Philadelphia, Pa. - Prior to Friday night's opening bell Greg Robinson and his Power Productions had reason for concern. The hard working promoter's top fighter, Luis Alberto Santiago, who recently suffered a bruising defeat on June 4th at the Blue Horizon (Jadschi Green TKO 8), was now injured -- canceling the scheduled main event and leaving the night's fightcard with a mere five bouts. To make matters even worse, the venue was far from being sold-out and Robinson's nephew Jamal Reed would be making his pro debut.
Voted Philadelphia's "Promoter of the Year" in 2002 and 2003, Robinson has established a well-earned reputation for delivering action packed, evenly matched fights.
From early indicators, Robinson's "Philly Barn Burner-part two" would not be living up to all the pre-show hype. By the time the preliminary fighters made their respective entrances into the ring, shortly after 8PM, the loyal Philly fight fans didn't disappoint. The Philadelphia National Guard Armory turned out a decent sized crowd, and the fans were excited, boisterous and ready for action.
In the main event, popular Philly cruiserweight Glenn Turner needed a big final round to pull out a razor-close six round split-decision victory over tough Newton "the butcher" Kidd from the Bronx. Kidd (now 3-2) was ahead on all three judges scorecards until getting dropped by a crushing left hand from Turner early in the final round. Turner, lavishly clad in pink and white trunks and shoes, which stylishly matched his pink hair, sent the local fans home happy by unleashing a brutal barrage on the already hurt Kidd, who struggled to stay up until the bell.
Judge Robert Grasso still saw it for Kidd 57-56, while judges George Hill and Steve Weisfeld both scored it 57-56 for Turner, who improved to 6-1-1.
In the co-feature, one-time highly regarded heavyweight prospect Malik Scott stayed undefeated with an impressive 1st round knockout over an outclassed Drexie Frank James (now 8-7 with 4 KO's), whose claim to fame is his 2001 1st round knockout of former Olympic gold medalist Michael Bennett in 2001.
Scott, enjoying a 20lb weight advantage, improved to 19-0 with his 10th knockout. Using his strong jab to back the bewildered James to the ropes, Scott fired off a menacing left hook and right hand combination which landed flush in the jaw and sent the hurt James to the canvas, where he stayed and got counted out at 2:25 of the first round.
On the undercard …
Heavyweight, Jamal "the Gooch" Reed put a smile on his uncle Greg Robinson's face as he plundered through the four rounds and came away victorious in his pro debut against a game and willing Scott Meehan, now 0-3. The winless Meehan, from Lancaster, Pa., was knocked out in his two previous fights yet came to win. While both fighters were totally exhausted they battled on and earned their applause at fight's end. Credit should be given to Reed, with no amateur experience, except his fights in the streets, Jamal has vowed to make his mark in the sweet science. Reed has the size, athleticism and raw talent to develop into a formidable fighter -- if he is willing to work and sacrifice.
Philadelphia middleweight Derrick Ennis stayed perfect (now 5-0 with 2 KO's) picking up a four round unanimous decision win over stubborn Vance Garvey (3-9-1). Ennis, with his blazing hand speed and pin-point accurate punching is one of the brightest young prospects in the talent laden "City of Brotherly Love."
In the night's opening bout, Eduardo Valdez, fighting out of Queens, NY, took advantage of Rami Ibraham's senseless style of fighting/showboating to stun the house fighter (now 1-2) in round two -- knocking him to the canvas with a hard right hand and gaining control of the fight enroute to a four round unanimous decision win. The gutsy and aggressive Valdez earned his first pro victory and improved to 1-1.
Another highlight of the show was six-time World Champion Emile Griffith getting a warm reception as ring announcer, Larry Tornabe introduced the legendary Hall of Famer and called him into the ring. Griffith delighted the crowd as he jokingly squared off with Philly's own legend, former two-time Heavyweight World Champion Tim Witherspoon.
Power Productions should not be satisfied with the type of fightcard that was presented this night -- and neither will the ticket buying public, who expect better quality fights from Philly's # 1 promoter.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?