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Gibbs-Edouard from Ringside: Middleweights Brawl in the Connecticut Woods
At Ringside by Alex Pierpaoli (August 31, 2004) 
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
Uncasville, Connecticut sounds like an unlikely place for a rumble, but when ground zero is the same 20 odd feet of canvas that were under the feet of Irish Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti in the first of their now classic trilogy; the place itself may bring out the beast in the right pair of combatants. Such was the case on Friday night when undefeated middleweights, Willie Gibbs and Daniel “Haitian Sensation” Edouard, came out throwing bombs and didn’t stop until thirteen minutes and forty five seconds later when one man was barely standing. Referee Charlie Dwyer called a halt to the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights Main Event at 2:45 of round four after Philadelphia’s, Willie Gibbs rose on unsteady legs from the second knockdown he suffered in the fight. With the win, Daniel Edouard leaves the ring with a definitive and welcome result after his previous two bouts ended in draws.

When the bell sounded to start round one, Gibbs and Edouard met at ring center and dug in for a trench war immediately, both men throwing power punches and looking to do damage. Gibbs’ attack never spared the mid-section of Edouard and most of Gibbs’ combinations featured hard bolts upstairs and digging hooks to the belly. By the end of the first both men had stunned each other but the harder punching Gibbs took the stanza.

Both men settled down in the second after lots of leather thrown and landed in round one. Edouard hurt Gibbs with a heavy right hand that wobbled Gibbs’ legs and sent a wave of rubbery motion through Gibbs entire frame. He recovered quickly and in true Philadelphia fashion Gibbs continued firing back at Edouard, landing the heavier punches while the Haitian scored with quicker more accurate blows. By the end of the second Edouard has Gibbs hurt badly and as referee Charlie Dwyer seemed close to stopping it Gibbs went down from a hard blow from Edouard. Beating the ten count, Gibbs was up and wobbling but was saved further punishment when the bell sounded to end round two.

Still hurt in round three Gibbs fought much of the round on unsteady legs but was able to land several hard counters on Edouard before the bell.

Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
The leather continued to fly in round number four but as the round wound down it was clear Edouard was getting to Gibbs. When Edouard connected with a hard right hand Gibbs lurched sideways, off balance, before falling face first into the canvas. Ref. Dwyer gave Gibbs the mandatory 8 count but when he asked Gibbs to step forward it was with great effort and a trembling hesitation that made Dwyer realize Gibbs had seen enough action on this night.

Despite winning by knockout Daniel Edouard found himself surrounded by paramedics after he became dizzy and vomited in the ring during his energetic post fight celebration. Unwilling to leave the ring on a stretcher, Edouard was eventually convinced backstage to go to a local hospital for observation. After the brutal back and forth nature of the bout it seemed likely both men could have concussions. Willie Gibbs’ record dips to 17-1(14), Edouard improves to 16-0-2(9) and both men are likely to be remembered when the honors for fight of the year are given this winter.

Rasheem Brown of Philadelphia, and Jose Spearman of Columbus, Ohio, got the televised portion of the card started with an eight round bout in which both men hurt each other but neither was able to finish off the other. In the early going it was Spearman making the fight behind straight punches while Brown waited and looked for opportunities to counterpunch.

In the third both men were grappling and tugging on each other in the clinches, most hard punches landed in the round scored while the fighters were half-tangled up and working only their free arms. Spearman rallied late in round five, connecting with a chopping uppercut on the point of Brown’s chin that buckled him and forced him to clinch.

In round six the rough grappling nature of the fight continued and when Brown scored what looked like a knockdown referee Dick Flaherty ruled it a slip. In the seventh, chaos continued and a grazing punch from Spearman resulted in an official knockdown of Rasheem Brown which draw a raucous surge of boos for referee Flaherty.

In the eighth and final round, Spearman backpedaled throughout as if confident he was ahead on the scorecards. It turned out he was right. Judges Arthur Mercante and Joe Dwyer both saw the contest at 76-75 for Spearman while Judge Don Trella thought Rasheem Brown won by a score of 77-74.

The split decision win for Spearman was announced to loud boos, obviously the large contingency of Philadelphians on hand convinced their guy had won. Doghouse saw the fight 77-76 for Jose Spearman who improves to 21-8-2(8) while Rasheem Brown drops to 14-2(12).

In other action, Nasty Nick Morganelli, a celebrated Massachusetts amateur who just missed out on a trip to Athens and opted to turn professional, got his second win in as many fights over Jose Roman. Roman suffered under the body attack of Morganelli from the opening of round one, but managed to force Nasty Nick into a fire fight in the fourth and final round. Willing to trade, Morganelli gave the crowd an exciting final round punctuated by the crisp crack of several picture-perfect left hooks to the body and head of Roman.

After four, Nasty Nick Morganelli was announced the winner by unanimous decision with three scores of 40-36 by judges, Arthur Mercante, Don Trella, and Steven Weisfeld. Morganelli climbs to 2-0(1) while Roman falls to 4-4-2(2).

Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
In the evening’s walkout bout, young cruiserweight, Ehinomen Ehikhamenor stopped John Battle at 1:48 of round number 3. Fighting for the fourth time at Mohegan Sun in his seven pro fights, the Nigerian from Queens landed heavy blows with both hands against the taller Battle from the start of the bout. Ehikhamenor seemed less interested in defense in his last fight, and on Friday the story was the same as he waded into the chest of Battle pressuring him along the ropes but taking clean punches in the process.

In the third, Battle tried to circle and box his bullish opponent but Ehikhamenor caught Battle with a hard left hook that wobbled him. Letting his hands go, Ehikhamenor shelled Battle along the ropes until ref. Charlie Dwyer stepped in to halt the contest. Ehikhamenor, or Hino as he is called, remains unbeaten at 7-0(4) while John Battle’s record falls to 10-10-1(6).

Local product, Elvin Ayala of New Haven, rumbled with Julio Jean in a six round contest. Jean was a decent opponent for the developing Ayala, who is trained by Hall of Fame Welterweight Gaspar Ortega. While Jean was durable enough to extend Ayala the distance he wasn’t talented enough to be any danger for the 23 year old, Ayala. Ayala won a unanimous decision after six rounds with scores of 59-55 from each of the judges. Landing the cleaner punches throughout, including good work in close, Ayala improves his record to 7-0(1) while Julio Jean drops to 3-4-1(2).

Adam Moses and Dwayne Molina got the ESPN2 card started off with a four round scrap that looked more like a glorified toughman competition. Calling himself the Adam Bomb, Moses was able to hurt but not finish Molina inside the four round distance. Two judges, Joe Dwyer and Don Trella tabbed Moses the winner while the third, Steve Weisfeld saw the bout even. Moses gets the majority decision win and improves to 4-1(1) while Molina remains without a victory at 0-3 as a pro.
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