Sharkie’s Machine: Harry Joe Yorgey KO’s Ronald Hearns
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Mar 30, 2009) Photo © Tom Casino /SHOWTIME  
Saturday night in Miami Oklahoma, Jr. Welterweight prospect Ronald “The Chosen One” Hearns, entered the ring with an unbeaten record of 21-0-1, with 17 KO’s, as he faced his first serious challenge in little known, Harry Joe Yorgey (21-0-1, 9 KO’s) who also came in undefeated, though he didn’t have a famous sounding name. Harry Joe Yorgey improved his chances of being remembered after he knocked out Ronald Hearns in the ninth round. And that was after flooring him in the fourth and fifth rounds.

Though the result doesn’t suggest it, this was an entertaining fight. That’s what you get when you match two guys with comparable skills. Hearns has a great jab, good power and ring smarts. Though he lost this fight, he did look sharp most of the time. Yorgey fought him smart, followed his corner’s instructions well and got the job done. But don’t count Hearns out, he’s pretty good and a loss is as important an experience as a big win, maybe more so because it forces fighters to adjust their styles and focus on improving where they came up short.

Yorgey ate a lot of Hearns’ long jabs early on but listened well to his corner and being the shorter man, made it his business to get inside close and test the chin of the son of a legend. Unlike most fights involving prospects, this wasn’t just a showcase for one guy we’ve heard of, to look good against someone we never heard of.

In the first round, Hearns was excellent, controlling the action with his jab from outside and showing good speed and ring generalship. Yorgey managed to get inside and land a few shots in spots but nothing too fancy. By the second round, Yorgey executed the instructions of his corner and got inside, where he was finding a home for his right hand and caught Hearns with a big left that started a swelling on Hearn’s right eye.

The third round was so close, with both men scoring in spots, Yorgey early and Hearns late. In the fourth, Yorgey bull-rushed his way inside and landed a big right that sent Hearns to the canvas. Hearns was up quick enough but was clearly a bit hurt. Late in that round, Hearns threw a left hook to the head of Yorgey, who blocked the punch—but slipped and fell. The referee, Steve Smoger, called it a knockdown.

In the fifth round, Yorgey blasted Hearns with a right hand that put him down. Hearns beat the count. When action resumed, Yorgey tried to finish him off but couldn’t. Hearns looked shaky entering the sixth, where both guys seemed to take a mutual break for oxygen. Late in that round, Yorgey landed another clean right that stunned Hearns. Instead of trying to close the show, Yorgey was content to box and landed a couple of clean shots before the bell.

By the seventh, Hearns was back to work, popping his jab and trying to shift the momentum back in his favor. Yorgey seemed content to sit back and look for counter opportunities. Late in the round, Yorgey cracked Hearns with a combination of left, right, left, near the ropes. In the eighth, Hearns looked sharp, poking Yorgey with his long jabs. Yorgey did land a nice left uppercut to the chest. Hearns cracked him with two stinging rights and out-boxed Yorgey till the bell.

In the ninth, Hearns was starting to find his rhythm but Yorgey landed a big right to the face that put Hearns down on a knee. Hearns was counted out by Smoger, the time was 2:59. Yorgey had won by KO 9.

Congratulations to Harry Joe Yorgey, who didn’t have a fancy name coming in but has opened the door to being well remembered in the future if he can work on being a better closer when he gets his opponent in trouble. He beat Hearns the only way he could have—by knockout. I say that because after all was said and done, one official Judge actually had Hearns ahead in a fight where Hearns was floored three times in nine rounds. Go figure. Yorgey vs. Hearns was an entertaining fight, the kind we’d all like to see more often from prospects.

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The Main Event at the Buffalo Run in Miama Oklahoma featured Andre Dirrell (17-0, 13 KO’s) against Derrick Findlay (13-3, 8 KO’s). While I applaud Shobox for showing a higher percentage of quality match ups compared to say, HBO, this Main Event was a real stinker.

It’s sad that most prospects, like Andre Dirrell are still being fed a steady diet of lame opponents that are either too green, too long in the tooth or just plain lousy; like Derrick Findlay (13-3, 8 KO’s), whose last opponent was 1-18! Findlay showed no offense, no defense and no chance to win. Findlay ’s corner finally retired him after six incredibly boring rounds that saw Dirrell treat Findlay like a punching bag that wouldn’t go down. Many “mainstream” boxing media will report that this was an impressive performance by Dirrell but they won’t tell you how that’s true.

There’s only one reason for lousy match ups like this—to build a pretty record without having to fight tough fighters to earn it. If the promoters insist on this practice, fine. Just don’t do it on TV because it’s not entertaining and makes boxing look like crap compared to other combat sports like Mixed Martial Arts or UFC fights.

Who wants to see a big man with flashy skills fighting against a small man with no noticeable skills? It seems Dirrell’s handlers have no confidence in his abilities. Boxing is very much like that old saying, “you are what you eat.” Only in boxing—you are who you fight. And it’s unfortunate that Andre Dirrell is being brought up so damn carefully that by the time he faces a live opponent, he won’t have any quality experience in dealing with adversity. I’d like to see Dirrell take on someone with skills comparable to his own. What about Andre Ward (18-0, 12 KO’s)?

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