By Sam Geraci at ringside
Middleweight hopeful Josh Crouch (10-1-1, 9 KOs) of Schererville, IN failed to pass his biggest test to date as he and veteran Dennis Sharpe (17-9-4, 4 KOs) of Bayonne, NJ battled to an unpopular majority draw during the main event of Saturday’s “Radisson Rumble III: The Final Exam” at the Radisson Hotel in Merrillville, IN.
Crouch showed his ability to put shots together at times but he was unable to control the always-moving forward Sharpe. Sharpe was the more aggressive fighter and he was more effective in landing the harder shots, especially to the body. Sharpe – who had been a few rounds (in unsuccessful clashes) with contenders such as Peter Quillin, Andy Lee, James McGirt and Deandre Latimore – validated his status as a hardcore gatekeeper for the middleweight division. The scores were 76-76 twice while one judge tallied the action at 77-75 for Sharpe. FightNews scored the bout 78-74 for Sharpe.
After the fight, Sharpe stated that he was looking forward to working with promoter Giovanni Gotti of Knock Out Sports Promotions to build a fan base in the Chicagoland area.
Local fan favorite Jimmy “The Fightin’ Schoolteacher” Holmes (20-4, 11 KOs) of Demotte, IN aced his “Final Exam” by scoring an early stoppage over the usually entertaining Guy Packer (4-38-1) of Kalamazoo, MI in the middleweight co-main event. Throughout the bout, Packer appeared disinterested while Holmes tried his best to impress the crowd with his skills. It was all over when Holmes landed a straight right hand and referee Kurt Spivey stopped the action at 1:20 of the second round.
Holmes was well-known to the crowd having fought all but two of his 27 bouts in the Merrillville/Hammond/Gary area. Holmes thanked everyone for their support during his nine-year ring career and announced his retirement to thunderous applause.
Lightweight Jose “Chico” Arambula (2-0, 1 KO) of Harvey, IL brought the crowd to their feet several times chanting “Chico! Chico!” as he dominated Shannon Kelly (0-1) of Columbus, OH en route to a unanimous decision. The crowd-pleasing Arambula fought in spurts, moving in and out landing a flurry of shots that kept his opponent unable to mount a counterattack. Arambula was credited with a knockdown in round one and round four. Kelly was deducted one point for holding in the fourth. All of the judges scored the contest at 40-33.
After a four-year layoff, “Dangerous” Don Moore (16-0-1, 10 KOs) of Gary, IN, now fighting out the Mayweather gym in Las Vegas, NV, returned to the ring to outclass a determined Alfredo Guarneros (5-10, 4 KOs) of Noblesville, IN during a jr lightweight four-rounder. Despite his hiatus, Moore showed great hand speed and solid footwork. In the fourth round, Moore clearly tried to work off the ring rust by focusing on his defense and inside fighting but his efforts did not carry the round. Still, Moore won a unanimous decision with the tally of 39-36 across the scorecards.
Coming off a surprising decision loss in September and looking to rebound against a fighter he knocked out in his pro debut (in March), jr lightweight Antoine “The Pit Bull” Knight (2-1, 1 KO) of Merrillville, IN won an impressive unanimous decision over Jim Sharp (0-3) of Gary, IN. Knight dominated the fight with his movement and overhand right. The scores were 40-36.
In the first bout of the evening, heavyweight Ricardo Chavez (3-0, 2 KOs) of Chicago, IL scored a unanimous decision over Calbert Lewis (0-2) of Gary, IN. Chavez overwhelmed Lewis with left hooks and wide rights throughout the bout. The bout could have been stopped at any point during the final two minutes as Chavez battered the defenseless Lewis. The scores were 40-36 twice and 40-35.
Promoter Giovanni Gotti of Knock Out Sports Promotions was very pleased with the sold-out crowd and promised to be back soon with another installment of the “Radisson Rumble” series.