By Sam DiTusa at ringside
For the multitudes out there who wondered if former champ Stevie Forbes had seen his best days, this reporter is here to tell you he has plenty of petrol left in his tank. Forbes improved to 34-7, 10 KOs with a devastating second round demolition of Jason Davis in front of a SRO crowd at the Spirit Mountain Casino near the Oregon coast. The show was promoted by Roy Jones Jr and “Square Ring” who did a very nice job, and was received well by the crowd.
Round one was fought on fairly even terms with Davis using good lateral movement and fast combinations to offset Forbes who was the stalker from the opening bell. Near the end of the round Forbes landed some heavy shots as Davis had his back to the ropes.
The former champ and Portland, Oregon native came out with a purpose in round two as he walked Davis down continually and threw hard three and four punch combinations which very definitely caught Davis’ attention. As Davis backed into the ropes directly above me Forbes unleashed hard right hands and left hooks which sunk Davis to the mat. Davis attempted to regain his feet at the count of 8 but fell back to the canvas prompting the stoppage at 2:45 of the stanza. The fight was contested at a catch weight of 145 pounds.
The undercard was loaded with some action packed four and six rounders. Bantamweight Kleyon Bussey needed just 2:35 of the first round to dispatch Mario Gonzales. It was a barrage of body shots which did the trick for the Floridian Bussey who remains unbeaten at 6-0, 4 KOs.
The fight of the night pitted Tacoma, Washington’s Roger “Never Can Tell” Cantrell against Robert Brue of Portland, Oregon. This fight could have been contested in the proverbial phone booth as both combatants displayed an inordinate amount of guts as they slugged each other over six brutal rounds. Cantrell knocked Brue down to end round one, but Brue came right back in rounds two and three as he used his straight right hand lead to score effectively on his taller opponent. Cantrell fought rounds three-to-six with a badly cut right eye, but managed to regain control in the middle rounds using a nice jab and fast, short combinations on the bull-like Brue. The fight ended with both fighters throwing bombs at each other as the crowd rose to their feet in appreciation. Final scores were 59-55, 57-56 and 58-55 all for Cantrell who ups his record to 14-1, 8 KOs while Brue suffered his first loss and now stands at 5-1, 3 KOs.
Debuting featherweights Marco Cardenas and Manny Ortega also went toe-to-toe for four rounds as the entertained the crowd taking turns working each other over. The difference in the fight was the Ortega jab, which he landed at will. Each fighter had their moments and showed very good skills and were well prepared for their first venture into the pro. The Seattle native Ortega ended up with the split decision by scores of 39-37 twice, while the third judge scored the same 39-37 for Cardenas.
Super middleweight Kevin “Opie” Hand remained unbeaten improving to 3-0, 3 KOs with a decisive third round TKO over tough Sam Haynes (5-4, 4 KOs) in their four-rounder. While Hand didn’t have the advantage of an amateur career, he had become a fast learner. His ring generalship and relaxed style was that of a seasoned pro as he goaded Haynes in close numerous times and unleashed counter right upper cuts which always found their mark. His accuracy was astounding as he landed nearly everything he threw. The end came at 2:57 of the round with Hand landing at least 12 unanswered heavy shots against Haynes as he lay helpless on the ropes.
The opener saw Seattle’s Jose Gomez (2-3) shake off a tough first round to come on and win a very narrow split decision over Salem, Oregon’s Norberto Pantellon (0-1) in a Super featherweight four-rounder. The overhand right and left hook of Gomez scored effectively, though Pantellon was with him step-for-step behind a long right hand and stiff jab. Gomez got the split decision on scores of 39-37 twice as the third judge saw it 40-36 for Pantellon.
Spirit Mountain can become a big player in Northwest boxing with this beautiful new state of the art arena. The Oregon fans have long thirsted for a consistent boxing venue and Spirit Mountain and “Square Ring Promotions” have provided just that. The next fight is scheduled for June.
See you at the fights.