Legends are made from incidents like 2008 U.S. Olympic first alternate Danny O’Connor experienced last weekend in Canada, when his glove split after he pounded pro-debuting Greg Jimenez’s body with monster-like hooks en route to a win by 4-round decision off-television on ESPN Friday Night Fights show, headlined by the IBF light welterweight title fight between Juan Urango and Herman Ngoudjo at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The 23-year-old O’Connor (3-0, 1 KO) turned in the best performance of his young pro carer, but what fans there will remember is seeing Danny hit his opponent so hard that his glove literally split.
“I don’t know what happened and nobody there had seen anything like it,” O’Connor explained. “I hit him with a clean body shot and the stuffing and padding started coming out. They had to stop the fight, cut-off my gloves, and put on a new pair. It had to be a 7-minute ordeal.”
“Danny had been hitting him with some really effective body shots and after one good shot in the third round,” O’Connor’s head trainer and co-manager David Keefe added, “his glove split open and the fight had to be stopped. He had the kid hurt but never put him away because of the long break.”
O’Connor won on all three judges’ scorecards – 40-36, 40-36, 40-34 – and his impressive performance locked-up his first ESPN Friday Night Fights appearance in the opening bout February 27.
“I had a great time in Canada,” Danny remarked. “It was a very well run show in a great atmosphere. Everybody was nice to me. It was my best performance as a pro. Each fight is a learning experience for me. I fought real well and was relaxed during the entire fight. I felt so good I could have easily fought six rounds.
“Fighting on ESPN means a lot to me, not just because it’s national television, but so many of my fans haven’t been able to watch me fight. Now, they won’t have to wait until they read about my fight the next day. They can watch with their own eyes. I’m very excited to showcase my tools on ESPN to a lot of people who’ve never seen me fight before.”
O’Connor, fighting out of Framingham (MA), won last year’s US Future Stars National Championship, in which he was named Most Outstanding Boxer, as well as the 2008 National Golden Gloves Tournament. Danny, who signed a promotional contract with Seminole Warriors Boxing, defeated 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz, of the Dominican Republic, last May as an amateur in a USA-Dominican Republic dual meet.
“We’re all very excited about Danny fighting on ESPN,” Keefe commented. “When (co-manager) Rob (Valle) and I wanted to go with a promoter, one of the keys was signing with a promoter who could get Danny exposure like this and had a plan that we can work with. (Seminole Warriors Boxing executive director) Leon (Margules) has that plan and getting Danny on ESPN in only his fourth pro fight is another step towards getting Danny to the top. It’s a great marketing tool for a good, young boxer. Fighting in Montreal on that card was a great experience for all of us because we were around Team Urango and saw first-hand what it’s like and takes to win a world championship.”