By Paul R Jones! Hanover, MD – On Friday night at the Live! Casino & Hotel, Demond ‘D’Best@It’ Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs) had to dig deep to pull out a split decision victory over Michael “The Menace” Guy (12-5-1, 5 KOs) in a bout chock-full of phone booth warfare.
Make no mistake, this was a close fight.
And, over 10 rounds, Mike Guy—a feisty, 39-year-old fireplug from Sacramento, CA—gave Nicholson all that he could handle, proving that he was nobody’s patsy.
Here’s my recap:
Nicholson Sets the Tone Early
Although few punches landed in rounds 1 and 2, Nicholson opened the fight with poise: showing patience in trying to establish his jab and using the punch to help gauge distance against the shorter Guy.
In response, Guy pushed the pace in hopes of forcing Nicholson to think fast while fighting off of his back foot.
Nevertheless, it was clear that Nicholson had the edge in these rounds.
In round 3, things began to heat up with both fighters trading shots in the middle of the ring.
Guy was doing his best to make the fight a rough-and-tumble affair, holding and hitting in spots. He also tried to disrupt Nicholson’s timing and rhythm by roughing up the Marylander.
Guy Seizes the Moment in the Middle Rounds
Rounds 4 and 5 marked a shift in momentum with Nicholson and Guy trading leather, but Guy seemingly got the better of these exchanges.
Although Nicholson was able to parry and dodge a fair amount of Guy’s shots, enough of them were able to land to put these rounds in the win column for Guy.
In the 6th round, however, Nicholson faced legitimate adversity after being rocked and dropped by a flush right hand from Guy.
“I had my left hand down and I guess I got caught sleepin’ going backwards and crossed my feet up,” said Nicholson.
“I wasn’t necessarily hurt,” he added, “just more so dizzy. I had to hold him real tight and get myself together.”
Fortunately for Nicholson, the knockdown was of the flash variety with the Marylander quickly rising to his feet and easily beating referee Bill Clancy’s count.
When the fight resumed, Guy stepped up the pressure while closing the distance between him and Nicholson.
Guy continued to land heavy shots that rattled Nicholson, but the Maryland native wisely used movement to avoid further damage and make it out of the round.
Nevertheless, Nicholson responded in 7th round by reestablishing his jab despite Guy’s push to ratchet up the pressure. This was a clear round for Nicholson.
The Championship Rounds: Nicholson vs. Guy Hangs in the Balance
Rounds 8 and 9 were swing rounds that were difficult to score, which presumably set the stage for a must-have 10th round.
Both fighters came out in the 10th round with a sense of urgency: Guy pressed forward throwing haymakers, while Nicholson repeatedly popped his jab while backpedaling to avoid Guy’s kill shots.
Because neither fighter landed any game-changing blows in the round, the final decision was left in the hands of judges David Braslow, Kenny Chevalier, and Steven Rados.
When the final scorecards were read, it was Nicholson who was awarded the decision by a razor-thin margin with the scores: 96-94 in favor of Guy (Braslow); and 95-94 (twice) in favor or Nicholson (Chevalier and Rados).
Although Guy’s corner was furious over what they deemed as a bogus decision, the fight arguably came down to whether the judges favored Nicholson’s ring generalship and defense over the effective aggression of Guy.
Based on the scorecards, it was clear that the judges favored the former over the later.
Nicholson summed up the fight and its scoring by saying, “Some judges just judge. They just sit there. They see that [Guy] dropped me in a round and kept coming.”
“[Guy] was more so trying to wait and land something big,” he added. “But, if you pay attention, I was boxing still, avoiding punches.”
After the bout, Nicholson wasted little time in calling for a bout versus IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs), which could lead to a career high payday for Nicholson. He also mentioned pound-for-pound kingpin Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) as a dream-fight scenario.
Kisner Dominates in Win Over Crossed
The last time we saw ‘Slick’ Nick Kisner (22-5-1, 6 KOs, 1 NC) in a ring at Live! Casino & Hotel, was back in October when he was wiped out in two rounds by heavyweight Danny Kelly in one of Kisner’s worst showings as a pro.
In fact, Kisner was so fed up with boxing that he announced his retirement from the sport shortly thereafter.
Hearing that Kisner would be squaring off against (then) undefeated prospect Sam ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Crossed (9-1, 5 KOs), therefore, came as a bit of a shock to this writer after hearing how adamant Kisner was about stepping away from the ring.
Nevertheless, Friday night was anything but a retirement party for Kisner. Rather, it was a de facto career revival.
Entering the ring with a shaved head and 31 pounds lighter, Kisner—who added former fighter turned trainer Brady Sensibaugh to the fold and moved his training camp to the HeadBangers Boxing Gym in Washington DC—aimed to return to form against Crossed taking inspiration from Tyson Fury’s win over Deontay Wilder,
From the opening bell it was clear that Team Kisner had done their homework on Crossed.
“The game plan for the first four rounds was to be ‘Slick Nick’ and box,” said Sensibaugh, Kisner’s trainer.
“We knew Sam [Crossed] was dangerous with the right hand,” he explained, “Sam can punch, no question about it.”
“But the question was, what will happen in the second half of the fight. We knew that Sam had never passed 6 [rounds], so that was our advantage.”
In layman’s terms, the blueprint was simple: outbox Crossed and take him into the later rounds in hopes of exhausting him.
And that’s exactly what Kisner did over 10 rounds.
While Crossed routinely winged heavy shots at Kisner in the early going, the Baltimorean either parried, slipped, or countered Crossed’s attack with increasing regularity as the fight continued.
And while Crossed had bright spots in rounds 6 and 7 (the latter of which got chippy after Crossed fouled Kisner with an errant elbow and Kisner retaliated with a blatant headbutt that drew a stern warning from referee Bill Clancy), Kisner was simply too fast, skilled, and well-conditioned to succumb to Crossed’s attack.
By the 9th and 10th rounds, Crossed’s punches lacked snap and his activity level dipped to a level that made it virtually impossible for him to catch up to Kisner on the cards.
As expected, when the final scorecards were read, Kisner was declared the winner by clear-cut, unanimous decision: 99-91and 96-94 (twice).
In explaining how he was able to handle Crossed with relative ease, Kisner said, “I just got my head right.”
“I’m not going to lie,” he added, “I did hate the sport of boxing.”
“But, guess what? It’s something that I choose to do, I’m good at it, obviously, and, I’m gonna stay with it.”
Given his age (29), skill level, and experience, Kisner will have options.
Simply put, a focused Kisner could still make it a difficult night for any cruiserweight.
Other Notable Winners on the Card:
Jordan White TKO7 Rolando Solis
Ebrima Jawara UD6 Philip Davis
Charles Clark UD6 Malik Loften
Jay Stancil III TKO1 Antonio Lucaine
Blaze Fidler UD4 Hernandez Edward Hatler
Brandon Chambers SD4 Christopher Haney
AJ Williams KO3 Michael Brock Willis
Maurice Winslow III DQ4 (excessive holding) Dewayne Williams
About Paul R. Jones!