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Rowland impressive against McFail!

February 2, 2003

By Andre Courtemanche


In front of 2000 of his fanatical fans, Grand Rapids’ own Troy “Rockin” Rowland continued his march toward local hero status with an exciting 10-round unanimous decision over always game Mike McFail. Fighting as the main event of an action-packed seven-fight card promoted by Gerald Evans and 1World Productions, Rowland put in his most impressive appearance to date and sent a message to the other middleweight making noise in the state.

Flashing quick hands and elusive movement, Rowland, 11-1, darted in and out while scoring to the body and head with both hands. McFail, who went ten tough rounds with Teamcannon’s Rubin Williams in his last bout, tried valiantly to make a fight of it, but couldn’t match the speed and power of his foe.

Rowland delighted the crowd by dropping McFail in round four and battering him around the ring. To his credit, McFail hung in and never stopped throwing, even landing an occasional hard one. The wide unanimous decision victory was a clear indication of the hometown hero’s marked improvement and may have gone a long way toward evening the public’s perception of his chances in “the fight that has to be”… a showdown with Williams for Michigan middleweight supremacy.

Another Grand Rapids fighter with potential, lightweight Harold Cutts, 2-1, returned from his shocking defeat to Frankie O’Neil by pounding out another unanimous 4-round decision over Kronk’s Ken Walton, 1-2.

Walton managed to avoid the beating he took in their first fight by holding onto Cutts whenever he got close, but didn’t do much to impress the judges while doing it. A distant cousin to most-famous local, Floyd Mayweather, Cutts flashed his lighting hand and foot speed often enough to deserve the scores of 40-36 X2 and 40-37. Heading off to work with cousin and trainer Roger Mayweather immediately after the fight, Cutts needs to be busier in the ring, or all the talent in the world won’t be enough. Although it didn’t cost him like it did against O’Neil, Cutts still seemed prone to admiring his own work at times. Walton can fight, but should forget the notion of revenge against Cutts. It’s not happening.

Rocky Smith, quickly becoming a very popular favorite at the DeltaPlex, came back from the brink of certain defeat to win by thrilling knockout against Florida’s Theo Krueger.

Krueger came out from the opening bell and smashed Smith all over the ring, culminating in a perfect right hand that sent the Hawaiian turned Michigander down in a heap. Somehow, Smith managed to rise and hold on for the remainder of the opening round.

Coming out for the second, Smith seemed to be in deep trouble, but quite the opposite was true. Smith caught Krueger with his own right hand and the fight was over. Referee Ron Cunningham reached ten with Krueger still trying to figure out how he could have lost this fight.

Papa Byrd-trained heavyweight “Hurricane” Steve Daher of Howell, Michigan had a bad night, losing a unanimous four-round decision to John James of Grand Rapids. James’ handspeed was too much for the 37-year-old tough guy, who kept trying, but couldn’t come up with an answer to the quick counter right hand.

With the victory, James pulls ahead of the game at 2-1. Daher, who swears he shall return, is now 4-3.

Well regarded local lightweight prospect Ramon Guevara turned professional in scintillating fashion by going toe-to-toe with Kentucky tough guy Karl “The Stunner’ Hunter 0-3. The sharper punching of Tito Trinidad look-alike Guevara eventually got to Hunter, whose corner threw the towel midway through round three while he was absorbing a series of crushing body blows.

The TKO3 end didn’t come as easy for Guevara as he may have liked, however, as Hunter wanted to rumble and scored with several of his own haymakers before succumbing. Guevara looks to be an exciting fighter for the future if he can concentrate more, or even just a little more, on defense.

Traverse City Michigan’s Chris Grays moved above sea level with his second consecutive win in Grand Rapids, this time by unanimous decision against brave, but outgunned Murad Juwad of Dearborn. Middleweight Grays, now 3-2 (2), showed an improving style and good speed while scoring with several clean bombs, finally staggering Juwad with ten seconds remaining in the fight. The scores were 40-37 X2 and 40-36. Juwad has all the heart he needs and appears to be learning on the job.

In the opening fight, welterweight Robert Jones of Detroit started his career the right way by leveling Ohio’s Omar Dotson, 0-2. Jones took over midway through the first round with impressive power and had Dotson wobbling all over the ring until putting the finishing touches on a nice performance by sending Dotson to the floor with a right hand. Dotson rose, but his legs didn’t agree with his decision.

Great crowd, great night.

--Joel Langlois, owner of the DeltaPlex has made a strong commitment to the boxing scene in Grand Rapids. Last night, the fighters entered to taped interviews on the big screen, booming music, smoke, lights and a “Prince Hamed” style ramp. Langlois and Evans have reportedly reached a deal to continue this successful “Defenders of Democracy” series through the rest of the year; involving at least four more shows.

--Troy Rowland’s boisterous fans, all adorned in his signature red and white, are beginning to look like playoff hockey fans with the way they make the arena mostly the same colors.

--Ronnie Duncan was the ring announcer tonight and did his usual excellent job. Duncan, an expert on the sport and accomplished broadcast journalist, should be on big-time television conducting in-ring interviews instead of the less knowledgeable and overly confrontational talent currently being used on one of the networks.