By Lindy Lindell
Photos: Bob Ryder
Heavyweight Juan Goode finally made his long-awaited ring return after 18 months and registered his fifth knockout in five bouts against a Saloman Becerra, now (2-6), all eight fights inside the distance.
The Darkside Boxing promotion (Nasser Beydoun), billed as the Punch Out at the Pavilion was staged outside at the nicely set-up venue of the country home of Chuck Desander, a regular at the Lansing boxing scene. This was one of the more unusual venues this journalist has encountered in covering Michigan boxing shows since 1979. There was a fight in which Bernard Mays fought in a barn somewhere near Yipsilanti and Ann Arbor, but that one, organized by Mays’ manager Albert Hatchett, seemed more of an off-the-cuff exercise.
The present promotion was well handled and well set up by its organizers and Desanders’ barbeque (he’s a caterer) was a tasty treat at the halfway point of a six-bout card. Amateur bouts had been held at the venue before and I heard no one complaining about the accommodations.
A year and-a-half ago, this journalist was singing the praises of heavyweight Juan Goode, based on four area appearances in which he blew out three nothing-much opponents and trialhorse Cerrone Fox. The stout, 5-10 heavyweight showed good ring generalship, heavyhanded punching prowess, and in no particular rush to gauge, measure, and then take out his man with crunching blows.
This journalist anxiously awaited his return from his Cerrone fight, as he would tell just about anyone who would listen that Goode was the hardest punching heavyweight he had seen in 35 years in Detroit, perhaps the hardest-punching Motown heavyweight since Joe Louis. Against opponent Saloman Becerra, 2-6, Goode took his time in the first, did a lot of smiling along the way, and then systematically broke down his scowling foe with a heavy-handed punches, finishing with a straight right that sent Becerra reeling, though it did not drop him. Becearra did not complain when the fight was stopped.
Goode has had management/handler problems, but looking at his 30th birthday in December, he can’t afford to turn down fights.
The card opened with middleweight Nichols Givhan (7-0) stopping the winless Ricky Rashad Ogdan in the first. Owosso middleweight Eric Hall (7-9) dropped a split duke to the pro-debuting James Gray, Howell. Gray was so ecstatic with the win that one would have thought he had won a championship. A good-on-paper matchup between pro-debuter Ahmed Majed Mahmood, Amman, Jordan, and Vincent Jennings, 2-0-1, Grand Rapids, ended in a draw, a bout that did not lack for enthusiasm, but it was one of those fights that did not mesh and disappointed with numerous clinches.
After the post-intermission Goode fight, Daniel Hicks, Lansing, TKO’d Thomas Amaro, Grand Rapids, in two, in a middleweight bout, and the finale featured heavyweight Thad Berkhousen, 3-0, Lansing, winning clearly, but bloodied by a determined Karinn Davis, 1-3, Benton Harbor. On at least two occasions, Berkhousen backed Davis into a corner and appeared to on the verge of stopping his man, but Davis fought back in combinations that caused Berkhousen to cut off and back away. The crowd loved it.