Nelson Defeats Vasquez in War at Harrah’s!
Nelson Defeats Vasquez in War at Harrah’s!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 20, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Joey Eye
It was everything it was played out to be as Niam Nelson, 8-0 (1), won the vacant PA lightweight title in a war over fellow Philadelphian Victor Vasquez, 15-7-1 (7), over 10 rounds this past Friday night at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, PA.  Joey Eye Boxing Promotions and David Feldman Presents had standing room only as they put together another blockbuster show at the Casino.

Nelson had never been scheduled for more than 6 rounds and Vasquez had never gone beyond 8 but you would never know it the way they fought it out in the 10th and final round.  It was the 5th appearance for Vasquez at Harrah’s.  The tattooed and bald fighter is a full time barber and he cut Nelson’s forehead early in the 2nd round after a clash of heads.  Just prior to this and off balance Nelson touched the canvas for the first official knockdown in his career.  “I knew at that point I was not only in a fight but had to win big to overcome the knockdown and the cut,” said Nelson.

Both fighters had many fan’s as Vasquez is one of the biggest ticket sellers in Philly and Nelson living 15 minutes away brought in a much more vocal group.  It was the first time this writer ever heard Vasquez booed as he entered the ring last.  The first round was a feeling out round but it was obvious the younger (22) Nelson was quicker.  In the third round Nelson took over as he later mentioned knowing he was behind early.  The 5th round was a good round for the fans.  In the 6th Vasquez caught Nelson just prior to the bell with a right to the chin.  He would do the same ending the 8th round as Nelson moved quickly away from him until the bell sounded.

Vasquez seemed to have new life in the 9th, a round he had never ventured into before.  The 10th was the best round of the fight as both fighters unloaded.  It’s the only round this writer called even.  “Jim Williams won that fight for you,” said Doc Nowicki.  He was referring to his co-manager along with Williams who do his usual great job in seeing that the cut was never a factor from the 3rd round on.  Nelson acknowledged what Nowicki said with a nod in agreement.  Williams has been saving fights for the Philly boxers for years though a Camden, NJ, resident.  

Another co-manager of Nelson’s, John Howell, had his daughter, a Philadelphia physician, check the cut on Nelson’s forehead and insisted he needed stitches in spite of the corner feeling “it’s not that deep”.   She won out for Nelson’s sake.  “I think the cut brought out the beast in me,” said Nelson.  Vasquez was too distraught with the loss to talk to the press afterwards.  It was disappointing to this writer for Vasquez is one of my favorites as is Nelson for that matter.  I thought the Nelson management team may have been rushing him from a 6 to a 10 but in the end all 3 judges agreed as Pierre Benoist 98-91, Dave Braslow 97-92 and Alan Rubenstein 96-93 all had it for Nelson as did DHB at 97-93 with the even last round.  Referee Shawn Clark had to warn both fighters about low blows but otherwise it was a clean fight.

The rest of the card consisted of 6 bouts that were all 4 scheduled rounds.   In the only fight of the night that did not agree with the fans was prior to the main event as southpaw Gabriel Diaz, 1-2-1 (0), decided he would put on his track shoes and only throw punches in spurts when junior welter Julio DeJesus, 6-3-2 (3), of Millville, NJ, caught up with him.  DeJesus had Matthew 19-:26 on the back of his trunks “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!”  At 37 DeJesus is a warrior whenever he fights.  In the case of Diaz both former IBF light middle champ Rob “Bam Bam” Hines and Philly promoter J Russell Peltz kept shouting to Diaz “use the jab!”  Hines, a southpaw, said “I cannot believe he doesn’t realize how close his jab (right hand) is to his opponents face.”

All 3 judges scored it differently as Benoist agreed with DHB at 40-36, with Rubenstein at 39-37 and Braslow 38-38 giving DeJesus the majority win.   Diaz was complaining to the dressing room he thought he won as did several of the press.  “If it wasn’t for DeJesus there wouldn’t have been a fight,” this writer told them.  Hurley McCall was the referee.  

Olympic trials winner Jesse “Hard Work” Hart electrified the crowd with a stunning right upper cut the way his father Eugene “Cyclone” Hart did in the 70’s but with his left hook, as the younger Hart knocked out Lekan Byfield, 2-2-1 (0), of Yonkers, NY, at 0:28 of the 1st round!  Referee Clark immediately asked for medical help for Byfield.  “I’m going to beat those 19 knockouts of yours,” said the younger Hart to his father.  “Cyclone” won his first 19.  “Now get off my back,” Hart said to this writer!  I had questioned his stopping of a 0-1 and 0-3 opponents with all his ability.  

Hart is one of the best super middleweight prospects in the country.  After the fight Marc Abrams of www.gfl.tv interviewed Hart.  “I want to thank God for the victory and also my corner.  I want to thank my fans for coming out tonight,” said Hart.  Former 2-time IBF cruiserweight champion and recent winner in his first heavyweight fight Steve “USS” Cunningham assisted Abrams with the broadcast.

Todd “2Gunz” Unthank-May, 5-0 (2), won a solid decision over fellow Philadelphian Taneal Goyco, 4-4-1 (2), winning all 4 rounds on the judge’s cards and DHB’s.  “He hurt his hand in the 2nd round,” said Dave Price.  Both Price and Nowicki are the co-managers for D&D Management which includes Unthank-May, Hart and Mark Rideout.  Speaking of Rideout, 2-0 (0), he took a workmanlike decision over Lonnie Kornegay, 1-7-1 (1), of Baltimore, MD, in the heavyweight division.  Benoist and Braslow had it 40-36 as did DHB while Rubenstein had it 38-38 for a majority Unthank-May win.  Tommy Brooks and Damon Allen, Sr. worked the winner’s corner while long-time trainer Marty Feldman was in the corner of Goyco.

In one of the closest bouts of the night Alex “Macho” Barbosa, 4-0 (1), won a close majority decision over veteran Arthur Parker, 1-8 (1), of Lancaster, PA, in a super bantam 4.  Both boxers are southpaws.  Parker was coming off a 4 year lay-off but at times looked the sharper of the two.  Rubenstein and Benoist had it 39-37 for Barbosa while Braslow had it 38-38.  DHB had it 39-38 for Barbosa while several members of the press had it for Parker.    

In the opening bout southpaw Edson Soto, 1-0 (1) stopped Joshua Rivera, 0-1, at 2:52 of the 1st round landing in the area of 20 unanswered punches before referee Clark rescued Rivera.  Larry Tornambe did his usual great job as ring announcer.  Joey Eye and David Feldman will come back October 27 with an all-female pro-am card with 10 pro bouts and 2 amateur bouts in a 52 round card.

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E-mail questions, comments to Ken Hissner

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