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  FightWorld, April 16, 2004

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Heavyweight Implosion at Hammerstein Ballroom!



April 15, 2004, Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City—The first bout of the evening was a 4-rounder between super middleweights Victor Paz (4-0, no KOs) of the Bronx and De’Andre McCole (1-6-1) of Akron, Ohio. All judges scored the bout 40-35 for Paz, who took the fight to McCole each round and landed the bigger shots. However, those shots were few and far between, and Paz is not blessed with a big punch.

The next bout had jr. lightweight Shamir Reyes (16-2-2, 6 KOs) of Brooklyn against Marty Robbins (18-20-1, 15 KOs) of Crossville, TN. The southpaw Reyes, who is coming off an impressive victory over Victor Valle, won a unanimous decision over Robbins. Reyes prefers to fight backing up, and skillfully lures opponents in for quick counters. He does not own a big punch and appeared soft around the middle (he weighed in at 136.5). At a stocky 5’4’’, he looks like he could make the featherweight limit with ease.

The card began to heat up when hyped Israeli heavyweight Roman Greenberg (15-0, 12 KOs) took on Jason Gethers (6-6-1, 4 KOs) of the Bronx. Wearing black trunks with a gold Star of David on the front, the crowd responded to Greenberg before he even stepped foot in the ring. A Russian-born Jew who moved to Tel-Aviv as a child and now fights out of Finchley, England, Greenberg has received more press than a lot of top 10 heavyweights; he got a write up in last month’s GQ. He has a classic, upright European style, with his left held invitingly low and rarely moves his head. He compensates with light feet and impressive ring generalship for a young fighter. But sometimes his ring generalship regressed into clowning—sticking his chin out mockingly or threatening bolo punches—before earned the right to do so. In the 1st round he barely threw any punches; my notes read “feel out round.” The 2nd was much the same, and I cut him more slack: “Still feeling each other out…” When the pattern of the succeeding three rounds didn’t change, I excepted reality: “Lackluster,” I jotted down in my notepad after the 5th. Toward the end of the 6th round Greenberg unleashed a short right which floored Gethers. Gethers got back up and was then quickly dropped with a left-right combination. Gethers lay flat on his back for several seconds and attempted to rise at the count of seven, only to fall down again. The referee stopped the bout at the unusual time of 3:03 of the 6th round.

In a battle of jr. middleweights, Brooklynite Yuri Foreman (14-0, 6 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Calvin Shakir (6-2, 3 KOs) of Stone Mountain, GA. Foreman is trained by Tommy Brooks and, like Roman Greenberg, is a Russian Jew who emigrated to Israel before making it to the States. Offical scores were 60-54, 59-55 (twice).

The last non-televised bout on the card (the co-feature and main event were broadcast on Showtime’s ShoBox series) was between Queens heavyweight Jovo Pudar (22-2, 11 KOs) and Stacy Frazier (12-3, 11 KOs) of Shreveport, LA. Pudar put Frazier down twice in the 1st round with powerful right hands. Frazier got up each time and was willing to continue, but referee Jim Santa halted the bout as Frazier was dazed with rubbery legs.

The crowd was officially bored and restless by the time the long, uninspiring undercard was done. Some fight fans even considered migrating across the street to Madison Square Garden, where the Golden Gloves finals were taking place. “Whaddya say we hit the Gloves for some real guts and glory,” one passerby said to no one in particular. Before a mass exodus took place, the rap music began to blare and the gargantuan Jameel “Big Time” McCline (31-3-3, 19 KOs) made his ring entrance. His opponent, an Englishman named Wayne Llewelyn (27-5, 20 KOs), was already in the ring—though no one seemed to take notice. The fight was short and ugly, as McCline employed toughman-style tactics to put the Brit on the canvas three times in the 1st round. Because the 3 knockdown rule was in effect, the referee halted the bout, earning McCline a TKO stoppage. More to follow.

The main event featured tough heavyweight veteran Jeremy Williams (41-4-1, 36 KOs) against prospect Attila Levin (29-2, 23 KOs) of Stockholm, Sweden. Williams stopped the Swede—who showed himself to be as lethargic as he is big (6’5’’, 240)—on cuts at 2:48 in the 7th round. More to follow SOON in a complete fight report!




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