Report and photos by Bob Ryder
It’s a common and accepted practice that after a young fighter like Vernon Paris has been out of the ring for a year after suffering his first loss, that you allow him an easy one in his return. Saturday night at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI, promoter Greg Ahrens and matchmaker Carlos Llinas took the concept to the max as they put former top ten contender Paris in with perennial opponent Guy Packer from Battle Creek. As expected, Detroit’s Paris fighting at welterweight had an easy time of it in stopping Packer at 1:29 of round three. Guy tried as always, and is game, but the skill discrepancy between the two was significant. Paris took a couple of minutes to warm up in the first before scoring a knockdown near the end of the round. Vernon would score two more knockdowns in the second as he unloaded with his whole arsenal, landing body shots and uppercuts at will. Paris now (27-1,16 KO’s) scored yet another knockdown in the third and when he had Packer slumping and in distress along the ropes referee Steve Daher mercifully came in and stopped the slaughter. Packer falls to (4-39-2,1 KO).
Paris told fightnews.com before the fight that he was excited about his new team and his return to action. Provided he can curb his previous undisciplined life style, Paris at only 25 years of age has the time and potential to make some noise in the fight game but he will need better opposition to test his mettle for sure.
Better opposition would also serve heavyweight Jordan Shimmell as well. In the co main event of the night, Hudsonville’s Shimmell easily stopped Lansing’s Brad Johnson by scoring three knockdowns in 2:12 of the first round. Johnson seemed to have no clue or plan and his offense consisted solely of holding and grabbing. Jordan was able to extricate himself long enough to land a couple of decent shots, however, Johnson succumbed rather meekly on the final “exchange”. Shimmell now (9-0, 8 KO’s) and is ready for stiffer competition. Johnson drops to (2-1, 2KO’s).
In one of best fights of the night, light heavyweights Albert Harkins and John Bennett banged away at each other on the inside for the entire four rounds of their contest. Bennett making his pro debut won on scores of 39-37 x 3. Harkins declines to (1-5, 1 KO).
Grandvillle’s undefeated featherweight Justin Lopez and Flint’s winless Delano Kealohapauole fought a fairly even first two rounds although Lopez was more effective getting inside of Delano’s wider punches. In the third Lopez began to take over with his work to the body. He scored a knockdown that had Delano hurt but gave him some time to recover when he hit him low, giving his foe the required time break to walk it off. Lopez landed several legal body shots before the end of the round that had Delano visibly shaken. In between rounds, Delano began to vomit in his corner and was not allowed out for the start of the next round. Lopez wins on TKO 4 to improve to (5-0, 5 KO’s). Kealohapauole falls to (0-6).
Junior welterweight Joel Chapman making his pro debut landed a vicious punch to the midsection of Andrew Moreno to score the KO at 1:11 of round two. Moreno from Mishawaka, IN stays winless at (0-2).
Windsor, Canada’s Ali Mansour needed only 51 seconds to stop Bay City’s Jackie Beard. Beard looked listless and defenseless almost from the start and now having lost badly in his last two outings should consider hanging them up. Mansour now (13-0, 8 KO’s) while Beard declines to (7-11-1, 7 KO’s).
In a good scrap between welterweights, Mike Pickett of Mishawaka parlayed knockdowns over Joel Vincent in each of the first three rounds to win the decision after four by scores of 39-35 x 3. Pickett is (1-2, 0 KO’s). Vincent of Cedar Springs was making his pro debut.
In other bouts; Nick Givhan won by KO 2 (2:10) over Rick Ogden scoring knockdowns in both the first and second before landing the KO punch to move to (4-0, 4 KO’s). This was Ogden’s first pro fight. Welterweights. Terry VanAvery won his pro debut by forcing David McClendon to quit in his corner after the first. McClendon goes down to (0-2). A tame heavyweight women’s match started the night with Lansing’s Candi Sarver stopping Amy Selles after the bell to end the third round. Sarver (1-4, 1 KO), Selles was making her pro debut.