224.06.07 - By Christopher Roche, Ringside: Whippany, NJ-In a plush ballroom nestled in the foothills of Morris County, NJ, KEA Boxing hosted a boisterous crowd for some excellent boxing matches. “Smokin” Joe Frazier, Chuck Wepner, Alex Ramos and Bobby Joe Young joined an animated group for “Brawls at the Birchwood III”, from the Birchwood Manor..
Article posted on 25.06.2007
Headliner Chuck “The Professor” Mussachio, 27, made the cross state journey from Wildwood and squeaked out a majority decision victory over 36 year-old Chandler “The Smoking Bull” Durham. Durham, who trains out of Frazier’s gym and hails from North Philadelphia, tried his best to imitate the former heavyweight champ. Frazier was surely impressed with Durham’s tenacity, but Mussachio’s superior boxing ability provided the thin margin of victory.
Mussachio entered the ring wearing a fedora reminiscent of the “Rat Pack”, and he appropriately accompanied his ring walk with a Frank Sinatra tune. While the aforementioned scene could be the start of the one-liner “You Know You are in Jersey If”, Mussachio proved he has serious skills.
At the opening bell, Durham charged Mussachio, while wielding a charged left hand. When Durham detonated his opening shot, Mussachio calmly stood in his corner, covered up and blocked the assault. Mussachio quickly started a pattern of sticking, moving and covering up. He did not throw many combinations, but he neutralized Durham’s homerun swings with solid defense and line-drive counters. The rounds were close, but by the fourth, Mussachio began experimenting with a very effective right uppercut, which he landed twice. In one of his best rounds, Mussachio followed up his uppercuts with two straight rights.
Durham charged Mussachio again at the opening of the fifth frame, but Mussachio stymied the ambush. In the sixth Mussachio displayed a very effective left jab, which he left in the quiver in the earlier rounds. Durham continued to apply the heat, and he set a trap for Mussachio in the corner. Mussachio countered his way out, and the fight ended in a close decision.
Despite neither man being seriously hurt in the bout, the fight was entertaining and clean, without a lot of holding. Durham’s relentless pressure forced the fight, and the judges rewarded him with many more rounds than this reporter gave him. The same three judges worked the entire six-bout card, and it appeared they gave the benefit of the doubt to the pressure punchers as opposed to the slick boxers. Judges Ron McNair and Debra Barnes each saw it at 58-56 for Mussachio and John Poturaj scored a 57-57 stalemate. Mussachio improved to 10-0, 5 KO’s, and Durham fell to 6-4-1, 4 KO’s.
The co-feature was an all out brawl, as super middleweights Bobby Rooney and then undefeated Terrence Wilson spilled their guts in the ring, much to the delight of the crowd. Rooney, of Bayonne, NJ, entertained his faithful followers with a smattering of body shots that Wilson clearly did not enjoy.
The 35 year-old Rooney discovered Wilson’s aversion to whistlers downstairs early on, and he stunned Wilson in the second round with two rights. A follow-up left to Wilson’s mid section sent him gasping to the canvas, and it looked like the trip back to Bayonne would come early. However, Wilson got off the mat and composed himself as he tried to protect his perfect record.
Wilson, of Fort Smith, AR, made the third round very close, and he opened the fourth with two solid straight right hands and a left hook. Rooney slowed down a bit in the fourth, but he bounced back in the fifth, in a big way. Rooney had Wilson trapped in the corner twice in the fifth, and he nearly knocked Wilson out. Rooney may have been a bit arm weary, and Wilson covered up and weathered both showers. The pace slowed in the sixth, and Rooney brought home a unanimous decision victory. Rooney improved to 6-2-1, 3 KO’s and Wilson suffered his first defeat as he fell to 3-1, 2 KO’s. The scores for the bout were 58-55 (McNair), 59-53 (Barnes) and 59-55 (Poturaj).
In a dominating display of speed and power, super welterweight Alex “The Brick City Bullet” Perez, thrilled his loyal fans with a first round TKO victory over Jesse Williams, of Youngstown, OH. Perez, of Newark, NJ, sliced up his fellow southpaw with razor blade combinations. While Williams hit the canvas four times, Perez was credited with three official knockdowns. Williams visited all different parts of the canvas, as he went down near the ropes and at the center of the ring.
Over the course of the 2:39 bout, the 25 year-old Perez dropped Williams once with a right hook near the ropes, and then he delivered a sweet 1-2 in the center of the ring to send Williams down again. The final knockdown came with a dizzy Williams dropping at the end of a two-punch combination. Perez, who had a vocal throng of supporters, pushed his perfect record to 8-0, 6 KO’s and Williams fell to 3-4-1, 1 KO.
In keeping with their favoritism of pressure punchers, the three judges clocked in a split-decision for undefeated lightweight Antonio “Tony the Tiger” Espinosa. Espinosa’s opponent, Edward Valdez, fights out of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, NY, and he clearly showed he learned some things at that legendary facility. Espinosa, a tricky southpaw, peddled around the ring too much for the judges’ liking, and he allowed Valdez to stay in the fight with pressure.
Espinosa, 23, showed nice footwork, but he could not frustrate Valdez in their six rounder. Espinosa, of West New York, NJ, caught Valdez with some clean counters, but Valdez, of Queens, NY, was never in serious jeopardy. Espinosa’s split-decision victory was his second split-decision in a row, and he moved to 9-0, 1 KO. Valdez fell to 3-5-2, 2 KO’s. Judges Barnes and McNair scored the fight for the winner, and Judge Potteraj was overruled for what would be the second time in the evening, as he gave the bout to Valdez.
In another lightweight match, Jersey City’s Danny “Little Mac” McDermott overwhelmed Brian Gadson. McDermott, of Jersey City, NJ, nailed Gadson with a quick three-punch combination, with the capping blow being a right hand to the temple. Gadson folded up like an umbrella in Las Vegas, and he was counted out at 2:32 of the first round. McDermott climbed to 4-0-1, 2 KO’s, and Gadson, of Ohio, dropped to 6-4-1.
The first bout of the evening featured the impressive debut of Francisco Rodriguez of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rodriguez outpointed Arthur Parker, of Lancaster, PA, in an entertaining four-rounder. The bout was briefly marred by a low blow in the fourth from Rodriguez, but Parker soldiered on, only to drop a unanimous decision. Parker fell to 1-1, 1 KO.