Money Team Cruiserweights Victorious – With promoter Floyd Mayweather in attendance, Money Team cruiserweights Andrew Tabiti and Michael Hunter continued their ascents by winning unanimous 10-round decisions over previously undefeated opponents at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas on Friday, May 13. Their bouts were the featured attractions on the “ShoBox: The New Generation” quadrupleheader on SHOWTIME.
Tabiti’s bout with Keith Tapia was messy at times. The two had engaged in a scuffle at the weigh-in, a precursor of a potential street brawl. Tapia, a Bronx-born Puerto Rican, was cut over his left eye in the fourth frame by an accidental head butt and was the victim of a flash knockdown in round eight. Tabiti, who advanced to 13-0 (11), won widely on the scorecards (99-90 and 97-92 twice), but the general consensus was that the match was more competitive than the scorecards suggested. With his first pro loss, Tapia’s record dipped to 17-1.
Although he was extended the distance, former U.S. Olympian Michael Hunter, now 12-0 (8), had an unexpectedly easy time with Detroit’s Isiah Thomas.
“I’ll outbox Hunter easily. I’m a master boxer, a slick mover who hits hard,” Thomas told Detroit Free Press reporter Mike Brudenell before he departed for Las Vegas. But Thomas left his fight in the gym. He was stunned several times in the first round and then went into a defensive mode. Hunter pitched a shutout on two of the scorecards and won 99-91 on the other.
In the other TV bouts, super middleweight Ronald Gavril scored a sixth round stoppage of Juan Camilo Novoa and super lightweights Sanjarbek Rakhmanov and Alfonso Olvera battled to a six-round draw.
Gavril (16-1), a Las Vegas based Romanian, won convincingly. Earlier in the sixth round, he knocked Novoa to the canvas with a body punch. Rakhmanov, an Uzbekistan import, had to work hard to earn a draw with Olvera, a lanky 5’11” boxer who is sturdier than he looks. The bout was entertaining; the decision met with the approval of the crowd.
Earlier Friday evening, the DC Armory was the site of a boxing show televised on BET and streamed live on TIDAL.COM. The show was designed as a showcase for local welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison, but Mike Dallas Jr. spoiled the soup, or would have if he had received a square deal. In the end, the bout was scored a draw. It’s back to the drawing board for Hernandez-Harrison (now 29-0-1), who came on strong in the late rounds but may have slowed his advance to a world title fight. Mike Dallas Jr., who hails from Bakersfield, CA, is now 21-3-2.
The 21-year-old Hernandez-Harrison, who turned pro at age 17, found himself on the deck in the fifth round. He returned the favor in round eight, without which he would have lost the fight, but it was a controversial knockdown that appeared to be the result of a low blow. Referee Malik Waleed did not distinguish himself, adding another chapter to DC’s history of strange behavior by boxing officials. While the decision was dubious, the fight was entertaining.
In the other TV bouts, Puerto Rico’s Luis Del Valle (22-2) benefited from two knockdowns to outpoint DC’s Thomas Snow (18-3) in an 8-round featherweight contest. Del Valle prevailed by identical 76-74 scores. And Philadelphia heavyweight Darmani Rock was impressive in his first professional fight, blasting out Carlos Black in the opening round.
In contrast to the well-muscled Black, Darmani Rock looked a little soft around the midsection – an area of concern for a boxer who is only 20 years of age. However, when the fight started, the 6’4” Rock, who carried 246 ½ pounds, displayed the skills that made him a National Golden Gloves champion. The final punch was a vicious left hook that caught Black flush as he had one hand draped over the top strand of rope.
The show was promoted by the boxing division of Roc Nation Sports, which is itself a subsidiary of Roc Nation, a company most closely identified with the music recording industry. The ring introductions were long-winded and annoying as the otherwise solid ring announcer David Diamante was compelled to rattle off the names of a long list of local and national sponsors.