|“Mean” Eugene Hill wins Texas Heavyweight Title!
By Vikram Birring (Sept 6, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Roderick Willis walked back to his corner after the seventh round a beaten man. Though he survived a vicious onslaught at the hands of Eugene Hill in the closing seconds, his face was one of discouragement.
He sat in his corner, slumped to be more precise. His trainer pleaded with him to back up his opponent, local heavyweight star Eugene Hill. But by this point, Willis had run out of answers. For seven rounds, he had thrown a litany of jabs followed by an assortment of hooks, but Hill just kept coming. Willis was the equivalent of
a man stuck on a railroad crossing; though the train was creeping up slowly, he could only deny reality for so long.
The story of the fight was told in the second round. Willis, 14-5-1 (8), kept Hill 13-0 (11), away with a decent jab; he was doing what a big man was supposed to do, keep distance. But at times, he took rests. During these rests, Hill lived up to his moniker of “Mean”, pounding Willis’s body with bone crunching punches. Willis in response dropped his hands to protect his body. So Hill pounded Willis’s skull in, most notably with a sickening right hook. How men can survive such punishment is a testament to strength of the human will. The pattern continued, but somehow, some way, Willis took Hill’s punches and kept boxing.
In the eighth, the wreck the audience had been waiting for finally took heed. Hill trapped Willis along the ropes, and rocked him with murderous punches. It was as if Hill put every ounce of his 257 pounds into each punch, reaching low and punching upwards towards the heavens with ungodly force. This time, Willis could not survive, there was too much time left. Willis swayed slightly, side to side, like the top of a skyscraper during a thunderstorm, and seemed on the verge of falling. Fortunately for him, fifty-two seconds in, referee Bobby Fernandez saved him the embarrassment of the giving the crowd a lasting image, the equivalent of a Sequoia tree being chopped down.
Hill, who had the gaze of an assassin all night, finally showed some emotion, thumping his chest three times, sending a message to any man courageous, or perhaps crazy enough, to step into the ring with him.
Chase “White Tiger” Shields has it all: a fabulous record (, a promoter who believes in him, a loyal fan base, striking good looks, and a stunning physique.
There is only one problem. When faced with adversity, the tiger persona lashes out and shows its true colors.
In April of 2007, Shields faced a journeyman from the Bronx named Vance Garvey. Garvey’s record was pathetic: Six victories, twenty-five defeats, and five draws. Garvey had not won a match in three years. The fact the state of Texas gave him a license was a miracle in itself.
Shields dominated Garvey for sixteen minutes and thirty seconds. But then, out of nowhere, Garvey landed a spectacular punch. Shields’ legs turned into jelly, and Garvey jumped all over him. Ronnie Ralston had no choice but to stop the fight. The drama had subsided, or so everyone thought.
Shields could not believe it. His undefeated record, his persona of invincibility, it was all gone, just like that. But he could not accept defeat. Instead, he showed a different side of himself. A wounded tiger does not accept pain so easily.
He shoved Ralston, and headed straight for Garvey, and sucker punched him in the back of the head. Shields’ team tried to restrain him, but with no success, which is no surprise, being that Shields played college football not long ago.
So in stepped the Houston Police Department, who had to forcibly remove Shields from the premises. How it got to this leaves one scratching his head. And in seventeen months since the debacle, Shields seemed to have cleaned up his act. Three victories, no incidents. The future seemed bright. Seemed.
On this night, his opponent was another journeyman. His name was Julio Perez. Again, a laughable record: Five victories, ten defeats, two draws, had not won a match in a year. The physique of a man who trains at Dunkin’ Doughnuts. The perfect storm.
Shields did as he usually does, cautiously pawing with a jab with the occasional follow up punch for two rounds. Then in the third, it was déjà vu.
Perez 6-10-2 (4) landed a strong punch, and trapped Shields 26-2-1 (13) along the ropes. Shields was visibly shaken, he had no legs, he was in survival mode. Again. He held on for dear life, but Ralston separated the two boxers.
The response of Shields was shocking. Reprehensible. Deplorable.
Shields picked Perez up, and body slammed him. Perez writhed in pain, his arm appeared broken, and perhaps his shoulder was injured as well. Ralston had seen this all before, and promptly disqualified Shields, forty-eight seconds into the third round.
The crowd erupted in a chorus of boos, all directed at Shields. His response? To wave off the crowd, as if he did the correct thing, complimented with the occasional obscene gesture. The crowd wouldn’t have it. Not this time. They saw what they saw, and they let Shields know.
Where Shields goes from here is an interesting proposition. At first glance, he seems to have thrown a promising career away. But perhaps promoter Cameron Park can spin this into a positive, as only boxing promoters can.
A villain has been created, and bloodthirsty fans want nothing more than to see Shields knocked out. Villains sell. After all, nobody knows who killed Billy The Kid. They just know Billy.
If you blinked, you would have missed it. Local heavyweight Travis Walker’s first punch, a simple right cross, finished off Wallace McDaniel, who in all honesty, had no business being in the same ring. Though both were gargantuan men, the difference proved evident when the first bell rang. Walker (28-1-1, 22 KO) was aggressive, very aggressive. He went straight after McDaniel (8-20-1, 4 KO), and then landed the fatal blow. McDaniel fell like a ton of bricks, and could not make it up. The crowd didn’t know whether to cheer Walker, or to boo McDaniel for not giving them their money’s worth; people expect more than twenty-seven seconds from a professional boxer. By the end of the night, Walker was calling out Eugene Hill; a dream fight for Houston boxing fans.
Emmanuel Zuniga 2-1 outboxed Alfredo Berto 0-2 in a cliché boxer against puncher bantamweight matchup. Berto tried to apply pressure, but Zuniga was simply too fast and elusive. Zuniga received scores of 40-36 on all cards. As the old phrase goes, skills pay the bills.
In the opening bout, heavyweight cult hero Homero Fonseca returned to Houston to face off against giant Raphael Butler of Minnesota.
To be blunt, Fonseca is obese. He is a huge man, but in the wrong way. If he trains, his body does not show the results. If you were to poke his stomach, it would jiggle, for a long time. This is what makes him so endearing, a local yokel, a regular Joe, that can fight bigger, stronger, impressive looking fighters and even win.
Butler could have passed as the younger brother of Michael Clarke Duncan. Tall, strong, wide shoulders, malicious expression. Fonseca did not stand a chance. But that’s what people have been telling him his whole career.
In July, Fonseca was supposed to be a walkover for local prospect Justin Jones. Jones was taller, stronger, faster, and a better boxer. But he made the mistake of getting caught in a brawl with Fonseca.
To the crowd’s delight, Fonseca and Jones traded bombs for four rounds. Jones could have won with ease, but he could not resist but to try to knock his plump opponent out. What he did not realize was that it would probably take a cannonball to do the trick, and in the process he left himself open for wild, looping punches from Fonseca.
They fought to a draw, but Fonseca had won the fans’ hearts that night. One must strike an iron while it’s hot, so Fonseca was brought back to Houston to see if he could pull off a similar minor miracle.
For one round, it did not seem that Fonseca would be able to accomplish his goal. For three minutes, Butler fought intelligently, jabbing followed by right crosses. Twelve minutes of this, and it would be an easy night.
In the second, both men came out of their corners throwing wildly. Butler 31-6, (24) stuck out his tongue, taunting Fonseca 5-2-2 (2). This was a mistake, as it only angered the guy who had been picked on for so long.
The remainder of the fight did not make any rational sense. Fonseca, the rotund tub of lard, out hustled the muscular Butler. Butler’s eyes displayed revelation. He did not expect this guy to be able to last so long. The problem was Butler gave no response. He allowed himself to continuously be beaten to the punch. Once again, the element of surprise had fooled Fonseca’s opponent.
In the end, Fonseca received a split decision victory: 39-37-37-39, 39-37. He paraded around the ring, and good for him. Fat guys can fight too.
Questions or comments,
e-mail Vikram at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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