By John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com
File Photos by Gary Purfield
The largest names and biggest photos on the fight poster for Saturday’s night of boxing at the Valley Forge Casino and Resort are Harry Joe Yorgey and Julius Kennedy. And given they will fight a 10-round rematch of their gritty March battle, it is understandable. However, just a glance at the names and faces scheduled in the main 8-round “co-main event” bout is enough to excite every local fight fan.
Two of the most exciting Philly fighters of the day will face off in what surely figures to be the card’s show stealer. North Philly’s “Boxing Barber”, Victor Vasquez, 16-7-1, 7 KOs, takes on “The American Idol” Tevin Farmer, 10-4-1, 1 KO, in a fight fan’s dream of a match. Both boxers have earned their reputations as crowd pleasers in the ring.
Vasquez, 30, has been in more than his fair share of good fights, and is well-known as perhaps Philly’s most exciting battler. He’s not a devastating one-punch hitter, but is quite capable of wearing a boxer down and taking him out, after testing his appetite for war. If a fighter comes in against Vasquez less than fully prepared, the Barber’s brutal body attack will usually be the deciding factor.
Vasquez is a master at trench warfare, ruling the action along the ropes and at close quarters. However, he has often been cut, but usually manages to fight his way through it. He’s not an undefeated fighter and can be out boxed, especially if the action stays at a distance, but Vasquez usually takes chances and does everything he can to close the gap. Usually this makes for memorable fights.
The biggest question surrounding Vasquez is the mileage on his boxing odometer. His battles have all been hard fought and he has taken much punishment. His exciting career may be winding down, and this fight with Farmer may help gauge if this is true. At 22, Tevin Farmer is much younger and fresher than Vasquez. Usually this single metric is enough to effectively handicap a fight. But it’s not necessarily the whole story in this one. Left-handed Farmer is a blast to watch. He is full of energy, a free-swinger, and usually keeps it coming for the entire length of the fight. He’s fast and moves in and out of the action with his flashy style.
The fight will be his fourth of the year already, with six months in 2013 still to go. He’s only scored one KO in his career, a second rounder back in 2011. His best chance against Vasquez is to use his speed and youth to keep the action brisk and light. However, Farmer seems to have a taste for battle. So if he chooses to bring the fight directly to Vasquez, he will learn firsthand why Vasquez packs in the crowds every time he fights. The battle plans for both combatants seems clear. Farmer needs to box and keep the action out of the trenches, while Vasquez must crowd him and turn the fight into a war.
Both men are from North Philadelphia, and Farmer has done a little talking about Victor and the fight via a YouTube video. The neighborhood bragging rights and mild bad blood that has built up may make the possibility for war more likely. That would be an advantage for Vasquez. But Farmer will be looking to prove himself in this fight, so perhaps he will keep a cool head. Either way, the fight stacks up as a good one, and one that is not to be missed.
“He talks a lot of trash,” Vasquez said of Farmer. “Nobody ever talked trash to me before, but I always come to fight. I never talk bad about nobody. I’ll give him one thing. He’s done a hell of a job promoting this fight.” “This is a young man’s sport,” Farmer said on his YouTube video. “He better be ready. I’ll beat his ass, and look good doing it. I’m four years in this game and I’m at the top right now.”
The references to his age, don’t rattle Vasquez. “A 30-year old Vasquez is like a Marquez,” Victor said. “Older means smarter. I always come to fight, and I’ve never been in a bad one.”
The boxing fans know this is true about Vasquez, and what they are learning about Farmer is that he too is capable of providing a lot of thrills in the ring. With both of these boxers in the ring at the same time, it is going to be good. Farmer will be fighting to prove that he is ready to step up, while Vasquez fights to prove it’s not time for him to step down. The stakes and styles promise to make this fight a memorable one.
The main event isn’t too shabby either. In March, Harry Joe Yorgey, 26-2-1, 12 KOs, returned to his home state for an easy comeback win after a KO loss to hot prospect Jermell Charlo. However, what he got in his fight with Julius Kennedy, 7-5-1, 3 KOs, was a gut check. The scheduled 8-rounder was cut to 6 rounds on the day of the fight, which gave Yorgey less time to work his way back from that tough loss.
Kennedy jumped out to a lead on my scorecard, and out fought Yorgey over the first four rounds. Yorgey looked tired and possibly even shot at the beginning of the fight. However, as the fight wore on, and Yorgey saw his easy win heading toward a second straight defeat, he turned up the gas and bounced back in the final two rounds. Yorgey’s late surge wasn’t enough to give him the win on my card, but it sealed the victory on two of the three official cards, which are the only ones that really matter. Yorgey’s rally showed me that he still had plenty of fight in him, and that if the original 8-round distance had held, he appeared on his way to a win. He got the “W” anyway.
Since that night, Bridgeport, PA’s Yorgey has been idle, while Kennedy, of Windsor Mill, MD, returned to the area to face a rejuvenated Decarlo Perez, in Chester on April 19th. Perez over powered Kennedy and scored a 5th round TKO that night. Both Yorgey and Kennedy will come to Valley Forge with something to prove. It makes sense that Yorgey will get it right this time, and win the way he was expected to do the first time. Kennedy hasn’t officially won a bout since 2009, but he is a hard-nosed pro. So you never know. The junior middleweight bout is scheduled for 10 rounds.
The seven remaining supporting bouts are a nice slate of four and six rounders filled with local talent at various stages of their young careers. The highlights of the undercard appear to be the professional debut of West Philly amateur standout Antonio Dubose. Featherweight Dubose always seemed to have a style suited for the pros, so it will be exciting to see him begin to make his way. He is trained by former world champion Robert “Bam Bam” Hines and Percy “Buster” Custus, who runs the Shuler Gym. Dubose is scheduled to meet Lancaster’s John Portillo, who is also making his pro debut in the four round fight. Lightweight Damon Allen will have his second pro start Saturday night. Allen was another outstanding amateur, and scored a KO in his pro debut in April. Allen does not yet have an opponent for the four round bout.
Light heavyweight Todd Unthank-May goes for his seventh straight victory against Michael Wilmer in a scheduled 6-round bout. The nine-bout show begins at 7:15PM, and is promoted by Reading, PA based, Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Boxing. The first bout begins at 7:15PM.
To read more about the Philly fight scene – past and present – visit www.phillyboxinghistory.com.