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  BoxingTalk, June 25, 2004

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  Resto’s Redemption
In Losing Effort, Jeffrey Resto Shows His Champion Heart on Broadway Boxing Car

 

 


Lou DiBella is one of the more accessible and chatty boxing promoters around. In fact, during last night’s Broadway Boxing card at The Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center, he often took a seat in press row and, unprompted, doled out quotes to the fight scribes facing imminent deadlines. Here’s what he offered just before his headliner, jr. welterweight Jeffrey Resto (17-2, 11 KOs), collected his second loss in a row: “Win, lose, or draw, I am proud of him.” The New York promoter felt this way because he learned something invaluable about his fighter: He’s no quitter.

The 27-year-old Resto was thought to be one when, in his last fight nine months ago, he quit in the sixth round after getting poked in the eye by Carlos Maussa. Tonight was even more painful than a poke in the eye for Resto, as he got dropped in the 2nd round by an overhand right and also had to take a knee in the 8th round after absorbing numerous body shots. But even in losing, the Bronx native redeemed himself by hanging tough (and dishing out his punishing shots, too) for all 10 rounds of this brutal comeback bout.

Resto’s opponent, Michael Warrick (18-1, 11 KOs) of Landover, MD, was no set-up. Managed by super flyweight star Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, Warrick held his ground in the 1st round, and even found a home for his right hand on a few occasions. (BT scored the round 10-10.) In the 2nd round, Warrick landed a crushing overhand right that dropped a stunned Resto. Soon as the referee finished the 8-count, Warrick jumped on Resto and mauled him on the ropes. Resto could have easily folded. Instead he answered with his own sharp combinations to Warrick’s head. While it was a challenging round for him, Resto gained a measure of respect from his opponent and the hometown crowd alike. (10-8 Warrick)

Both fighters fought tentatively at the being of the 3rd round, as Resto gradually pressed the action. But rather than cut off the ring on the backpedaling Warrick, Resto followed him around the ring. With his superior height and reed-thin frame, Resto reminded me of Diego Corrales in his first bout with Joel Cassamayor—he couldn’t cut off the ring either. Both of these rangy fighters look like they should be boxers who work behind a consistent jab, and would opt to fight in the center of the ring. However, they are most comfortable fighting in close quarters and throwing short hooks upstairs and downstairs. (10-9 Resto) Warrick looked tired throughout the 4th round, as he often backed away from Resto without punching or simply tied him up. Resto received a warning for a low blow at one point. At the close of the round, Warrick helped himself by connecting with the same overhand right that dropped Resto in the 2nd. (10-9 Resto)

Boxing went out the window in the 5th round as the two combatants traded on the ropes. The ref took a point away from Warrick for holding; seconds later Resto lost a point for a low blow. Warrick, the brawnier of the two fighters, bulled Resto into the ropes—a position he fought from for the majority of the bout, as he seemed to lack the upper-body strength to turn his foe. Warrick also continued to land his overhand right that found Resto’s grill like a homing device. (9-8 Warrick) In the 6th round, Resto wobbled Warrick with a double left hook, and followed with digging shots to the body. He was unquestionably the aggressor this round, and began employing stinging uppercuts to complement his hooks. Warrick seemed near collapse. (10-8 Resto)

The 8th round was the high point of the fight. After looking like a beaten fighter a minute ago, Warrick charged toward Resto at center-ring and landed a crisp left-right that snapped the hometown kid’s head sideways, momentarily distorting his features. Resto is battered on the ropes and takes a beating to his midsection, forcing him to take a knee and another 8-count. (Even though he had demonstrated his determination to win by now, I still thought Resto would stay down and let himself be counted out. I felt guilty for thinking this when I was clearly wrong.) Much like the last time Resto went down, Warrick drove him against the ropes and attempted to finish him off before he had a chance to recover. But Warrick smothered many of his own shots, and Resto was able to gather himself for a salvo of hooks to the head that wobbled Warrick with a few seconds left in the round. (10-8 Warrick)

As the 9th round commenced, the Resto fans grew silent as their man seemed to wilt under the bright ring lights. The ref allowed Warrick to plow his head into his opponent’s skeletal chest. Resto could not move him off…and appeared unable to find that place inside himself, that reservoir of spirit, that great champion all have. (10-9 Warrick) The 10th round revealed Resto’s championship heart. He fought till there was nothing left. Again, the ref allowed Warrick to fight his fight on the ropes, but Resto let his hands go when he was able to. When the 10-second warning came, both men slugged à la Ward-Gatti. (10-9 Resto) The crowd gave both warriors a standing ovation.

All three judges scored the bout 94-92 for Warrick. Boxingtalk had it a draw: 93-93.

THE UNDERCARD

In a battle of cruiserweights, Ehinomen “Hino” Ehikhamenor (5-0, 3 KOs) of Queens faced Brooklyn’s Sam Elashry (4-3, 1 KO). All three judges scored the 4-rounder in “Hino’s” favor: 40-36, 39-37, 39-37. “Hino’s” sculpted physique might be the best thing he’s got going for him right now—his skills do not inspire. Even though he loaded up every shot, he was unable to put away the tentative, feather-fisted Elashry. “Hino’s” promoter (DiBella) could be heard saying within earshot of the fighter: “ Not sold on “Hino.””

Staten Island jr. featherweight Gary “Kid” Stark (9-0, 4 KOs) faced an old nemesis from the amateurs, Jose Espinal (3-2-1) of Queens. (Stark beat Espinal both times they fought as amateurs.) Stark, a cutie who is managed and clothed by none other than rapper Jay-Z, outshined his opponent for all 6 rounds. But he seemed distracted by the hometown crowd (several times during the bout he stared out at the audience as if caught in headlights). More importantly, Stark lacks a big punch. The tough but limited Espinal implored Stark to “bring it,” and when he did, Espinal was no worse the wear. Stark has talent and employs an unorthodox Roy Jones-type technique; but unless you have KTFO power, this method is less entertaining than it is tedious. Maybe up-and-comers will soon mimic Miguel Cotto’s no-B.S approach? All 4 judges scored the bout 60-54 for Stark.

Spanish Harlem’s Edgar Santana (11-2, 7 KOs) might have the biggest upside among DiBella’s local stable of fighters. The jr. welterweight dispatched (TKO) John Temple (5-6-1) at 2:49 in the 2nd round. He uses the entire ring, sometimes to great effect and sometimes not—as when he repeatedly backs across the canvas without throwing a punch. And he throws pinpoint punches, which can be overwhelming when he chooses to put them together.

Jaidon Codrington of Queens made his pro debut last night. He is perhaps the most gifted champion coming out this year’s New York Daily News Golden Gloves. (Indeed, Gil Clancy cannot heap enough praise on the 19-year-old, Starret City product, and believes he is world champion material.) A 2003 national golden gloves champ at 165, he has filled into a formidable light heavyweight. While he displayed flashes of his awesome talent last night against Copiague, NY’s Kadir Kadri (also making his pro debut), he also revealed how far he has to go before fulfilling his promise. He got hit by slow, telegraphed shots—even getting noticeably stunned by an uppercut in the first round. And his ring generalship was sometimes shaky. At other times, he was fluid and demonstrated a penchant for the lost art of body punching: a right hook to the kidney dropped Kadri (TKO) at 1:06 in the 3rd round.

 

 

 

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