World-Ranked Contenders Jean & Pendarvis Battle For IBF 140-Pound Top Spot Friday on ShoBox on SHOWTIME
NEW YORK (May 8, 2013) – In what will be a hard-fought, high-stakes matchup for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s 140-pound division, undefeated Dierry “Dougy Style” Jean (24-0, 16 KOs), of Quebec, Canada, will face southpaw Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (17-3-1, 6 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif., in the 10-round main event this Friday, May 10, on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). Jean and Pendarvis are ranked No. 3 and No. 7, respectively, in the IBF.
Unbeaten middleweights John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson (11-0, 4 KOs) of Newark, N.J., and left-hander Geovanni “Tarantula” Rodriguez (8-0, 5 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, clash in the eight-round co-feature from Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. This will be the toughest fight for both of them.
All four boxers will be making their ShoBox debuts; more importantly all of them will have an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Due to the significance of the fight and the exposure they’ll be getting on SHOWTIME, this is especially true for the main eventers.
“The main event is a little bit different because it features two prospects who are fighting for a guaranteed shot at the IBF world title,’’ said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood. “Dierry Jean is undefeated but untested at the highest level. Pendarvis has three losses, but has more impressive wins than Jean does.
“This is a good style matchup; Jean is a fast-handed counter-puncher, Pendarvis an awkward boxer- puncher. I’m looking forward to it.’’
As for the co-feature, Farhood said, “This is a typical ShoBox contest featuring two undefeated prospects. We don’t know how good they are, but we’re going to find out on Friday night.’’
The 5-foot-7, 31-year-old Jean, who was born in Haiti, will be making his second start in the United States. All his other fights took place in Canada, 23 of them in Montreal. His lone U.S. outing came in January 2008 in Hollywood, Fla. In his most recent fight, he registered two knockdowns en route to retaining his NABF title with a second-round TKO over Juan Rivera on Feb. 16 in Gatineau, Canada.
A solid amateur before turning pro at the age of 26 in December 2006, Jean is an excellent boxer who likes to work the body. His two most significant victories came in back-to-back fights in 2012, a dominant TKO 11 over Ivan Cano on Oct. 26 and a lopsided 12-round decision over Lanardo Tyner on May 19.
“Except for the one week I took off after my last fight, I’ve been in the gym training for this fight,’’ Jean said. “I’ve been sparring with a few left-handed fighters. I don’t like fighting lefthanders, but I’m pretty comfortable with them. I’ve fought two or three of them as a pro. My first fight was against a lefthander.
“Pendarvis is a pretty good fighter. He’s quick, but he makes many mistakes. I’ll make him pay for every mistake he makes.’’
Jean has lived in Canada since he left Haiti with his brother, aunt and grandparents when he was 10. His parents had died three years earlier. He didn’t take boxing seriously until he was 18. “Before that, I played basketball, soccer and did martial arts,’’ said Jean, who speaks French, English and Creole.
Regarding his nickname, Jean said, “I got it from another boxer, Matthew Jerman, who liked the way I fought and said I fought like him. So he gave me ‘Dougy Style’’ because I can do everything in the ring. I can move forward and put pressure on you, I can move away and box and I can just brawl.’’
Pendarvis is a 5-foot-7, 26-year-old, eight-year pro who has won six consecutive fights and 12 of his last 14 dating to December 2006. Both defeats came on points in tight fights; one on an eight-round majority decision to then-unbeaten Mauricio Herrera (12-0) in October 2009 and the other on an eight-round split nod to veteran Terrance Cauthen in June 2010.
A resident of Long Beach, Calif., Pendarvis won the USBA junior welterweight title two outings ago and retained it in his last start with a sixth-round TKO over Michael Clark on Dec. 21, 2012. Mookie scored two knockdowns in the third, rocked Clark several times and eventually wore him down with body punches.
A top amateur before turning pro in October 2004, Pendarvis is primed to take advantage of the biggest opportunity of his pro career.
“I’m ready,’’ he said. “This is my chance and I will go out and perform. It’s going to be entertainment, and the world will know who I am. I stay in the gym. I’ve been preparing for this fight for almost two months.
“To be honest, they’ve been disrespecting me with some of the articles they’ve been putting out. So I don’t really think much of Jean or his team. I just want to go out, prove myself and do what I’ve got to do.
“I will beat him. I know I’m going to beat him. That’s what I do – go out and upset fighters. I get stronger and better every day. I’m just ready for war. That’s all I think about every day, going to war. I want to say thanks to SHOWTIME for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talents and to let the world see me.
Mookie won his toughest fight long ago. “I was born in Inglewood, Calif., and I have three brothers and one sister,’’ he said. “My mom has been paralyzed since a car accident in 2010. I’ve been through a lot. I went through the foster-care system. I experienced the streets. It was rough, but it made me who I am today.
“I just want to send a message out to all the kids that are out there looking for something to do with their lives in the belief that there’s no tomorrow. All I want to say to them is that there is a tomorrow, that there’s always a brighter day. You just have to work hard and stay focused.’’
Doug Fischer, the editor at RingTV.com (Ring Magazine online) has known Mookie for years and has always been impressed with his talent.
“I used to watch him train when he was still a kid at the Broadway gym in the Watts area where he grew up,’’ Fischer said. “Besides having the best name in boxing — Cleotis ‘Mookie’ Pendarvis – he has always had a lot of natural talent. “He was a good amateur, and made it to the Western Olympic Trials in 2004.
“Mookie’s problem in the pro ranks was that he never had a real promoter behind him, thus he always lacked consistency. However, he has been a part of many world-class training camps and has helped top fighters such as Shane Mosley, Amir Khan and Antonio Margarito get ready for explosive southpaws such as Zab Judah and Manny Pacquiao.
“Now that he has a solid management team behind, he’s finally strung some wins together and has remained in training for more than a year. I think this consistency along with his natural ability makes him a threat in the 140-pound division. I think he will beat Dierry Jean on Friday.’’
Thompson is a 6-foot-1, 24-year-old who is trained by former world champion Buddy McGirt and trains out of McGirt’s new gym in Nutley, N.J. A bronze medalist at the 2007 National Golden Gloves Championships, Thompson scored several impressive victories during an accomplished 111-fight amateur career, including two over 2008/2012 Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina and Detroit prospect Domonique Dolton.
The up-and-coming, well-conditioned youngster has been kept busy since going pro in June 2011. He fought three times that year, seven times in 2012 and once so far in 2013 (TKO 5 over Blake Grayson on Feb. 9). He actually had two fights scheduled after Grayson but both fell though.
“I’ve been working with Buddy going on a year now, and it is the best thing that ever happened to me,’’ Thompson said. “Buddy brings a lot of things to the table. He just opened up a new gym in Nutley. I started working with him after my fight in June last year. The December fight was my first with him.
“I’m a boxer. I’m very fast, so I use my speed to my advantage. Some people are fast or strong. Me being fast and having the smarts and the ability to adapt to people has helped me a lot. I’m just ready to fight, and am very excited to be fighting Friday on ShoBox.’’
Offers McGirt: “This kid has a lot of talent; he’s progressing all the time. We’re just adding some polish to what’s already there. He has a lot of confidence and he thinks he’s good, but he really doesn’t know how good he can be. But that will come; he’ll find himself. It’s been really great working with him and his father. No problems at all.’’
Thompson, whose father, John Thompson III, started training him when he was four and will be in his corner on Friday, works part-time at the Newark Liberty Airport in the baggage department. He’s also an accomplished artist/painter and has an art business. Little wonder he pictures himself as a future champion.
Rodriguez is a 24-year-old, 5-feet-11 southpaw who’s making his 2013 debut. Like Thompson, he was also an outstanding amateur, winning silver medals at both the 2009 Jose “Cheo” Aponte Tournament and the 2007 Puerto Rican National Championships. He made his pro debut in October 2009.
While he hasn’t been as busy as Thompson – this is Rodriguez’ first start in eight months, and he only fought twice in 2012 and one time in 2011, the latest in the line of promising, Puerto Rican prospects is fit, determined and confident of a victory on Friday.
“I’ve been preparing very hard for this fight and I’m ready to make a good impression,’’ said Thompson, who recorded a fifth-round TKO over Daniel Rodriguez (no relation) last Sept. 12. “I’ve trained almost two months, at two different gyms. I know absolutely nothing about the guy I’m fighting.
“I’m an aggressive southpaw, a strong, hard puncher. You’ll see what I can do on Friday.’’
Tickets priced at $25, $40 and $60 are available at www.buffalorun.com or by calling The Buffalo Run Box Office (918) 542-7140. On fight night, doors open at 7 p.m.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.