the quintessential Peck’s Bad Boy, but frankly, “The Problem” has never really appeared amusing or mischievous. Yes, he has some substance in the ring, but Broner has in large part been seen as a hyped gimmick projecting ignorance, a man that can’t back up his foul mouth. He has now become a curiosity as fans speculate as to who will finally knock him out and shut him up.

Aside from a stupid hair combing routine before his fights, nothing Adrien does seems to conjure up even a shred of amusement. Au contraire, his boorish antics outside the ring, such as throwing cash down a toilet and performing a sexual act with a sweaty dancer at a strip club, not to mention his frequent brushes with the law and court appearances, suggest the possibility of a self-destructive bent

The “Problem” will not be solved; it’s a story that likely will not have a happy ending.

Today

Fury fits the bill but he has become more temperate and balanced. Still, he remains a promotor’s dream. Enjoy him while you can.

Can you think of any others in today’s scene? Yesterday’s?

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Boxing Odds and Ends: The Debacle in Atlanta, Fedosov’s Big Upset and More

Arne K. Lang

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Last night’s “Triller” pay-per-view from Atlanta provided a wealth of material for Sunday Morning Quarterbacks. Overshadowing the actual fights was the performance, as it were, of Oscar De La Hoya.

De La Hoya joined the telecast for the 6-round bout between 39-fight veteran Steve Cunningham and boxing novice Frank Mir. Oscar was conspicuously sloshed; he was a train wreck.

Some thought that Oscar’s screeching was hilarious, the highlight of the show. Others found it hard to watch. “I don’t find humor in a man battling substance abuse,” said a person in response to the snarky comments appearing on the message board of a rival web site.

De La Hoya, 48, reiterated that he will return to the ring in July. He has targeted the date of July 3. Oscar was just a boy when he first stepped into the ring. He had more than 200 amateur fights before turning pro. Boxers that take too many punches, say the experts, are prone to developing conditions beyond what are apparent to the naked eye. A common symptom is poor choices.

—-

Also catching flack for his commentary was boxing sportscaster Ray Flores. His transgression was trying too hard to be cool. Flores, 34, was at Wembley Stadium in London in 2017, moderating the final leg of the pre-fight promotional tour for the Mayweather-McGregor megafight. He called that experience his personal Super Bowl. One wonders where he will rate last night’s sideshow in Atlanta?

Lance Pugmire, who left the LA Times to join the impressive team of writers at The Athletic, was measured in his criticism, faulting the telecast for “scattered commentary and forced swearing.” Pugmire was being diplomatic. He wasn’t about to come down hard on Triller as his friend and colleague Mike Coppinger was part of the broadcasting crew.

The only legitimate fight on the card (no disrespect to the combatants in the two early prelims) matched former WBA/IBF 140-pound world champion Regis Prograis against Ivan Redkach. From Los Angeles by way of the Ukraine, Redkach, who brought a 23-5-1 record, wasn’t expected to win but he was expected to at least make it interesting, as had been the case in his most recent bout, a 12-rounder with Danny Garcia.

Prograis was dominant from the start. The bout ended in the sixth frame after Redkach absorbed a sweeping right hook to the body and fell to the canvas clutching his groin. After initially starting his count, the referee gave Redkach, who was writhing in pain, or an imitation thereof, the benefit of the doubt and allowed him five minutes to recover. A doctor was called into the ring to examine him, he decided that Redkach was unfit to continue, and the boxer was removed the ring on a stretcher. There has been no update on his condition.

The replays showed that the punch was legal, clearly landing above the beltline. Moreover, it did not appear that the blow arrived with any significant force. Redkach was lambasted on social media on the grounds that he was faking it, thereby robbing the victorious Prograis of adding another KO to his record. There have been cries for the Georgia Commission to withhold Redkach’s purse.

We have seen boxers greatly distressed after taking a punch in the solar plexus region that did not appear to be a particularly hard punch. Micky Ward’s “electrocution” of Alfonso Sanchez comes quickly to mind. So, perhaps we should give Redkach the benefit of the doubt. However, this reporter couldn’t help but laugh when a blogger explained away the mysterious happenstance by writing that during the heat of battle, the unfortunate Redkach caught a hernia.

There was a huge upset on the Andrade-Williams card in Florida when Azerbaijan heavyweight Mahammadrasul Majidov was stopped in the opening round by Andrey Fedosov.

Majidov had only three pro fights under his belt, but he won all three inside the distance against opponents with winning records and before turning pro he had a long and productive amateur career highlighted by a win over Anthony Joshua.

The contest wasn’t quite a minute old when Fedosov nailed Majidov with a hard combination that put him on the deck. Majidov landed awkwardly and twisted or broke his right ankle. He beat the count, but was reduced to a one-legged fighter and when Fedorov put him down again, the ref moved in and stopped it.

It was all over in 84 seconds, but this was no fluke knockout. It’s uncertain whether Majidov could have survived if he hadn’t injured his ankle. Fedosov, a 35-year-old Russian, has an excellent record, now 32-3 (26), but had become the forgotten man in the heavyweight division after sitting out all of 2019 and 2020.

There have been a lot of upsets lately and there were two more on Saturday. Light-hitting James Martin (7-2, 0 KOs), saddled 18-year-old phenom Vito Mielnicki Jr with his first pro loss, winning a well-deserved majority decision in an 8-round junior middleweight contest underneath Harrison-Perrella in LA. Mielnicki entered the bout with an 8-0 record.

On the Matchroom show in Florida, in another 8-rounder, lightweight Jorge Castaneda scored an upset over former U.S. amateur standout Otha Jones III, winning a majority decision. Castaneda brought a 13-1 record, but all of his previous fights save for one  trip to Mexico were held in his hometown of  Laredo, Texas.

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Harrison and Perrella Fight to a Draw in LA: Prograis TD6 Redkach in Atlanta

Arne K. Lang

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On a day replete with upsets, Florida southpaw Bryant Perrella almost pulled off another, but at the end had to settle for a draw with former WBC 154-pound title holder Tony Harrison. The match was the headline attraction of a PBC show at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Center in Los Angeles.

Perrella (17-3-1) was moving up from welterweight and making his first start for new trainer Roy Jones Jr.  Harrison (28-3-1), a third-generation boxer from Detroit, was making his first start since the death of his father/trainer Ali Salaam at age 59. Both boxers were coming off a loss. The first man to defeat Jermell Charlo, Harrison lost the rematch. In Perrella’s last fight, he was stopped with one second to go in the 10th and final round by Abel Ramos in a fight that he was winning.

Harrison fought a measured fight, but fought without a sense of urgency. Perrella fought mostly off his back foot, but was somewhat busier. The scores were 117-111 Perrella, 116-112 Harrison, and `114-114.

Other Bouts

In a cruiserweight fight that was competitive only on paper, previously undefeated Deon Nicholson had no answer for Efetobar Apochi who blew him away in a fight that was over at the 1:12 mark of round three. Nicholson was down in the waning moments of the second round and knocked down again in the third before the referee rescued him from further punishment.

The 33-year-old Apochi, who captained the Nigerian National Boxing Team before moving to Houston where is trained by Ronnie Shields, improved to 11-0 with his 11th knockout. Nicholson, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, came in undefeated with`13 knockouts in 14 opportunities, nine coming in the opening round. but his record was fashioned against very soft opposition. The victory boosts Apochi into a match with Arsen Goulamarian who holds a version of the WBA cruiserweight title.

Omar Juarez, a 21-year-old super bantamweight from Brownsville, Texas, improved to 11-0 (5) with a 10-round unanimous decision over Elias Damian Araujo (21-3), a 33-year-old Argentine now residing in Fresno. The scores were 98-92 and 99-91 twice.

In an upset, Philadelphia’s James Martin scored a majority decision over Vito “White Magic” Mielnicki Jr in an 8-round super welterweight contest. The scores were 79-73, 77-75, and 76-76.

Martin, who improved to 7-2, is the son of former light heavyweight contender Jerry Martin. It was the first pro loss for hot prospect Mielnicki, age 18, who entered the contest with an 8-0 record.

Atlanta

In the first noteworthy boxing match ever staged at Atlanta’s NFL Stadium, former WBA/WBC 140-pound champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) was awarded a technical decision over Ivan Redkach (25-6-1) who collapsed in the sixth round complaining of a low blow and was carted from the ring on a stretcher. Replays showed that it was clearly a legal punch. The fight went to the scorecards and Prograis won comfortably: 59-54 and 60-54 twice.

The bizarre ending was somehow fitting as the entire event was bizarre, not merely the fights but the camera work and the commentary. The word sophomoric comes to mind. For the record, in the main go Jake Paul stopped Ben Askren in the opening round.

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