By: Rich Quiñones (Ringside calling the action)
What should have been a great night of boxing in DC, turned out to be a disgrace and bizarre night which ultimately hurt the fan base in that area in what was dubbed “Celebrity Weekend of Champions” from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
An original slated six-bout card that was put on by GFS Boxing was quickly cut down to three fights with some amateur bouts thrown into the mix.
This is not uncommon but rare in boxing to see so many fights fall apart.
But, as the night progressed it got stranger and stranger by the moment, especially the reasoning behing pulling bouts off the card as they were dropping like flies.
First off, “Swift” Jarret Hurd, a local favorite and very talented boxer, who was slated to fight Damon Antoine, was pulled off the card. Hurd was originally scheduled to face veteran Eddie Soto, which would have been the better bout. Soto, 37, might have been 12-8, but he would have proven to be a better test then the Akron native Antoine, who was 11-55-2 and had dropped 18 of his last 20 bouts. Antoine was on point to weigh in on Saturday morning
The undefeated Hurd (12-0, 7 Ko’s) has a very solid fan base and as I was told sold about 50 or so tickets to the event. But by Thursday or so, that changed and Antoine was thrown in as a late-replacement.
No concrete reasons why Hurd bout was pulled but his camp did have an official statement early Saturday. This was first reported by Gary “Digital” Williams’ Boxing Along the Beltway Blog. Per the blog.
Hurd’s camp posted this statement:
“GFS Entertainment has decided to pull Swift Jarrett Hurd bout off tonight’s show at the DC Convention Center for reasons unknown. A bout was made last night with agreements from both camps and DC commissioner, weight was made and agreement was settled. Unfortunately, I don’t think GFS realize that as many people that were planning on attending to see Swift Hurd fight, it would have paid for both purses and than some. Sorry for the confusion and to those that have already purchased tickets but we were professionals and held our side of the business.”
Then it was learned Friday that Hector Camacho Jr.’s 10-round affair with Ryan Davis was cancelled.
I was told by Camacho Jr.’s camp that Hector was hurt in training camp, but it was evident that he came in out of shape and overweight as he still managed to show up at the event.
I saw Camacho Jr. 45 or so minutes after the venue cleared out downstairs and approached him and introduced myself in Spanish and English, and at first he smiled.
When I pressed him about his fight and flat out asked what his injury was I got no comment. I asked again in Spanish if he could give me some more details of the injury and he along with three others walked away.
Prior to that encounter, I was also told at ringside by several DC boxing “insiders” that he was paid to show up anyway, knowing that he would not fight. I could not verify that, though.
Now to the bizarre incident involving the slated 10-round main event between former IBF Super Middleweight champ Jeff Lacy and Rayco Saunders, which did not even happen.
After Alexander Johnson and Henry Buchanan were announced as the last fight of the evening, I was trying to find out what happened to the Lacy-Saunders fight. We went back on air and Johnson subsequently crushed Buchanan with a left cross and in the process scored the KO.
With the win, Johnson went to 16-2, while Buchanan fell to 21-4 and it also marked the first time in his career that he ever hit the canvas.
As fans walked out following Johnson’s gorgeous knockout, I saw Lacy make his way into the ring. He paced back and forth several times as arena workers were breaking down the ring and folding up chairs.
As more people gathered ringside, I asked him what was going on and if there was going be a fight. He told me he was ready to fight and that Saunders was scared to fight.
At that time, Saunders walked out and Lacey leaned over the ropes and said “I will fight him now, I will fight him in the back, in the parking lot, where ever. I came to fight. People who know me know my reputation, and I will fight right now.”
Saunders was making his way passed us when he almost exchanged words with my broadcast partner and reigning WBF North American middleweight champ Harry Joe Yorgey. Saunders was moving so fast behind the broadcast table that he tried to push Yorgey aside promoting Yorgey to voice his displeasure but in a professional tone.
At that point, several arena workers walked up to me and said “venue wants everyone out”. I asked who they were and who told them that, and they just walked away.
Now the bizarre part. The card itself seemed as though it was being shuffled around the whole night. I was told at the very last moment what the main event and co-main event would be and even then I was not sure the promoters were comfortable with that set-up.
The rumors going around press row and ringside were all the same, but I was told from a very reliable source that “the promoters lost money and had to pull some fights.”
If that is the case then the area boxing commission has no choice but to look into the actions of GFS Boxing, who put on the card. Again, in boxing there are so many sides to one story but one would like to think that was not the case Saturday. But that would be living in a fantasy world.
Bottom line was at the end of the day, the card show cased local area boxers and perhaps that is something that GFS Boxing might want to look into the next time if they put on another show.
Keystone Boxing just had a show postponed and there was a great opportunity to get some of those boxers on this past card and a great way to fill many of the empty seats at a gorgeous venue.
I reached out to GFS Boxing Wednesday afternoon and have not gotten a return call as of yet.
As for the fights themselves. Demond Nicholson dispatched a tough and gritty journeyman in Dennis Sharpe courtesy of a fourth-round TKO. Nicholson improved to 10-0 with 10 Ko’s, while Sharpe fell to 17-13-4. He has not dropped 13 of his last 14 bouts.
The bout of the night tuned into a homecoming for DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley who dominated Danial Attah en route to an lopsided unanimous decision over Attah.
But that bout didn’t come without some controversey as Attah at one point came out into the ring and waited for close to 15 minutes for Corley to enter. There was no ringside update on why Corley was taking so long.
Ringside, Yorgey thought maybe Corley had some issues with his gloves or they way they are wrapped.
“If the commision and inspectors are not happy with what they see, they will make you re-wrap your hands, no questions asked,” said Yorgey. But after 15 or so minutes even Yorgey was getting frustrated.
“Rich this is just disrespecting your opponent by making him wait like this,” he added.
You could see Attah really start to cool down as he eventually left the ring.
When the fight did begin, The 10-round affair looked like a glorified sparring session as Corley put down Attah five times over the fight. Corley looked brilliant as he set up everything with the jab, moving around as though he was 20-years-old not 40. He improved to 42-22-1, while we might have seen the last of a very game and spirited Attah, who slipped to 28-19.
I was told by GFS Boxing after the event that they are hoping to put on another show before the end of the year or perhaps early 2015.
I will keep you posted if or when I get any official comments from GFS Boxing.
Rich Quiñones is an award winning broadcaster and journalist. He is the lead blow-by-blow Boxing voice for GFL.tv and Go Fight Live’s Boxing on Comcast. He has sat ringside calling the action with Monte Barrett, Brian Adams, Amir Mansour, Danny Garcia, James Kirkland, Mark Breland, Ronnie Shields, Teddy Atlas and Lou DiBella, while broadcasting over 125 bouts for GFL in 2013-2014.
Rich is also a contributor to Ringnews24.com and he has also handled calling the action for Muay Thai and is exclusive lead blow-by-blow voice for CFFC MMA.
You can follow Rich on twitter @ https://twitter.com/RichQonQ and Tumblr.com @ http://onqsports.tumblr.com as well as LinkedIn and instagram.com/richqonq. Subscribe and follow his youtube page https://plus.google.com/u/0/106138376864900587745/posts