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Nolan Schools Long in Grudge Match!

Referee Ron Cunningham raises Leo Nolan's hand as a dejected Julius Long looks down. Promoter Gerald Evans (right) looks on.

Andre Courtemanche

David 2 - Goliath 0 Using head movement and his advantage in experience, Team Cannon captain Leo "Paco" Nolan, 9-0 (2), cruised to a fairly easy decision over Julius "Towering Inferno" Long, 5-1 (5) in the "Unfinished Business" main event in Detroit. The two had long been feuding over "best young heavyweight in Detroit" bragging rights, but the issue is now settled conclusively between them.

Leo Nolan worked his way inside the looping punches of Long to snap crisp combinations off the chin of the 7'1 giant, who was noticeably fatigued early on. Nolan survived Long's initial onslaught and them calmly went to work on the big man. The lack of an amateur career came back to haunt the likeable big man when he needed it most. Winded terribly and needing a knockout, he turned to wild, looping punches to save him, a strategy that isn't wise against someone as slippery as Nolan. He ducked under the flailing telephone poles of the giant to land his pesky one-twos and uppercuts.

As early as the third round, Long appeared to be too tired to continue, but to his credit, he showed tremendous heart in making it the distance. Fear of the unknown could have been a factor as it was the first time he ever seen the third round and his first main event.

For Nolan, it is the biggest win, thus far, of his blossoming career. For Long, it is back to the drawing board for more seasoning. The judges gave Nolan the victory by scores of 59-55, 59-55 and 60-54. Fightnews agreed with 59-55.

Afterward, an elated Nolan said he was a bit surprised by the outcome, "it was a little harder than I thought; he hit a lot harder than what I figured." Speaking with the victor only minutes after the fight, the hard feelings were already beginning to diminish. Contrary to the remarks he made during pre-fight interviews, Nolan said "I never had hard feelings; I just didn't like the talk and when he downgraded me."

"I felt I could get him out of there a couple times, but I don't have the power like I want. That's my next step, working on my power. I'm going to start weight training. We're going to slow things down for the next one until somebody else steps up and starts calling me out again (laughs)."