Story & photos by John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com
Six-foot-four-inch, super middleweight southpaw Derrick Webster remained undefeated Friday night with a 6-round unanimous decision over Michael Gbenga in the last-minute main event at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall in South Philadelphia. Webster’s bout was elevated to the feature slot when the scheduled main event between middleweights Derek Ennis and Lester Gonzalez was scratched on fight night due to a dispute over Ennis’ purse.
With the main bout suddenly off, all eyes fell on Webster to close the show. The lanky Glassboro, NJ fighter won clearly and improved his spotless record to 17-0, 8 KOs, but the fight itself was a bit dreary.
Webster used his size well against the pressure-fighting Gbenga. Derrick took his time to warm up, and carefully boxed while Gbenga pressed the action. However, the fighter from Ghana, whose 19 career wins all came via knockout, could not get close enough to try for the upset. He tried over and over again to bring the fight to the inside, but this was classic bull versus matador, with the matador holding all the cards.
In round three, Webster finally tried opening up on his rushing foe. Derrick let loose and wobbled Gbenga with a solid left, but the African proved too sturdy to fall.
In the following round, an accidental clash of heads temporarily stopped the action. Webster recoiled from the collision, complained to referee Hurley McCall, and repeatedly checked for blood. However, the incident produced no cut, and the fight resumed.
In round five, it appeared that Webster had finally loosened up and started the frame with the intent to score a knockout. He attacked Gbenga with both hands and moved him around the ring. But when Gbenga failed to crack, Webster’s pace slowed and he seemed content to coast the rest of the way.
In the last round, Webster went through the motions for three minutes, often playing to the crowd as they called for a big finish. However, Webster wouldn’t bite, and instead rode out the clock to a fairly easy victory.
All three judges scored the bout for Webster. Alan Rubenstein had it the closest at 58-56. Rose Lacend (formerly Vargas) and David Braslow scored 59-55. I couldn’t find a round to give to Gbenga, and had it 60-54 for Webster. Gbenga’s record slid to 19-14 with 19 KOs.
Philly bantamweight Nelson Acevedo looked strong in his one-round rout of Jose Garcia, Aguada, PR. Acevedo stormed out at the opening bell and gave his visiting opponent not a bit of breathing room. The Philadelphian pounded Garcia around the ring and dropped him with a pair of body shots near the close of the round.
Garcia regained his feet, only to take more abuse from the mauling Acevedo. Nelson kept swinging, but Garcia made it to the bell. However the fight was stopped the moment Garcia returned to his sympathetic corner. Referee Shawn Clark signaled the end of the slaughter at 3:00 of round one.
Acevedo improved to 2-0, 1 KO, while Garcia fell to 0-2. This was Garcia’s first loss by knockout, and Acevedo’s first KO.
South Philly’s Ramir Hilliard began his pro debut well enough. The junior lightweight took command in round one against Pedro Andres of Bridgeton, NJ. Hilliard appeared to be the far better boxer as the quickly-paced fight unfolded. He clearly won the first, but a left hook by Andres near the end of the round foreshadowed things to come.
In round two, Andres completely turned the tables on the upstart pro. Andres hurt Hilliard with another left and went on the attack. He scored heavily, but Hilliard survived the assault. However, moments later, another jarring shot wobbled Hilliard, and this time, Andres wouldn’t let him off the hook.
Pedro swarmed Hilliard, pounding away at him on the ropes until referee Shawn Clark stepped in to stop the fight at 1:29 of round two. Hilliard remained on his feet throughout the attack, but his professional debut was spoiled none the less.
Andres won for the first time, 1-3, 1 KO, and stole the show in the process. Hilliard goes back to the drawing board at 0-1.
In a feisty welterweight bout, Philadelphia’s Saud Clark won a tough 4-round decision over William Lorenzo, of Aguada, PR. Clark won three of the four rounds, but Lorenzo landed the dangerous shots, and kept Clark on guard throughout the battle.
In round two, the left-handed Lorenzo landed his money shot on Clark. Saud fell to the floor, but referee Hurley McCall called the visit to the canvas a slip.
The third round was the best of the fight, with both boxers swinging for the fences. Clark edged the action with a terrific right hand and a follow up right uppercut. However, before the round ended, Lorenzo again tested Clark’s chin with a left. Clark felt the shot down to his heels, but stayed on his feet and won the round.
In the last round, the fighters clashed heads and referee McCall warned Lorenzo for the incident. Clark unraveled a bit, but got it back together and closed out the round quietly.
All three judges scored the fight for Clark. Judge Rose Lacend saw it a 40-36 shutout. David Braslow and Alan Rubenstein had it 39-37. My score was also 39-37.
Clark improved to 3-1-1, 2 KOs. Lorenzo slid to 3-17, 1 KO.
Camden, NJ junior middleweight Alex Sanchez pounded out a 4-round decision over Juan Aguirre of Jacksonville, FL. Sanchez dominated the action all night. Aguirre made his stand in round two, nailing Sanchez with two hard rights. However, Alex spit out those punches and just kept coming. He won every round, on every scorecard in the place, and bumped his record up to 3-4, with 2 KOs. Aguirre’s journeyman resume dropped to 6-12-1.
In the opening bout, Philadelphia heavyweights Imani Bell and Ashwin Trail rumbled for four fairly close rounds. Bell had the edge over the first three rounds, before Trail turned things in the fourth. Trail landed well in the last three minutes, but it wasn’t enough to earn him a win in his professional debut.
All three judges awarded the fight to Bell by scores of 40-36 (Rubenstein) and 39-37 twice (Lacend & Braslow). I also scored it 39-37. Bell improved to 2-0; Trail went home 0-1.
The evening started with a tribute to deceased Philly boxing legend Matthew Saad Muhammad by former (?) boxer and rookie ring announcer Alex Barbosa, who served as master of ceremonies for the show.
This was the third event staged by Cool Boxing Promotions at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall. Of course the sudden collapse of the main event marred the night, but the young roster of fighters still gave the undersized crowd of approximately 600 an entertaining evening of boxing.
Cool Boxing is expected to return to the venue sometime this summer.
To read more about the Philly fight scene – past and present – visit www.phillyboxinghistory.com.