Gulliver’s Travels, a
satire on human nature and a classic of English
literature, is the most well-known full-length work
by Irish author Jonathan Swift. Published in 1726,
the book chronicles the voyages and misadventures of
the protagonist, Gulliver, to various fascinating
lands, first as a surgeon then as a captain of
ships. The book is fascinating because Swift
exploits two styles of satire: Horation, which
focuses on human happiness and Juvenalian which
provides insight into value systems and questions of
morality. There are many analogies that can be drawn
between Danny “Young Swift” Garcia and Gulliver’s
Travels, which is divided into four parts. Since
joining the punch-for-pay ranks in 2007, Garcia, the
2006 National Amateur Champion, has been displaying
his wares in primarily four states—Nevada,
California, Texas and New Jersey. Tonight would be
his official homecoming, even though he stole the
spotlight from Bernard Hopkins on December 2, 2009
at the Liacouras Center with a spectacular second
round knockout of Enrique Colin on the undercard of
Hopkins vs. Enrique Ornelas.
Like Swift, Garcia lived up to the moniker,
utilizing two styles—a body attack and boxing from long range while
taking his opponent apart like a surgeon in the operating room. The only
difference, instead of a scalpel, the junior-welterweight’s instrument
of choice was ten-ounce boxing gloves. The undefeated Garcia (16 wins –
0 losses – 0 draws – 10 kos) was technically sound, aesthetically
pleasing and simply masterful, dissecting the rugged and
ever-so-dangerous Chris “Kayo Kid” Fernandez (18 wins – 9 losses – 1
draw – 11 kos) of Salt Lake City, Utah— forcing his corner to wave the
white towel of surrender at 1:18 of the seventh round of the scheduled
At the opening of the fourth round, Garcia unloaded with a strong left hook off the jab that ripped open a sizable cut over Fernandez’s right eye. The fat lady started to clear her throat because as Sinatra would sing, “the end is near.” Garcia never wavered from the body attack occasionally going upstairs to solicit an even flow of blood from Fernandez’s cut. For some strategically diabolic reason it seems as though Garcia wanted to see which malady would eventually overcome Fernandez—the cut or the body shots that were slowly attacking his opponent’s central nervous system like carbon monoxide. Nevertheless, the relentless ring veteran kept coming forward absorbing punishment. Fernandez is a fighter who has to be protected from himself because of his high threshold for pain and enormous heart. Most importantly, he is always trying to land that one big punch that can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. However, he was facing a technician who left little room for error. Fernandez’s corner signaled the end by waving the white towel to get Referee Smoger’s attention early in the seventh round. It was time for the carnage to end.
While most fighters were in the dressing room with white buds tightly secured in their ears, attached to I-pods, listening to music, junior-middleweight amateur sensation Julian Williams had his head buried in a novel, feet propped up on a folding chair. The 2009 graduate of Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School, the alma mater of actor Will Smith and NBA Hall of Famer Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlin, is a voracious reader whose favorite book is the 1976 novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. No surprise that Williams has already been on the lecture circuit doing his first speaking engagement at University City High School last winter. The young pugilist is a thinker and shares the same passion for boxing as he does reading.
Having had his professional debut postponed
on two previous occasions, he couldn’t wait to get in front of the
hometown fans for the first time without headgear and a t-shirt, donning
the smaller gloves. Having prepared by sparring with Garcia and
middleweight contender, Lajuan Simon, Williams was ready! Unfortunately,
I wasn’t privy to prefight instructions by trainer Kenny Mason but
Williams came out of his corner with the intensity and focus of a
student studying for a Physics final exam to face winless Antonio Chaves
Fernandez (0 wins – 4 losses – 0 draws) of Brockton, Massachusetts by
way of The U.S. Virgin Islands. Williams rolled on the unsuspecting
Fernandez with a beautiful Sugar Ray Leonard-like combination that ended
with a left uppercut that left Fernandez on one knee hearing the count
of Referee Smoger. Up before the ten-count Fernandez appeared
clear-headed but Ref Smoger heard his cry of surrender and ended the
scheduled four-rounder at 1:00 of Round 1. A shade over 6 feet, Williams
has a bright future and should be on everyone’s radar.
Williams (R) unloading on Fernandez.
The show opened with an entertaining four-round draw between junior-lightweights Jose Ortiz (3 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) of Jersey City, New Jersey and undefeated Jason Sosa (2 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) of Camden, New Jersey. The slick boxing Ortiz used good lateral movement and entertained his fans by dancing like Muhammad Ali and showboating by taunting the stronger Sosa who wasn’t busy enough despite landing a few hard shots. The judges were divided as two saw it 39-37 for each man, the third had it 38-38. I agreed with the judge who had it 39-37 for Ortiz.
Light-heavyweights Charles Hayward (2 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 1 kos) of Philadelphia and Andre Espeut from Morristown, New Jersey by way of Duhaney Park, Jamaica engaged in a spirited four-round bout that ended with the Philadelphian capturing a unanimous decision by scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37. Hayward, won numerous Golden Gloves championships before turning professional at age19 back in 2004. Ineffective management took him on the road where he posted 1-2 record as a middleweight before walking away in 2006 after dropping a four-round decision to undefeated David Banks who later appeared on the boxing reality show The Contender.
With boxing in his blood, Hayward returned to action as a
cruiserweight pitching a shut-out, winning a unanimous decision over
undefeated Patrick Budd at The Legendary Blue Horizon on December 4th
last year. Hayward, 23 pounds lighter, at 173-pounds, decided to fight
at close range instead of boxing from the outside as he did against
Budd. I guess when you are accustomed to sparring larger boxers someone
your size poses no threat. Rugged with muscles ripping, Espeut, a
landscaper by profession, tried to mow down the taller and more slender
Hayward who has a high boxing IQ and knew how to evade punches in tight
spaces by rolling his shoulders or pulling back to counter. The Jamaican
was dangerous, throwing punches with bad intentions until the final
bell. The Hayward train is rolling all the way down to the
super-middleweight division where he is going to be a star.
Hayward (R) countering Espeut.
Moving up one division to middleweight, Philly’s Latif Mundy (8 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) got back on the winning track after two consecutive losses by stopping tough-as-nails Todd Eriksson (1 win – 3 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Dover, New Jersey at 2:59 of Round 5 of a scheduled six-rounder. Mundy threw caution to the wind and was looking for the knockout early by loading up on his left hook. He dropped the taller Eriksson with a hook to the body right before the bell for the end of the opening stanza. Fighting with a cut over his left eye from Round 2, Eriksson had his moments by stopping Mundy momentarily with a few straight right hands. But Mundy was determined, dropping his nemesis three times in Round 5, the last two trips compliments of his vaunted left hook to the rib cage.
Philly trainer Nazim Richardson, who exposed Antonio Margarito’s love
for plaster of Paris as a primary aid in his hand wraps before his bout
with “Sugar” Shane Mosley on January 24, 2009 saw his fighters go 1 win
– 1 loss – 1 draw starting with Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s twelve-round
domination of Mosley last Saturday. In the six-round co-main event,
Richardson’s fighter, undefeated junior-welterweight Karl “Dynamite”
Dargan (7 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) kept his ledger intact by
out boxing feather-fisted veteran Jorge Ruiz (7 wins – 11 losses – 1
draw – 0 kos) of Miami, Florida ,dropping him four times—twice in the
second round, again in the third and fifth. Ruiz kept walking into
Dargan’s countering right hand, which resulted in three trips to the
canvas. However, it was a left hook to the kidney that floored him in
Round 3. Ruiz was game and had no problems being off his feet—popping up
like a jack-in-the-box each time. A counter right hand slowed his
forward progress in Round 5. Shaken, Ruiz
took a knee like an NFL quarterback running out the game clock. As
Referee Talmadge reached the count of nine, he hopped up and put both
hands in the air to signal that he was ready. Surprisingly, Talmadge
called an end to this one-sided but entertaining match at 2:12. Maybe,
he misinterpreted Ruiz’s gesture of putting his hand skyward as a sign
Dargan’s elder brother, junior-middleweight Mike “Sharp” Dargan (1 win – 1 loss – 0 draws – 0 kos) back from a five-year hiatus, completed the Richardson trifecta by posting a four-round draw with the unorthodox Jason Montgomery (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos). Two judges had it even at 38-38 with the dissenting judge scoring it for Dargan 39-37, similar to my scorecard. Dargan stayed on the outside, but Montgomery’s style is the hallmark of unattractive fights because the Californian boxing rhythm is off-track like a rapper who raps off beat. It is difficult to time his movement or predict his tempo. Dargan did his best in landing a few counters, but the lanky Richardson had that long European probing jab that gave the appearance that he was in command. The Klitschko brothers would love this guy.
On his journey up the junior-welterweight rankings, Danny Garcia’s travels finally had him headlining a show in his hometown. And as to be expected, fans filled the venue in support of one of their own. Amongst them were members of the boxing community including legendary matchmaker, Don Elbaum; Garcia’s manager, Shelly Finkel; Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and his son, Olympic prospect Jessie Hart; Robert “Bam Bam” Hines; Steve “USS” Cunningham, already in shape for his June 5th shot to regain his IBF cruiserweight belt; the breath-taking twosome, Olivia Fonseca and Kymmberli Stokes, looking like they just walked off the runways of Milan and Paris instead of their training sessions at Bozy’s Dungeon Gym; trainer Bozy Ennis and his fighting sons, Derek and Farah; “Hammerin” Hank Lundy; Ardrick “The Hitman” Butler and trainer Aaron Ford; Mike “Machine Gun” Jones; Coy “Pretty Boy” Evans; Joey “Polish Thunder” Dawejko; Julio Cesar Matthews; Tyric “Two Sweet” Robinson; Jamaal “Tyson” Davis and his trainer Sharron Baker; “Dangerous” Darrell Jones and trainers Charles Ramey and Frank “The Silk” Montgomery; Rashiem “Rich and Famous” Jefferson; cutman Joey Eye, who was busy as expected; and Simon “Punchline” Carr.
Rounding out the celebrity fest and enjoying the action was Philadelphia rap superstar, Beanie Sigel and his mother seated at ringside cheering for Garcia and the Dargan brothers. Gracious and accommodating, the extremely popular Sigel stayed around at the conclusion of the show to sign autographs, take pictures and answer questions as mom listened—particularly mindful regarding the contents of his lyrics which Sigel assured me were only reflections of his experiences. Hopefully, he will accompany me on one of my speaking engagements to one of the area high schools later in the month.
Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!