By David Robinett at ringside
In a bizarre scene played out Friday night before a packed ballroom at the Red Lion Hotel in Sacramento, California, former IBF cruiserweight champion Kelvin “Concrete” Davis and Michael Simms battled to a six-round draw in what was publicized and announced as a scheduled eight-round cruiserweight bout. More troubling than the unannounced change though, which left the ring announcer and the 500 fans in attendance confused for several minutes after the contest was stopped, was Davis and his team’s assertion that they were also not informed the length of the fight had been changed.
At the conclusion of the sixth round of what had been to that point an exciting back-and-forth affair, Simms’ trainer and promoter Nassar Niavaroni began to take off his fighter’s gloves and indicated the fight was over. Over the next few minutes, the ring announcer, cornermen from both camps, and California State Athletic Commission officials gathered in the ring to sort things out, with several testy exchanges, including Davis bumping Niavaroni as the two argued whether the fight was actually over.
“We signed a contract for an eight-round fight,” explained Kelly Davis, Kelvin Davis’s manager and brother, after the fight. “That’s what we trained for. It was always an eight-round fight. They didn’t tell us it was a six-round fight until they stopped it.”
Niavaroni asserted that it was the California State Athletic Commission’s decision to change the length of the fight and he believed Davis and his team had been notified by the Commission prior to the fight. “It wasn’t our call, it was the Commission that changed it,” explained Niavaroni. “Che [Guevara, from the Commission] said that they would not approve the fight unless we changed it to six rounds. Davis signed a contract at the weigh-in for six-rounds.”
Fightnews.com was unable to obtain a copy of the bout contract from Commission officials at ringside immediately after the fight, but later in the evening Kelly Davis claimed he had been shown a copy of the contract signed by his brother Kelvin that the Commission had asserted was proof of notification to Davis and his team of the change.
“Kelvin’s name is on the contract, but where it had an eight [indicating number of rounds] somebody drew a line through it and wrote in six,” alleged Davis. “That’s not right, that could have been written in by anyone.”
Commission officials at ringside declined to comment at length, but explained that they believed the contract signed by Kelvin Davis indicated the bout was for six rounds and that Davis and his team were advised that they could file a complaint with the Commission within five days.
The controversy unfortunately diminished what was a very good fight, with the compact and powerfully built Davis trying to work his way inside against the taller, rangy Simms. In the early rounds Simms was able to pepper Davis with a soft jab and keep him at bay, while Davis’s attempts to rush in were easily handled by Simms by either stepping to the side or catching Davis coming in with the jab and straight right hand.
However by round three Simms began to fight for long periods with his back against the ropes or toe-to-toe with Davis in the center of the ring, where Davis took advantage with left and right hooks to Simms’ body and an effective right uppercut. At times during these exchanges Simms was also effective stepping back and catching Davis with hooks and straight hands to the head, but Davis appeared to be gaining momentum as Simms spent more and more time in close. This pattern continued until the sixth round when Simms began to dance around the ring and avoid close contact with Davis. At the time it appeared Simms was tiring and could no longer fight inside with Davis, but in hindsight Simms may have simply been trying to run out the clock. Davis did not fight with any urgency in this round, letting Simms dance away, which unfortunately gives credence to Davis’s claim that the miscommunication about the length of the fight could have cost him the win.
“I knew the way he [Simms] started boxing he was getting tired,” explained Davis, (24-10-3, 17 KOs). “If I would have known it was a six-round fight, I would have put him on his ass. I was waiting for the last couple rounds before letting my hands go.”
Adding insult to injury for Davis, this bout had been billed as an “eliminator” for the right to face Matt Godfrey for the NABF cruiserweight title at this same location next month. However after the fight Niavaroni explained that Simms was in line to get the shot at Godfrey with either a win or a draw. Simms, (20-11-2, 13 KOs), will now face Godfrey on September 12, 2009.
Parison Whitewashes Cruz!
Undefeated James Parison, (12-0, 3 KOs), rolled past late replacement Christian Cruz, (12-10-1, 10 KOs), in the co-main event of the evening, winning a 60-54 shutout on all three cards in a scheduled six-round light heavyweight bout. Cruz, a one-time super middleweight contender with wins over Dallas Vargas and Enrique Ornelas, is long past his prime and was clearly brought in for some rounds and to add a recognized name to Parison’s resume, the same as original opponent Rubin Williams.
Both fighters dutifully played their roles, with Parison looking sharp against the passive Cruz, circling comfortably with the jab and following up with the occasional left hook to the body and short combinations upstairs. Cruz provided token opposition for brief stretches at a time, but never threatened Parison nor appeared to want to mix it up too much. Most impressive about Parison was how he sat down on his jab, pumping it into Cruz’s face as a power punch and drawing several ooohs from the crowd as he snapped Cruz’s head back like a bobble head. To his credit, Cruz took his beating professionally, and for better or worse there is always work for someone of his caliber who can take a punch and give promising youngsters needed seasoning.
In Other Action
One of the locally popular Castaneda brothers, Ernesto, was in action as he took a six-round unanimous decision over Ayodeji Fadeyi, in a scheduled six-round super middleweight bout, 59-55, 60-54, 60-54. Castaneda wasted little time in attacking Fadeyi, opening with a double left hook to the body and the head, as Fadeyi tried unsuccessfully to keep Castaneda off with the jab. Fadeyi spent the bulk of the round with his back against the ropes, as Castaneda focused on working the body with both hands.
In rounds two and three, Fadeyi began to trade more with Castaneda as the fighters remained in close quarters, but while Fadeyi was landing some punches, Castaneda was connecting at a higher volume and with heavier punches. An ugly mouse began to appear over Castaneda’s left eye in round two, but leveled off midway through the fight and did not become a factor. Castaneda continued to outwork Fadeyi and keep the fight inside, and even though he tired late, Castaneda was able to effectively shield his body with his elbows and slip punches to keep Fadeyi from gaining any momentum. With the win, Castaneda improves to 11-7-1, 7 KOs, while Fadeyi drops to 10-7-1, 6 KOs.
Geraldo Lopez, (3-0, 2 KOs), quickly dispatched Angel Martinez, who was making his pro debut, at 1:32 of the first round in a scheduled four-round welterweight bout. Lopez patiently stalked the visibly anxious Martinez, comfortably jabbing and following at times with a straight right hand, before unloading a stiff left jab-right hand combination that crumpled Martinez to the canvas. Martinez rose briefly before stumbling back into arms of the referee, who quickly called off the bout.
Another debuting fighter met the business end of the canvas as Maximilliano Becerra, (2-0, 2 KOs), hammered Victor Cortez for nearly two rounds before finishing him off at 2:19 of the second round. Cortez never really got going against the taller Becerra, falling short on his jabs and several attempted combinations as Becerra picked him apart. A wicked left hook to the body by Becerra lifted Cortez’s leg off the canvas midway through round one, followed later by a right hook that dropped Cortez. Cortez beat the count and was rescued by the bell to end the round, but round two was more of the same before a left-right-left combination to the head finished Cortez off, dropping him again and prompting the referee to stop the bout.
The dual boxing and amateur muay thai card was promoted by Upper Cut Promotions.