Boxing


Dyah Davis Upsets Undefeated Marcus Johnson

By John G. Thompson: In a night of upsets and first time losses, Marcus “Too Much” Johnson (20-1, 15 KO’s) simply did not have enough to overcome the stick and move game plan of Dyah “Ali” Davis (19-2-1, 9 KO’s) at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas. Also in action live on Showtime, Vincent Arroyo handed Willie Nelson his first loss and undefeated Gabriel Bracero dominated previously unbeaten Danny O’Connor.

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky and now residing in Houston, Texas, Johnson was the 2004 United States Amateur Light Heavyweight Champion. Though undefeated, Johnson was somewhat untested. Davis fought to a draw in his last bout with Francisco Sierra and lost the fight before that via eight round unanimous decision to Aaron Pryor, Jr.

In this bout, Davis had a game plan and stuck to it. He moved, boxed, and did not stand toe to toe. He worked behind the jab and showed good footwork staying off the ropes, circling to his left out of range of Johnson’s dangerous left hook. Davis swept the early rounds in this manner, though at times the ring movement looked too much like running for those in attendance, and there were some boos by the fifth round. Johnson seemed to be cutting off the ring more in the fourth and fifth rounds; still he was not landing anything solid. The middle and late rounds were all very close. Ringside commentator Steve Farhood said during the eighth round, “The reason it’s a hard fight to score… there just have not been a lot of clean, effective blows by either guy.”

In the ninth round Davis seemed to be connecting with some good counters and then landed an excellent right hook to the body. Johnson grimaced in pain and took a knee. He got up at eight and Davis swarmed him for the remainder of the round. Johnson came back strong in the tenth, but it was too little too late. Two judges scored the match 98-91 and the other 96-93 (same score as me) all for Dyah Davis.

Willie Nelson (16-1-1, 10 KO’s), not to be confused with the country singer, comes from Cleveland, Ohio. Perhaps his best win to date was a first round stoppage of Jesse Feliciano. From the Bronx, Vincent Arroyo (11-1, 7 KO’s) won his last fight almost a year ago via eighth round knockout. His sole loss came back in 2009 at the hands of then undefeated Mike Dallas, Jr. in a six round unanimous decision.

Both welterweights are just twenty three years old, though the height difference (Nelson is 6’3” and Arroyo is 5’8”) was immediately apparent. Rather than box from outside, however, Nelson chose to move forward aggressively. Equally unusual given the height differential, the shorter man Arroyo chose to hold whenever he got inside. He actually held so much on the inside that referee Rafael Ramos took a point from Arroyo in the third round. Immediately after the action continued, Arroyo landed a huge left hook to Nelson’s chin. Nelson tried to hold on, but Arroyo took a step away and Nelson went down. The referee correctly ruled it a knockdown resulting in a 9-8 round for Arroyo.

Nelson had won almost every other round until the sixth. Nelson had been outworking Arroyo, backing him into the ropes. The sixth was no different until Arroyo landed a powerful counter left to the jaw while Nelson was throwing and he went down. Nelson was clearly hurt and struggled to make it to his feet. A more conservative referee probably would have stopped the fight, seeing that Nelson’s legs were clearly gone, but referee Ramos let the action continue. The fight should have been over in that round, but for some odd reason Arroyo did not press the action and allowed Nelson to make it to the bell.

Hardly anything happened in the seventh until the final twenty seconds when Arroyo timed Nelson and caught him with a right cross which put Nelson down for a third time. Nelson was not so injured this time and pounded the canvas with his glove as he got up. Both men traded at the start of the eighth and final round, but the action slowed as Nelson began to stick and move – which should have been his strategy from the start. One judge scored the match 74-74 (as I did), and the other two both 75-73 for Vincent Arroyo. The crowd roared in agreement.

Danny O’Connor (14-1, 3 KO’s) and Gabriel Bracero (15-0, 1 KO) put their undefeated records on the line, and the result is now obviously the lack of an “0” on O’Connor’s record. O’Connor had an excellent amateur background from Massachusetts. Bracero had a decent amateur background as well in Brooklyn, though his professional career was interrupted by the six years he spent in prison for a weapons charge. Bracero has now won ten straight since his release.

As the low knockout percentage on their records indicates, neither fighter posses a lot of power, nevertheless, they both traded blow for blow for a good part of the bout. And neither man had too much to worry about in regards to taking a punch, which made for good action. By the third and fourth rounds Bracero’s accuracy picked up, particularly in the headshot category. Bracero also outworked O’Connor throughout the vast majority of the fight. Two of the judges scored it a shutout at 80-72 and the other 79-73 (my score as well) all for Gabriel Bracero.

Article posted on 09.04.2011



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