By Sam Geraci at ringside
April 12, 2013, was a night of firsts at the Four Winds Casino and Resort in New Buffalo, MI. “Battle of the Week at Silver Creek” was the first boxing event ever held at the casino, and its main event was the first fight of Cedric Agnew’s career that suggests the quiet, undefeated twenty-six-year-old from Chicago’s Southside is finally prepared to challenge for supremacy at the light heavyweight division.
In an interview with Fightnews before outclassing Yusaf Mack (31-6-2, 17 KOs) for the USBA light heavyweight championship, Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) reservedly expressed that what he does best is win and that he has the hand speed of Roy Jones Jr. and the defense of Ronald “Winky” Wright.
Despite his amateur success, undefeated record and the numerous assertions made by trainers and fighters in gyms all across Chicago that have been touting him as the only fighter comparable to 168 pound kingpin Andre Ward, when a fighter, albeit modestly, compares his hand speed to that of Jones and his defense to that of Wright, you can’t take him seriously. Right?
Wrong. Over twelve non-competitive rounds, Agnew walked down Mack behind his high, defensive Wright-like guard and fired blazing Jones-like combinations from his southpaw stance all while maintaining incredible balance and superior positioning to avoid being countered. Aside from scoring with an occasional lead right, Mack, who looked to be in good shape despite initially coming in over weight, was reduced to back-peddling and trying to outthink Agnew before being backed into the ropes and battered with combinations.
Although Agnew’s footwork and boxing acumen were world class and his descriptions of his hand speed and defense were accurate, he did not follow through on his shots like a young Jones would have, and as a result, despite his dominance and impressive performance, left many in the crowd asking for more. Official scores were 120-108, 118-110 and a surprisingly close 115-113. Fightnews scored the bout 120-108.
Shorter vs. Woods
In a heavyweight rematch between “Gentleman” James Shorter (4-1, 3 KOs), a US Olympic Qualifier and Elkhart, Indiana’s top prospect, and Jamal Woods (2-7, 2 KOs) of Forrest City, AR, Shorter outworked and outpunched his much larger foe, who outweighed him by more than fifty pounds on the night of the fight. Two judges scored the bout 59-55 and one scored it 60-54.
Throughout the bout, Shorter displayed the impressive hand speed and combination punching that made him one of the Midwest’s top heavyweight prospects. Although there were times when it appeared as if the fight might be stopped, Woods did just enough to keep the fight going and referee Bill Paige did a plenty good job of refereeing.
Coming off an upset KO loss to the undefeated 6’7” Daniel Martz in December, Shorter was looking to get back into the win column in order to work toward reestablishing himself as one of the Midwest’s top prospects.
“The December loss slowed me down a little, but I have learned from it, and I think it’s ultimately going to make me a better fighter,” Shorter added, “Tonight was good because I was able to get some rounds in. I’m going to be around for a while, so don’t forget about me.”
Campbell vs. Pickett
In the third bout of the evening, light welterweight Andrew Campbell (1-0), who is a citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, made his pro debut by outboxing Mike Pickett (1-3) of Mishawaka, IN, over four entertaining rounds in a bout that featured a boxer in Campbell vs. a mixed martial artist in Pickett. All judges scored the bout 40-36 for Campbell, who had a large following at the fight.
Figueroa vs. Gipson
In the second bout of the evening unheralded Angel Figueroa (3-0-1) of Lorain, OH, made a name for himself in the local boxing scene in pulling off a small upset by outboxing the well travelled and always rugged Sam Gipson (4-6-2, 2 KOs) of Elkhart, IN. Scores were 58-56, 59-55, and 57-57. Fightnews scored the bout 58-56 for Figueroa.
Figueroa used angles and quick combinations to outscore Gipson, who didn’t really start letting his hands go until the third. From the third round on, each moment of the bout was highly competitive as Gipson landed the harder shots, almost exclusively to the body, and Figueroa landed more frequently. Ultimately, Figueroa’s ability to throw combinations and shoot shots up the middle in between Gipson’s looping power shots to the body carried the bout.
Myers vs. St. Germain
In the opening bout of the evening, Rayshawn Myers (5-16-1, 3 KOs) of Cleveland, OH, who entered the ring in a Michael Myers’s mask to the theme of the movie Halloween, used his superior movement to outbox local fan-favorite Ryan St. Germain (2-7) of Elkhart, IN, over four entertaining rounds. All three judges scored the bout 40-36.