Crawford punishes Davis; pounds out decision win!

By Mike Indri, Retired Boxers Foundation - February 9, 2008 -- UNION CITY, NJ - Prior to Henry Crawford entering the ring for his main event bout against Tennessee native Thomas Davis, the boisterous crowd that made its way to the Pound-for-Pound Promotions premiere boxing show, caught brief glimpses of four young and talented area fighters that made quick work of their overmatched opponents..

While the quick ending undercard bouts served the purpose of producing four W's for the hometown hopefuls, the mismatches also made for some lighter hearted moments; such as a downed fighter rolling out and then back into the ring, and a pro debuter with the self-anointed nickname "Playboy" getting knocked off of his feet!

There would be no joke with Henry Crawford. After many cancellations and fighter pull outs of the originally proposed 9-bout show, the 26 year-old Paterson fighter stepped up and assumed the role as the main event fighter.

Crawford did not disappoint, and thrilled the crowd with his workman-like effort and non-stop offensive attack against the cagey and deceptively dangerous Davis; who handed fellow Paterson fighter and good friend Kendall Holt his first professional defeat (KO 1, 06/18/04). Holt was clobbering Davis throughout their fateful first round when Davis landed a roundhouse shot from his ankles, which surprised and hurt the elite fighter who was dropped to the canvas only to struggle to get to his feet and get dropped again before the nightmare of a fight was stopped with 1 second left in the round.

From the fight's opening bell Crawford swarmed the taller, lankier former marine, forcing Davis to spend much of the round covering up and backed onto the ropes. Banging away at his overwhelmed foe, Crawford snapped Davis's head back more than a couple of times and had the crowd sensing another early stoppage might be in store; with Davis, who possesses five first round knockout wins to his credit, as the victim for this one.

Round two brought more on the same onslaught. A clean, hard Crawford left drove the dazed fighter into his corner. In the mist of the barrage, Davis did manage one of his homerun bombs but Crawford was not fazed; essentially the fight was already over.

Each round being practically a carbon copy of its predecessor meant that Crawford continually punished Davis; hurting his game opponent each and every round, as evidenced by the reddened body welts of the 1996 Olympic Trials finalist and his badly bruised face. Along with the damage, and the loss, Davis (now 12-7-2, 7 KO's) heads back to Knoxville with a heart as big as any fighter. Not many fighters possess the resilience and flat out courage to resign themselves to travel into a prospect's backyard to fill the role as the opponent. Davis has done that for the latter part of his once promising career, and is to be commended.

Judges Eugene Grant scored it 79-73, John Poturaj 80-72 and Julie Lederman 80-71, all for Crawford, who earned the unanimous decision.

With the impressive victory Crawford remains undefeated and improves to 18-0-1 (8 KO's). In the talent rich welterweight division Crawford realizes the chore ahead, and with the steady progression shown in the ever-capable hands of top notch, longtime trainer Nettles Nasser, the future is bright for the likable, former 3-time NJ Golden Gloves champion; who has the tools, maturity and drive to again become a champion, as a pro.

On the Pound-for-Pound Promotions "Night of the Rising Stars" undercard:

New Brunswick, NJ resident Jorge Diaz opened the show with a brutal display of skillful power as he pounded out a 2nd round TKO win over an out-gunned Arthur Parker. Parker, fighting out of Lancaster, PA, was twice forced to take a knee to the canvas in round one - due to the vicious body attack by the 2-time national champion, who recorded his third knockout win, in as many fights. Diaz continued the battering in round two, until Parker's trainer Terry Nye wisely motioned for referee Randy Neuman.

The sturdy Parker, now 1-6 (1 KO), had never been to the canvas prior to his facing Diaz.

Union City hometown fighter Jason Escalara brought the crowd to their feet as he tore into Indianapolis, IN native Jeff Gross, in a battle of pro debuting light heavyweights. It was a much better debut for the local guy as the powerful Escalara sent his under skilled, and overmatched foe, to the deck three times before referee Eddie Cotton ceased the massacre at the 1:43 mark of the first round. On-scene paramedics gingerly helped Gross, nicknamed "Playboy", out of the ring while wearing a neck brace, to an awaiting stretcher. Gross's first fight will hopefully also be his last.

Although having not fought in over four years, jr. welterweight Adam Salas was thought to be a decent test for highly touted, soon to be 21 year-old, Jeremy "Hollywood" Bryan (Feb. 11th). This would not be the case as the ring rust was too much for the once formidable Dover, NJ native. While appearing able to handle himself defensively against the former two-time national amateur champion, Salas (now 10-11, 2 KO's) fought like a spent fighter- unable to pull the trigger.

Bryan improved to 3-0, picking up his first stoppage victory as referee Randy Neuman halted the one-sided contest after the Salas corner threw in the towel at the 2:19 mark in round three. Bryan dazzled the crowd with his stinging jab and two-fisted attack to go along with a ring generalship rarely found at such an early point in a fighter's career. The best partů to go along with all that skill and talent, Jeremy Bryan is a humble and classy young man who is a wonderful example of the goodness of boxing.

Not since the Buster Douglas belly flop in his first and only heavyweight championship title defense, against Evander Holyfield (10/25/90 KO 3), has any fighter out of Columbus, Ohio swan dived the canvas as well as William Armstead did, within the first minute of his scheduled six round jr. middleweight bout against Ronney Vargas, from the Bronx, NY.

Not looking fight ready prior to the opening bell, Armstead made a half hearted flurry then turned his back on his opponent, not once but twice, and cowered; to the amusement and surprised delight of the fascinated crowd. The first combination by the still unbeaten Vargas, now 5-0 (4 KO's), did not appear that lethal, yet sent the now 2-5 (1 KO) fighter crumbling to the deck where he rolled out of the squared circle, unto the ring apron. Judge Eugene Grant told the downed fighter he had to get back into the ring so Armstead complied and rolled back inside. With referee Eddie Cotton counting ever so slowly Armstead made it to his feet at the count of nine and three quarters, only to say he was unable to continue. Vargas, who later would futilely say he broke more of a sweat in the dressing room than in the ring, was extremely disappointed, as were the rest of us.

All in all, a decent night of boxing was had, and the fans went home happy - and definitely entertained.

Pound-for-Pound Promotions, headed by John Lynch, a Union City attorney, already have penciled in April 11th as their next show date. A deserved applause to the upstart promotional company for their efforts to revive club show boxing to northern NJ and to provide opportunity to the young, local fighter.

Mike Indri can be contacted at:

Article posted on 11.02.2008

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