Dawson destroys, Spina gets lucky and Remillard debuts in New Haven
Ringside, By Alex Pierpaoli (April 4, 2005)  
Photos © Brendon Pierpaoli, DHB
They say you can’t go home again, but as Bad Chad Dawson emerged from a cloud of smoke to the thump-thump of rap music and the cheers of the New Haven crowd on his way to the ring Friday night; Dawson seemed about as close to being home as one can get. On Friday night at the City Wide Fieldhouse in New Haven, CT, middleweight Chad Dawson remained undefeated after scoring a knockout win over Efrain Garcia to improve his record to 18-0 (12). Bad Chad, a former student at Hill House High School, was back in his hometown and fighting the main event at his high school’s official gym in the CES promotion’s Homecoming.

Dawson fought a cautious first round but when he dug at Garcia’s body with straight lefts and right hooks he was hurting him. By round’s end Garcia had been stunned but Dawson was fighting smart and not recklessly, trying to capitalize on well landed, accurate punches.

In the second Garcia was barely firing back, spending most of his effort trying to cover up under Dawson’s pressure and effective aggression that was increasing in intensity. Dawson displayed speed and power behind a skilled offense that featured cracking right hooks and left uppercuts that snapped Garcia’s head back.

After a brutal pummeling in round four, the end came when Garcia was on his stool before the start of the fifth. Mexican fighters never say die or quit, so it was mostly a consensus vote between the corner, the fighter and the ringside doctors that let Ref. Johnny Callas know the fight was over. Officially the time of the stoppage was 3:00 of round four.

Efrain Garcia of McAllen, TX, now 17-5-1 (11) hadn’t seen action in a prize ring since July of 2003 and has now been stopped in 3 of his last five fights. But for Dawson, he can say he stopped Garcia in quicker fashion than top middleweight contender Jermain Taylor did. Taylor went five rounds with Garcia before scoring a TKO in August of 2001.

When the smoke cleared the bout was far less of a fight than it was a blood-letting. But it did qualify Dawson as the mandatory challenger for something the WBC refers to as their International Middleweight Title-belt, currently held by James Obede Toney of Ghana.

The supporting TV bout featured Providence, Rhode Island’s KO Kid, Joey Spina, who won a mystifying unanimous decision to improve to 15-0 (11), over Manu Ntoh, a four time Muay Thai kickboxing champion. Ntoh fell to 15-10-1 (9) as a super middleweight professional boxer but deserved a victory Friday night in this writer’s opinion.

Ntoh’s short stature is more reminiscent of a welterweight while his stocky build and thickly muscled torso looks like that of a cruiserweight. He looked like the stronger fighter and it was Ntoh’s strength and explosiveness that wore Spina down. Spina reached and lunged at the body of Ntoh trying to land rights to his mid-section throughout the fight. As Spina lunged at him Ntoh had little other option than to grab and grapple with his taller opponent, wait for the referee to break them and then try leaping at Spina behind left hooks as he came forward. Ntoh was surprisingly quick when springing from a crouch behind heavy left hooks, perhaps due to his martial arts background. At the end of round 2 the fighters banged away with both hands and it was Spina looking far the worse for wear as the bell sounded.

In the fourth Ntoh was roughing Spina up again with Spina laughing and mugging to the crowd over Ntoh’s shoulder whenever the puncher landed and the two would fall into a clinch. At the start of each round Spina came out jabbing hard with fire suggesting he knew he was trailing on the cards but Ntoh would slow him down and batter him for the second half of almost each round.

Spina mugged and shook his head all night, whenever Ntoh would nail him. All the protesting suggested Spina was having a lot more trouble with Ntoh than expected.

In the eighth Spina came on hard but by then it was too little too late. At the end of 8, Doghouse had the fight 77-75 for Ntoh. Although three of the rounds in the fight were close when the judges’ scorecards were read it seemed as if they had been focused on something other than what just occurred in front of them.

The officials saw the bout unanimously in favor of Joey Spina. One card, that of Judge A.J. Sinese who scored it 80-72 had Spina winning every round which was absolutely ludicrous. Judge John Lawson scored it 79-73 and Judge Frank Lombardi saw it a far more reasonable 77-75 as several rounds were close.

Spina was in a fight from round number one and was clearly battered about the ring repeatedly. At times he was able to score with a jab-right hand while on the move but when he stood in front of Ntoh, which was where most of the bout was fought, it was all Ntoh.

Professional boxing is about who lands the cleaner more effective punches. But when infrequent haymakers, like the ones Ntoh crashed against the head and body of Spina, have the effect they were having there is no way a round should be scored in favor of the guy landing a higher quantity of blows instead of the man landing the more damaging, debilitating punches. This is a hurt business, so hurting should always score points.

As both men tired the bout grew progressively uglier but it was always entertaining. Ntoh’s strength helped take away the legs of Spina over the course of the fight but Ntoh had to go home without a victory while Spina left the Elm City with a gift. A rematch between these two would be more than justified and probably well-received; it was an entertaining scrap.

Two thousand four Olympian Jason Estrada has that jolly-giant mercilessness of a heavyweight contender in his young and bulky, but muscular frame. Traditionally, heavies mature at 27-28 years old; Estrada is only 24 and may slim down and shed some body fat as he matures.

Already, “Big Six” moves with lunging aggression behind looping power punches that fans love seeing big boys throw and land. Estrada, weighing 248, moved to 2-0 (1) over the two hundred twenty-two pound, Jerry Simpson, putting him to sleep with a mean left hook at 2:15 of round number 2. Simpson fell to 2-2 after the defeat.

Matt Remillard of Manchester Connecticut made his pro-debut with a TKO win on the undercard versus Arlington Pandy of Brooklyn, NY. Remillard attacked his opponent from the start and it wasn’t long before Pandy was down along the ropes and rolling to his feet to take the mandatory eight count. The bout resumed and Remillard charged him again, swarming him with punches but the bell sounded to end the round.

In the second Remillard showcased his skills and arsenal of punches, firing left-rights at Pandy with fierce intensity and relentlessness. Remillard was finally pulled away from Pandy by Ref. Johnny Callas who stopped the fight while Pandy was taking punishment in a neutral corner at 2:35 of round number two. Arlington Pandy is now 0-2 as a professional.

The walk-out bout of the night featured super middleweights, Joe Rea of South Boston and Corey Phelps of Catlettsburg, KY. Ref. Danny Schiavone stopped the fight after the third knockdown in round number two, even though it was a foregone conclusion from the way he went down after the first one that Phelps would finish on his back. Rea is now undefeated in three fights with two kayos. Phelps’ record dropped to 2-1 (1).

Also, Cruiserweight Matt Godfrey of Providence improved to 7-0 (5) with a first round TKO over Tony De La Garza, now 3-3-2 (1), of Corpus Christi.

Two amateur fights featuring young men less than 90 pounds got the card started out and ended up being the most competitive fights of the whole night. Both bouts featured fighters from New Haven’s Ring One Boxing club,

In the first contest, George Naclerio of Ring One used his ring smarts to avoid the bursts of flurries from opponent, Julian Rodriguez of Patterson, New Jersey. When he was stung early in round two, Naclerio showed the poise of a far more mature fighter by hopping on his bike and circling Rodriguez while popping away with straight punches. At the end of 3 rounds the close decision win went to young Naclerio.

Tramaine Williams nationally ranked in his class, out pointed Uriel Huerta, also of Patterson, in a 2 round exhibition. Williams, who looks to be cut from a similar mode as Chad Dawson, is a southpaw with exceptional speed and movement, and ring savvy beyond his years. Williams peppered Huerta with right-lefts throughout from his southpaw stance and though it was far more competitive, in hindsight, Williams-Huerta looked like foreshadowing for the night’s main event in miniature. Perhaps one day Tramaine Williams or Georgie Naclerio will be fighting co-main events in a new haven ring just like Bad Chad Dawson.

Questions or comments,
Alex at: mmhagler@comcast.net
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