Harding returns, beats Telesco; Griffin out slugs Easley
At Ringside Alex Pierpaoli, Photos By Brendon Pierpaoli (February 14, 2005) 
Eric Harding
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
Before Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena, it had been May of 2003 when Hartford’s Eric Harding had last seen the inside of a professional prize ring. That night was to be a comeback as well, versus Glencoffe Johnson, but what followed were a decision loss and another layoff for the once top ranked light heavyweight. But on Friday night at Mohegan Sun, Harding came back with a solid unanimous decision victory over tough contender David Telesco and now hopes to throw the name: Eric Harding back into the light heavyweight title picture.

Tipping the scales at 173 ¼, Eric Harding looked to be in great shape and was more chiseled than the 174 ½ pound, David Telesco of Port Chester NY. Harding wore a memoriam to former trainer Al Gavin in bold block letters on his trunks.

R.I.P. AL GAVIN it read, in honor of the man who saved Harding’s arm against Roy Jones Jr. when the muscle nearly peeled from the bone five years ago in September of 2000. Gavin, the Hall of Fame cut man and trainer, passed in July and Harding dedicated the win over Telesco to his memory.

At the opening bell both men met at ring center and the feeling out process began, Telesco pawing repeatedly at the southpaw Harding. In the second round, Harding was in charge already and landing the harder punches. The Harding jab was doing work in the third and busting through the gloves of Telesco, keeping him outside and hesitating. An abrasion formed under Telesco’s left eye from Harding’s jab and swelling rose under the right eye from the Harding straight left.

In round seven Harding is large and in charge, with Telesco battered and likely to be hurting. Telesco landed a couple nice body shots along the ropes but as he did so as he ate a hard left counter from Harding. Coasting through the eighth Harding let Telesco steal the round with body punching.

Late in the fight Telesco’s shots were hard and he seemed far fresher than Harding in the deep water of the bout. Harding was a man slogging through mud as he blew air through a wide green oval, his mouthpiece visible as his jaw hung open for wind.

The ninth was closer but Telesco was unable to make things happen—Harding, though tired, was scoring well and still in charge of the action. Telesco clearly needed a knockout in the last few rounds, and he attacked with vigor in round eleven forcing Harding to clinch repeatedly.

Telesco needed to surge forward in the eleventh and twelfth but he ran out of time, unable to take advantage of the tired and fading but more skilled Eric Harding.

With the win, Harding is now 22-3-1 (7) and when asked about another shot at current champ, Glencoffe Johnson, Harding suggested a return match with Roy Jones Jr. instead.

David Telesco is now 29-6-1 (24) having lost three of his last four fights.

In the lead undercard bout, middleweights Levan Easley, 163 ½, of Queens NY, and Randy Griffin, 163 of Louisville, KY were to fight a scheduled 10 rounder. Easley looked to counter Griffin as he came forward in the early going. The second round was sloppy and Ref. Callas took a moment to warn both men for grappling. Griffin fought much better in the third and by then Easley had resigned himself to hanging back and waiting for an opportunity to counterpunch.

Easley landed a nice uppercut towards the end of the third but it was not enough to take the round. Griffin made it a roughhouse fight as he rushed in to crowd and bully Easley to start the fourth. Easley had to get mad within the tangle of a clinch and tug the arms of his opponent to find himself some punching room.

When the two were at long range and Griffin threw just one punch at a time he played into Easley’s fight. But Griffin would beat Easley even from the distance when he pushed in behind flurries to the body. After a head butt cuts the eye of Easley the fight is stopped halfway through the eighth and they go to the scorecards. Randy Griffin is tabbed the winner by scores of 79-73, 77-75 and 78-74. Griffin improved to 21-1-1 (11) while Levan Easley is now 17-11-2 (8).

The first fighter into the ring Friday night was nicknamed Shark Attack, perhaps in reference to his aggressive style and the large shark tattoo emblazoned along his chest and upper back. Archak Ter-Meliksitian, an Armenian-born, Brazilian middleweight currently fighting out of Los Angeles, made short work of Jackson, TN, Anthony Bowman. A monster right uppercut laid Bowman flat at two minutes and ten seconds of the first round. Ter-Meliksitian is now, 9-1 (8), while Bowman survives with 7-14-2 (2).

In other fights…

Junior Lightweight, Rasheen Jefferson, 5-0-1 (3), of Philly, stopped Pasqual Rouse, of Westchester, NY, at 1:40 of the opening round. Rouse is now 15-11-3 (9).

Athletic lightweight, Julio Cardenas could hit William Foster of the Bronx whenever he wanted. Cardenas, lacking real punching power, settled for a unanimous decision to improve to 6-0 (1). While Foster, of New Haven, CT, dropped to 2-7-1 (1).

Heavyweight Derrick Rossy of Medford NY used his large size and raw desire to get rid of the stiff and awkward Mark Miller. Rossy, now 3-0 (2), remained undefeated with the 4th round TKO victory over Miller of Wilson, NC, now 4-7-1 (2).

The Bronx’ Patrick Nwamu, 9-1 (3), decisioned Eric Starr, 13-18-2 (4), of Hillsboro, NC in the painfully ugly heavyweight walk-out bout.
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