I wish every main event on Friday Night Fights could be like this one held in hardscrabble Scranton, Pennsylvania. Darnell “The Ding-A-Ling Man” Wilson versus Kelvin “Concrete” Davis is a cruiserweight clash that virtually guarantees good TV.
And deliver it did, as Wilson stopped Davis via TKO at 1:03 of the third. Wilson, now 21-5-2 (18), has revitalized a once floundering career, and would be a worthy contender against any of the current beltholders. Former IBF titlist Davis, falls to 24-6-2 (17), and gets a one-way ticket to the cruiser scrap heap.
Both aggressive fighters are as heavy-handed as anyone in the division, and they don’t like seeing fights go the distance if they can help it. They’re squat, bull-necked men whose menacing physical package is matched by their mentality.
However, they both find themselves at a point in their careers where they’ve got to make something happen. Wilson lost four fights in a row in 2005/2006, albeit against excellent opposition. Davis has similarly lost against some tough opponents that he needs to best if he’s ever to get another shot at a title shot.
They both came into this fight riding winning streaks. But Davis’ came against no one special, while Wilson’s came against Daniel Judah and Dale Brown. An impressive win over Davis would represent one of the best runs going in this Rodney Dangerfield division.
So respect is now due the “Ding-A-Ling Man”—even if his nickname befits a porno star, not a warrior—since no one else has spilled “Concrete” to the canvas so quickly.
After mashing into each other like tanks throughout a terrific opening round, Davis drew first blood at the beginning of the second, with a cuffing left hook that downed Wilson. He wasn’t hurt but it was a legitimate shot that caught him off balance.
While Davis has one gear—forward—Wilson can box on the outside and has a more complete game than his foe. Sometimes Wilson throws hard and fast, other times he slows it down and paws a bit. Rather than just rely on brute strength, he looks to set his man up with the best type of punch: the one he never saw coming.
That came in the third. A left caught Davis unawares because Wilson’s effective right caught him looking. Davis was wobbled badly and didn’t attempt to clinch as Wilson attacked. A hard left cross finally downed Davis, who beat the count but didn’t convince referee Gary Rosato that he was fit to continue. (When the ref asked the fighter to walk towards him, Davis staggered in a direction that was about 30 degrees off course.) It was a good call.
In beating journeyman Jermell Barnes by UD 6 (scores were 59-55, 58-56 twice), heavyweight Michael Marrone raised his record to 17-0 (13) and got some TV time in the process. In spite of his pristine record, I don’t see this gangly 21-year-old ever cracking the top 10—even in these sorry times. Not only does he lack the ability, he’s just plain boring. But when Lou Duva is your manager, and has been like a surrogate father to you since your were driving a Big Wheel, the public must pay.
Eight years ago, I saw a 16-year-old named Raymond Briggs Jnr. win the NY Golden Gloves in the 132-pound weight class. Now a 5-0 (5) jnr. middle, after stopping David Marquez in the first, he was one of the most talented young amateurs I’d ever seen. I remember he wore gold boxing shoes and I was convinced that that was a harbinger of things to come, be it as an Olympian or a pro collecting fat purses. This fight wasn’t televised, and I have yet to see him as a pro, but I’m anxious to see how he looks. And if I ever a chance to interview him, the first thing I’d ask Briggs or his famous trainer, Tommy Brooks, is why he only fights once a year? Why isn’t he, like, 20-0?
Welter Edvan Barros and Enrique Gutierrez opened the televised portion of the card going toe-to-toe for the better part of eight rounds. What the Brazilian Barros lacks in skill, he makes up for in grit and determination. It was enough to overcome the more technically sound Gutierrez by UD with scores of 74-77, 74-76 and 72-79. Barros raised his mark to 9-3-1 (7) and Gutierrez now goes 10-2 (8).
Light heavy Chris Mills KO 1 over Cullen Rogers.
Lightweight Anthony Cusumano UD 4 over Markel Muhammad.
Heavyweight Frederick Kassi UD 4 over Jonathan Felton.