On Saturday a decent card was put together in Buffalo which was set to showcase “A Night of Young Heavyweights”, featuring Buffalo’s own “3rd Franchise” - after the Bills and Sabres - “Baby” Joe Mesi. Perhaps a more suitable title would have been “A Night of Continued Mediocrity”. Naw, that wouldn’t have sold very well. But where were all these “young" heavyweights anyway?
The main event featured 29-year old Mesi taking on 35-year old (or is that 35-year young?) DaVarryl Williamson in a fight that was a lot shorter than most of my trips to the bathroom. We were being sold this bout as yet another step up in class for Mesi, but a quick look a the resume of Mr. Williamson (and when you are that old, they do call you “Mister”) suggests this was anything but. It was a particularly interesting side note that just after his first round destruction of glass-jawed Robert Davis, the Mesi team had been dismissing the prospect of a Williamson fight as useless. The claim was that blowing out “A Touch of Sleep”, as Williamson calls himself, would prove nothing. They were right. And we bought it anyway.
DaVarryl had a typical record of 18-1-0 heading into this bout with 16 wins by knockout.
Impressive record of knockouts, sure, but Chris Byrd aside, heavyweights are “supposed” to hit hard and knock people out. Just ask DaVarryl after the fight. Williamson earned his shot at Mesi by beating the likes of, oh . . . well he never really beat anyone worth mentioning unless T-Rex Sanders is a “somebody” in your books. He did however manage to find himself a fourth round TKO victim to up-and-coming 9-8-1 (at the time) Willie Chapman (note of sarcasm intended). So there was no surprise when DaVarryl found himself with more than just “A Touch of Sleep” as he floated momentarily with the angels before being brought back to earth with a thudding headache courtesy of heavy-handed “Baby” Joe.
The next “youngster” we were treated to seeing on the card as he makes his way up to the crown was 30-year old Cuban defect Juan Carlos Gomez. Gomez is a former Cruiserweight Champion and was making his third appearance as a heavyweight. Throughout his professional career, JC Gomez has fought a list of opponents that reads like a who’s who of “European relatively unknowns”, followed by a parade of “never-were-knowns”. In his first big showcase fight on US soil, Gomez fought (you guessed it) an unknown, unproven European heavyweight who likely will never been seen in the States again. Ever wonder why a guy who fought exclusively in Europe would make his big television debut fighting another European heavyweight? Perhaps the plethora of top-notch European heavies is the answer. Perhaps not. Downward we went as 28 year old Dominick Guinn fought unknown 29 year old Nigerian Duncan Dokiwari. Guinn had made his mark by exposing an already over-exposed Michael Grant as nothing more than big, imposing and glass jawed.
Guinn’s unanimous decision win over Dokiwari on Saturday proved nothing as we never really knew who Duncan D was anyway. Now we may never know him.
If this is the best of the “young" heavyweights, we could be in for a long slumber of rotating champions once Lennox Lewis is dethroned. No “young heavyweight” that was featured was all that “young” - unless you are in your eighties and sit on your rocker referring to 30-year olds as “the youth of today” - and neither really had a chance to impress. None of us knew much about any of the boxers who lost Saturday night and what we knew about Williamson was that he was there to fill a need for Team Mesi. Job well done, DaVarryl.
We were sold on a good idea with a chance to see tomorrow’s champions today - all we got was an idea.