By JD Vena
July 15, 2000
When someone decides to verbally tear down the
"Sweet Science," your
CBZ-Man will always have plenty of reasons to back up boxing as
sport it is. Though boxing has incurred deleterious wounds
over the years,
there is always a fight or two that one can recall when he or she
defend the sport. For if anyone saw last night's thrilling
Julian Letterlough-Demetrius Jenkins light-heavyweight bout on
ESPN2 or live at the
Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire, they would have plenty of
nice things to say about boxing.
In the first of three televised bouts on ESPN2,
Letterlough, 177, and Jenkins, 175, completely out-staged the
co-features in a rousing see-saw fight that left those in
attendance talking about it as they left the sold-out Casino
Ballroom. After a successful first round for Letterlough,
won by consistent pressure, it appeared that the young novice from
Harrisburg, PA would score his 14th KO in as many starts.
Midway through the second stanza however, Jenkins began conducting
his painful lesson on Letterlough for keeping his left hand too
low. A choppy right to the temple sent Letterlough to the
canvas for the first time in his career. Though many in
attendance felt that Letterlough's trip to the canvas was from a
shove down, referee Norm Veilleux correctly ruled it as coming
from a punch.
Jenkins (15-5, 12 KO's), of Detroit, MI
solidified his proof that the knockdown in the second resulted
from a right hand when he repeated the feat in the third round.
Many at ringside could sense that Letterlough's demise would
happen quickly. Having had shaky starts earlier in his
career against the likes of Rocky Gannon and Omar Sheika, it
appeared that Jenkins would soon prevail in this scheduled
Jenkins would repeatedly nail Letterlough with
his overhand right especially during the 4th and 5th frames, but
Letterlough's resiliency and determination during these rounds
paid dividends in the 6th round. While Jenkins began to tire
visibly, Letterlough took full advantage, pressuring Jenkins more
and landing more of his bombs with greater success. For the
first time in the bout, it appeared that Letterlough could
actually pull through.
That dramatic moment came in the following
round when Letterlough landed a brutal left hook to the jaw while
Jenkins was loading up with his worn out right. Jenkins was
sent into the ropes and left dangling in a seated position.
Veilleux didn't hesitate to stop the fight at that point, as a
mandatory count would have been unnecessary. The punch was
so devastating you could imagine Larry Mechant sitting at home
saying, "Julian Letterlough, I love you!" It was
unarguably the best fight seen on New England turf this year and
quite possibly, the best televised on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.
Only last year's Micky Ward (who was in attendance) - Reggie Green
fight last October could compare in terms of dramatic finish.
Letterlough, having come from a difficult past
expected boxing to be this difficult even at such an early stage
in his two-year career.
"I've been waiting for this fight,"
said the victor. "Nothing has ever come easy in my
life. This was the first time I have fought on live
television and God wasn't going to give me anything easy. I
prepared for such a tough fight but it ended up being tougher than
Letterlough turned professional 18 months ago
without the benefit of any amateur experience.
"It was either the streets or
boxing," said Letterlough. "I want to make some
money and do it the right way."
Boxing, please welcome Julian Letterlough.
In the main event, Canadian Olympic Bronze
medallist, Chris Johnson (175) won a 12 round unanimous decision
in upsetting world ranked (6th by the CBZ), Greg Wright (174 ½)
by scores of 115-113, 117-113 and 117-111. Johnson, of
Kithner, Ontario, Canada applied consistent pressure against the
slick Wright of Detroit, MI.
Wright appeared to be the better boxer of
the two when he elected to fight and even knocked Johnson down
with a left hook in the second round, though referee Steve Smoger
ruled it a slip. The knockdown was more blatant than
Jenkins' first knockdown of Letterlough. Johnson however,
wouldn't be denied on this night, scoring effectively when
The win for Johnson was his most significant
since decisioning top-middleweight, Antwun Echols four years ago.
In Johnson's last big fight, he was stopped in his only loss to
British great, Herol Graham. Johnson improved his record to
25-1-1 with 14 KO's while Wright dropped to 18-6-2 with 6 KO's.
Many in attendance, including Buffalo Bills' QB,
Doug Flutie were there to see Richard "The Mountain"
LaMontagne of Everett, MA, continue his rise to the to the top of
the cruiserweight ranks only to be decisioned over 8 rounds by NY
State cruiserweight champion Gary "The Whip" Wilcox,
191, couldn't seem to nail down his cagey foe who seemed to
smother LaMontagne whenever he would get inside. Wilcox'
unwillingness to slug inside was even enough to convince one of
the judges, Frank Wells to score 77-75 for LaMontagne.
Wells' score was overruled by scores of 77-76 (the CBZ's score)
and 77-74 for Wilcox (13-1-1, 4 KO's).
LaMontagne, who seemed to be coming on down the
stretch, was surprised that his 8 round fight was not a 10-rounder
as it was advertised. The added distance could have helped LaMontagne
but instead, his record fell to 22-4-1 with 18 KO's.
"No one can give me an explanation as to
why the fight was moved from ten to eight rounds," said a
"We were told in our dressing room 2
minutes before we walked out to the ring that the fight was an
8-rounder," said LaMontagne co-trainer Norman "Stoney"
In the card's first bout, Jose Williams (164)
of Bronx, NY scored a 2nd round TKO over debuting Reuben James
(165) of Cleveland, OH. James is one of Jim Holly's
never-ending cast of quitters. Williams won his first fight
in over two years and his record now stands at 8-43-1 with just 3
KO's. Had Williams been facing Holly's 30 or so stablemates,
his record would look somewhat respectable. The only reason
why Holly may brought James was probably because the rest of his
so-called boxers are suspended for being knocked out in their
One boxer who has taken full advantage of the
strategy of Holly's tomato can collection is Jacob Hudson, of
Miami, FL (135) who knocked out his second Holly opponent, Derek
Williams (127) at 1:59 of the first round. Williams had just
got out of prison and decided to make a quick buck by fighting
professionally. Hudson is now 3-0 with 2 KO's.
Other than the two aforementioned side-shows,
the rest of the undercard was fairly entertaining. Miguel
Figueroa, 142, of Patterson, NJ scored a 1st
round TKO over Juan Torres, 142 ½, of Hartford, CT.
Figueroa is now 12-3-1 with 8 KO's. Torres slips to 5-16.
Kisha Snow, 224 ½, Brooklyn, NY, knocked out
debuting Carly Pesente 211, Bethel, CT in New Hampshire's
first-ever- women's bout. Snow landed nearly every one of
her swings prompting referee Joe LaPlant to stop the fight at 1:23
of the first round. Snow is now 6-0 with 3 KO's.
Edwin Santana, 125, of Lawrence, MA made his
long awaited return to the ring and scored an impressive 6-round
UD over Anthony Hardy, 129, of Washington D.C. Santana, who
won by scores of 60-53, 60-52 and 59-54 landed effectively to the
head and body in improving his record to 25-3-5 with 6 KO's.
Having lost only to the likes of former champions Kevin Kelley,
Orlando Canizales and top-rated lightweight contender, Ben Tackie,
Santana hopes to return to the ring against a formidable contender
within the next few months. Stay tuned.
In the swing bout, many fight fans missed
Tokunbo Olajide, the son of former contender Michael Olajide, win
his 7th bout in as many starts by decisively out-hustling Kevin
Tillman, 162, of Philadelphia, PA. Young Tokunbo, 160, moved
in and out and scored whenever the frustrated Tillman would
attempt to work inside. The win for Olajide was the first
time he was extended the full limit. The scoring: 40-36
twice and 39-37.
Promoter - S & L Boxing
Television Network - ESPN2
Ring Announcer - Mark Beiro
Referees - Joe LaPlant, Steve "SS" Smoger & Norman
Judges - John Stephen, James J. Finnegan, Mary Freitas & Mike
Timekeepers - Bob and Joe LaChance
Physician at Ringside - Brian Claussen, M.D.