Clay Bey and Bryant fight to an entertaining draw on ESPN
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (August 6, 2005)  
Friday Night fights brought the house down at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashanticket, CT with one entertaining card and the undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in the studio sharing his thoughts on his recent victory over Bernard Hopkins.

The fireworks were provided and although it was in spurts the main event was highly entertaining with the crowd on hand and watching on ESPN witnessing the heavyweight crossroads match-up between the former team captain of the 1996 Olympic boxing team Lawrence Clay Bey 21-3-1 (16) facing down the hard hitting Philadelphian Derek Bryant 18-4-1 (15) in a heavyweight brawl that could have very well decided their fate in the big boys division.

The two came out hesitantly, pawing with jabs while Clay Bey absorbed body shots from Bryant’s to his soft midsection, but things really heated up in the second round when both fighters began to trade left hands with Clay Bey on the ropes, but near the end of the round he came back strong and finished up with the upper hand.

Round three was more of the same with Clay Bey appearing to play possum as he lay on the ropes waiting for the moment to attack when Bryant’s defense went low after repeated pop shots, and when Bryant did fade a bit Clay Bey went on the march nailing him with power shots and finishing up the round with a smashing right hand.

The fight continued at a slow pace with the heated moments coming only in sporadic spurts of energy from both fighters until Clay Bey went on the attack from off the ropes, thumping Bryant with uppercuts and feeding him a fistful of punishment, rocking Bryant with only the ropes and sheer will holding up the southpaw. When it appeared the end was at hand for the Philly banger, Bryant shot back with a barrage of punches of his own bouncing back to end the superb round.

Rounds five through seven provided more sudden bursts of entertainment with both fighters slowing down and although Clay Bey was eating a massive amount of fists and appearing to run out of gas, his trainer John Scully motivated his fighter to hang in there and stick it out, and that was just what the thirty-nine year old fighter did. All though Clay Bey was drenched with sweat and mostly running on will and motivation he finished up strong, carrying Bryant to the tenth and final round for the first time in his seven year career. Scully stated “This is boxing, it’s not how you feel but how you look!” and for a hard fought ten rounds for both fighters Lawrence Clay Bey bounced around the ring till the final bell looking though as he was just beginning.

In the end the judges scored the bout a majority draw with the scores of 96-94, 95-95 and 95-95, and although neither fighter will be banging it out for a world title in the near future, both put on a show that left the fans salivating for more and although it wasn’t the greatest portrayal of pugilism, it was well worth the fans time.

Where do both fighters go from here, ain’t no telling!

The last time middleweight prospect Lenord Pierre 17-1 (12) saw the TV lights of Friday Night Fights he had his back to the canvas, but this time his opponent was no John Duddy, instead it was the wild swinging New Yorker Les Ralston 15-2 (8) and both fighters provided six radical rounds of an unskilled slugfest. Pierre had the upper hand and finished off Ralston in the final round. With this victory Pierre is back on track to continue his run for the top.

The night of boxing began with a bang when the thirty-year-old fight veteran Luther Smith 22-4-2 (12) stepped back in the ring after a three-year absence and took on the up and coming prospect Delvin Rodriguez 16-1-1 (9). The welterweight prospect came out strong establishing his jab in the process of landing power shots that cut the right eye of the fight veteran. But it only took 2:59 seconds in the opening round to dispose of the ring-rusted Smith who ate a tremendous amount of power shots before succumbing to a final right-left hand that sent him sprawling face down on the canvas. In the end Smith was carried out of the ring on a stretcher wearing a neck brace as a precaution.

Once again ESPN2 put on a great show of boxing, and the fans had the fulfillment of two knockouts and one hell of a main event.
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