A Night in Youngstown
By Alec Kohut, MaxBoxing (May 18, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Bill Kohut)
Youngstown Boxing
The boxing world could use a few more cities like Youngstown, Ohio. On Saturday night, fight fans packed a church banquet hall in nearby Campbell for a five-fight card featuring prospects Jake Giuriceo, of Campbell, and Cleveland’s Miguel Gonzales. Among the faces at ringside were Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, trainer Jack Loew, former lightweight champ Harry Arroyo, welterweight Shawn Porter and lightweight Dannie Williams.  

After scrambling since Tuesday night, the promoters succeeded in finding opposition for local favorite, lightweight Jake Giuriceo. After days of searching for a suitable fill-in after Rod Salka was scratched following a medical test, Memphis’ Dedrick Bell agreed on Friday night to make the trip and weigh-in on Saturday morning.  

Soon after the opening bell rang, Giuriceo pounded Bell with left hooks and straight rights to the head and body and it looked like it might be a quick fight but Bell wasn’t there just collect a check. He fought back despite constant pressure by Giuriceo, nicknamed the “Bull.” Giuriceo continued landing cleanly against the taller Bell, easily winning the opening stanza.  

The fight continued in that vein for the remaining five rounds, Bell’s back to the ropes and Giuriceo controlling the action. By the fourth round, it was clear to everyone in the church hall who would be the victor; the only remaining question was whether it would go the distance. It did go all six rounds, highlighting the major concern about Giuriceo moving forward among the lightweights, his power. Despite landing flush power punches on Bell, he was unable to really hurt his last-minute opponent. Although Bell, 6-8 (4), has only one knockout loss on his résumé, Giuriceo, 11-0-1 (3), should have been able to earn the stoppage, given the number of clean shots he was able to land.  

The co-feature bout of the evening was the fight of the night as Cleveland’s “Silky Smooth” Miguel Gonzales, 17-2 (13), outpointed Christopher Fernandez, 19-13-1 (12), by the score of 100-87 on all three cards. However, the junior welterweight fight was far more exciting than the scores would indicate.  

The first round saw Gonzales settling in and finding his range in a relatively close round, punctuated by a nice right uppercut by Gonzales toward the end of the stanza. Gonzales began throwing combinations in the second as well attacking the body of Fernandez, forcing him to a knee midway in the round. Fernandez recovered well but it appeared his time was limited.  

With effective movement to Fernandez’s left, the southpaw Gonzales had another effective round in the third but the fourth, although won by Gonzales, was the closest round of the fight to that point. It seemed the more Fernandez was hurt, the harder and better he fought.  

Gonzales started going to the body less and tried to load up on big punches as the middle rounds progressed. His footwork, as well, was less effective in creating opportunities to score. Gonzales was still winning rounds but not hurting Fernandez, as he did earlier.

  Gonzales turned the heat up again in round eight, landing a right uppercut with Fernandez against the ropes, hurting him. Soon after, Gonzales landed flush with a roundhouse left, sending Fernandez to the canvas again. Another uppercut stunned Fernandez, who showed remarkable resolve to just survive the round.

  By the ninth round, Fernandez seemed ready to fight again, this time using the only weapon he really had left: fouls. He threw a blatant low blow early in the round, forcing the referee to halt the action and give a formal warning to Fernandez. Not long after, Fernandez again doubled Gonzales over with a south-of-the-border punch, resulting in a point deduction. Perhaps it was a desperate measure to buy the time needed to recover after round eight or Fernandez’s own way of extracting his pound of flesh in a losing effort.

  Either way, the fight ended with Gonzales completing the shutout by winning the final round and earning the vacant WBF International junior welterweight title. Yes the WBF is a joke but Gonzales is a prospect worth watching.

  After starting his career 6-2, Gonzales’ last 11 fights resemble the path of a young developing fighter. He should be regarded an 11-0 prospect, whose pro career began in 2010. Keep an eye on this kid.

  The card began with the debut of Cleveland welterweight Derrick Moss against Daniel Crabtree of Columbus, 0-2. In what should have been a easy night for Moss, he struggled to a unanimous victory with one judge scoring the bout 39-37, while judges Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles both scored it 40-36. Moss actually possesses a good jab and scored a nice left hook 30 seconds into the bout. I just wonder how a young man in his pro debut can be gassed by the third round; are you kidding me?

  The second bout again displayed some questionable scoring as Toledo’s Damar Singleton, 8-0 (4), scored a majority decision over Grover Young, 5-2 (2), as two judges somehow believed Singleton won three rounds. He didn’t. This fight was a draw, by anyone’s definition. Singleton used his good left hook, combined with solid body work to win the first two rounds. Then Young’s right hook began finding its mark in round three and Singleton tired badly in round four as Young easily took rounds three and four.

  The only surprise in the third fight of the evening was that middleweight Wilkins Santiago, 3-0 (1), of Cleveland somehow failed to knockout or even knock down Columbus’ Russ Niggemyer, 2-2 (2).

  By the second round, Santiago was teeing off on Niggemyer with impunity, as the latter was fatigued by the halfway point of the stanza. It was one of the most lopsided fights you’ll ever see at a club show that didn’t result in at least a knockdown.

  Overall, it was a good show and I give the promoters a lot of credit for holding things together in the final days leading up to last Saturday, when fighters seemed to be dropping like flies. But hold it together they did and for a ticket as low as $25 and cold beers for $3, it was a great Saturday night .

Questions or comments can be directed to aleckohut@hotmail.com. Please visit Alec at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1255732257&ref=ts or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alecmaxboxing. You can also tune in to Alec’s new weekly online show every Tuesday at 9:00 PM EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search/aleckohut/.
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