By Mike Indri, Retired Boxers Foundation – February 17, 2008: ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Philadelphia’s LaJuan Simon used a swarming, non-stop offensive attack to successfully defend his hard earned USBA middleweight belt, and remain undefeated, against the resilient challenge of Elco “The Animal” Garcia, from Albuquerque, New Mexico..
Headlining the entertaining seven-bout fightcard at the “House of Blues” theater in the Showboat Hotel & Casino, Simon awed the good-sized crowd with his arsenal of punches. En route to his ten round unanimous decision victory, Simon continually battered Garcia with his pinpoint accuracy. The soon to be 29 year-old fighter (Feb. 25th) also hurt Garcia often with his power and the sheer volume of his punches constantly overwhelmed the gutsy Mexican fighter.
Snapping Garcia’s head back with big right hands and banging his body with a two-fisted assault, Simon quickly took control of the fight and built up a comfortable lead going into the latter rounds when it appeared that the stronger, better skilled prospect began to slightly tire. By this time it was to no avail as Garcia, bruised and bleeding from a cut over his left eye, was sapped of his power and surviving entirely on sheer will and guts.
Garcia, now 19-7 (9 KO’s), suffered three straight knockouts: at the hands of contender Eric Regan and former world champions Vernon Forrest and Raul Marquez, prior to his getting back to his winning ways eleven months ago (TKO 4 vs. Cabien St. Pierre: 03/10/07).
To his credit the still dangerous Garcia did come to win, and at times did have his moments, but the 36 year-old longtime resident of Ignacio, Colorado was no match for Simon; who was making the first defense of his USBA championship.
Judge John Riley had it 97-93, while both Alan Rubenstein and John Stewart scored it 98-92 for Simon, who captured the regional title with his dominating unanimous decision win over Detroit’s Corey Johnson last September, in their twelve round clash for the then vacant crown.
With a style that typifies a true “Philly fighter”, Simon is a real crowd pleaser and appears destined for bigger and better things. Improving to 18-0-2 (9 KO’s) with the credible win over Garcia, the likable, hard working Simon is merely a few fights away from stepping up to the next level, and getting his well deserved shot at a major titleholder.
In the co-feature bout, Venezuelan born Patrick Lopez made short work of the difficult Jonathan Tubbs in a scheduled eight round battle of jr. welterweight southpaws. Lopez, now fighting out of Londonberry, New Hampshire landed the cleaner, straighter punches and displayed his superior boxing skills against Tubbs, now 10-5 (3 KO’s), and the loser of his last three straight bouts.
After out-boxing his Rochester, NY opponent over the first three rounds, Lopez drilled Tubbs with a stinging overhand left, midway through round four, which hurt the 25 year-old boxer. Driving his stunned foe to the ropes, the former two-time Olympian unleashed a vicious flurry, landing several shots to the wobbly fighter’s head. Driving another headshot into the now defenseless fighter, Lopez is smartly pulled off by referee Sam Viruet at the 2:04 mark, giving Lopez (now 12-1) his tenth win by knockout.
The one-sided win was an impressive showing by Lopez, who rebounded from his lone loss this past July (UD 10) to the highly regarded Fernando Angulo.
On the Raising Star Promotions undercard:
Popular Wildwood, NJ light heavyweight Chuck Mussachio was surprised by North Philadelphian Zerffrino Albino and his deceptive 3-4 pro record, and struggled to scratch out a six round draw. Claiming to have injured his right hand early in the bout, Mussachio appeared to have done enough to get the win against the light-hitting Albino, a loser in three of his last four fights.
Unfortunately for Mussachio, who enters the ring to Frank Sinatra music while sporting a Fedora, the people that matter the most – the three judges, did not see it that way. Judge Rubenstein saw it like most at press row; 59-55 for Mussachio, while Judge Stewart had the same score for Albino.
Judge Riley scored it 57-57, ruling the bout a draw, and the only blemish to an otherwise perfect 11-0 record for the local fan favorite
Nearby Pleasantville, NJ middleweight Dwayne Davis opened the show, making his pro debut against Rondu Campbell, from Brooklyn, NY. The powerfully built, well-conditioned Davis was out-boxed by the taller, lankier Campbell whose pesky jab offset the infrequent multiple punch combinations of his inexperienced foe. While judge Rubenstein did see the fight 39-38 for Davis, both judges Stewart and Riley scored it 39-37 for Campbell. With the split decision victory Campbell improves to 2-0-1, while Davis is now 0-1.
Also making his pro debut was light heavyweight Lavern Harvell, pitted against winless Rafael Jastrzebski. The heavy handed Harvell, from Atlantic City, pounded away on the rugged, yet too easy to hit, Jastrzebski whose face was bleeding and bruised by the end of round one. Well-respected cutman Danny Milano, a Clifton, NJ native, had his hands full with the head first brawler, but to his credit kept the courageous brawler in the four round fight.
Harvell kept thrilled large group of fans as he boxed well and stunned Jastrzebski on several occasions, winning the bout 40-36 on all three judges scorecards. Jastrzebski fell to 0-5-1.
Gritty welterweight Manuel Guzman, from Reading, PA, upped his record to 4-5 (2 KO’s) with his four round unanimous decision victory over Philadelphia’s Kareem Robinson, now 2-5 (1 KO).
Guzman, a decent fighter when he comes ready to fight, dropped the 6’5″ Robinson twice in round one and had his way with the fighter who appears better suited for the basketball courts than a boxing ring; verified proof being that Robinson has not even won a single round from any judge, dating back to late 2004! Robinson has now lost his last five fights and made Guzman look more like Jake LaMotta, as Guzman drove his giant opponent to the ropes, kept his forehead buried into Robinson’s chest and pounded away at the hapless fighter. All three judges had it for Guzman; 40-34, 40-35 & another 40-34.
The lively crowd was brought to their feet as Atlantic City hometown favorite Pat Majewski registered a second round knockout against his most formidable opponent to date; Victor Paz, out of the Bronx, NY.
Scheduled for six rounds, it was obvious early on that Majewski was not planning on going the distance, as the powerful middleweight clubbed Paz with both hands and also displayed a nice jab to take round one. Paz, with a draw sandwiched between two pairs of loses in his last five fights, also had been knocked out in three of those four losses and in Majewski was facing a very potent puncher.
While pursuing Paz and continually tagging him with his jab and working his down sliding foe’s body, Majewski crushed the susceptible Paz with a head rattling left hand, dizzying Paz and forcing the hurt fighter to cover up. Majewski bangs away and drops Paz with a big volley of punches. As the stunned and damaged fighter arises and beats the count, referee Wayne Hedgepeth doesn’t like what he sees in the willing boxer and waves off the onslaught at the 3:00 mark of round two. A big win for Majewski, as the local, young prospect sends his extremely large throng of supporters home very happy. “This was my first 6 rounder, and I fought my fight,” stated the gracious Polish fighter. “I felt my jab was the key, I didn’t let his experience affect my good fight plan and I am very happy with the outcome.”
The boxing fans that made there way to the “House of Blues” at the Showboat Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, were treated to a good, solid and exciting fightcard put on by Rising Star Promotions.
Boxing shows like this one will keep the fans coming back.