Ever since Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis got it on in Memphis in 2002, the city has become a beacon for boxing. The now 19-0 (15) D.C.-native Anthony Peterson has become a regular in Elvis Presley’s backyard.
Had The King been in the FedEx Forum last Friday, he would’ve done a little hip-swing in honor of the 21-year-old lightweight, who disposed Dominican Jose Soto at 2:51 of the second round.
The spring-loaded Peterson wasted little in the first, but made everything count. Working behind a high guard and stiff jabs thrown one at a time, he pressed the smaller, weaker Soto, who fell to 18-4-2.
With a few seconds left in the round, a counter left hook from Peterson caught Soto high on the head. He followed up with a rib-caving right hook that deposited Soto flat on his back. With his arms and legs spread wide apart, he looked like he was making snow angels on the canvas. He rose to his feet at the count of six.
In the next round Soto attempted to punch with Peterson. When he got caught, Soto took some head shots surprisingly well. But as the round wound down, a lazy jab of his was countered with a snappy left hook to the temple. This time he would not beat the count. Easy work for the kid whose older brother, Lamont, was not long ago billed as the star in the family.
What makes Anhony such an appetizing prospect isn’t just his physical attributes—ESPN studio host Brian Kenny aptly described him as having a “live action body”—but his mental acuity. He doesn’t just throw technically-sound, organ-shifting shots, he understands when to release them. He’s as adroit countering as he is seeking and destroying. Further, Shelly Finkel is his manger, so he gets constant dates, almost always on TV. FNF guest-host Shane Mosley doesn’t just see a future lightweight titlist in him, but says his broad frame can handle jnr. welterweight and welterweight, as well.
Ann “Brown Sugar” Wolfe, the number two pound-for-pound female boxer after Laila Ali, took on a game but woefully overmatched Lisa Ested Smith. The 5’9’’ 165-pound Wolfe, now 24-1 (16), has cannonball biceps and WWF-style traps. But she’s no sideshow act. In fact, she landed what I am convinced is the hardest punch ever thrown by a female when she nearly decapitated 6’6’’ Vonda Ward. Not sure what won Knockout of theYear in 2004, but that was my pick. Ever since, I’ve been a fan—and I admit to paying short shrift to our female combatants. (Most are feather-fisted: when I want a pillow-fight, I start something with my wife.)
Ward stalked the 40-year-old Smith, now 10-5 (5), behind a telephone-pole jab. In the second Wolfe caught Smith on the ropes and dug body shots to her ample midsection. Smith showed great heart in the third and presented herself a fairly elusive target by lasting this long—a tenth as strong, she has weighed as little as 141.
Smith was lucky that that the fourth round was skipped, and they went straight to the fifth without missing a beat. (Did anyone notice except this viewer? Somehow both Teddy Atlas and the judges scored the phantom fourth round?!)
In what we’ll call the fifth, Smith was tossed around like a rag doll. But she made it to the next round, where she absorbed cruel right uppercuts that were a millimeter off the mark lest she’d have ended up like Vonda Ward. Scores were 59-54 and 60-54 twice.
Wolfe wants Ali badly. It’s a fight that has to happen, and is probably the only female bout your average male fan will tune in for.
So far, the leading candidates for Knockout of the Year are Calvin Brock’s left hook to Zuri Lawrence, Allan Green’s 18-second demolition of Jaidon Codrington, and Daniel Ponce De Leon’s murderous right hand to Sod Looknongyangtoy. (Yes, I had to look up the name.) Add to the mix southpaw welterweight Shamone Alvarez, and the short left he leveled Martzeze Logan with.
As impressive as the knockout itself was, whom it came against matters more. Logan, 22, is one of the busiest journeyman working today. Since turning pro in October 2002, Logan has already had 49 prizefights or an average of one bout per month. He’s logged in over 300 rounds. And only once was he stopped (to another southpaw.) The rest of the time he goes the distance with names like Vivian Harris, Emanuel Augustus, Cesar Bazan, Mike Arnaoutis, Paul Williams, Steve Forbes and many more. He’s as slippery as an eel, whose m.o. is to survive and fight another day. But sometimes he even springs the upset, such as with then-undefeated (23-0) Americo Santos last November.
Alvarez, now 15-0 (10), struggled to locate Logan for most of the first seven rounds. But the Atlantic City native patiently worked his jab and, in a precursor of the eventual knockout, hurt Logan with a short left toward the end of the third
The crunching punch came midway through the seventh, as Logan was in the process of getting off a right and never saw the incoming left. Alvarez put his whole body into the punch and got perfect extension; he looked like a miniature Rocky Marciano.
Alvarez is a fine fighter, but he’s an even more special human being. He’s a college graduate and social worker who works with at-risk youth. He doesn’t need boxing. Having such choices does not a champion make.
19-year-old local product Ira Terry remained an unbeaten lightweight, and got some valuable air-time on his way to going 8-0 (5). He had too much speed of hand and foot for Natalio Ponce, who fell to 13-26 (8). Scores were 39-37 twice and 39-38.
Lightweight Leon Bobo won a UD over Jeremy Drapal.
Lightweight Freddie Norwood won a UD over Anthony Martinez.
Lightweight Antonio Davis scored a TKO 1 over Jorge Alberto Reyes.