On March 4, I gave a tip of the TSS cap to Showtime’s boxing department for doing the right thing, putting solid fights together, and respecting their ShoBox brand name.
Spoke a bit too soon.
On Saturday night, Andre Dirrell fought in the main event at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma against Deerrick Findley, a boxer of limited skills and experience who quite simply had zero business being in a ShoBox main event against a man with the resume of Dirrell, a bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics. After six painful rounds, painful for the viewers as well as foe Findley, the loser’s corner threw in the towel.
But this fight should never have been made, and promoter Tony Holden has some ‘splaining to do why it happened. I know David Banks was a late scratch because of legal woes, but someone better suited than Findley deserved this outing, as did fans and subscribers.
Dirrell (17-0, 12 KOs entering; age 25; 166 1/2 pounds; from Flint, Michigan) and Findley (13-2, with 8 KOs coming in; age 24; 166 pounds; from Gary, Indiana) were slated for ten.
In the first, what stood out was Dirrell’s seven inch height advantage, and Findley’s weightlifter biceps. Dirrell, switching back from southpaw and righty, moved a bunch, and it looked like maybe he’d try and get some rounds in. Or maybe not. He ripped a left hook, and another, and hurt Findley. The buzzed man grabbed on for dear life. Findley just made it out of the first, as he was caught on the ropes, covering up, not answering. The doc and his corner looked at him hard to see if he could continue. He told his guys that his nose was broken. In round two, Dirrell smacked him with lefts, and the end could come at any time. Ref Gary Ritter, where are you? Say this for Findley, he didn’t come to Oklahoma simply to take a few shots, do enough to justify his check. He absorbed some hellacious shots. In the third, he threw a few blows, and his hopes rose when Dirrell hit the floor. But it was off a slip. In round four, the little guy kept chugging, bless him. I didn’t care for Dirrell’s cocky grin when Findley missed with a wild right. No need for that cockiness. The crowd sat on their hands, because of the complete absence of drama.
In round five, all watching hoped Dirrell would force the ref to stop it. Same thing in the sixth. Dirrell slammed home single shots, and pivoted, repeatedly. After the sixth, Findley’s corner threw in the towel. Glory be.
Dirrell counseled Findley after, telling him to get low, use his lack of height to his advantage.
In the silver lining realm, the network did offer a heckuva hors d’ouevre. In the TV opener, Ronald “The Chosen One” Hearns (21-0, 17 KOs entering; age 30; 151 ½ pounds; from Detroit) took on Harry Joe Yorgey (21-0, with just 9 KOs coming in; age 31; 153 pounds; from Bridgeport, PA) in a junior middleweight battle scheduled for 12.
The “Un-Chosen One,” Yorgey, looked like the fighter with the flashy KO ratio, as he sent Hearns to the mat in the fourth and the fifth, before finishing the deal with a heavy combo at the tail end of the ninth round. Yorgey celebrated like he hit the lotto after Hearns couldn’t beat Steve Smogers’ count. The end came at 2:59 of the ninth.
No shame in this effort for Hearns. He still has some basics to fine tune, though, as his lack of experience showed here against Yorgey. The two men hugged afterwards, which I never get tired of.
The son of the Hitman/Motor City Cobra, the Hall of Famer Thomas Hearns, had just ten amateur fights, doesn’t have quite the Rubberbandman physique of pop, but he’s in the ballpark. He looked to mix the jab and the hook in the first. Yorgey, coming off a seven month layoff, was working hard to slip shots in the first. Hearns told the judges he meant business as he put together combos. In the second, Harry had trouble finding an opening. He stayed outside, where Hearns wanted him, instead of smothering the long-armed hitter. Hearns’ right eye puffed up slightly.
In the third, Yorgey came out and looked to stay inside. But he’s no heavy handed banger, not a thick, sturdy type best suited to work on the interior. He looked to counter, with a hook, but instead ate too many lead rights later in the round. In the fourth, Yorgey hurt Hearns with a right. He got hit with follows, and hit the deck, and was up with 1:20 to go. Hearns, down for the first time as a pro, got his legs back, and then dropped Harry with a left hook. Both men protested that they slipped, and hit the floor.
In the fifth, Yorgey sent Hearns down again, with a right. He was up, and said he wanted to continue. With 1:50 left, Yorgey went back to work. Hearns didn’t grab and hold, and instead looked to hurt Harry. Say this about Hearns, kid’s got heart. His dad used to hit the deck every now and again, too, and the son similarly looks to try and bang his way out of trouble, instead of employing the clutch and clear method. In round six, Harry slipped Hearns’ jabs. Harry wanted to slip his right in between the Hearns ramparts as he’d done before. To this point, Harry had exceeded many folks’ expectations, if not his own.
In round seven, Hearns stayed on his feet, just barely. He was wobbly in the last 25 seconds. Yorgey looked like the guy with the gaudy KO ration. Hearns’ dad, ringside in suit, motioned his son to jab-jab-right hand, and he was heated, sensing a bad finish for his kid. In the eighth, Hearns hit Harry flush with a right, and Yorgey barely blinked. Did some boxing genie switch the power packs in these two, or what? In round nine, the two men traded at the end, and Hearns again hit the floor, off a right, a hook and another right. He did not make the count, as he was on one knee, and could not will himself to make it upright. The bell had sounded as he hit the floor, but as we all know, a fighter cannot be saved by the bell.
Jerry Griffin, Gary Ritter and Gary Sutherland were the judges. The IBA International 154 pound title was up for grabs.