Promoter Jimmy Burchfield continues his quest to make New England a boxing hotbed on Friday, June 17, when he presents “Providence’s Prime Time Fights” at the Dunkin Donuts Theater in the Down City section of Providence, Rhode Island. The ten-round main event features local super middleweight Joey “KO Kid” Spina (15-0 12 KOs) against former WBA champion Carl Daniels (49-6-1 31 KOs) of St. Louis.
In the eight-round co-feature, hard-punching undefeated cruiserweight Matt Godfrey (7-0 5 KOs), who also hails from Providence, will square off against battle-tested Jermal “The Truth” Barnes, a 30-year-old high school science teacher from Rochester, New York. The 24-year-old Godfrey, a four-time national amateur champion, is reportedly having trouble finding suitable opponents.
“They (potential opponents) don’t want to get embarrassed by the new kid,” said the supremely confident Godfrey. “These other guys want opponents with sub-500 opponents to pop up their wins. I’ll fight anybody. Whenever I’ve been given a name, I just say let’s fight.”
While Spina and Godfrey are proven commodities in Providence, the most enigmatic local fighter on the card is Jason “Big Six” Estrada. The 24-year-old Estrada, a veteran of nearly 300 amateur fights, which included wins over current professional prospects Malik Scott, DaVarryl Williamson, Malcolm Tann, Donnell Holmes and Felix Cora Jr., represented the United States in the 2004 Olympic Games but was severely criticized for his non-effort against Cuban Michel Nunez Lopez in the quarterfinals. Besides the fact that he looked pitiably out of shape, the indifference he displayed in his post-fight comments were offensive to everyone who heard them.
“This is just part of my life,” said Estrada, who had been the 2003 Pan American Games gold medalist, as well as a three-time National and National PAL champion, and had already beaten Nunez prior to the Games. “If I’m going to lose, I’m going to get hit as little as possible.”
In essence, Estrada said he didn’t care about losing because he was destined to be a professional champion, regardless of what happened in Athens. The press, as well as United States coach Basheer Abdullah, condemned him with equal intensity.
“All the doubts people have about me just gives me more to prove,” Estrada now says. “I really wasn’t as calm as I appeared after the loss. I wanted to curse and throw stuff, but chose not to.”
Estrada turned professional under Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. banner (CES), and is 2-0 (1 KO) going into Friday’s bout with Demetrice King, 7-7 (2 (KOs), of Flint, Michigan. Among the opponents King lost to are Shannon Briggs and Kevin Montiy, the latter of whom is best known for being Kevin McBride’s warm-up opponent for Mike Tyson.
Unless the 6’1” Estrada comes down with another case of severe lethargy, there’s no reason to think Montiy will be any luckier with him than he was with Briggs or McBride.
In the past there have been several other Olympians or Olympic hopefuls who were smeared for their lackluster efforts in the most important bouts of their amateur careers. Two who come to mind are Larry Holmes, who was dismissed for his lack of aggression against Duane Bobick at the 1972 Olympic trials, and Riddick Bowe, who was labeled as lazy and untrainable after losing to Lennox Lewis at the 1988 Games in Seoul. Both, of course, went on to prove their detractors wrong by becoming heavyweight champions.
“Coming off his Olympic performance, Jason has an awful lot to prove about his attitude,” said Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood. “He claims he was misunderstood, but his quotes certainly didn’t sound like fighter who had given his all. However, he deserves the benefit of doubt because of his amateur credentials, and he had already beaten the Cuban who beat him in Athens. No other boxer on that team had his level of experience and, with the exception of Samuel Peter, there are no [professional] heavyweight prospects that are under 30 years old. That alone makes Estrada a welcome addition to the division.”
Also scheduled to fight is teenage sensation Matt “Sharp Shooter” Remillard of Manchester, Connecticut. Just 19 years old, Remillard (2-0 2 KOS) thinks of himself as a throwback fighter because he lives, eats and breathes boxing. A decorated amateur who had a 115-25 record, he is managed by Jackie Kallen and is unquestionably on the fast track to stardom.
Scheduled to be in attendance is Peter Manfredo Jr., who recently made it to the finals of “The Contender” television series. The show is dedicated to a fallen Providence police officer named Detective Sergeant James Allen. Donations for his two children’s educational fund will be accepted at the show, and ten dollars from any ticket purchased by a police officer or firefighter will go directly to the fund.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call CES at 401-724-2253/2254 or visit www.cesboxing.com online.