Heavyweights enjoy the unique privilege of multiple chances at redemption. This is especially true when the division is as pitiful as it is today, and the next Lennox Lewis refuses to appear.
Only a giant like Wladimir Klitschko could be brutally stopped three times by the age of 30 and still be considered the future. Or how about the current, bloated version of Shannon Briggs? Nearly 50 pounds over his optimum fighting weight, he’s run through a collection of unknowns, and yet is rumored to be up for a mega payday against newly crowned IBF champ, the aforementioned Wladdy. I’m counting down the minutes till monumental underachiever Kirk Johnson is presented as the next love-handled phoenix!
Thus, the saga of Dominick Guinn, now 26-4-1 (18), should come as no surprise. Not that long ago, the prophetically named “Southern Disaster” was touted as the next big thing, after impressive drubbings of Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari. But since March 2004 he’s gone 2-4-1, his last outing being a unanimous decision loss to Tony Thompson on ESPN2’s Wednesday Night Fights. Scores were 109-119, 110-118 and 111-117. With this victory, the previously unheralded Thompson moved his record to 28-1 (17) and has announced himself as a new player in the division.
Guinn’s career is on life support—or, rather, it would be if he weighed 200 or less. He should strongly consider retirement. But why would he, when the industry will give him more chances to blow a brilliant opportunity and seven-figure purses always a couple W’s away?
Guinn, 31, does not lack for talent. He’s got it in spades. And with an amateur record of 290-26, he was a 10-round fighter when most other fledgling pros are barely good for four. Rare is the pro that knows the terrain of the ring better than him. Only a savant like James Toney (whom he lost a lopsided UD to last year) boasts superior skills and savvy.
But even during Guinn’s better performances, against the Grants and Dokiwaris, he showed a maddening reticence to punch. His dazzling moments came in brief flashes; most of the time he was doing nothing. It’s just that when he chose to trade—compact three-punch combinations usually ending with a chopping overhand right—remarkable things happened. His former trainer Ronnie Shields was usually having a vein-popping conniption, pleaded with him to let his hands go. Guinn seemed unmoved, a vacant expression registering on the wide plane of his face.
Another popular trainer, Joe Goossen, has taken over and is attempting to right this listing 229-pound ship. Last Wednesday, it didn’t capsize but looked beaten beyond repair.
Thompson, a 6’5’’ southpaw from Washington, DC, neutralized Guinn’s offense from the get-go. Analyst Teddy Atlas questioned why Guinn so willingly cooperated with the lefty by moving to his right (or counter-clockwise). He ate lefts all night long, and never made the proper adjustments. (Goossen, we were informed, doesn’t subscribe to Atlas’ view, or that of conventional wisdom, on how to fight a lefty. The conflict between the two boxing minds made for good TV. Goossen’s charge wasn’t the only loser this night.)
It was quickly apparent that Guinn wouldn’t break old habits; he didn’t move his hands when he got inside his rangy opponent. He’d hold until the ref broke them apart.
It wasn’t till the sixth, however, that Thompson began to dominate. He not only controlled the outside with a long pesky jab and hard lefts, but he was busier on the inside. Right and left hooks upstairs rocked Guinn, who offered no answer but an impotent forward march.
Thompson demonstrated an educated arsenal in the eighth, turning his jab over into a hook and catching a forward-leaning Guinn with left uppercuts.
Things got ugly in the tenth, a round I judged 10-8 for Thompson in spite of there being no knockdowns. With a minute left, Thompson landed everything in the book and never stopped punching. Guinn looked close to going. Although Thompson doesn’t get much leverage on his punches, he’s so big—svelte at 238, and twelve pounds less than he was in his last fight—simple physics dictate he’s heavy-handed. Enough that Joe Goossen stood on the top step and contemplated throwing in the towel.
Guinn was in survival mode the final two sessions. Atlas commented, “Everything is falling apart for Guinn, even his hair.” His cornrows had come undone, dangerously blocking his vision, and giving him the appearance of a man in hiding.
“You have to wonder where he’s at in his own mind,“ Atlas said after the decision was read and Guinn made his way to his dressing room. “Does he want to do this anymore? Will he do this anymore.”
Hey, he’s a heavyweight. They’ll take him back when he’s ready.
Lorenzo Reynolds, a talented light welterweight southpaw, upped his record to 15-0 (7) when the ringside physician stopped his bout going into the third.
Reynolds’ journeyman opponent, Juaquin Gallardo, now 17-5-1 (5), sustained a cut to his left eye due to what was clearly an unintentional headbutt. However, the ref said it was caused by a (phantom) punch. The commentators were vocal in urging Gallarado to appeal the decision.
Reynolds of Saginaw, Michigan, was a two-time National Golden Gloves champ. Along with a tricky lefty stance, he’s 5’11’’ and has excellent handspeed. A clean victory would likely have been his. Gallardo was a good amateur and remains a decent, hardnosed pro, but he’s nevertheless been relegated to stepping-stone-status, previously losing to the likes of Mike Arnaoutis, David Diaz, and Ubaldo Hernanadez. Reynolds joins a packed group of gifted light-welterweight prospects set to collide over the next couple of years.
Heavyweight Jason Gavern lost a close split decision to Damian Norris, a former cruiserweight who as an amateur fought on the Cuban national team. All scores were 58-56 (twice for Norris).
Gavern, a former cop who traded his baton to be a verbally-abused sparring partner of James Toney at Hollywood’s Wildcard Gym, fell to 10-2-2 (5). He has limited talent and a title shot is unrealistic, but the business can always use a strong 230-body. Norris, 23, raised his mark to 8-1 (6), and his lone loss was just a DQ in Mexico due to an errant south-of-the-border shot. (When in Mexico….) He has weighed as little as 179 and came in at an all-time heavy 200 for this bout. He’s a 6’5’’ southpaw that would present a difficult style for any cruiserweight—but he shouldn’t get delusions of grandeur and continue fighting goliaths.
Light middleweight Jose Celaya won a 6-round UD over Julio Cesar Canzes.
Wes Ferguson took a 6-round UD over Juan Martin Ramirez. (Fighter’s weights not listed.)