|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
As of February 3, 2001
A Friday Night Fistic Feast
by Barry Stephen Hanley
This week's ESPN's Friday Night Fights place at the Celeste Center in
The first televised bout featured super-middleweights Anthony Hanshaw versus Josť Spearmen. Refereee Frank Garza was in charge of keeping things civilized. Hanshaw, an Olympic alternate, had another famous pro and ex-Olympian in his corner, Mark Breland. Breland was wearing latex rather than leather gloves.
The fight itself was nothing to rave about. Hanshaw seemed pedestrian and intent on telegraphing his looping hooks. They simply had no snap. His opponent, Spearmen, was, without doubt, cannon fodder. Hanshaw wore black shorts with a tiger stripe. The tiger gear popularized by that Yemeni snake charmer with a punch like the kick from a well fed mule . . .Naseem Hamed.
The highlight of the bout came in round four. Hanshaw seemed ready to overwhelm Spearmen when the latter halted the onslaught with a swift punch to the nuts. "One way to stop that kind of momentum" in the words of Teddy Atlas. No doubt he had contemplated the same course of action with former charge Tyson.
The bout ended in 1:49 of the fifth as Garza halted proceedings with Spearmen against the ropes. Tellingly, Spearmen failed to protest, as he appeared to have nothing left in the tank.
We were then subjected to a laughable 'tear-up' between two women fighters-prison guard look-alikes. Vonda Ward versus Kisha Snow. Ward, a former basketball star from the University of Tennessee, faced Snow, built like a brick shithouse and sporting a mustache reminiscent of Clark Gable. This spectacle would have seemed more appropriate in a P.T Barnum exhibit and does not belong in the hallowed pantheon of professional pugilism. Then again, in the words of Dennis Miller, "That's only my opinion, I could be wrong."
The third contest on the Columbus card was a much better exhibition of the 'sweet science'. Once again, two super-middleweights went at it. Jeff Lacy, another 2000 Olympian in his pro debut, faced Gerard Lowe. Lacy looked in superb condition. His body seemed carved from obsidian and would have made Evander Holyfield envious. As it turned out, Lacy didn't just look good, he could fight too.
From the opening bell he looked slick, powerful ,and in sharp contrast to Hanshaw, had severe snap to his slaps. Lacy exhibited superb hand speed and an impressive jab and left hook. 1:09 of the first round marked the end of this affair. Lacy knocked the fight out of Lowe with a wicked kidney shot that proved too painful for him to continue.
The last contest of the night was worth waiting for. Two light Heavyweight undefeated 'bangers' got 'down and dirty'. Julio Gonzalez, a Mexican Olympian fighting out of Huntington Beach, California, and Julian Letterlough, an ex-con who has served 7 years and is known by the ring moniker, Mr. K.O., set the Ohio arena ablaze in a pitched battle that had all the pundits raving.
The fighters could not be more different. Gonzalez had an extensive amateur record and a polished, traditional style. Conversely, Letterlough never fought with headgear, opting for the streets and the 'school of hard knocks'. Letterlough is known for going down frequently and then rising like a phoenix from the ashes to put his opponent away. In his pre-fight interviews he gave a nice little sound byte. "If you put enough pressure on, those pipes are gonna burst."
Round 1 got off to a rip-roaring start as Gonzalez connected with a ramrod right hand that sent Letterlough to the deck. True to form, Letterlough rose and came back with a barrage of bone jarring hooks. In the 3rd, Letterlough was rewarded for returning to the fray. Gonzalez, the taller man, got sucked into an inside fight against the man who bears an uncanny resemblance to the aforementioned Tyson. 2:19 into the round, Letterlough landed a ferocious right hook that sent Gonzalez to one knee.
A donnybrook of epic proportions ensued as both men exchanged heavy handed power shots with phenomenal frequency. The knockdowns kept on coming. In the 5th, Letterlough's 'bread and butter' punch, the left hook, hit Gonzalez square in the chin, sending him to the canvas at the 2:27 mark of the round. The Wiry Gonzalez rose gamely, despite the concussive effect of the thunderous punch. He continued coming forward with neat, powerful combinations.
In the 10th, Gonzalez was leveled with another vicious right hook right on the kisser. In the following round, Letterlough went down from the delayed effects of a solid left. The fight ended as it had begun with both fighters swinging with murderous intent.
Wow, what a fight. After all was said and done 1,900 shots were thrown, the vast majority of them landing. Just as Gonzalez had predicted, the fight had gone the distance. In the end, Gonzalez got a unanimous decision in a superb fight.
Teddy Atlas had said that the fight would be decided by who had the 'best set of whiskers'.
That honor goes to an earlier fighter.