Flores wins USBA cruiser title over Wilson - Boxing
By Ken Hissner at ringside (Feb 11, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
Boxing returned to the beautiful Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware Friday night on ESPN2 with a showdown of cruiserweights for the #2 IBF spot. Duva Boxing & TNT Boxing put on a highly competitive show before a packed house.

BJ Flores, 21-0-1 (13), of Chandler, Arizona won the USBA cruiserweight title from Darnell ‘Ding-A- Ling Man’ Wilson, 22-6-3 (19), of Takoma Park, Maryland on all three judges cards. George Hill 118-110, Joe Pasquale 116-112, and Julie Lederman 115-113 favored the new champion. This ended a four straight knockout streak
for Wilson. This writer had it 117-112 for the winner Flores. Steve Smoger was the referee. ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas scored the fight a draw.

Wilson was in pursuit from the start with Flores standing his ground with a jab Wilson couldn’t seem to get around. This bout had you on the edge of your seat waiting for the Ding-A-Ling Man to score a knockout that never came. Flores with superior speed did his best to stay out of the way of the power of Wilson and it worked for the better part of the first seven rounds. In the 8th Wilson finally started to score by trying to make it a street fight. When Flores got hit hard he got on his bike and ran to the disappointment of the crowd who had been very vocal in supporting the out of town boxer. When asked if this bothered him, Flores said “I was in his hometown and did what I needed to do.” Wilson got back into the fight in rounds 8 through 10 roughing up Flores on occasions. Though seemingly hurt, Flores stated “I never saw stars but I knew I didn’t want to engage in a shoot out with Wilson.” For the most part he followed it to a tee. Wilson seemed to lose the 11th and come back to take the 12th. He knew he needed a knockout to win. His trainer Charles Mooney, former 1976 Olympic silver medalist, tried to encourage him to “aim for the chest.” It was a frustrating
night for Wilson who didn’t seem to be able to put any effective combinations together. The much taller Flores took advantage of his reach.

When the decision was announced the gracious loser Wilson applauded the new belt holder and went over and raised his hand in a show of real sportsmanship rarely seen in boxing. Both fighters have strong religious convictions. Upon entering Wilson’s dressing room Mooney immediately gathered the team to hold hands in leading them in prayer. I mentioned to Wilson now he may start to get fights since with this loss after an eight month lay-off. He said “you are probably right. I just didn’t have it tonight. My legs felt sluggish from the start.” Just then Kenny Adams, Flores trainer walked in with a hotel pillow and told Mooney “here, we won’t be in need of this.” Seems Mooney “gave him the pillow earlier for when Wilson would put Flores to sleep.”

In an odd turn of events one of Wilson’s biggest supporters was his last victim, Emmanuel Nwodo 22-4 (18) of Nigeria. If you see Flores you usually see current IBF contender Rob Calloway 67-7-1 (53) who has more viewing exposure than any of the fighters. He currently holds three minor titles with two fights scheduled in the next five weeks. Calloway is also very approachable and though from St. Joseph’s, Missouri, trains out of Reading, Pennsylvania under the guidance of Marshall Kauffman. He is scheduled to fight March 15th at Days Inn, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

In Flores dressing room he sat with both feet in ice buckets. Seems new shoes caused bad blisters on the soles of his feet. Flores stated “I refuse to lose!” He added, “I came into his backyard and used my jab with occasional rights to keep Wilson at bay.” Both fighters respected each other before and after this fight. Flores proclaimed “I am a free agent. I am looking for a title fight.” His superior boxing skills will probably make it just as hard to increase his three fights a year for the past three years. He does have some pop in his punch, and being a former amateur champion has plenty of experience.

Current IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham 21-1 (11) of Philadelphia was the in studio guest for ESPN2 viewers. He made it quite clear “I want the winner between David Haye, 20-1 (19), WBC & WBA champ and Enzo Maccarinelli, 28-1 (21), WBO champion on March 8th.” Others mentioned were former WBC champion Jean Mormeck 33-4 (22), in France and European champion Johny Jensen, 23-0-2 (10), in Denmark. Finally the winner between Tomas Adamek, 33-1 (22), of Poland who is the IBO champion and former WBC champion O’Neill Bell, 26-2-1 (24), of Jamaica/USA. The winner will gain the #1 spot in the IBF. Cunningham’s mandatory is not until September. A fight in between, especially in the US would please Cunningham and his followers. His last three fights have been in Poland and Germany.

I must say knowing Cunningham, and meeting both Flores and Wilson the day before their fight, you have to like all three of them. The head of TNT, Dave Tiberi, seemed to greet everyone coming to the fight. You would have thought he was fighting again. He has a long standing support base from when he boxed. It just happened to be the 16th anniversary since he lost to IBF middleweight champion James Toney on one of the most one-sided and controversial fights every fought. The decision was so bad Tiberi never fought again. This was his 4th promotion since last year. He promotes with the same class he fought with. You will always get your monies worth and the fan base is family oriented. The next possible promotion for TNT will probably be late March in Cape Henlopen, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. No matter where Tiberi promotes he has a fan base that will be there for his shows. His matchmaker has been his brother Nick Tiberi. Unfortunately their nephew Mike Tiberi, 4-0 (2), did not fight as scheduled due to a falling out of his opponent.

The semi-final eight rounder was a very interesting match-up of light heavyweights. Dhafir ‘No Fear’ Smith, 20-16-6 (4), of Upper Darby, with a very misleading record who is unbeaten in his last five fights used a quick and effective jab to keep his opponent Rayco Saunders, 15-9-2 (7), of Pittsburgh from mounting an offense of his own. Punch stat had it 72-50 in favor of Smith in jabs. Judges Pasquale scored it 77-75 while Dewey LaRosa and Dave Greer had it 79-73 as did this writer. Saunders was coming off a one year lay-off but actually said, “I thought I won it and out jabbed him.” Those at ringside saw it a lot different. Smith said “I am reading for any 168 or 175 pound fighter. My trainer James Shedrick deserves a lot of the credit for that. Shedrick, a former fighter himself, 5-0-3 (2), is a man of few words.

The undercard was very spirited. Bryne ‘Worthy’ Green, 1-0 (1), of Vineland, New Jersey won by TKO 4 at 2:14 over Henry Goss, 1-3-2 (1), of Charleston, West Virginia in a junior lightweight bout. Green is trained by top former contender Richie Kates. He looks like a prospect.

Mike Denby, 1-1-1 (1), of Felton, Delaware was on the wrong end of a pounding for the better part of the first round by Mario Fisher, 0-1, debuting from Salisbury, Maryland in this welterweight fight. Denby was rocked on two occasions and fought back to the delight of his local fans going into the end of the round. Denby came out in the 2nd round and landed uppercuts from both sides of Fisher to cause referee Vic deWysocki to halt the fight at 1:14 of the 2nd round.

Ryan Belasco, 6-2-3 (1), of New Castle, Delaware, seemed fortunate to win a split decision in a evenly fought four round junior welterweight bout with Joel Rijos, 1-4 (1), of Puerto Rico. Rijos seemed to win the middle rounds. Judges LaRosa and Pasquale had it 39-37 for Belasco while Hill had it 39-37 for Rijos.

Darrell Martin, 2-1, of Baltimore, Maryland landed more punches in the first round over Milo Miles, 1-1 (1), Penns Grove, New Jersey, but clowned too much. In the second round he seemed to wrestle Miles to the canvas but referee deWysocki called it a knockdown. Though running out of gas in the 4th round Martin seemed to have scored enough punches that Miles was too hesitant to take advantage of this opportunity. Judges Greer and Hill had it 38-37 while LaRosas scored it 39-36 all for the winner Martin in this junior lightweight match. Miles’ father Mike Miles of Southern Starr Promotions will be promoting a show at Vineland High School in New Jersey on April 19th. Possibly Miles can get back on the winning track there. He ran a show in Salem, New Jersey last month.

The two fights after the main event had John Mackey, 8-0 (3), of Montgomery, Alabama winning on all judges scorecards 58-56 over Alex Mancera, 6-2 (5), Queens, New York in a six round super middleweight fight.

The final bout had a exciting exchange of knockdowns in the first round as Jesus Perez, 25-17-3 (14), of Cordoba, Colombia won a 40-36 decision on all judges cards over previously unbeaten Jae-Sung Lee, 8-1 (5), the super bantamweight champion of South Korea. This ended a good an exciting night of boxing at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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