Godfrey masters Hawk!
By: Rick Scharmberg and
Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Photography by Emily Harney
Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (19-1, 10 KOs) of Providence, RI successfully defended his NABF cruiserweight title with an one-sided, ten round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Shawn “Sioux Warrior” Hawk (18-1, 16 KOs) of Sioux Falls, SD this past Friday at The Arena in Philadelphia, PA.
Hawk entered the arena first, wearing the Indian head dress representing his Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, to the beat of tom toms. In contrast, world-ranked (WBC #6, IBF #7) Godfrey entered to some mild rap music.
Godfrey’s plan was evident from the start, as he went to work with his southpaw right jab on the seemingly rusty Hawk, who was fighting for the first time this year. Godfrey controlled the opening round with his jab, and landed a hard straight left to the chin of a wary Hawk.
Hawk picked up the pace in round two, firing a surprisingly fast, hard left jab over Godfrey’s right. Hawk took the close second round after he landed a hard left that forced Godfrey to clinch in the final 30 seconds.
Godfrey set the tone of the bout in the third round. He kept Hawk at bay with busy jabs, straight lefts and an occasional right to the body. To his credit, Hawk never stopped coming forward and firing his powerful jab. Godfrey had too much ring savvy, though, as he kept Hawk turning and rarely allowed himself to get trapped on the ropes of in the corners.
Hawk continually chased Godfrey but Godfrey kept his jab in face of his opponent. Godfrey busy jab came in bunches and was disruptive to the one-dimensional Hawk. Hawk seemed to have only two punches that Godfrey had to watch for, a jab and a right hand.
Godfrey won every round from the third through the ninth, but Hawk landed a nice three-punch combination near the end of the tenth and final round that sent Godfrey reeling back momentarily. Hawk then followed up with a hard right, but Godfrey was able to hold him off until the final bell.
The scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Matt Godfrey.
“My plan was to win the fight with my jab. I wanted to keep the jab on him, and that’s just what I did,” said Godfrey. “He kept coming, and he was fast, sneaky fast with his left. I didn’t think he could get the left over my right hand, but he did. Now I will get right back in the gym, and wait for the phone to ring.”---Rick Scharmberg
“Hard Hittin’” Chris Henry (24-2, 19 KOs)
put a halt on the win streak of highly regarded light
heavyweight Shaun George (18-3-2, 9 KOs) dropping him twice en-route to a convincing sixth round TKO.
Henry, who was coming off a split decision loss, looked like he was going to take his second in a row early as George had him stepping in potholes in the opening round. It was an overhand on the chin from George that stunned Henry. George immediately pressed the attack with several more overhand rights that landed directly on the face of Henry, who could barely cover as his legs looked unsteady. Just when
it looked like George would put him to the canvas,
he let off the gas pedal, which let Henry survive the round.
It was later revealed that George hurt his right hand landing the hellacious shots in the opening stanza.
George went on the retreat in round two, but did land a couple of big right uppercuts and right hands that disguised the injury. The advancing Henry was finding his mark with small combinations whenever he got inside. Henry showed why he was nicknamed “Hard Hittin” as he stunned his opponent with a right hand in the closing seconds of the round which forced George to clench until the bell.
Henry continued to step up the pace as the punch output of George diminished. Seeing George becoming more defensive, Henry changed his attack and began banging the body more in rounds three and four.
By round five, George was spending more time against the ropes. Henry took advantage and hurt him with a big overhand left and followed it up with a short one-two combination. George went on the retreat while trying to land one big shot. Henry took his time and consistently chopped away at the body when possible, wary of getting caught with a big counter.
Henry was in complete control in round six as George had nothing to prevent him from attacking. Henry began to put an end to the show with a big overhand right, which sent George to his hands and knees. George rose to his feet and tried to retreat, but was immediately dropped for the final time with a left right combination. Referee Steve Smoger had seen enough and waive it off as George valiantly tried to rise to his feet. The time of the TKO happened at 1:08 of round six.---Kurt Wolfheimer
ENNIS OVERCOMES MACKEY
Rising Philly junior middleweight prospect Derek “Pooh Ennis (18-2-1, 12 KOs) made a statement that he is back on track with an impressive unanimous decision victory over John Mackey, in the six round swing bout of the evening. Mackey (11-4-2, 5 KOs) - who entered the fight off a controversial draw against Jesse “The Beast” Nicklow - looked to be quite a test for Ennis.
Mackey pressed forward from the opening bell but it was clear that Ennis had the quicker hands as he shot pinpoint combinations on the advancing Mackey. The shots kept Mackey honest in the feeling out period of the first round.
Ennis jumped on Mackey early in round two and stunned him with a counter right hand. Mackey tried to cover and wobbled to a corner. Ennis charged in and missed with a right hand. Mackey unloaded a counter that caught Derek squarely. The punch was reminiscent of a fight Ennis lost two Alphonso Williams in August of 2007, when he was dropped by a counter as he was going in for the kill, resulting in a 3rd round KO loss. This time though, the much improved Ennis was able to roll with the punch and get back to boxing the durable Mackey. The southpaw, Mackey had trouble landing anything on the slick Ennis in round four, as the Philadelphian peppered him with combinations, while bobbing and weaving around the ring. Ennis also found a big right hand late in round four and followed up with a crisp combination, stealing the round.
Ennis appeared to let off the gas in round five and Mackey stepped up the pace with busy flurries from the southpaw stance. Mackey’s right jabs and short shots were the key to taking the fifth.
The fight looked to be getting close as the round reached the midpoint of round six. Just when Mackey looked to control the final moments with his combinations, Ennis unloaded a right hand which put him on the canvas. Mackey rose to his feet and looked in bad shape. Ennis attacked with several heavy shots, but the final bell sounded before he could finish the game southpaw.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Ennis by scores of 59-53 (twice) and 58-54.
“He (Mackey) was a tough fighter,” said a satisfied Ennis. “He entered the fight with an 11-3-2 record with three of those losses he didn’t really lose, but today he lost. He was a bigger man but I was quicker and stronger. I plan to take one more fight in August and then challenge all of the top junior middleweights out there.”
Ennis, who had two fights cancelled in his career due to weight, answered his critics as he made the junior middleweight limit (154lbs.) in his last fight which was cancelled due to Joshua Onyango getting in a car accident on the way to the weigh in. The catch-weight for this fight was 156, give or take a pound. Derek weighed in at 154.5. “I didn’t have trouble with the weight. I did a different regimen for those fights,” said Ennis. “I am now back to doing my old stuff and could have easily have come in at 151 for this one.” - Kurt Wolfheimer
FERRANTE OUTSLUGS BAILEY
Unbeaten junior middleweight and fan favorite Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante (8-0, 4 KOs) was put to the test but was able to overcome the iron chin of Billy “Goat” Bailey (9-4, 4 KOs) to capture an eight round majority decision victory and the WBF US light heavyweight title.
Ferrante looked comfortable in the early rounds circling to his left behind strong jabs. Late in each of the early rounds Ferrante would find a home for his big right hand but the chin of Bailey passed with flying colors.
Bailey - appropriately nicknamed “Billy Goat” - rammed his way forward through the power shots of his opponent and pushed forward going to the body with several smaller hooks while Ferrante retreated to the ropes.
Looking to change the tide, Bailey pushed Ferrante to the ropes in round four and unloaded a five-punch combination as his opponent covered. Ferrante seemed to momentarily tire out but suddenly he attacked with a fury. With each shot Ferrante dropped his hands and threw snapping straight lefts and powerful over hand rights which sent a surprised Bailey back on the retreat in the center of the ring.
Bailey returned to the attack in rounds five and six as Ferrante look exhausted, breathing heavily with his mouth open while on the retreat. Ferrante did have his moment with a couple nice right hands. The constant activity of Bailey bloodied the nose of Ferrante, who continued to blow it whenever he had a moment. In the closing seconds of round six, Bailey knocked the mouthpiece out of the open mouth of Ferrante with a big right hand. Ferrante wasn’t fazed though, in fact he stepped back and made a juggling catch of the mouth piece as the round closed; not letting it hit the ground.
Ferrante demonstrated why he is called “Boom Boom” in the final thirty seconds of round seven as he staggered Bailey with a big right uppercut which sent his rowdy fans into an uproar. Ferrante jump on him with five unanswered powerful hooks and overhand rights that would have put most fighters down. The “Billy Goat” held on and just wouldn’t go down and survived the round.
Both fighters exchanged heavy flurries in heated action in the eighth and final round which had the fans on their feet. Each connecting with big shots in back forth action until the final bell sounded.
After several moments the ring announcer read the scorecards. One judge saw it even at 76-76, while the other two saw the bout 78-74 in favor of Ferrante. Bailey, who pressed forward throughout most of the fight, threw his hands down in disgust at the decision. FightNews scored the bout 78-74 in favor of Ferrante.
“I threw a lot of combinations and straight rights and I have to say Bailey has quite a beard,” said Ferrante. “My corner told me not to load up so I boxed. I threw a lot of combinations and a lot of jabs.”---Kurt Wolfheimer
DAVIS DECISIONS CLARK
Jackie “Jamaican Sensation” Davis, of Willingboro, NJ, won a four round unanimous decision over Rachel Clark of Columbia, SC in a women’s welterweight contest. This was the action-packed opening bout of the card.
Davis, a former amateur star, held a seven-pound weight advantage (146.5 to 139.5) over the taller and thinner Clark, who is also a southpaw.
There were fireworks early, as Clark, boxing from the outside, scored a flash knockdown with a straight left to the chin of Davis in the opening minute. In a four round bout, a two point disadvantage is difficult to overcome.
Urged on by her trainer “Mighty” Ivan Robinson - a former lightweight contender of the mid to late 90’s - to “let your hands go” Davis responded in a big way. Working through uppercuts and right hands from Clark, Davis found her way inside, and did considerable damage in round two. There were no clinches, as Davis worked both hands to the ribs of Clark and landed a solid three-punch combinations to the head. Clark landed the occasional uppercut, and a big right hand, but Davis countered with a series of overhand rights that rocked Clark at the end of the round.
Davis met little resistance getting inside in round three and evened the bout up with more body punching on the inside. Davis rocked Clark again with a big left-right to the head to close out the round.
Davis continued to pummel Clark on the inside, as she tried for the KO. She nearly got it, as referee Steve Smoger watched closely. Davis was getting out-worked, but wasn’t hurt, so he let the bout continue to the final bell. In the end, Davis was just too strong.
The final scores were all 39-37 in favor of Davis, who moves to 2-0, with 1 KO. Clark drops to 2-2-1, with 2 KOs.---Rick Scharmberg
FONSECA DESTROYS BOLIN
Extremely popular Olivia “The Great” Fonseca of Philadelphia stopped tough Lisa Bolin of Columbia, SC at 1:51 of the second round of a scheduled four round women’s welterweight bout.
Fonseca (3-2-2, 1 KO) was the sharper puncher from the start as she landed nice rights inside the wilder blows of Bolin. Fonseca connected with solid jabs and left hooks throughout the opening round. Bolin (2-3, 1 KO) landed a straight right to the head and two rights to the body, but the shots didn’t affect the well-schooled Fonseca.
Bolin came out angry and looking to brawl in round two, but ended up playing into Fonseca’s hands. The unsophisticated charges of Bolin were met by a steady stream of jabs and right hands from Fonseca. With 30 seconds left in the round, Fonseca landed a crushing left hook that spun Bolin around. Fonseca jumped on her and landed a series of power shots that left Bolin defenseless, forcing referee Gary Rosato to stop the bout.---Rick Scharmberg
WEBSTER HAMMERS LOCKLEAR
In the walk-out bout, Derrick Webster of Glassboro, NJ hammered out Roger Locklear of Columbia, SC at 2:23 of the opening round of a scheduled four round middleweight bout.
It was a battle of southpaws, and it was Webster who had the better skills. He floored Locklear with a right hook-straight left combination at the two-minute mark. Locklear was up at the count of nine but he was badly hurt. Webster swarmed in with his follow-up barrage and Locklear was soon defenseless. Referee Steve Smoger promptly stopped the bout.
With the win, Webster improves to 2-0, with 1 KO, while Locklear falls to 1-3.---Rick Scharmberg
OCCASIO DEFEATS MORALES
Angel Occasio of Philadelphia won his pro debut, taking a unanimous decision over Dan Morales of Albany, New York in a four round light weight bout.
Occasio showed good hand speed and landed a variety of punches throughout the bout. Occasio won the first three rounds big, although Morales was never in trouble. Morales found his rhythm in the final round, winning it with his jab.
The final scores were 40-36 and 39-37 (twice) for Occasio.
Occasio is now 1-0, while Morales slides to 0-4.---Rick Scharmberg
THORPE THUMPS HARRIS
In a battle of debuting heavyweights, Winston Thorpe of Winston-Salem, NC pounded out a stunning first round stoppage of tough Philadelphian Kareem Harris.
Both fighters were in a give and take battle as the opening round started. Harris, who gave up almost thirty pounds to Thorpe, began to fight on the retreat. Thorpe caught him in the corner and stunned him with a big right hand on the button. Harris tried to punch back but Thorpe unloaded five heavy blows that rag dolled the Philadelphian. Harris should have taken a knee, but the shots from Thorpe had him wobbly and barely able to defend himself, so referee Gary Rosato did the right thing and stepped in and called a halt bout at 1:14 of the opening round.---Kurt Wolfheimer
The card was promoted by Blaine Garner of Shalyte Entertainment in association with Jimmy Burchfield of Classic Entertainment Sports and was televised live on the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights series.