Adrian Granados Outguns “Crosstown Rival” Antonio Canas in Crowd-Pleasing War at Windy City Fight Night 23 at Cicero Stadium
by Kerstin Broockmann
Photos by Scott Dray
CICERO, IL, December 14, 2012 — 8 Count Productions, with Round 3 Productions, returned to the Cicero Stadium this evening to present Windy City Fight Night 23, a short, action-packed card headlined by native son Adrian Granados facing Chicago slugger Antonio Canas in a Light Welterweight bout billed as a battle of “Crosstown Rivals.” The four fights featured local pros with strong amateur backgrounds. Chicagoans Junior Wright and Paul Littleton have been honing their skills and reputations while garnering unbeaten records in their short careers. Both faced other unbeaten newcomers. Chicago Golden Gloves standout Ed Brown seemed to have drawn a tough opponent for his pro debut in the far more experienced Dontre King, but he proved himself more than up to the challenge.
Cambridge, Maryland’s Dontre King (6-14-2, 2 KOs142 lbs.) entered the ring first, squaring off against Chicago’s Ed “Bad Boy” Brown (144 lbs.), making his pro debut. Hometown favorite Brown entered to the beating of marching band drums and the cheers of the crowd. Initially King held his own, trying to break through Brown’s guard with combinations to body and head. Brown covered well against his combinations and began finding his openings with a swift jab. As the round continued, Brown began closing in, raking King’s body with hard hooks and coming up with hooks to the head. King tried to go on the offense, but Brown’s counters kept him on the retreat. Several more body-head assaults from Brown looked to signal the end, which came in the form of a right hook to the head, sending King to the canvas, where referee Dave Smith waved off the fight, giving Brown his first victory by technical knockout at 2:26 of the first round. Another volley of drumming celebrated the victor as he left the ring.
Unbeaten Nick “The Brick” Reeder (195 lbs.) of St. Louis, Missouri, looked to upset local Junior “Hurricane” Wright (197 lbs.) in a Cruiserweight bout scheduled for four rounds. Though Reeder demonstrated some skill in finding openings and throwing combinations, Wright’s punches were the more telling from the outset. He countered well, moved in behind a stiff jab, and landed clean counters, most of them hooks to the head and body throughout the first round. A short right-left combination drew a gasp from the crowd, but Reeder continued to look for ways into the fight; though his punches seemed tentative, he kept throwing.
In the second round, Wright added an uppercut to his arsenal, which he used effectively in the opening moments. However, it was the left hook that did the most damage. Though Reeder tried to cover, a barrage of punches ending with multiple left hooks sent Reeder to the canvas. He beat the count, but never got back into the battle. Wright continued to batter him with combinations to the head and body. A crushing right cross forced Reeder to take a knee after his legs buckled shortly after the first knockdown.
Again, he struggled to his feet, but the rest of the bout belonged entirely to Wright, who picked his openings at will against the overwhelmed Reeder, again employing his punishing left hook in bunches until referee Dave Smith intervened, stopping the contest at 1:30 of the round and giving Wright his fifth victory and fifth knockout, while the game but overmatched Reeder suffered his first loss and dropped to 3-1-1, 2KOs.
In another battle of unbeatens, Paul Littleton (5-0-1, 4 KOs, 165 lbs.) of Chicago faced Jordan “Show Me” Brown (3-0-0, 1 KO, 162 lbs.) of Hannibal, Missouri, in a six-round battle. Littleton dominated the first round, using his reach effectively as he drove forward with hard jabs to the body. He unleashed his left hook both to body and head and kept a steady stream of punches flowing throughout the round. However, he never found the pace that he needed to put away his slower but durable opponent, and he could not let his guard down for a moment, because Brown showed his own determination in hard offensive surges, one of which included a hook to the head that staggered Littleton.
In the second round, Littleton battered Brown throughout, throwing combinations of hooks to the body and straight rights and hooks to the head. Finding ways to angle off Brown’s centerline, Littleton would create openings for hooks to Browns body and face from the outside. He dislodged Brown’s mouthguard, and, when referee Celestino Ruiz did not notice immediately, continued his pursuit of his stocky oppenent. Brown still managed to sneak in some heavy blows of his own, seeming to rock Littleton with a body head combination late in the round. This round belonged to Littleton, however, as he never really allowed Brown to throw a sustained series of punches.
Littleton appeared to slow in the third round, though he was still doling out punishment. As Brown continued to launch occasional bombs, Littleton would step aside and land hard counters. Brown continued looking for knockouts and the two found themselves trading blows as counters were countered until one retreated. It was a round of attrition after the battles of the earlier rounds.
In the fourth round, Brown came charging out at the bell, seemingly determined to go on the offense. Both fighters used their footwork to avoid some of the heavy blows that had caught them in earlier rounds, though Brown’s aggression allowed him to land some impressive blows early on. As the round progressed, it was Littleton’s counters that were the more telling, and his head movement allowed him to avoid more heavy leather.
The fifth round saw the fighters squaring off and exchanging blows, with neither getting the best of the other. In fact, Brown’s body shots seemed to be getting more effective and his head movement allowed him to avoid many of Littleton’s hooks. Both boxers tired as the round progressed and the pace of the fight slowed. After coming up short for four rounds, Brown may have taken this round through sheer will as he launched heavy blows to the body and head from the outside.
In the sixth, Brown set the pace, though Littleton played it smart and found his counters. It was a close round, with Brown continuing to stay dangerous, but Littleton using his ring savvy to avoid shots and, more often than not, fire back. A short right sent Brown to the canvas, but it was more of a slip than a knockdown. As the end of the round approached, both fighters started throwing bombs, seemingly knowing that they probably could not end it, but hoping for the lucky punch. Though that punch did not come, the final exchange was an exciting crowd pleaser.
Final scorecards, giving Littleton the unanimous decision with scores of 60-53, 59-55, 59-54, acurately reflected the action, though Brown deserves credit for his tenacity and skill in not letting Littleton off the hook while taking or avoiding whatever was thrown his way. Littleton’s poise, power and accuracy were clearly dominant. Brown lived up to his nickname, seemingly daring the stronger, taller and more skilled Littleton to show him everything he had or risk a sudden turning of the tables. Littleton continues to develop his style and hone his ring smarts.
The fourth and final fight of the evening featured Cicero native Adrian “El Tigre” Granados (139 lbs.), whose most recent boxing endeavor was serving as Juan Manuel Marquez’s sparring partner, against unbeaten Chicagoan Antonio “Aztec God of War” Canas (140 lbs.) in a Junior Welterweight Main Event that was worthy of the name. Granados may have picked up some counter-punching pointers from the long-time Pacquiao rival, but he showed impressive offensive skills as well and never backed down from the fight that Canas brought. Both fighters had their own vocal fans, and both camps had much to cheer.
Canas came out strong at the bell, throwing wide but powerful punches and driving Granados back with hooks to the body and head. As soon as Granados found his range, he began firing back, throwing hard barrages of his own, using his jab to get close when he was on the offense, but often taking multiple punches to get the inside line when Canas was advancing. Most of the first round was a slugfest, with both fighters taking punishment that would have resulted in a knockout in another fight. Granados body shots and straight rights looked to do slightly more damage in the end, but it was a tough round to call.
In the second, it was Granados who dominated with clean shots to the body and head, though Canas imposed his will by coming in close and forcing Granados back. Though Granados for the most part covered well, he could not avoid all the hard hooks that Canas threw while pushing his way inside. The fight became extremely physical, as both men traded punches and used their shoulders to stay inside. This was the game that Canas wanted to play and Granados obliged, though he gained the edge with body shots that he used to find the right range for huge right hands that Canas could not answer.
Granados did his best to box in the third round, using his footwork to stay out of range and attack from the outside, but Canas was having none of it, continuring to drive forward, despite hard punches from all angles from Granados. Though Granados kept on the move, he still took some hard hooks from the motivated and aggressive Canas. Granados clearly controlled the first half of the round with his movement and boxing skills. However, Canas never let up and may have ultimately landed more punches as he kept Granados from sitting on his shots while driving him into the ropes with barrages of hooks and a physicality that Granados could not entirely avoid.
Granados again maintained his range in the fourth and managed to rock Canas with a hard right early in the action. He moved in to capitalize on this opportunity, but despite keeping on the pressure, he could not land the finishing blow. The close quarters punching continued, with Granados’ blows starting to take their toll as he consistently pulled back just enough to keep Canas on the end of his punches, countering Canas’ shots with short hooks to the chin and following up with straight punches from both hands. Canas bravely kept the pressure on and kept driving Granados back, despite being on the receiving end of both offensive action incorporating Granados’ full arsenal of punches, as well as counters that did more damage than the incoming shots from Canas. Granados found a way to box and find the openings he needed, as well as the timing to consistently and aggressively counter Canas’ hard-charging offense with equally aggressive but cleaner and more damaging counter shots.
Somehow the boxers picked up where they left off in the fifth. Canas landed a series of perfect hooks hear the beginning of the round, but Granados backed off briefly and recouped. Near the middle of the round, Granados landed a volley of punches on the inside as Canas again advanced with looping, powerful hooks. It looked like Canas should be going down, but he continued to throw. Granados was landing clean blows as Canas retreated, still throwing, but not able to connect with the heavy punches that he had in previous rounds. Though Canas looked like he was in shape to continue, Granados was delivering too many unanswered bombs. Referee Celestino Ruiz was not seeing enough from Canas to allow the punishment to continue, and stepped in to end the bout at 2:36. Though Canas protested, and most likely had the conditioning and heart to stay on his feet, Granados’ firepower was clearly taking its toll and would have continued to do so.
It was a thrilling battle from start to finish, with Canas showing the determination and tenacity that allowed him to remain unbeaten until this bout. The “Aztec God of War” did his best to go to war with “El Tigre,” and never ran out of firepower. Though Granados proved himself a capable brawler, going toe-to-toe with his hard punching foe when he could have dominated with a safer outside game, ultimately it was his superior boxing skills that won the day. Granados continues to win admirers by taking on tough opponents that make him fight hard for every victory, and successfully meeting each challenge. Granados advanced to 11-2-1, with 7 KOs, while Canas suffered his first loss, dropping to 6-1-1 (3 KOs).