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 Team Cannon Wins Battle for Detroit!

 

Leo Nolan punishing Mike Brown in their heavyweight main event in Detroit last night

Andre Courtemanche

www.fightnews.com

 

What a night! A good boxing card will give paying customers a bit of everything boxing has to offer and even invent a few new things. Such was the case tonight as a huge, swollen-over, sold out crowd of Motown fight fans danced, sang and stood on their chairs for the entire duration of a crackling good time. Tonight was the night that Gerald Evans and his 1World Productions loudly announced their arrival. It was also the night the idea of a “team” concept in boxing stopped seeming like a bad idea.

For a show that lost its highly anticipated main event the week of, Evans’ “Battle for Detroit” suffered no ill effects as all ten bouts were competitive and exciting.

The experimental concept turned instant phenomenon known as Team Cannon posted victories over their opponents as scores of female fans pushed and screamed to get at them like they were The Beatles, not The Boxers. Guided by the vision of manager John Carlisle, the training of Anthony Nolan and the matchmaking of Evans, the boys of Team Cannon (Leo Nolan, Rydell Booker, Tommy Robinson and Rubin Williams) have become an overnight sensation in Detroit, as evidenced by the large groups of women on every side of the ring who screamed themselves hoarse rooting for their local heroes. It was a sight and sound that will not soon be forgotten.

In the main event, Cannon captain Leo “Paco” Nolan, 8-0 (1), scored an angry, growling unanimous decision over the game Mike Brown. With the crowd chanting “Paco, Paco, Paco,” Nolan stormed out of his corner at the opening bell and went to work on giving the fans what they wanted. Nolan, however, is a clever boxer and power is not his game. He bloodied the nose of Brown and his aggression triggered several extended toe-to-toe exchanges, but still had to settle for the judge’s cards (40-36 X3). “I growl when I punch like that to help me get strength because I’m not that strong, but I was trying to get out of here with this guy and go home,” said the always honest East Sider.

Nolan wouldn’t say whether his aggressive style change had anything to do with originally scheduled opponent Julius Long’s, 6-0 (5) injury cancellation of their grudge match earlier this week, but he fought with a ferocity that would have been out of character normally. “Julius is a bum and I’m going to give him a boxing lesson,” he said. “For a guy with only six fights and almost no amateur experience to be calling people out, he’s a bum. Only a bum would do something that stupid. I’m saving something special for him.”

To his credit, Julius “The Towering Inferno” Long was at the show tonight, sporting a contusion under his eye and putting to rest rumors that he had chickened out of the showdown. “I was sparring with (power punching light-heavyweight Jenkins) Demetrius and he don’t have the common sense to go easy and I was going easy on him. He broke the bone under my eye and the doctor said I can’t fight for six weeks,” laughed the easy-going giant.

It now appears the two will have to wait until Gerald Evans’ next show November 9 to settle this.

Re-defining the definition of fan support for a boxer, Tommy Robinson, 1-1, smallest member of Team Cannon, erased the memory of his stunning pro debut loss to John Trigg by punishing a game Terry Brown, 0-3, for all four rounds of their welterweight battle. Robinson’s speed was the difference in this entertaining scrap; he landed several hard, clean hooks and clubbing right hands to the head of the aggressive Brown in scoring a unanimous decision (40-35 X3).

Cleveland Ohio’s Brown is a tough guy. He rose from a jolting first round knockdown to continue chasing Robinson and kept it exciting the entire way.

The audience’s (with a surprisingly large amount of females) reaction to Robinson was something that only videotape would do justice. Screaming girls encircling the ring three and four rows deep went absolutely bananas at every punch landed by the native Detroiter. Led by Robinson’s delirious girlfriend Sherie, they danced and screamed and turned Club International into what seemed more like an appearance by R Kelly. It was amazing. If Team Cannon can maintain this level of fan support for the duration of their careers they will certainly become television favorites.

“It felt great to get in the win column tonight because the first guy I fought, he had over twenty fights. My coach told me I’d have a lot of tough fights at my weight class, so just learn to stick and move and box, so that’s what I was doing, but the win felt great.” When asked about the female contingent, Robinson was surprisingly minimalist. “That’s my fan club. They go with me wherever I go and inspire me, so that’s how I get motivated.’ Robinson says the added pressure of a hundred screaming female fans doesn’t affect him. “I don’t let that get to me. I just go in with a game plan and stick to it and that’s what I did tonight.”

Team Cannon’s Super Middleweight Rubin Williams, 2-0 (1), continued to be the most impressive member of the team by scoring a brutal, one-punch knockout over Cleveland’s Robert Lee. As soon as Williams planted his feet and started delivering his lethal hooks the fight was over. A crunching shot nearly lifted Lee off his feet and although he rose, he was in no shape to continue. Williams, who seems to be the quiet member of the group, shows a lot of promise. Given his weight class and obvious power, he could someday fight exciting showdowns with other local Super Middleweights like Demetrius Jenkins, Anthony Hanshaw, Damon McCreary, Etiane Whitaker and Dallas Vargas (who turned pro earlier this evening).

Team Cannon’s former highly ranked amateur turned heavyweight professional Rydell Booker was impressive with his talent, but not impressive with his apparent lack of conditioning. Perhaps he is in the beginning stages of bulking his cruiserweight frame to a full-fledged heavyweight, but he looked very flabby around the middle. Booker has gained a large and visible amount of weight since his pro debut in September. This is not to say he isn’t talented. Booker’s hands are lightning and his schooling is apparent.

Tonight’s opponent, Michael Moncrief of Cleveland was no match for the blinding counters of Booker. For every punch the heavily muscled Moncrief threw, three and four punch combinations answered him in return. Booker landed plenty of clean shots to the chin and it is a testament to Moncrief’s toughness that the scores of 40-36, 39-37 and 40-36 were necessary.

Booker, who has a nice smile and a charming sense of humor, needs a wake up call about his future. Talent oozes and pours from his light speed hands. He has all the tools to make a name for himself. Now is he mature enough to take boxing seriously and train like he should? We will see. Some fighters stand up proud when they get great management and some take the short route of spending their signing bonus and wasting the opportunity.

In a fight that seemed too good for a club show undercard and a double pro-debut at that, Toledo Ohio’s Dallas Vargas knocked out Russian strongman Vlad Inger in the third round. Vargas, along with brother Devin, has been one of the country’s best amateur boxers for years. He showed why tonight by dismantling the bigger Inger in patient and impressive fashion.

The 23-year-old Vargas adjusted to the long-range bombs of the Russian midway through the second and turned an entertaining slugfest into a combination-punching clinic. It was a wicked body shot that produced the third knockdown of the round and brought about the automatic stoppage in the third. Watch for Vargas to make an almost immediate splash in the professional ranks, you heard it here first. He is handsome, flashy and tough. He also has the kind of story made for pre-fight bios and public relations people: he is legally deaf.

In praise of Vlad Inger, he was no “opponent.” With proper guidance, the Los Angeles via Soviet Union fighter will evolve into a competent professional. He is very strong and durable and also looks to have solid amateur experience. No one really loses in a fight this good.

It is becoming redundant to say, but in a very entertaining and crowd pleasing female brawl, Shirevell Williams, 3-0, of Florida stopped a clearly out of gas Cindy Wachowski, 0-2, at 2:52 of round two in the Super Welterweight division.

Williams fights like a female Joe Frazier and her incredible strength is very reminiscent of “Vicious” Veronica Simmons. She chugged forward and clubbed Wachowski with granite hooks and uppercuts until the merciful stoppage was the only alternative. Wachowski fought back as best she could and kept it entertaining, but her toughness wasn’t enough to overcome the power of her opponent.

Squat powerhouse Joe Haynes, himself with a large contingent of Haynes T-Shirt wearing fans (no, not HANES T-shirts made to look like they represent the fighter, but actual Joe Haynes wear) scored a stunning knockout over Charles “Hitman” Hinkle at 1:04 of round three.

After landing well in the opening round, Haynes got addicted to the big punch and started trying for the homerun with every shot. He settled down in the third and clubbed Hinkle into submission. Haynes, 6-1 (5), has the kind of power to make him competitive in any fight. He displays good head movement, excellent conditioning and has a large fan base to cheer him on. In a few more outings, he will begin taking on the kind of fighters that will more clearly define his place in the boxing world. That will be exciting.

Detroiter Don Talley, 5-1 (3), has a very classy style. He picked his shots and stayed patient against St. Louis’ Cornell “The Assassin” Jackson, 1-4. Talley’s skill allowed him to move in and out with impunity until the final minute of the second when Jackson landed a shot that could have made him a winner.

The sharp right hand changed the complexion of the fight until midway through round four, when Jackson was penalized for a low blow (without even having received a warning previous to that). The brief rest seemed to reawaken Talley and anger Jackson. The brawl was on. What followed was a sustained 2 ½ minutes of shot-for-shot fury to the final bell. Good fight. 39-37, 39-37, and 38-38: majority decision for Talley.

In a Light Heavyweight fight, John Malkovich look-alike Ken Clark had too much skill for Sonny James Baker of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His body attack finally brought down Baker at 2:35 round three. The Detroit crowd likes Taylor, Michigan’s Clark and when he sheds the few excess pounds he has remaining, he will be a popular Detroit boxer to add to the list. With Keith Jackson and Chad Wigle in his corner, he has the proper team in place.

Sonny James Baker didn’t seem to be taking the loss too hard after the fight. “I’m a better fan than I am a boxer,” he said with earnest candor, “but I love boxing so much.” Baker has the names Sam Langford and Cleveland Williams tattooed on the back of his arms. “They’re my two favorite boxers,” he explained. “I named my son Cleveland in fact.”

God Bless Sonny James Baker.

In the opening fight, Pontiac’s Pete Cantu, whose record is 2-2, was also too strong and too skilled to do anything but batter Ohio native Margaro Senquiz, 0-1, in a Featherweight fight. After a round and a half of sizing up the much slower Senquiz, Cantu moved in and landed about twenty unanswered power shots. The result was a TKO at 1:09.

Notes:

bulletFrank Garza, best known as a referee, again shunned officiating to do a very admirable job as ring announcer. Garza’s narration of a ten-count tribute to the late Detroit native Eddie Futch was emotional and stirring.
bulletDujuan Brock, a former backup singer for The Contours, sang the national anthem in such a graceful manner that it raised goose bumps. With all that has happened, it was a great feeling to see such a large crowd sing along with tears in their eyes.
bulletHeavyweight Steve Daher dropped by to say he is a huge fan of fightnews. Daher says he is switching trainers and will be back on the fight scene soon.
bulletThanks to the many Fightnews.com readers who wrote letters of encouragement to Bennie Heard. He asked Fightnews to thank all who did and says he has gained a lot of hope from the encouragement. Keep them coming.