|Derek “Pooh” Ennis Edges Eromosele “Bad Boy” Albert for USBA Title!
By Ken Hissner at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 18, 2009)
A quality main event was brought to Philly at the Legendary Blue Horizon by Greg Robinson’s Power Productions Friday night. So many times an “opponent” is brought into the city of Brotherly Love that is brought in to fatten the local fighter’s record. Tonight was different as matchmaker Ty McNeill brought Nigeria’s Eromosele Albert, 22-4-1 (10), now fighting out of Miami, in for local attraction Derek “Pooh” Ennis, 19-2-1 (12), for the vacant USBA light middleweight title over 12 rounds.
The fans were into this fight from the opening bell right after announcer Larry Tornambe said the word “title”! Ennis is managed by one of the top trainers in boxing, his father, “Bozy”. Like most father and son relationships as trainer to boxer the son doesn’t always think pop knows best. In the end it proved to be the difference when the boxer took the “fatherly advice” to pull out a close decision and with it the vacant USBA light middleweight title!
Ennis is a very good counter puncher who was blocking almost all of Albert’s jabs in the first round and countering him with jabs of his own due to his hand speed. Near the end of the round Ennis complained of rabbit punching by Albert and in doing so took several good shots at the bell. Top referee Steve Smoger didn’t seem to agree with Ennis’ complaints. Ennis has a habit of turning his head while in a clinch and is open for that punch.
Ennis started going to the ropes early in the 2nd round that only benefitted Albert who had difficulty in the middle of the ring landing punches. “He moves around and wasn’t easy to catch,” said Albert. In the 3rd round Ennis put on a clinic. His jab’s and counter punching along with right hands to the left side of Albert’s ribcage were landing with enough force it got Albert’s attention. In the 4th round with Ennis staying inside he was fighting Albert’s fight. Albert was the stronger of the two fighters so he had an advantage. In the 6th round Ennis took to the offense landing quick combinations but wasn’t having any effect on Albert who certainly can take a punch. In rounds 7 through 10 Ennis was on the defense ala former Philly great Georgie Benton. Some judges appreciate it and others don’t. “I told him when he pulls back from a punch and makes his opponent miss, some judges feel the opponent landed and score it that way“, said “Bozy”.
By the 10th round it seemed to be an even fight on two of the judge’s scorecards. Ennis started “shoe shining” ala Ray Leonard per his trainer’s insistence and it caused a small cut on the outside left eye brow of Albert. Albert was frustrated with the hand speed of Ennis and forced him into a clinch against the ropes and purposely swung his head against Ennis’ and got away with it. He himself had suffered several head wounds from the close encounters of the fighters. Referee Smoger is one to allow the fighters to fight which the fans appreciate. In this fight he would later state, “there were few clinches and an easy fight to work,” said Smoger.
The final round had the fans going wild with the fighters fighting at a furious pace with each trying to pull out the fight due to its closeness. With one of Ennis’ handlers hoisting him in the air the decision that followed was received with mixed reactions. Scores of 116-112 and 115-113(twice) were announced “to the winner and new USBA light middleweight champion Derek “Pooh” Ennis. As public relations person Marc Abrams of www.GoFightLive.Tv interviewed the winner, Ennis, as the dejected loser Albert went through the crowd to the dressing room. Albert’s people told him he knew he needed to knock Ennis out to win in Philly. “I outpunched him and didn’t give him more than 4 rounds,” said Albert. He was not happy with the decision.
The winner’s dressing room had a different opinion to the decision. “I thought I won the fight because I landed more punches and made him miss so much,” said Ennis. This writer’s opinion was if the fight was in Miami Albert would be declared the winner. In a neutral setting it would have been declared a draw which several of the writers agreed to. Since they were in Philly, Ennis got the decision. With a vacant title someone was going to get the decision and Ennis was the recipient. “We are not sure where we go from here,” said Eddie Woods. He is co-manager along with Moz Gonzalez. Gonzalez agreed and thought it was time to enjoy the win first before deciding. Ennis came in at a light 151 ½ to Albert’s 153 ½. Having watched Ennis train at the Muhammad Ali Gym in the Germantown section of the city, I can confirm he really trained extra hard for this one. In the past he has had some weight problems making 154, but not tonight. Since Ennis was #13 and Albert #14 in the USBA ratings there will be 10 opponents (top 2 spots not rated) to consider in the first defense of the newly won title.
The 6 round fight before the main event was between two local fighters as Victor Vasquez, 10-3 (5) scored a mild upset in defeating Tyric “Too Smooth” Robinson, 9-5-1 (3), in a light welterweight match-up. After a close 1st round Vasquez dropped Robinson in the 2nd with a left hook. He seemed to outwork Robinson the rest of the way and again score another knockdown in the 6th round with a left hook with about 15 seconds remaining in the fight. Robinson didn’t seem to be able to get away from that punch all night. Vasquez slipped punches and looked better than this writer has seen him look. His new trainer Chris Rotella has certainly made a difference. He also trains local favorite Tony Ferrante. All three judges had it for Vasquez by scores of 60-53 and 59-53 (twice). Both fighters are very likeable and very popular in the city but someone has to win and someone has to lose. “I felt good in there getting back into the ring (first fight since May 1st) and look forward to my next fight,” said Vasquez. The referee in this one was Gary Rosado, who along with Smoger are two of the finest in the business.
Philly’s popular super middleweight Tommy “Big Poppa” Speller, 4-3 (3), returned to the ring after a two year absence against Ecuador’s Mario Mina, 3-0 (2), who himself hadn’t fought in a year. He had made his debut in April of 2008 at the Blue Horizon. New managers’ Wood and Gonzalez have high hopes for Mina. Opponents of both fighters fell out so Mina agreed to fight the heavier Speller. Mina came out like a man possessed and was landing right hands that seemed to take Speller off his game plan. Speller is a one handed fighter who has a good left and seemed to take the 3rd round after dropping the first two as Mina tired. He hurt Mina with a body shot but failed to follow up on it. In the 4th round Mina regained control and posted a shut out on all three judge’s scorecards 40-36. Mina’s is training out of New York since returning to the U.S. The referee was Rosado.
Philly’s featherweight Coy Evans, 5-0-1 (0), had an easy night of it easily defeating Carlos Diaz, 10-22-4 (7), of Puerto Rico, who has only won once in his last twenty fights but to be fair was always trying. Scores were 40-36 (twice) and 40-35 in favor of Evans in 4 rounds. The referee was Smoger.
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