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Prizefighting Returns to the Sunshine State

Feb 17, 2004  Ringside Report By Vito Trabucco, Photos by Mark Terry
On Sunday February 15, 2004, the historic Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, Florida celebrated their 79th year by putting on an action packed fight card. The Derby Lane, a dog track, is also the location that the blockbuster film, Ocean’s 11 used for the racetrack scenes.

Young promoter, Greg Azar, in association with Four Corners Promotion and 4th Street Boxing Gym were eager to bring Championship boxing to a now growing area for fighters and fight fans alike. This is also the home of such boxers as Winky Wright, Jeff Lacy, and Antonio Tarver amongst many others.

So on a special day, they brought in the legend former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, Larry Holmes to do the color commentator from ringside.

Not only did Holmes call the fights, but was kind enough to show up early to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans in attendance. 1,500 people showed up in the hot Florida sun for 7 bouts and a chance to meet one of boxing‘s best.

Headlining the show was 4th Street Boxing’s own “Diamond” Dave Santos (now 44-6 29 KO’s). Santos, ranked # 8 by the IBF as a Super Featherweight, jumped up to 135 pounds as a lightweight to knock out journeyman fighter, Marty Robbins, (18-19-1, 15 KO’s) in the first round. The pro-Santos crowd was on their feet going crazy for their local hero. It seemed like the wind could’ve blew over Robbins in this fight, but a right from Santos would do.

Santos was about to retire before a sudden boost by the IBF. After the way Santos looked, I’m glad he didn’t make that mistake.

Also in the co-main event Olando “The Warrior” Rivera (now 12-2-2 5 KO’s) won a unanimous 10 round decision over the game Kerry Parks, (10-10-3, 3 KO’s). But Parks was one fighter who was determined not to spoil the crowd too much. Rivera, who is a former kickboxing champion, is ranked #10 by the NABF. Rivera nearly took Parks out in the first.

Undercard results were as follows:

Light heavyweight Aaron Jaco, (9-0, 4 KO’s) won via a 2nd round knockout over Gerald Lowe, (4-10, 2 KO’s) who also broke his leg as he hit the canvas.

Middleweight Glenn “The Caveman” LaPlant, (7-1-1, 6 KO’s) was the victor in the 1st round with a body shot over Richard Burns, (0-3). Laplant a very nice guy who the day before the fights, I had lunch with, also was kind to take me around to meet the fighters and stayed around to chat with us afterwards.
Junior middleweights Gene Baptiste, (0-0-2 and Chaz Desire, (0-0-1) fought 4 tough rounds to a majority draw.

Light heavyweight “Irish” Glen Williams, (2-0-1, 2 KO’s survived a 1st round knockdown to come back and score a 4th round TKO over Mackie Williams, (8-32-2, 2 KO’s).

Finally, junior middleweight Derrick Samuels, (2-0-1, 1 KO) knocked out “Smokin’” Joe Johnson, (1-5-2, 1 KO) in the 5th round.

Notables in attendance were: boxers Sean Sullivan and former heavyweight contender, Alex Stewart along with trainer Roger Bloodworth.

It was an action packed day from start to finish and truly worth an encore.

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