Shocker in Houston!
By Vikram Birring at ringside (April 18, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
A “White Tiger” roared his way to a decision, but a stunning knockout upset stole the show as Cameron Park’s Rock Solid Promotions returned after a three-month hiatus at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Houston in front of a sold out crowd.

In the main event, local junior middleweight prospect Chase “White Tiger” Shields (26-1-1, 13 KO) defeated Louisiana’s Steve Verdin (8-38-2, 1 KO) in an eight-round boxing clinic. Shields showed the best stamina and
boxing IQ of all the boxers on the card, as he wisely picked his punches and continuously circled around the ring. Verdin, to his credit, stayed persistent, and followed Shields around the entire fight, but had trouble landing clean punches. In the end, Shields won via unanimous decision: 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73.

Heavyweight Eugene Hill (11-0, 10 KO) punches with such snap each punch gives the sound effect of a gunshot, but on this night, he simply needed a water gun to get past Joshua Stonebraker (3-8, 3 KO), who was intimidated before the bout even began. Hill looked in much better condition than in his previous bout in January, but he didn’t need to be on this night, as his first grazing punch sent Stonebraker reeling around the ring. The next one, a punch that barely connected, sent Stonebraker down, to the boos of a furious crowd. Stonebraker rose only to go back down, again and again. The final knockdown was from a simple jab, and the referee saved Stonebraker from further humiliation by stopping the bout after two minutes, forty-five seconds. The crowd booed, Hill shrugged his shoulders and accepted the victory, with the knowledge that all nights in the ring will not be so easy. It is unknown if Stonebraker made it out of the arena alive.

On paper, light heavyweight prospect Alfonso Lopez (7-0, 6 KO) looked to be in for a long night against veteran Anthony Greely, (7-26-3) and indeed in the first round, though Lopez landed some solid punches, Greely countered effectively with some thudding shots. The difference in the two boxers was that Greely was not prepared for six rounds, and a body shot late in the first round exposed this deficiency, sending Greely to the canvas writhing in pain. He got up and survived the round but every fan knew that it was only a matter of time. In the second, Greely was visibly tired, breathing with his mouth wide open. Lopez knew this, and continuously aimed his gloves to Greely’s body. Eventually, one sent Greely down on a delayed reaction. Again, the crowd told Greely he had better get up, and he did. But in between rounds, he changed his mind and quit on his stool, a wise decision.

In an unthinkable, impossible upset, Miguel Delgado (3-7, 3 KO) knocked out undefeated lightweight Cruz Valdivia (4-1, 2 KO) in the first round. The thoughts of a possible upset arose when Delgado removed his robe. Usually, an ‘opponent’ is simply the equivalent of human sacrifice: an overweight, out of shape fighter who simply needs the money. Delgado’s body was one of a bricklayer’s, hardened and solid. Valdivia usually scares his opponents away before the bell rings, an equally chiseled body covered by an array of tattoos, but Delgado stared him down at center ring before as they touched gloves, not showing any fear. Half the battle was won before the bell rang.

Valdivia is a pure brawler; his style is to simply throw as many punches as possible in an attempt to knock his opponent out. Unfortunately, Delgado had the same idea, but with slightly better technique and power. It was as if two mountain goats were battling head on, the question was which one would be able to survive the fight. The question was answered late in the round, as Delgado wobbled Valdivia. The crowd yelled, as Valdivia, suddenly all loyalties flew out the window and the innate sense to cheer for the underdog kicked in. Delgado bent his legs, and put every ounce of power into a left hook. Valdivia’s face twitched, and he fell directly backwards onto the canvas, and the crowd gave a deafening roar. Valdivia, as Mike Tyson did against Buster Douglas, knew he had to get up. His fans would never forgive him if he didn’t, and somehow, with unthinkable courage, rose to his feet before the count of ten. Unfortunately, this was a bad, and almost fatal decision.

In boxing, one becomes used to the idea of seeing knockouts, but every once in a while, there are those concussive, sickening knockouts that stay ingrained in one’s memory, the kind that puts the question in one’s mind: why do I even watch this sport? When Miguel Delgado landed a sadistic right cross, the result was cruel. Valdivia fell straight back, not unlike a tree that was just chopped down. First his calves hit the ground, followed by his back, and then finally, his head, which bounced back up and hit the ground yet again. The crowd gave a deafening roar, and the referee did not even bother to count. However, in a few seconds, the atmosphere went from euphoria to concern. Valdivia was not moving, he lay on the canvas an innocent body, and the crowd took a collective gulp, almost in guilt, hoping that they would not be witness to a murder. Doctors gathered around Valdivia, and thankfully, perhaps a gift from above on an otherwise unforgiving night, Valdivia showed some movement in his legs, and after ten minutes, was able to walk out of the ring. Perhaps after some time, Valdivia may reconsider his career choice, but on this night, he and those around him were simply thankful he made it home safely.

Featherweight Crystal “Choo Choo” Delgado (5-0, 2 KO) fights the same style as Valdivia, but fortunately for her, Candace Lett (2-4) was overmatched. Seconds after the opening bell, Delgado stormed Lett and trapped her in the opposite corner, landing bombs from every angle. However, there was a method to her madness. Delgado showed immense improvement from her previous fight. Instead of throwing a typhoon of punches, she would land a hard combination, back off, reload and throw another one. Lett had no answer for this, because as Delgado backed off, she gave Lett no chance to counter. In the corner, Lett went down as a result of a body shot, her face showing the visible pain she was in. She rose, only to be battered around in the other corner. The referee had no choice but to halt the contest after two minutes, fourteen seconds.

In the opening contest, Hasan Henderson (1-0, 1 KO) made his professional debut one to remember as he surgically picked apart Ras Thompson (0-3) in exactly one round. Henderson walked to the ring with a large, vocal entourage, and had the face of a mean man. His punches were even meaner. With ten seconds left in the round, Henderson cut off the ring and had Thompson backed up in a corner. Wise beyond his professional experience, Henderson went to the body, not the head, and dropped Thompson with a perfectly placed body shot with exactly ten seconds left in the round. Thompson fell on two knees, and tried to rise, but simply couldn’t. Henderson’s posse celebrated, but the expression on the boxer’s face did not change, a frightening thought for his future opponents.

Questions or comments,
e-mail
Vikram at: vikram.birring@mail.utexas.edu

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