My job here at the Examiner is to write about Providence-based boxers. On January 19th that meant covering fights in particular which featured guys being promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports. Heading into the night I thought there was a good chance that most of the CES fighters would be successful, and that we might even see some guys launch themselves into a good 2013 with a nice performance on an NBC Sports broadcast show.
Things didn’t exactly work out that way.
I'm working on a slideshow feature from the fight but until then let's talk about the local flavor. Needless to say it was a tough night to be covering a fight from the angle of the Providence fighters. I’m going to switch up my review style for 2013, let’s see how it goes.
Curtis Stevens (23-3, 17 KO) TKO1 Elvin Ayala (26-6-1, 12 KO)
Heading into this middleweight bout Ayala had mentioned how he didn’t think Stevens hit like Arthur Abraham, whom Ayala been knocked out by in the 12th round of their IBF middleweight title fight. Stevens took exception to that – and it appears with good reason – because what it took Abraham 12 rounds to do, Stevens did in 70 seconds. Ayala was down twice in this fight and it should’ve been stopped after the first trip to the canvas because when Ayala got up during the ten count he looked out on his feet and could barely balance himself. He was allowed to go on, but not for much longer. After the fight Stevens said that had Ayala gotten up a third time he knew that he was going to “put him out.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of the fight happened while Ayala was on his back being attended to by physicians, that’s when Elvin’s brother (sporting an orange and grey stripped shirt) jumped the guard rail, got in the ring and started grabbing Stevens. Curtis for his part didn’t realize what was happening, saying he thought it might be his cousin or his uncle celebrating and had no “bad blood” for Ayala’s brother noting that if the roles had been reversed his cousin or uncle would’ve done the same thing.
Jimmy Williams (1-0, 1 KO) KO4 Noel Garcia (2-16-1, 1 KO)
Garcia, who fights out of Springfield, MA wore trunks with the word BLOOD on the front – that should tell you all you need to know about him. Williams is a new CES fighter who made his debut on Saturday night. Based upon how the other CES fights turned out he may be the main draw for the company heading into 2013. Williams though lacked polish and absolutely took too many shots from a fighter like Garcia who hung around much too long. Though Garcia finished the night on his back being attended to by physicians (notice a theme), he did get up and hug it out with Williams after the final announcement.
Marcus Upshaw (15-8-1, 7 KO) TKO8 Vladine Biosse (14-2-1, 7 KO)
Of all the local fighter struggles on Saturday night, this one likely hurts CES the most. Biosse was set in 2013 to resume his place atop the CES fighter stable and get back the mantle of the company’s public face. Instead he took a fight on short notice, a fight that CES’ Richie Cappiello said at ringside he warned Vladine to not take – and it came back to haunt him. Mark Vaz, the great cut man who worked Upshaw’s corner on Saturday night said the game plan was simple, let Biosse punch himself out in the first four rounds and then come on mid/late. Well Biosse punched himself out in the second round; Upshaw took over the third round, knocked Biosse down in the fifth and closed the show in the eighth. Though Biosse didn’t spend a lot of time on his back (like some of his compatriots) he did need to be helped from the ring by his corner, which is never a good sign and he seemed very unsteady on his feet.
I have to mention that Biosse is always in good shape, he’s a gym rat who prides himself on being in excellent condition. The first thing that everyone said when Biosse got in the ring on Saturday night was that he didn’t look like he was in the type of shape that he’s normally in. He looked drained after the first round, sitting in the corner with his arms at his side and his legs splayed out in front of him, and he never appeared to sweat – which is curious for Biosse who is typically always wet during a fight.
I was told that Biosse had no issue making weight – and that may be true, but he didn’t look to be in the best shape or condition and he obviously ran out of gas after the second round. For a guy who has been on ESPN Fight Night Fights a couple of times, has a big win over Joey Spina, and is the public face of CES the loss to Upshaw is devastating. I assue Biosse will be back in the ring shortly, he’ll need to put this behind him and get his confidence back up – but it may be time for Biosse to reconsider the direction that he’s getting or the way that he’s preparing because it didn’t seem to work against Marcus Upshaw.
Shelito Vincent (7-0) UD Nydia Feliciano (5-4-3)
I must confess that I didn’t see this fight. It went on after the televised main event and took place during a time when I was in the press room listening to Curtis Stevens talk about how he travels with a “band of ninjas.” However, this outcome is a good thing for CES and puts Jimmy Burchfield in a very interesting situation. Of all the “ticket sellers” at CES two of the three top sellers all got knocked out on this night. The third, Vincent won a unanimous decision and continues to be impressive, while also putting together a nice local following. If Biosse and Perez need to be re-built the CES cupboard is a bit bare.
I simply mean to suggest that it wouldn’t be crazy to think that CES may spend a good deal of 2013 making Shelito Vincent the face of the company. I don’t think this will happen. I think Jimmy Burchfield is an old time promoter, and I can’t see any situation where a female fighter becomes the main draw/face of a company being led by such a traditional boxing guy – but I don’t think it’s crazy. I think Biosse and Perez had very bad nights on Saturday. I think there aren’t a lot of guys coming up in CES ranks to take that mantel, a guy like Williams surely isn’t ready. Hank Lundy is an obvious candidate but from here on out I assume Lundy will be fighting in higher profile venues than the local Twin River, CES shows so he isn’t going to be moving a lot of local tickets.
I thought this card might usher in 2013, a year for Chip Perez and Vladine Biosse to take the reins of the local boxing scene, but now I’m even more interested to see what’s going to happen – because I honestly believe there is room right now for Shelito Vincent and women’s boxing to make a statement in this region and become a major player.
Sergey Kovalev (20-0-1, 17 KO) TKO3 Gabriel Campillo (21-5-1, 7 KO)
Campillo is a former world champion at light heavyweight. On my scorecard he beat Tavoris Cloud and should be a two time world champion at 175 pounds. He’s not a pushover fighter and he isn’t at that point in his career where you would call him a “gatekeeper.” He’s still a legitimate contender – and Kovalev walked through him like he wasn’t even there. From the opening bell Kovalev was confident, paced, calm and devastating with his punches. Everything he threw landed, everything he landed hurt, and by the third round Campillo was completely over matched, hitting the ground three times before the fight was stopped.
Though the night was certainly a bad one for CES and the local fighters on the card, if you missed the NBC broadcast you should make a point to hunt it down because Kovalev is the real deal. After the fight he said he “got lucky” but nothing I saw looked like luck – it looked like the birth of the next great light heavyweight superstar. How people at HBO spoke about Gennedy Golovkin before his fight on Saturday night is how they’ll be talking about Sergey Kovalev before the end of the year, trust me.