By Sam DiTusa at ringside
The Spirit Mountain Casino Resort in Grand Ronde was the site last evening of one of the better fight cards in recent memory in Oregon as highly regarded middleweight Daniel Edouard improved to 22-2-2, 13 KOs with a one-sided eight round stoppage of the very game but undersized Dewey Welliver (18-19-1, 7 KOs). Also victorious were light heavyweight Roger Cantrell and lightweight Verquan Kimbrough.
Welliver, a true welterweight, looked several weight classes under the muscular Edouard as they stepped into the ring, although both weighed in within the catch weight of 162 lbs for the ten round affair. Welliver just didn’t have the arsenal to keep the ever aggressive Edouard off of him, and was therefore subject to a vicious body assault which had many in the large crowd admiring his grit to stay in the fight.
Edouard, “The Haitian Sensation,” used hard right and left hooks to Welliver’s body to set up his attack upstairs. Though Welliver definitely had his moments, Edouard for the most part walked through Welliver’s fast combinations and loaded up on every shot. With no way to win the fight, and Welliver’s legs cramping, his corner stopped the fight after eight rounds.
Roger “Never Can Tell “Cantrell ( 15-1, 8 KOs) has apparently found the motivation to get his career back on track. After scoring an impressive win in this same ring 3 months ago, Cantrell returned and stepped up a bit as he took on Rayco “ War” Saunders (16-13-2, 7 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout scheduled for six rounds. Cantrell displayed beautiful boxing skills as he showed the importance of the jab, sometimes doubling and tripling them against the bull-like Saunders from Pittsburgh
Saunders seemed content to play the role of the bull to Cantrell’s matador, which was a mistake. Cantrell picked him apart early building up an early lead which Saunders was unable to overcome despite an all out attack in the sixth round which saw Saunders landing big shots with each hand. The final tallies read 60-55, 58-56, 59-56 all for Cantrell. The fighters exchanged words following the decision which was a direct result of the intense fight.
Verquan Kimbrough (21-1-2) showed why he is worthy of a WBA title shot at 135 pounds as he completely outboxed, outslugged, and outclassed veteran Justo Sanchez over eight rounds to gain a unanimous decision. Kimbrough showed his entire arsenal as he was in total command the entire bout. Again, as in the previous fight, the importance of a good jab was evident as Kimbrough could have put his right hand in storage because his left was so good.
A right hand early in the fight over Sanchez’ right eye gave Kimbrough a nice target the reat of the contest. Kimbrough picked it apart with jabs and over hand rights. Final scores were 80-71, 78-74, 78-76.
Marcos Cardenas and Manuel Ortega had the fight of the night in their pro debuts in this same ring three months ago. So good was the fight that fans and the casino demanded a rematch. While Ortega won the initial encounter, Cardenas was more focused this time as he displayed the heavier hands throughout. In round two Cardenas deposited Ortega on the mat courtesy of a left hook-right hand combination. Though Ortega was hurt he finished the fight strong as the crowd cheered them on again. The action went toe to toe the rest of the four round bout. In the end Cardenas gained redemption earning the decision on scores of 39-36 on all cards. The two featherweights are now both even at 1-1 for their careers.
The most intriguing fight of the night was between veteran Jason Papillon (39-14-1) and up and coming Deshon Johnson ( 7-2-2, 1 KO). While Papillon’s career speaks for itself, Johnson is somewhat of Cinderella story in progress. After 2 early defeats , Johnson switched trainers and got a manager. He has had no easy fights in his 11 fight career, but most boxing insiders in the Northwest agree he is now a diamond in the rough.
Behind a good countering jab and solid body attack, Johnson seemed to have the answer for everything the crafty Papillon had for him. Johnson never let Papillon take the play from him as he fought a smart calculated six round fight against a much more experienced fighter. Papillon’s speed was good at the beginning, but the body attack of Johnson slowed him down enabling Johnson to take control down the stretch. Final scores were 59-56, 58-56, 57-57 for Johnson.
The opening fight of the night saw middleweight debuters Ronald Briggs and David Quartz fight to a 4 round draw. Briggs won the opening two rounds but seemed to tire as Quartz kept on steady pressure to win rounds three and four.
The card was promoted by Square Ring Promotions and Roy Jones Jr. As a promoter the champ is quickly establishing himself as a big time player in the game. His staff is total class, and the Jones makes himself accessible to fans and fighters. The next fight night at this beautiful resort is scheduled for Sept 11.
See you at the fight.