Story by Lindy Lindell, Photo gallery credit, Robert Ryder
It’s better to be lucky than good. There was no main event. There were no real “names” on the card last Saturday night on February 23 at the Dearborn Civic Center. The best matchmakers Kenny Moore and Aaron Rodriguez could come up with for an opponent for the one true prospect slated to box, the 6-0 junior-middleweight Joseph Bonas, was an 0-3 boxer, about whom the less said, the better. Bonas told me after the card was over that he would likely be fighting in Mexico in March, where he notched his last two wins.
There were 11 scheduled fights and two other boxers without dance partners. An artistic disaster looked imminent, as only five bouts made it to start time. The two participants of a woman’s match featuring the long-inactive Rolonda Andrews came to nothing in a squabble about weight. The talented Detroiter Anthony Flagg was also denied to box for undisclosed reasons.
But whaddya know? Turned out pretty damn good and there was a rarity in recent Detroit-area boxing–a standing room only crowd got into it from the first bell and there wasn’t a dog of a fight in the lot. Though there were only five fights, all participants came to fight and only one ended in what might have been called a blowout:
Saginaw’s Ernesto Garza, always a crowd-pleasing, action fighter, blew away Jeno Tonte in the first of a scheduled six in a featherweight fight in the evening’s finale and everyone went home happy. Garza, 30, 10-3, isn’t going anywhere, but who cares? He puts forth with full effort in each of his bouts and he is what good, old-fashioned club-fighting is all about.
The evening began with the much-delayed return to the ring by Robert O’Quinn, 140. The older brother of the more-active Jarico, Robert finally cleared himself of managerial/promotion problems and won easily enough in four, but he had in front of him an opponent, Charles Johnson, who is shifty and who presents a hard-to-hit target. The other six-rounder involved the experienced James Gordon Smith, the 5’1″ bantamweight Detroiter who has changed his swarming style to more of that of a boxer. The 12-2 Smith bested a durable Johnathan Lecona by 58-56 (twice) and 59-55. Smith had to work hard all the way against the stubborn Mexico City-based Lecona, 19-23.
In the other two fours, Juan Nobles, Toledo, was upset by a determined Misael Reyes of Kansas City in a featherweight scrap, 39-37 on all three cards. Reyes won his first pro bout after two losses. And in still another featherweight bout Basil Ali Nasser, 3-0, Dearborn Heights, won all four rounds in his contest with Hannibal, Missouri’s Donnie Reeves, but as was the order of the evening, nothing was given and all the winners had to earn their victories.
Promoter Vi Tran has announced another show for May 18, and given the rousing turnout in Dearborn, I would wager dollars to donuts that this show will be there as well.