Hebrew Hammer – Professional boxing returns to the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, Long Island, on Friday, June 17, with a six-bout card presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing Promotions. In the main event, local fan favorite Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (18-0, 1 no contest, 15 KOs) opposes Jesus Selig (19-3-1, 12 KOs) in a 10-round contest in the 140-pound division.
The community of Huntington, which sits 40 miles from midtown Manhattan, has produced two notable boxers – Gerry Cooney and Chris Algieri. The very first boxing show at the Paramount, which opened in 2011, featured Algieri in the main event. He headlined eight shows here prior to winning the WBO World super lightweight title and acquired such a following that the Paramount – primarily a venue for touring rock bands – became known in local boxing circles as “the house that Chris Algieri built.” Another Long Island fighter of note, light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr., also came to the fore at the Paramount Theatre.
Cletus Seldin, born and raised not far from Huntington, is the successor to Algieri and Smith as the Paramount’s “house fighter.” He has fought almost exclusively here. Fourteen of Seldin’s last 15 fights were at this venue, a cozy concert hall without a bad seat in the house.
Jewish fighters of yore, in the main, were characterized as smart ring technicians; they were cerebral. Seldin, who was named Cletus in honor of former New York Yankees third baseman Cletus Boyer — a friend of his grandparents — isn’t cut from that cloth. He likes to brawl. “Seldin looks like a member of a biker gang who plows ahead in the ring and isn’t afraid to trade punches,” wrote Mitch Abramson in the New York Daily News.
Seldin, who formerly held something called the WBC International Silver super lightweight title, is ranked #4 in his weight class by the World Boxing Council. But while his lofty WBC rating is a defective barometer of his talent, he is progressing nicely. He has won five straight inside the distance since the “no contest” which was the product of an eye injury to his opponent that came from an accidental clash of heads. In his last outing, following a nine-month layoff for rotator cuff surgery, Seldin whacked out his Puerto Rican opponent in the opening round.
Jesus Selig, who resides in Douglas, Arizona, isn’t coming all the way to Long Island to spoil the soup for those with an investment in Seldin’s future. The best that can be said about the 34-year-old Arizona import is that he’s been in with some tough guys. His three losses came at the hands of world ranked opponents, namely Jose Ramirez, Sadam Ali, and John Jackson. However, Selig hasn’t defeated a boxer with a winning record since 2009, a span of 15 fights.
Cletus Seldin is rapidly approaching the stage when he will need to test his mettle against a first class opponent. There was talk of matching him against Algieri, but the Battle of Long Island is unlikely to transpire anytime soon as Algieri and DiGuardia have had a bad falling out. One thing certain, however, is that a big money assignment awaits the Hebrew Hammer if he can get over the hump when he is finally pitted against a fighter of some repute.
The main undercard bout to Seldin-Selig is an 8-round piffle in the super lightweight division between Daniel Gonzalez (11-0-1, 5 KOs) of Woodhaven, Queens, and Carlos Velasquez (24-24-2). Velasquez, from Nicaragua, is 0-for-7 competing in U.S. rings.