Kisner Calls It Quits Following Upset Loss To Kelly — Angulo, Gavril, Kownacki, Quillin, Quotes, More!
By Paul R Jones! | Photos © Paul R. Jones – Hanover, MD – It took a “unique” fighter—Devaun ‘Unique’ Lee (10-7-1, 5 KOs) to be exact—to bring “D’Best” out of Demond ‘D’Best@It’ Nicholson (22-3-1, 20 KOs) on Friday night at the Maryland Live! Casino • Hotel in Maryland.
Wordplay aside, Nicholson had to dig deep to earn a hard-fought, unanimous decision win over Lee, a former N.Y. State Middleweight Champ who is perhaps best known for his brief stint on “The Contender” in 2018 where was stopped by Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs).
Here’s my recap of Nicholson vs. Lee:
Nicholson Gets Off to a Fast Start
In the opening round, Nicholson wasted little time before jumping on Lee, who offered little resistance in return. Simply put, the bout was quickly becoming target practice for the 26-year-old Nicholson.
Just before the end of the round, Lee was stunned by a Nicholson headshot and it appeared that it might be a short night for the native New Yorker.
The second round was a repeat performance for Nicholson, who continued to overwhelm Lee with volume punching. Lee resorted to fighting in spots, sneaking in the occasional counterpunch when the opportunity presented itself.
Lee Mounts a Counteroffensive
The tide shifted in the third round, which was Lee’s best round of the fight. Lee pressed the action and mounted a sustained offensive that temporarily thwarted Nicholson’s attack. Lee gave as good as he received and, albeit fleeting, appeared to gain the momentum.
The next two rounds were difficult to score, however, with Lee frustrating Nicholson at times and Nicholson’s punch output visibly waning.
Lee also continued to be the aggressor, bringing the fight to Nicholson.
Crunch Time Belonged to Nicholson
Nevertheless, the championship rounds belonged to Nicholson.
The Marylander forced Lee into phone booth warfare in the sixth round (which Nicholson got the better of), and followed suit in the seventh with his biggest punch of the night: a perfectly-placed head shot that knocked the sweat off Lee’s dome.
The eighth and final round saw both fighters give it their all, but it was clear that Nicholson had done more to win the fight.
The final scorecards verified my hunch with Nicholson winning by unanimous decision (79-73, thrice).
After the bout, Nicholson announced his next target: either fellow super middleweight Alfredo Angulo (26-7, 21 KOs), Peter Quillin (34-2-1, 1 NC, 23 KOs), or Ronald Gavril (19-3, 15 KOs).
A Deeper Dive Into Why Nicholson’s Win Was Noteworthy
What made Nicholson’s win remarkable wasn’t who he beat, it was the fact that Lee was Nicholson’s first test since the Marylander nearly lost his life to potential kidney failure.
Nicholson’s medical condition was reportedly brought on by over-training ahead of a previously scheduled bout against Ernest Amuzu (25-4, 22 KOs) that was slated for the Hurd vs. Williams undercard (May 2019). The fight was officially scrapped after the weigh-in when Nicholson was taken to a local hospital for suspected dehydration.
At the hospital, Nicholson learned that his situation was far worse than he had imagined. Nicholson was reportedly diagnosed with a life-threatening kidney impairment that bordered on kidney failure. His creatinine levels were dangerously high, requiring multiple IV bags, a dialysis machine, and months of recovery to correct.
For Nicholson to return and win against an experienced opponent like Lee in a short timeframe was amazing, indeed.
Upset Alert: Kelly Stops Kisner, Kisner Retires
In the co-feature, hulking heavyweight Danny ‘Smooth’ Kelly (10-3-1, 9 KOs)—who was last seen in a ring in 2016 when he dropped back-to-back decisions to undefeated Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) and Stephan Shaw (12-0, 1 NC, 9 KOs)—made quick work of ‘Slick’ Nick Kisner (21-5-1, 6 KOs), knocking out the Baltimorean in three rounds.
From the outset Kelly stalked Kisner, forcing the 28-year-old Kisner to fight off his back foot.
And though Kisner countered well, none of his punches had the kind of sting and snap that were capable of earning Kelly’s respect.
Therefore, Kelly was content on plodding forward and absorbing Kisner’s counters in exchange for the opportunity to land 2 to 3 concussive blows on Kisner.
In the second round, Kelly caught Kisner with a big shot that dropped Kisner to a knee. From ringside, you could hear Kisner say to Kelly, “F*** You” as he stayed on one knee, wisely taking the referee’s count for as long as he could without being counted out.
Although Kisner easily beat the count, yelling an expletive at an opponent that’s got the upper hand on you probably isn’t a wise move.
Kisner learned that lesson shortly thereafter, when he was dropped again just before the close of round two.
This time, Kelly fired the previously mentioned expletive back at Kisner.
Kisner would rise again and make it to the bell.
However, Kisner was downed for the third time in round three, with the referee Bill Clancy mercifully waiving off the bout at the 1:04 mark to give Kelly the TKO victory.
What’s Next For Kisner?
According to Kisner, he’s hanging up the gloves.
“[The] truth is guys, I’m retired from the sport,” said Kisner in his post-fight presser. “I’ve been retired for years now.”
“When I say that I literally hate the sport of boxing, I literally mean that if the sport of boxing was a person, I’d slice its throat. That’s how bad my hatred is towards it,” he added.
“I hate training, I hate everything about it.”
Obviously, some of Kisner’s frustration has to do with fights that never materialized.
For instance, Kisner noted: “I didn’t announce it, but last week I signed with Don King and if would have won this fight, I would have fought Beibut Shumenov for the WBA Cruiserweight Championship of the world. But it’s not meant to be.”
“I’ve been fighting for 23 years, having close to 150 fights,” Kisner added.
“I’m done with the sport [and] I really want nothing to do with it,” said Kisner.
Taken together, the message is clear: Don’t expect to see Kisner in a ring anytime soon.
As a lifelong boxing fan, I thank him for all the moments and devotion that he’s given the sport.
What’s Next For Kelly?
After his win, Kelly promised the crowd, “There’s more to come. I promise you.”
At his post-fight presser, Kelly clarified his statement appearing hellbent on getting a rematch with Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs).
Based on what I saw on Saturday night, I hope he gets a chance to #RunItBack with Kownacki real soon.
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