Hard Knocks: Tyson wants Tarver, I want the Ring Girls!
16.12.05 - By Jarrett Blakeley: I got to the Hard rock about twenty minutes before the first of seven fights, got some nachos and planted myself in press row for what promised to be an action-packed night. There were only about six ticket-holders in the arena when Mike Chico Salyers (2-7) made his way into the ring. He was followed by Jesus Pabon of Puerto Rico (3-0) 2 KOs, who I correctly assumed was the favorite.. Jesus is big for a lightweight and displayed some decent boxing skills in the four rounder. Between the third and fourth rounds, I introduced myself to a gorgeous ring girl named Oona OConnell and made some small talk until a fourteen year old security guard made go back to my area by the ring. Hater! Jesus continued to land sporadically, and could have been more aggressive, but Salyers did little more than hang on. Pabon took a unanimous decision as the sparse crowd mocked Salyers, at one point chanting, Frodo!, Frodo!
Article posted on 16.12.2005
In the next fight, Michael Marrone (11-0, 9 KOs) took on Curtis Taylor (12-14, 7 KOs) in the most lopsided fight of the evening. It looked as if this fight was made simply to pad Marrones record. Well, mission accomplished because Marrone put it on Taylor, basically just beating his backside, before crumpling him onto his face with a vicious right towards the end of the first round. Taylor was counted out, probably for the 14th time and the crowd got its only first round knockout of the evening. Marrone had quite a few fans in attendance and he looks like he could be a good heavyweight, I would like to see him in the ring with some real competition.
A few minutes late, Dale Brown (34-4-1, 22 KOs) took on Dennis McKinney (27-35-1, 13 KOs) in an eight rounder in what was a pretty boring fight and I didnt really pay much attention and I don't think the crowd did either, because Mike Tyson walked into the arena towards the end of the contest. During this fight, I approached Glen Johnson and asked him if he was gonna fight Tarver again. I knock on his door every day, Johnson quipped. Glen Johnson is a real nice guy and I think he's probably the best light heavyweight out there. He looked real good in his last fight and I think he would probably outpoint Tarver if they were to do it again. I hope they do. Dale Brown won this fight, but I dont even remember how, because I was taking pictures of Tyson on my RAZR and sending them to my friends. All I remember is that Brown wasnt very impressive and McKinney was tough enough to take a lot of good punches. I think McKinney should try and get his record up to .500 and then call it a day.
The next fight was a twelve round, heavyweight attraction, and in my opinion the most entertaining battle of the evening. John Chapman (18-0, 17 KOs) who had Michael Moorer as his corner-man, and a man that I'm almost positive was MC Hammer as his second took on a very game Edward Gutierrez (15-0-1, 6 KOs). As the fight started, you could tell that Chapman was the much bigger man and he also looked to be the more polished fighter. Chapman won the first few rounds, but Gutierrez started to land some good clean shots to the head in rounds four through six. As the fight went on, Gutierrez was getting more and more support from the crowd, due to his aggressive style and his refusal to lay down to the bigger, more talented Chapman. Besides an uppercut by Gutierrez that Gallaghered the first three rows with Chapmans spit, the highlight of this fight came when Natalie Forte of Miami Beach, Florida held up the card announcing the start of the tenth round. I hope she got paid more than Curtis Taylor. Chapman clearly won this fight taking a twelve round unanimous decision, but Gutierrez won more than a few fans. I can't wait to see Gutierrez and his wild left hooks again, the sport needs more warriors like him.
People were now crowding around Iron Mike, and my friend, Eric Steiner, even took a picture with him. It was nice to see the former baddest man on the planet at the fights, and he was clearly the biggest star in a crowd that included Lil Jon, Shannon Briggs, and a quickly fading Burt Reynolds. Burt had badly died hair and was clearly wearing lifts in his shoes. He may have been wearing too much makeup. Hopefully, he will read this and go with a more natural look so he stops freaking everybody out. The next fight featured John Duddy (14-0, 11 KOs) from Northen Ireland taking on Wilmer Meijia (15-4-2 2 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. Meijia wasn't a bad fighter, but Duddy was pumped up for this fight and put it on Meijia early. Duddy took quite a few shots while savagely beating his opponent, but Meijia couldn't hit him hard enough to really discourage his brutal attack. Duddy fought 130 times in the amateur ranks of Ireland, compiling a (100-30) record and I expect to see big things from the newcomer with the crowd-pleasing style.
Now for the big fights. Sultan Ibragimov (18-0, 15 KOs) of Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, took on Lance "Mount" Whitaker of Granada Hills, California. Some of you may remember them fighting at their press conference a month ago. Sultan was way too much for Whitaker, knocking him down a couple of times en route to a stoppage. One time, he knocked him clear across the ring. During this fight, I got an opportunity to talk with former heavyweight champion, Iron Mike Tyson. Tyson was talking to Panama Lewis, the legendary trainer who helped Mike prepare for his unsuccessful attempt to dethrone Lennox Lewis. I walked up to Mike and tapped him on the shoulder, Can I ask you a couple questions for my article, Mike? Mike hesitantly agreed, and I asked, "Are you going to fight Antonio Tarver?"
"Yeah, I'm fighting Antonio Tarver, I'm gonna fight him if the money is right," said Tyson.
Me: Are you gonna beat his a$$, champ?
Mike: I told you I'm fighting him, what the f*ck you want from me?
I was a little scared at this point, Mike isnt the best heavyweight in the world anymore, but he could definitely kick my punk-a$$, so I just said, "Hey, Im not trying to bother you, just wanted to ask you a couple questions, Mike."
Mike lightened up and said, Thats cool, and kind of looked at me like, is that it?
Then I said, "How bout those ring girls?" Mike laughed and went back to his conversation with Panama Lewis.
Well, anyway, the Sultan looked very sharp and had a lot of fans with him at the Hollywood Hard Rock, including a beautiful, tall Russian woman who kept checking me out. I would have gotten her number but she was with someone and I didn't want to be rude. The fight was stopped in the seventh round, while a doctor checked out a cut over the eye of Whitaker who said he did not want to continue. A wise choice considering how many hard punches he had already eaten. Soon afterward, Robert Hawkins (21-4, 7 KOs) and Samuel Peter (24-1, 21 KOs) formerly of Nigeria, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada made their ring entrances. I was pumped for this fight because I have been a big Peter fan for over a year. As the fight began, there was some commotion no more than ten feet away from me and I could see that Panama Lewis had fallen to the ground and was not moving. Paramedics rushed over and a man and woman were screaming and sobbing. Panama was lying on his back and the paramedics began to do chest compressions while others held the woman back. It was very hard to watch people suffer like that and I hope I never have to see anything like it again. The paramedics used a defibrillator to get Panamas heart started as Peter and Hawkins fought in the background. I only half-noticed that Peter knocked Hawkins down in the first round. The only thing I remember about the first half of the fight was that the fighters didnt seem to have any idea that a man was fighting for his life just fifteen feet away from them.
After the paramedics got Panamas heart beating, he immediately regained consciousness and tried to get up off of the ground. The paramedics had to restrain him and one person kept yelling, "Tranquilo, tranquilo!" I could hear Panama say that he wanted to watch the fight and to get off of him. The paramedics explained to him what happened and he stopped trying to get up. I was told that the woman that was with him had lost consciousness and was also being taken to the hospital. This left the fight with no ambulances and there was an eleven-minute delay in the middle of the fifth round. Everyone around me looked shocked at what they had just witnessed and more than a few people were visibly shaken. After Panama was revived his friend looked a lot better and was obviously very relieved. Panama has had a checkered past in the sport of boxing, but he is clearly loved by a lot of people and my thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.
When Peter v. Hawkins started back up, Peter pulled out the unanimous decision with a workmanlike effort, as I mercilessly hit on all of the ring girls. I think Natalie and Oona were kind of digging me. I would like to thank all of the ring girls for bringing a Vegas-style atmosphere to the fight, and making the Hard Rock in Hollywood one of the best places to see a boxing match anywhere. A special thanks to Warriors Boxing and Cima Georgevich for putting together a memorable night of high quality fights in a big-time atmosphere.
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