By Lindy Lindell at ringside
Photos: Bob Ryder
Despite having an unheralded record of just 5-2 coming into his fight with the 11-0-1 Lane Staal, Patrick Boozer rallied after a slow start and was awarded something called the UBF US Mid-West Junior-Middleweight Title in a fight scheduled for just six rounds. Boozer, who came on (after a fashion, though never dominating or controlling) in round three seemed to turn the tide after a reluctant start, and was awarded a five-round technical decision win when an accidental head butt to Staal’s upper brow called for the stoppage.
The Staal-Boozer affair headlined Darkside’s third promotion, this time held in the Dearborn Civic Center, a decided setback in terms of quality of fights and sparse attendance. It isn’t that the promoters and matchmaker Ira Kendrick weren’t trying. Heavyweight Ray Edwards, now 6-0, was a late added attraction. Impressive of stature and build, the former defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons fought as if in bad need of a masseur, winning easily enough but failing to “open up” with more than one punch at a time.
Edwards, 256, a recent signee of Jackie Kallen, admitted to being “tight” after the fight; this accounts for his lack of firing off (to his credit, he showed good “starter” professionalism with that most important punch in boxing, the left jab), but it doesn’t excuse his failure to throw more punches against the pudgy, come-only-to-avoid-being knocked out Ray Lopez, 245, Holland, Michigan, a town noted for growing tulips and professional fighters not so much.
Lopez led the league in covering up and didn’t fire off until he heard the ten-second warning that concluded the fight—at which point the 4-9
Lopez uncorked a not-bad three punch combo, including a solid left hook to Edwards’ midsection that Edwards took with no ill-effect. It is hard to look good against the boxer who doesn’t come to fight, and it is hoped that given more time that when Edwards is next matched (probably in Joe Louis Arena on June 21), a more-willing-to-engage fighter can be found.
The Staal-Boozer was an “ugly” affair marred by low blows administered by Boozer and he was guilty of hitting after the bell and trash-talking as well. Both fighters were “into it” and heating up when the end came, a disappointment, partly because it was unjustified. The hairline butt initially produced blood that warranted interruption, but not stoppage. After the blood was wiped away, Staal was ready to go, but a ringside doc unaccountably waved the fight off. For several minutes after the fight, Staal seemed in no discomfort as he talked with well-wishers; not once did he indicate pain or touch his head. When I saw him in the lobby after he had dressed, I could not even see the cut upon examination; needless to say, no stiches were needed.
The rest of the card was pocked by fall-outs and a couple of paid-fors, about which matchmaker Kendrick said that in future there will be no more of those. The undercard: Angelo Snow, 151, Toledo, thoroughly beat up Jeff Smith, 151, Findlay, OH, fight stopped at the end of one; Sonny Frederickson, 136, Toledo, TKO1 Joe Szcublewski, 132, Findlay; all four of the above were pro-debuters; James Ballard, 173, 2-0, Detroit, TKO4 Eric Moon, 1-4, Grand Rapids; and Ahmed Mahmood, 127, 2-0-1, Dearborn, TKO1 James Gonzales, 124, 2-6, Philadelphia.