Where Do We Go From Here?—Nakash Decisions Barragan
By: George Hanson Jr., Esq.
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The last time the Russians invaded America was on October 2, 1990, and I was in the balcony of The Legendary Blue Horizon. The card featured two undefeated Russians—power punching middleweight Viktor Egorov (7 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 6 kos), talented six-feet-four cruiserweight Yuri Vaulin (7 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 6 kos) and arguably the most talented of the three—slick boxing lightweight Sergey Artemiev (6 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw – 5 kos). Egorov had his head handed to him on a platter by Philly journeyman spoiler Mike Brown. The Philly middleweight withstood the best shots from the Russian’s arsenal while walking him down like a Sherman Tank, slicing him up like a Ginsu knife forcing the referee to call a halt 34 seconds into Round 4. Vaulin had to struggle to get an eight-round split decision over another hard-nosed Philadelphian—William Morris. However, it was Artemiev who boxed brilliantly and scored a fifth round technical knockout over William Johnson.
By the end of 1993 all three Russians had retired. Artemiev’s resignation was due to injuries suffered in his unsuccessful bid for the USBA lightweight title— a 10th round technical knockout at the hands of Carl Griffin. America doesn’t take too kindly to being invaded!
Therefore, I was intrigued at Monday’s press conference when matchmaker Don Elbaum reminded everyone that we would be witnessing a Russian smorgasbord of boxing as three fighters from the former Iron Block country and one from the Ukraine were scheduled to see action. However, I would be in the Arena on fight night primarily to feast on the Kosher offerings on the pugilistic menu: #13 WBC ranked cruiserweight, Ran “Sweet Dreams” Nakash, the Pride of Haifa Israel and his sidekick—lightweight Oz “The Wizard of Oz” Goldenberg. Besides, the undefeated Nakash (24 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 18 kos) is a Philly fighter having fought at the Blue Horizon on ten occasions.
In the main event Nakash, the highest ranking authority in krav maga and Chief Commander and head instructor of the Israeli Defense Force Krav Maga instructional division squared off against tough Victor Barragan (11 wins – 5 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) of Oxnard, California. The soft-spoken Barragan, married with three children ranging from ages three to seven is a professional welder who has been out at sea working on oil rigs. Speaking in quiet tones and with confidence, you just sensed that it wouldn’t matter if Barragan were facing a Silverback gorilla with a hammer instead of Nakash. He was ready and couldn’t wait to get in the ring. The opening stanza was the classical “feeling out” round with each combatant probing to get a read on each other’s arsenal. Things heated up in the second with Nakash digging into the body with his vaunted left hook and uppercuts. Barragan never winced and fought the Israeli to the bell letting him know that “I am not going anywhere.” The rest of the fight played out similar to the second with Barragan coming forward and Nakash boxing tactically by going to the body.
However, Barragan had his moments with similar intensity to the body and he was never in any serious trouble during the entire bout. In the seventh round, the pro-Nakash crowd started chanting “Ranny, Ranny” as he continued working to the body. The chant picked up again in the ninth round as Barragan refused to give ground as he and Nakash stood toe-toe and lit into each other to the delight of the audience. The tenth and final round was similar and Nakash captured a unanimous decision by scores of 97-93, 96-94 similar to my score, and 99-91 which raised the question, what fight was this judge watching? Nobody was happier that Nakash had won than cruiserweight title challenger Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn who was seated at ringside and told me that he will be next on Nakash’s dancing card.
Maybe super-middleweight Julius Fogle (15 wins – 5 losses – 0 draws – 10 kos) of Cary, North Carolina, who recently retired after serving 20 years in the Army, should have brought his M-16 rifle to The Arena. There is an old adage that you can get a lot done with a kind word but you can get even more done with a kind word and a gun. In colloquial terms – “Fogle got robbed.” The thirty-eight-year-old Fogle, a seven-time All Army and Armed Forces Amateur Champion, out-boxed and out-hustled undefeated Russian southpaw Maks Limonov (12 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 8 kos) over six rounds only to lose a split decision by scores of 55-59 twice. I had it 59-55 for Fogle, while the dissenting judge scored it 58-56 for him. Limonov had no answer for Fogle who peppered him with jabs and quick combinations forcing him to walk into several straight rights. Limonov was aggressive, but he was getting his ears boxed off and was fortunate that Fogle wasn’t a big puncher or he would have been viewing the overhead lights of the Arena while on his back in the middle of the ring. I gave Limonov the fourth round as he was landing more and it appeared that Fogle was tiring. However, Limonov gave him a respite by landing a blow south of the border that forced Referee Clark to give Fogle a much-deserved rest. Limonov’s success was short-lived as the Army veteran continued tattooing the Russian in the final two rounds. Limonov donned sunglasses afterward to hide the paint job, complements of Fogle.
After hearing what happened to Fogle, with whom he sat adjacent to in the dressing room, heavyweight Mark “Oaktree” Brown (15 wins – 3 losses – 0 draws – 7 kos) of Salem, New Jersey came out swinging for the fences in his scheduled six-round bout against 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Vyacheslav Glazkov (5 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) of Lugansk, Ukraine. I don’t know whether Brown did not want to leave his fate in the hands of the judges or if he wasn’t in optimal shape and knew that a nitrate-laced punch would be his ticket to victory. Whatever the reason, Brown lived up to his moniker by looking like Major League baseball player Manny Ramirez at bat launching haymakers as the Ukrainian tried to gain separation in the early rounds. As Brown was launching a bomb in Round 3, Glazkov clocked him with two straight rights and a hook that left a titillating feeling in Brown’s leg. You now knew that Brown wasn’t the only one with power. Towards the end of the round the Ukrainian slammed a left hook then a right into Brown’s head that momentarily froze him, forcing Referee Estevez to rush in and call an end to this entertaining match at 2:41 of Round 3. Oaktree didn’t endure long enough to leave it to the judges. Glazkov’s punching prowess decided Oaktree’s ill fate.
In a battle of southpaws, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (5 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) of the Dominican Republic stopped stylish boxer Broderick Antoine (10 wins – 10 losses – 1 draw – 5 kos) of Troy, New York on cuts at 35 seconds of the final stanza of a scheduled eight-round welterweight bout. The 26-year-old Diaz was aggressive throughout the match and occasionally went to the body of Antoine whose .500 record is deceiving. Antoine, a barber by trade, came into the fight with a game plan of out-boxing his opponent and did so in Round 3. However, he sustained a cut over his right eye, which became a nuisance in the fifth round and started bleeding profusely in the later rounds. Diaz kept his composure, boxing tactically and going to the body whenever he got Antoine on the ropes. It was a chess match and the barber held his own. The bleeding continued as Antoine’s eye worsened and Referee Clark ended the match with only 35 seconds expiring in Round 8.
Undefeated Russian super-flyweight Rustan Nabeev (5 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) suffered his first defeat at the hands of Alexjandro Solorio (3 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) of Huntington Park, California by dropping a four-round unanimous decision by scores of 40-35 and 39-36 twice. The stronger Solorio was on the attack from the opening bell and was awarded a knockdown early from what appeared to be a slip by Nabeev. Nevertheless, the apparent slip was scored as a knockdown and Nabeev would have to win the remaining three rounds to win. I had it 38-37 for Solorio with the knockdown being the difference.
In his professional debut, Philadelphia heavyweight and former Penn State University football player Imani Bell had to pull all 282 pounds of his frame off the canvas in the opening round to get a technical knockout victory at 3:00 of Round 2 over Lee Thomas (1 win – 3 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) of Saginaw, Michigan. Bell was winning the round behind a stiff jab and combination when the 283 ½-pound Thomas connected with a blistering straight right that dropped the former lineman like a sack of potatoes. A little dazed Bell rose at the count of five and finished the round. Not to be dissuaded, Bell started the second round peppering the tiring Thomas with jabs and straight rights, bloodying his nose in the process. You could hear Thomas breathing like a water buffalo that had just made a narrow escape from a lion. No surprise when the exhausted fighter stayed on his stool refusing to come out for the third round.
In a scheduled four-round lightweight bout southpaw Oz “ The Wizard of Oz” Goldenberg (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) of Israel won a majority decision by scores of 39-37 twice and 38-38 over last minute substitute Marcos Garcia (0 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws ) of Camden, New Jersey. Goldenberg kept his range for most of the fight staying on the outside and utilizing his southpaw jab. Garcia was the aggressor in this game of the bull vs. matador but got tired down the stretch as the fleet-footed Goldenberg rocked him with an uppercut in the closing round. It was a good test for the ever-improving fighter who leaped into the air when the decision was announced.
On the night of former IBF junior-welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi’s debut as a commentator, the Russians invaded, but it was the Israelis who brought the fans out for a smorgasbord of the sweet science in the City of Brotherly Love. Malignaggi showed his sartorial splendor—decked out in a well-tailored pinstripe suit and as poised behind the mike as he is in the ring—with television veteran Arthur Fennell leading the way and journalist Don Steinberg scoring the rounds ala Harold Lederman. Enjoying the festivities were IBF Cruiserweight Champion, Steve “USS” Cunningham, his wife and manager, Livvy Cunningham, “Fast” Eddie Chambers, Steve “Showtime” Chambers, Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn, Charles “The Cobra” Hayward, Don Turner, Rob Murray, Leonard Blocker, Hasaan Watler and noted journalist Elmer Smith.
Before the main event, recording artist and future Cover Girl model, Angela DePersia brought the house down with her rendition of the national anthem. The title of DePersia’s debut album, Where Do We Go From Here? is probably relevant for this inaugural show of Comcast Cable’s boxing series which is slated to start in September. According to the promoters their response is, “We have no limits.”
Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!