By Christopher Roche, Ringside - (New York, NY)- Brickcityboxing.com- Madison Square Garden was a sports fans’ dream last night. The Big East Tournament Men’s Basketball Final took place upstairs and downstairs at the WAMU Theater, a ten bout professional boxing card cranked along, with Arklow, Ireland’s James Moore as the featured attraction.
Article posted on 17.03.2008
In only his second scheduled ten rounder, Moore took on former title challenger and tough as nails veteran J.C. Candelo. Moore did not disappoint his large legion of boisterous fans, as he earned a decisive unanimous decision victory.
In the first round, Moore came out blazing, and it looked like he would send the raucous crowd home early. Moore’s straight right hand backed Candelo up to the ropes on two different occasions, and Moore worked Candelo’s body with sharp combinations. Candelo did not return the Irishman’s fire..
The second frame was more of the same for the 30 year-old Wicklowman. Moore added to his body attack by mixing in a left hook to the head, which came off a sharp left jab. Moore appeared to be in cruise control, but near the end of the round, Moore ate a hard body shot that forced him to hold on. Despite being briefly stopped in his tracks, Moore rallied back and secured the round with effective aggression.
The third round was a tough one for Moore. For only the second time in 329 fights (314 amateur and 15 professional), he was cut. After the cut, Moore pawed at his left eye and looked into his glove to see if there was blood. Candelo took advantage of that split-second lapse to unload on Moore. The cut seemed to bother Moore, and he was pushed around the ring for the latter part of the round, but he held on and weathered Candelo’s furious assault.
Between rounds, cutman George Mitchell stopped the bleeding, and Moore rallied back in the fourth and trapped Candelo in the corner. Moore mixed in body and headshots, and his punches flowed in crisp combinations. His straight right hand to the head was open all night, as he went up and down the ladder on Candelo. To his credit, the 34 year-old Candelo blocked a portion of Moore’s shots, but Moore landed a hard right to the body at the close of the round that left the crowd wincing.
The fifth round brought more back and forth action, and Candelo came on strong in the sixth. Moore was bounced around the ring by Candelo’s shots. Moore is unaccustomed to going backwards, and at times, he looked in distress, but he always managed to create enough space to slow down Candelo’s attack.
Candelo, who has been in with top Junior Middleweights, including Winky Wright, was only stopped once in 40 prior fights, and he showed his tough beard against Moore. It became apparent that Moore would not stop Candelo, and over the latter third of the fight, Moore toned down his aggression and boxed. Candelo landed three chopping rights in the seventh, but Moore countered with a hard right hand to close the round. In the eighth, Moore boxed and protected his cut, but he took a hard right hand at the close of the round.
In the ninth, the crowd was brought to its feet as Moore staggered Candelo with a hard right hand. Moore boxed most of the round, but near the end of the round, he unloaded on the Colombian in a final effort to knock him out.
In the tenth, Moore was content to box and move, but midway through the round, he was caught with two hard uppercuts. Moore held on and stopped punching. One judge, Tony Paolillo, awarded Candelo the round 10-8, as Moore limped to the end of his first completed 10 rounder.
The scores came back 97-92 (Bob Gilson), 97-93 (Julie Lederman) and 95-94 (Paolillo), all for Moore. My score mirrored Lederman’s, as I had it 7 rounds to 3 for Moore. Despite the strong finish by Candelo, Moore was much busier throughout the fight, and he won most of the rounds based on work-rate, effective aggression and punches landed. The pre-St. Patrick’s day crowd, many of whom were Irish, certainly agreed with the decision.
After the fight, Candelo grabbed the microphone and started to give a congratulatory message to the fans. Then his tone changed and he cursed off the judges, over the PA system. Candelo’s lack of class should cost him a fine of some sort, as there were many children in attendance. With the victory, Moore, 30, moved to 15-0, 10 KO’s, and Candelo dropped to 27-10-4, (18 KO’s).
The evening marked the debut for Celtic Gloves Promotions, and the action was supplemented by a live rock and roll show courtesy of the band Big Girl’s Blouse. Former Garden standout and St. Patrick’s Day featured fighter Seamus McDonagh sat ringside for the bout, and Kevin McBride made the trip from Boston. The evening was festive, the crowd raucous, and the main event sizzled with blistering action. As boxing observers, there is not much more we can ask for from our sport.