On Wednesday, November 21, at the Plattduetsche Park restaurant in Franklin Square, Long Island, New York, undefeated junior middleweight James Moore, 13-0 (9 KOS), will square off against Thomas Davis of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the main event.
The 29-year-old Moore, a native of County Arklow, Ireland, who fights out of Queens, will not be feasting on a Thanksgiving turkey against the battle-tested, 35-year-old Davis, whose 11-5-2 (7 KOs) is somewhat deceptive.
Besides scoring a sensational first round knockout over then undefeated future title challenger Kendall Holt in June 2004, Davis also stopped Augustin Velez in six rounds in September 2006. Velez was 7-0 (4 KOs) going into that bout.
Davis has more than held his own against a slew of other undefeated or once-beaten fighters, including Joel Julio, Richard Gutierrez, Oscar Diaz and Nurhan Suleymanoglo.
Although Moore served as the longtime captain of the Irish national amateur team and even won a bronze medal in world championship competition, he is still in the developmental stage as a pro.
For that reason, Bruce Silverglade, the proprietor of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn and the matchmaker for the Plattduetsche show, wanted to provide Moore with a stiff but not totally dangerous test.
He had secured the services of well-traveled veteran Marcos Primera, a Venezuelan who has fought many times in New York. Besides scoring a sensational upset over previously unbeaten Curtis Stevens in July 2006, Primera has looked solid against the likes of Joshua Clottey and Willie Gibbs.
For the record, Stevens avenged his shocking loss to Primera by eighth round TKO, by winning a lopsided decision in a rematch.
Primera also scored a fourth round TKO victory over Carlos DeLeon Jr., who was 12-0-1 when they squared off in Las Vegas in May 2005.
But the recently married Moore, who is eager to bring his career to the next level, was distressed by Primera’s outwardly nominal record of 20-17-2 (13 KOs).
While true boxing fans understand that such a record is not necessarily indicative of a fighter’s talent (or lack thereof), the immensely intelligent and media savvy Moore was smart enough to realize that his hardcore fan base would not understand such nuances.
Like his fellow countryman and good friend, undefeated middleweight sensation John Duddy, Moore regularly sells out the arenas in which he fights. You can be assured that as many as 90 percent of those in attendance on Thanksgiving Eve will not be boxing fans per se, but they will be maniacal James Moore fans.
Being Irish they will enjoy a good scrap, but will eventually grow weary of their fistic hero steamrolling one hapless opponent after another. Moore was not the least bit afraid of Primera, but urged Silverglade to find a more “suitable” opponent.
“James told me he didn’t want to embarrass or insult his fans by fighting a guy with 17 losses,” said Silverglade. “He told me that he had a good following and that there was no way they were going to be happy seeing him against a guy with 17 losses.
“I told him that the guy also had 20 fights and 13 knockouts, which means he had as many knockouts as James had fights,” continued Silverglade. “But James insisted that he wanted a guy with a good record, so his fans could feel good about a win.”
That was when Silverglade learned just how much Moore is respected in the boxing community. He approached Troy Browning, a New Jersey fighter with a 20-0-1 (8 KOs) record, and was flatly turned down.
After a laborious search that put Silverglade to the test, and made him realize why he got out of the excruciatingly frustrating business of matchmaking several years ago, he came up with Davis.
“Davis is a tough guy who comes to fight,” said Silverglade. “Even though the arena will be filled with Irish fans, he won’t be intimidated. I commend James for taking such a stance and showing so much respect and admiration to his fans.”
Moore is now being promoted by a newly formed outfit called Celtic Gloves. This card will be the organization’s first promotion, and will hopefully begin the journey to bring Moore’s career into the same stratosphere as Duddy’s, who fought on the same national amateur team that Moore captained for many years.
Celtic Gloves is sponsored by the Long Island City-based Navillus Construction company, a firm owned by a trio of Sullivans: brothers Donal and Kevin and sister Helen. The origin of the name Navillus is simple: it is “Sullivan” spelled backwards.
Moore is already well known in the New York boxing community, having fought nearly all of his bouts in the metropolitan area. While the bone-crunching Duddy has more of a slam-bang style, Moore punches equally hard but is a better all-around boxer with a vicious body attack.
Moore is too good of a friend to Duddy to offer or dispel any comparisons, but he is very happy to be part of the great fistic renaissance of Irish fighters in America. Besides him and Duddy, undefeated middleweight Andy Lee, who is trained and managed by Emanuel Steward, is making a lot of noise.
And ready to burst on the scene is super bantamweight Paul Hyland, 9-0 (4 KOS), a native of Dublin who is fighting out of New York under the managerial tutelage Brian Burke, an ex-cop and protégé of former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, who also manages Moore.
While Hyland represents the future, Moore represents the here and now. All eyes are on the likeable slugger, who has been training in the Pocono Mountains with Yory Boy Campas, a former world champion and 100 fight veteran who gave Duddy his sternest test to date.
Should all go well against Davis, there are rumors swirling that Moore will soon be matched against undefeated Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak, 18-0 (13 KOs), a native of Poland who lives and fights out of New York where he too has a huge and devoted ethnic following.
“Anything is possible,” said Moore, who has made no secret of his wish to be moved along at a faster pace. “I just want to fight the best fighters out there. I want to be tested because I train hard and have a lot of faith in my abilities.”
Given Moore’s relative lack of professional experience, some people might think he is putting the cart before the horse regarding his eagerness to compete at higher levels.
The detractors would be better served to think again. Besides being extremely modest, humble and erudite, Moore is a veteran of well over 300 fights against the best amateurs in the world. Yet if you inspected his unmistakably Celtic face with a magnifying glass, you’d be hard-pressed to detect even the smallest of nicks or scars.
To have gotten so far with nary a scratch on his warm and welcoming visage, is testament to his abundance of boxing ability which is only complemented by his vicious right hand and a left hook to the body that, to use an old phrase, he throws “like nobody’s business.” Make no mistake about it; Moore is well on his way to much greater ring glory.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” said Silverglade. “James has a real will to succeed, a strong work ethic, and a real winner’s mentality. He’s a real fighter. Anyone who doesn’t believe that is making a big mistake.”
Other fighters scheduled to appear at the Plattduetsche are Hyland, as well as local favorites Eilon Kedem, Joe Rosa, Kamel Alolabi, Karl Desravines, Vanessa Greco, Kimberly Torres, Daniel Sostre, Roman Oliveri and Joseph Judah.
The show, which begins at 7:00 P.M., is nearly sold out but some tickets are still available by calling Gleason’s Gym at 718-797-2872.
The Plattdeutsche is located at 1132 Hempstead Turnpike, which is one mile east of Belmont Racetrack. The phone number is 516-354-3131.
Come early and enjoy some of the finest German food you’ll ever have on this side of the Atlantic. The Plattduetsche is one of the oldest restaurants on Long Island and the ethnic fare is nothing short of sensational.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV