By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
A near capacity crowd filled the Ballroom at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey hoping to witness another exciting knockout by powerful undefeated, NABA welterweight title holder Mike “MJ” Jones as he faced late replacement Lenin Arroyo. To their surprise, they witnessed one hell of a gutsy performance by Arroyo (20-10-1, 5 KOs), who took almost everything the powerful Philly welterweight could dish out and fought back even though completely outgunned in losing a one sided ten round unanimous decision to Mike Jones (18-0, 15 KOs), which had the crowd on their feet in appreciation for his effort as the fight came to a close. The seven bout card promoted by Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing Promotions also featured the return of super middleweight Jerson Ravelo (20-4, 12 KOs), who captured a lackluster eight round unanimous decision victory over Willis “The Prophet Lockett (12-9-5, 5 KOs).
It was originally proclaimed to be a night for Mike “MJ” Jones to put an exclamation point on his career and vault him into the elite of the welterweight division with a win over veteran Larry Mosley for the NABA title bout. Mosley was forced to pull out for medical reasons for a second time, costing Jones another shot at the veteran. Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz knew how important it was for his protégé to get a name opponent, and he combed the list of dangerous veterans before getting Ben Tackie to answer the call, but another problem arose, forcing Tackie to pull out of the bout. Now with just days to go, in stepped late replacement Lenin Arroyo to face Jones for the NABA welterweight Title.
Many at ringside thought that lightly regarded Lenin “The Volcano” Arroyo would be little more than another exciting knockout added to the hard hitting Jones list of victims. Arroyo however had never been stopped and looked to pull the upset.
The bout was jokingly titled by a local reporter at ringside as Jones versus Volcano. Who would have known the Volcano would have put up such an effort which had fans on their feet as the final bell sounded.
Jones looked in great physical shape for a fighter coming off a partially torn bicep which forced the cancellation of his last fight. Arroyo seemed to sense his chance early on and held his own in the opening round, testing Jones with a couple of right hands.
It changed quickly in round two as Jones connected with several uppercuts on the button and it appeared Lenin Arroyo would not be around for long.
Jones seemed like the bigger fighter as he banged away relentlessly with combination’s in rounds three through five. Arroyo just took the shots and continued to swing wildly in return. It was later found out that Arroyo may have broken his right hand in round two, but just kept on coming.
By round seven, the constant pummeling from Jones showed, as the face of Arroyo was puffy and reddened up. Arroyo had no quit in him though and continued to fire back with wide rights whenever he could, keeping the man known as “MJ” honest.
Jones kept on the gas in rounds eight and nine as the crowd roared from the heavy blows, which would have put most welterweights on the canvas. At the end of both rounds, Jones had Arroyo caught in the corner and swung away. Arroyo slipped and ducked to avoid or roll with the heavy exchanges.
Like the scene from Rocky five, people began to cheer for the grittiness of Arroyo who took a tremendous pummeling but refused to go down and even chose to trade when necessary. Jones knew he had put everything into him and didn’t want to injure himself and boxed his way to the final bell.
The fans not only stood for the spectacular job by Jones, but also for the unbelievable determination and ring savvy of the granite chinned Lenin Arroyo.
All three judges saw it easily in favor for Mike Jones by scores of 99-91 x2 and 98-92 respectively.
Russell Peltz knows it is time to move his prime welterweight and looks to step back in the ring when Jones is available again with a challenge to some of the top welterweights in the world.
Ravelo outpoints Lockett!
In an uninspired contest Jerson Ravelo overcame a determined Willis Lockett with just enough right hands while on retreat to capture the unanimous decision victory.
Lockett appeared very nervous about the right hands early on and didn’t commit heavily with his arsenal and even leaned way down to his right, which took power off of his shots. Ravelo seemed content to jab occasionally and load up on his right hand.
Ravelo connected with a nice four punch combination in round four which had Lockett in trouble, but he just didn’t follow up, missing a golden opportunity to erase his last TKO loss to Don Mouton and bring up his confidence, but he let up on the gas pedal.
Lockett did have a few moments in the fight whenever he fought on the inside with several light combination’s and was the aggressor, but he was constantly on the lookout for Ravelo’s few but wide swinging right hands.
The eighth was more of the same Ravelo caught Lockett’s attention with a left-right combination, but once again went back to boxing. Willis Locket countered with a small series of shots and then was content to clutch and grab as the bout came to a close. The crowd booed again throughout the final rounds in hopes of some true action, but to no avail.
In the end all three judges saw the bout in favor of Ravelo by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75.
Jerson Ravelo ups his record to (20-4, 12 KOs). Willis Lockett falls to (12-9-5, 5 KOs).
Ravelo really needs to put a good performance behind this bout if he expects to move back into contention for a top twenty slot.
Trader outboxes Palacios.
In the walkout bout, unbeaten lightweight Frankie Trader continually kept Francisco Palacios of balance, while boxing on the retreat to capture the six round unanimous decision victory. Palacios tried to make a game of it on the inside, but Trader’s counters kept him from doing any serious damage throughout the fight.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Trader 58-56 x2 and 60-54.
Frankie Trader ups his record to (6-0, 2 KOs) while Francisco Palacios dips to (4-9-4, 1 KO).
Bethlehem, PA Junior Welterweight prospect Ronald Cruz remained undefeated with a third round stoppage of North Philadelphia’s Julius Edmonds, in a back and forth war that had people entertained throughout.
Edmonds known for his relentless pressure tried to make inside fightwith hooks to the body, The momentum changed in round two as Cruz worked in heavy body shots, which were taking their toll and slowed Edmond’s punch output.
Edmonds continued to fight on the inside in round three, but Cruz kept spinning off and banging away with right hands up top. A big cut on the ear of Edmonds appeared near the end of round three caused by a punch.
In between rounds, Referee David Fields took a look at the damaged ear of Edmonds, which not only was cut, but was split open and called a halt to the bout.
“We clashed heads early and it bruised my ear, but it was a punch though that split it open and I am going to have to go to the hospital and get it stitched up,” said Edmunds who drops to (5-5).
Cruz who remains undefeated at (6-0, 4 KOs) talked about his performance afterwards. “I wanted to show that I could go tough rounds with a slugger. I was beginning to turn it up as the rounds progressed when the cut on his ear stopped the fight.”
Davis outslugs Guzman.
North Philly junior middleweight Jamaal “Da Truth” Davis (10-5, 6 KOs) looked like he regained his confidence with a hard fought six unanimous decision victory over Lancaster, PA’s gritty Manuel Guzman.
Coming off an upset loss to Jerome Ellis, Davis looked to make sure it would not be two in a row, coming out like a man possessed with several heavy combination’s, which put Guzman on the retreat throughout round one.
Davis changed tactics in round two, boxing from a distance and turning Guzman who pressed forward in the round. Guzman seemed to gain a little confidence with short chopping shots when on the inside as the rounds progressed.
Jamaal Davis was just the quicker puncher and looked to finish the show with several unanswered shots in round four. Guzman returned the favor with a big right hand close to the end of round four, but Davis was quick to answer with a combination that evened it out to close the round.
Seeing he was ahead, Jamal Davis went on the bicycle in round five, boxing from the outside. Both fighters had their moments in round six as each tired from their attacks. Davis kept getting caught with right hands as his own guard dropped. However, Jamal was the again the busier fighter with combination’s and movement.
All three judges saw the fight in favor of Davis by scores of 58-56 x2, and 60-54 respectively.
Jamaal Davis rebounds to (10-6, 6 KOs) while Manuel Guzman slips to (6-8-1, 2 KOs)
Mercado manhandles Boggs.
Cape May, New Jersey welterweight Josh Mercado sent his large contingent of fans home happy in his debut, scoring a workmanlike four round unanimous decision victory over winless Philadelphian Terrell Boggs (0-3).
The local favorite was in control right from the opening bell as he forced Boggs to retreat throughout with a mixture of combination’s up top and down to the body. Boggs eventually wore down from the pressure. Mercado looked like he would stop Boggs in the fourth and final round with a series of seven unanswered punches. Boggs however sent a punch below the border, which didn’t appear to affect Mercado but referee David Field took time to admonish Boggs, giving him time to recover and survive the round.
All three judges saw the bout in easily in favor of Josh Mercado by scores of 40-36 x2 and 39-37 respectively.
Carson takes out “The Prince of Darkness!”
Lightweight Ryan Carson of Norristown, PA stepped into the lion’s den in his professional debut as he faced hometown favorite Osnel “The Prince of Darkness” Charles of Atlantic City, New Jersey in the opening bout of the evening. Carson however was up to the test as he dropped Charles twice en-route to a second round TKO victory.
Charles looked to take advantage of the possible nervousness of the debuting Carson early as he jumped on him with a series of heavy shots right from the opening bell. Ryan Carson retained his composure and went to the body and head with wide shots. Charles was game and continued to land straight rights down the pike in the closing second of the opening round.
It all changed in round two, as Ryan Carson timed a right hand from “The Prince of Darkness” and hit him with a perfect counter right which deposited him on the canvas. Charles rose to his feet and was on unsteady legs, and tried to hold on but another Carson right hand on the button had him fall face forward on the canvas. Once again Charles rose to his feet. Veteran Referee Eddie Cotton took one look at the wobbly Charles and immediately waved the fight off at 2:39 of round two.
“He hit me with some good shots, but I knew eventually I would land my right hand and that is what ended it,” said a satisfied Carson afterward.