By Sam Geraci and Craig Wick
Photos: Tom Barnes/Tomba Images
In the main event of “B96’s Boxing at the Ballpark” at US Cellular in Chicago, Chicago’s Donovan “Da Bomb” George (26-4-2, 22 KOs) muscled out a unanimous decision over Dyah “Ali” Davis (22-5-1, 10 KOs) of Coconut Creek, FL, to win the super middleweight IBO championship. Scores were 115-113 (twice) and 116-112.
“This is the greatest day of my life…I thought that maybe I’d win a regional title or something like that but I never thought I’d win a world championship. I went to jail and was a loser but now I’m here and I’m a world champion,” said an emotional George after the bout.
George also stated that he broke his hand a couple days before the fight but could not back out.
For the first thirty seconds of the bout, Davis came out behind his jab and circled to his left while George looked to set up his one-two. Although neither managed to score effectively, it was Davis who controlled the distance for the first half of the round. Toward the middle of the round, even though George managed to close the distance, it was Davis who scored more effectively behind his jab and left hook. Toward the final minute of the first, however, with his trainer, Sam Colonna, pleading with George to step to his right, George managed to push Davis to the ropes but was unable to land anything of significance. Uneventful round but Davis appeared to carry it with his ring generalship.
Throughout the second, George managed to cut off the ring as Davis simply tried to keep George’s pressure at bay by flicking an occasional jab or lazy left hook. After missing with several overhand rights, George managed to land a looping overhand right before the bell sounded that buckled the legs of Davis and nearly sent him falling to the mat. George smiled at Davis as they returned to their corners. George’s right carried the round.
In the third, even though neither fighter landing anything of significance, it was George who was the aggressor while Davis again seemed content to fight from a distance to avoid exchanging.
Throughout the fourth, Davis continued to fight from a distance but was effective at countering George with jabs and lead left hooks as George failed to cut off the ring while also abandoning his jab and head movement.
In the fifth, George managed to close the distance and went back to using his jab to work his way in. Toward the middle of the round, George began to dig to Davis’s body, which created opportunities for George’s left hook as the round came to a close. Although Davis was unable to score, in the final minute of the round, Davis began to attempt lead counter rights on top of George’s jab. A good round for George.
In the sixth, whether it was from fatigue or bravado, George began to drop his hands toward the one-minute mark after being hit with two solid looping rights. Shortly after doing so, however, George managed to back Davis to the neutral corner in order to score with several wide shots that should have done enough to take a close round. In the final thirty seconds, Davis did manage to score with a solid right that knocked George off balance but the balance issue appeared to be more a result of the ring than the shot. Very close round.
In the seventh, even though George began to breathe with his mouth open, his aggression and wide shots to the body should have been enough to take a close round in which Davis was unable to score with anything other than an occasional jab.
Throughout the eighth, George simply outworked and outmuscled Davis before scoring with several solid body shots within clinches that appeared to shake and discourage Davis. Good round for George.
Despite appearing to hurt Davis toward the end of the eighth, throughout most of the ninth, Davis managed to score and counter from a distance with ease. Davis’s most effective shot was the check left hook that he managed to land with frequency as George again abandoned his head movement and jab. Good round for Davis.
Davis carried the tenth with his movement, jab and lead left hook until George managed to land two solid straight rights as Davis moved sloppily along the ropes. A competitive round but Davis’s activity might have outdone George’s more powerful shots.
The flow of the fight continued in the eleventh as Davis tried to maintain the distance with his jab while countering with an occasional hook as George tried to push Davis to the ropes to score with his straight right and wide shots to the body. Overall, George appeared to do enough to take the round as Davis’s shots lacked power.
With the pro-George crowd on its feet to start the twelfth, George came out aggressively and managed to score throughout the first half of the round by backing Davis to the ropes to score with hooks and straight right hands. With less than a minute remaining, George began pumping his fists to the crowd as Davis simply did his best to survive. The twelfth was a big round for George. –Sam Geraci
Jimenez Decisions Maxell
In a fast paced super middleweight affair, Chicago fan favorite Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez (15-0, 10 KOs) earned a hard fought unanimous decision over Maxell Taylor of Baltimore, MD, (18-8-1, 8 KOs), with two judges scoring the contest a shutout for Jimenez, 60-54, and the third judge giving Taylor one round for a 59-55 tally.
The majority of rounds were fought in the proverbial “phone booth.” The work rate of Jimenez quickly became the difference, as he was relentless on the inside with left and right hooks to the body with the occasional right uppercut to Taylor’s head.
The southpaw Taylor’s best moments came in round four, when he was able to catch Jimenez with several straight left hands to the head.
Round five saw Jimenez pin Taylor on the ropes, drawing blood from Taylor’s nose with a right uppercut. Just when it appeared as if the Baltimore native was wearing down, he responded with straight lefts to the head of Jimenez and an occasional right hook to the body as the round concluded.
The sixth ended where it began, with both fighters trading on the inside, with Jimenez’ work rate seemingly the deciding factor. –Craig Wick
Navarette Decisions Montes De Oca in Entertaining Rematch
In a competitive featherweight slugfest that was unfortunately ended as a result of a cut, Fidel Navarette 6-0-2 (3 KOs), of Highland, IN, who was recently signed by famed boxing manager, Cameron Dunkin, was awarded a technical decision win at 1:18 of the sixth round over Chicago native Sergio Montes De Oca 7-3-2 (2 KOs). Scores were 58-55 (twice) and 57-56.
Round one began the spirited affair, with Navarette looking to control matters from the outside. Both fighters landed good shots; however, a stiff, straight right cross by Navarette was perhaps the best punch of the round.
Round two saw Navarette looking to use his jab; however, Montes De Oca was able to get inside on several occasions and landed left hooks and short, inside rights to Navarette’s head and body, possibly earning him the round.
In round three, Navarette seemed to take control with his jab and straight right hand to keep Montes De Oca at bay; however, in round four, a big left hook during a furious exchange dropped the durable Montes De Oca. Upon rising, Montes De Oca waded back in, bringing the crowd to its feet with a furious mid-ring exchange before Navarette resumed boxing from the outside as the round concluded.
Montes De Oca came out for round five and six with a series of combinations that backed Navarette into the ropes. Navarette attempted to keep the Chicago fighter on the end of his jab but Montes De Oca was able to slip under many of Navarette’s punches and do some good inside work. A clash of heads at the mid-point of the sixth drew the physician to the ring apron to examine a gash over Navarette’s right eye. The cut was deemed too severe for Naverette to continue and the bout was stopped at 1:18 of the round. Montes De Oca was bleeding from above his right ear.
The bout went to the scorecards, with two judges tabulating 58-55 scores and the third judge turning in a 57-56 verdict, all for the undefeated Navarette. –Craig Wick
Scalise TKOs Wisdom
Local lightweight favorite Frankie “Time Bomb” Scalise (9-1, 9 KOs) sent his Bridgeport fans home happy with a TKO at 2:14 of the fourth and final round after his opponent, DeWayne Wisdom, 4-18-0 (1 KO) of Indianapolis, IN, was unable to punch back during an eight-punch barrage by Scalise.
Round one was all Scalise, as he found a home for his straight right hand that moved Wisdom back every time it landed. Wisdom did land some looping punches on occasion, but they served to annoy Scalise more than anything.
Round two saw Wisdom battling Scalise on fairly even terms, largely on the basis of some looping hooks that caught Scalise on the way in. Scalise maintained his commitment to the body, occasionally bringing the attack upstairs, and his work rate seemed to carry the round. A big right uppercut at the mid-way point of round three knocked Wisdom’s mouthpiece out and seemingly had him ready to go. Once the mouthpiece was reinserted, Scalise continued methodically taking apart Wisdom, with the straight right hand being his main weapon.
In round four, Wisdom was deducted a dubious point for hitting on the break. Shortly after action resumed, Scalise dropped Wisdom in the corner with a left-right combination punctuated by a straight right hand to the chin. Upon rising, a flurry of punches had a defenseless Wisdom pinned on the ropes, offering nothing in the way of resistance, and the fight was subsequently stopped at the 2:14 mark. –Craig Wick
Mendez TKOs Hall
In a decent junior welterweight bout scheduled for four rounds, hometown native Genero Mendez (8-2-1, 5 KOs) gave the Cell crowd a thrill by finishing off Alfred Hall (3-6-2, 2 KOs) of Jackson, MI, with a flurry of unanswered shots at 2:04 of the fourth.
The bout began with both southpaws fighting on even terms for the first minute however Mendez took control throughout the remaining portion of the round on the basis of several effective left hooks to Hall’s body.
Mendez began round two continuing his body assault and landed several combinations to the head less than a minute in. Hall fought back with straight lefts of his own that momentarily stalled Mendez’s momentum. The round concluded with the busier work rate of Mendez seemingly earning him the round.
Round three began with Mendez going back to the body assault with Hall countering with a few scoring rights of his own before Mendez cornered Hall, continuing the attack downstairs. The end of the round saw Hall in the corner taking several scoring shots to the head, which had the referee looking on with concern. The round ended, however, before Mendez could finish matters.
Round four was all Mendez, with Hall spending the majority of the round trapped in the corner taking a drubbing and rarely offering anything serious in return. The one-sidedness of the affair had referee Lou Hall saying enough, waving the fight off at 2:04 of the fourth and final round. –Craig Wick
Coix TKOs Bozell
In another early finish, this one involving welterweights, Will Coix 3-0 (3 KOs) finished off Quintez Bozell 0-2, in round one. Bozell, of Battle Creek, MI, rushed out at the bell looking to catch Coix with several right hands. Coix, of West Chicago, IL, worked his way off the ropes and landed a left hook to the head, followed by a nice left uppercut to Bozell’s solar plexus followed by a left hook to the rib cage that dropped Bozell near ring center. Bozell was unable to beat the count with the end officially coming at 1:01 in the opening round. –Craig Wick
Reid TKOs McGinn
Mike Reid made his pro-debut a spectacular one with a 36 second knockout in round one over Norman McGinn. After a brief feeling out process, Reid, of nearby Joliet, IL, finished off McGinn with a straight right that crumpled the Battle Creek, MI native in the corner. McGinn rose on unsteady legs and the bout was quickly waved off. McGinn falls to 0-4 while Reid begins his career at 1-0 (1 KO). –Craig Wick