Denton Daley Wins Belt at Right to Play: Boxing Gala Charity
Lou Eisen / March 6, 2013 - 11:25am
On March 4 at the posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto, a professional boxing card was staged in order to benefit one of the most worthwhile charities in the world today, Right To Play. This was the second annual professional pugilistic party staged by Bullion Boxing Promotions Inc. The Right To Play charity is, "committed to ensuring youth in developing countries are offered the opportunity to gain critical life skills that can only be learned through sports and physical activity. This event demonstrates the commitment of the mining and investment communities to support the positive development of the communities in which they operate."
Several boxing celebrities were present at the event to the delight of the sold-out crowd. Former junior-welterweight world champion Irish Micky Ward was there and received many warm rounds of applause from an appreciative audience. Ward discussed with Fight Network how extremely pleased he was that his close friend, the late Arturo Gatti was chosen for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this coming June in Canastota, New York.
One of the other boxing stars in attendance is considered to be boxing royalty is one everyone's pound for pound list as one of the greatest fighters ever to have lived. I am speaking of course about "The Professor", the legendary Azumah Nelson, from Accra, Ghana. Nelson held the WBC featherweight title for many years. Then he held the WBC super featherweight title. He also went on to convincingly win the WBC and IBF lightweight world titles. It is worth mentioning that Nelson was considered the ONLY world champion in each weight class, such was his dominance and prestige. This was Nelson's second consecutive year at this event and he told the Fight Network that he was very pleased to be back in Canada because Canada has always been generous to his country and to his charity, set up in Ghana to help children get a head start in that country. Ghana is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Also in attendance was Canada's all-time greatest prizefighter and athlete, the legendary George Chuvalo. Chuvalo is always introduced to each crowd he meets as never having been knocked down in 93 fights. This is indeed true but it only tells a fraction of his story. George has one of the highest knockout percentages in heavyweight history. In fact, Chuvalo has more knockouts (64) than most heavyweights have had fights! It can be said without even the slightest hint of exaggeration that the audience had eyes mostly for Chuvalo at this worthy event.
On Thursday, March 7, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will be presenting Chuvalo with the keys to the city of Toronto. This is one of many fitting tributes to Canada's greatest elite athlete who represented both his city and country with great pride and even greater success.
Canada's Troy Ross was also present at the event. Ross is ranked in the top three in the cruiserweight rankings by all of boxing's sanctioning bodies. It is somewhat ironic but at the same time fitting that while Ross was appearing at the charity event, IBF officials in New Jersey were being arrested and charged by the FBI for fixing fights. For those of you who have followed Ross's storied career, he has twice won the IBF cruiserweight world title, only to have it stolen from him on each occasion by overt and shameless chicanery on the part of IBF officials.
The night got off to a great start with the first fight of the evening, which was an action packed fight. The slick boxing Jeremy Abbott (3-3, KO2) took on power punching Junmar Emon (4-1, KO1). Emon was hoping to redeem himself after losing a close and controversial decision to Brandon Cook in his last fight. Emon dropped Abbott in the very first round with a clean right hook. Abbott quickly rose from the canvas and managed to survive the round. The fight was fought at a torrid pace. Emon landed the harder punches. Abbott proved to be very game and deserves credit for taking some of the most vicious shots of the evening while still staying on his feet and fighting back. Emon has become a headhunter in the ring. He basically walks straight in and tries to knock out his opponent with each punch he throws. He rarely sets up his punches with jabs, which would make his job much easier for him. He also doesn't seem to pace himself much as he was gulping air midway through the second round.
Abbott displayed fine boxing skills throughout but was simply unable to match Emon in the power department. Emon also seemed to be impervious to Abbott's punches, which bounced off of him like rain off a barbecue. Abbott would have been better served to stay on the outside while utilizing his superior jab and hand speed to better effect. If Emon is able to add some much needed boxing technique to his ammo arsenal, he will indeed be a fighter to watch in the coming years. Emon was awarded a split decision victory. Abbott has obvious talent but needs to utilize his great boxing skills and forget about trading shots with big clouters like Emon. The Fight Network had Abbott ahead by one point at the end of the match.
The next fight of the evening took place in the cruiserweight division. Toronto's Chukwunoso Okafor (3-0-1, KO1) by way of Nigeria, lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Mexico's Benito Quiroz (7-2, KO7). This fight was nothing short of an embarrassment. Okafor deserved to have his pay for the evening withheld. His non-performance was an absolute disgrace to all those in attendance and to his opponent. At no time during each of the four rounds did Okafor approach anything that could be considered an effort during the fight. He was essentially an inert paid punching bag. He stood on the ropes and did not move while Quiroz hardly broke a sweat while pounding him into oblivion.
Okafor announced prior to the fight that he had not even trained for the bout. Okafor's horrid performance, or lack thereof, once again raises the question of which criteria, if any, does the Ontario Boxing Commission use to license professional prizefighters? It is a safe bet that whatever their criteria might be, someone was asleep on the job when Okafors license application came across their desk.
Montreal's Ghislain Maduma (12-0, KO8) took on Mexican Josafat Perez (13-4-1, KO8) in the evening's third bout. This bout was for the WBC Continental Americas lightweight title. In plain English, continental titles are the method used by the WBC to extort money from countries other than the USA and Mexico. This was a great fight from the first bell to the last punch. Maduma dropped Perez in the opening round but Perez deserves a lot of praise for almost lasting the full ten rounds with a deadly puncher like Maduma. Perez was handicapped almost from the start when a head butt during the first round opened up a nasty gash on his forehead, precisely between his eyes. The blood ran down into his eyes and covered his entire face like a mask yet he still fought like a warrior in every round. His vision was greatly limited due to the torrent of blood from the cut that seeped into his eyes throughout the bout. His corner did a great job of closing the cut after each round but then it didn't take much to get the claret to start flowing down his face again like a river flooding it's embankments.
Maduma also suffered a nasty cut from the same head butt that cut Perez, in the first round. The cut was in the corner of his right eye and bled sporadically throughout the fight. Maduma's corner did a good job of making the cut a non-factor in the fight. Maduma was just too strong and too quick for Perez, managing to move him with every power shot he landed. Perez endured many hellacious two-fisted flurries to the head in just about every round of the fight. There were half a dozen times during this spirited scrap when Perez looked to be headed to the canvas. It was obvious to all that from the 6th round on, the only chance Perez had of pulling out a victory was by way of knockout and that was simply not going to happen for him. Perez did a good job of sliding with a lot of the shots he took and deflecting many others with his shoulders and mitts. Yet, he did absorb a huge amount of punishment during the bout. Hs corner gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him continue to come out for each round.
In spite of Perez's desire to continue against overwhelming odds, it had to have been readily apparent to Perez's corner that their fighter stood virtually no chance of winning the fight after round 6. The question arises then, why let their guy continue to take such a beating? Especially when he is still very young with a full career in front of him. There comes a time when the corner must intervene on behalf of their fighter especially when their fighter has no chance of winning and is continuing to take a sustained beating. Perez's corner dropped the ball big time in that respect.
The fight ended suddenly in the 10th round when Maduma dropped Perez with a vicious body shot. Perez had a delayed reaction to the punch. He took a step back and then took a knee. He got up and signaled to the referee that he had indeed had enough. His corner should have done that for him at least three rounds prior to the stoppage.
The headline fight of the evening featured the unbeaten and always dangerous Denton Daley (8-0, KO5) against American Richard Hall (30-11, KO28) for the NABF cruiserweight title. Hall was introduced as a former world champion but a quick look at his record tells the real truth concerning his world title claims. On December 5th, 1998, Hall knocked out Anthony Bigeni in three rounds for the lightly regarded interim WBA World light heavyweight title. Now, Hall deserves some measure of credit however. He did challenge the great Roy Jones Jr. for the WBA/WBC/IBF cruiserweight world title and lasted until round 11 before succumbing to a knockout defeat. Any fighter who managed to go that far with a prime Roy Jones Jr. is fully deserving of respect.
Hall was chosen as an opponent for the young and learning Daley for another reason altogether. He has lost 5 of his last 6 fights and is at least a decade past his best before date. In other words, although skilled he possessed virtually no threat to Daley at all. This was a thoroughly one-sided affair with Daley using Hall's head and body for heavy bag practice. Daley had very little trouble finding Hall who stood directly in front of him at all times. Hall, at 6'3" towered over Daley but chose to not use his decided height advantage to help create some distance between Daley and himself.
There is no doubt that Daley has quick hands and packs a huge punch with both fists. He seems to have one particular style of fighting, which is simply to wade in on a straight line toward his opponents and simply let his hands go. So far in his career, Daley has fought guys with limited skill who have unwisely decided to stand there in the pocket and trade with him, which is to Daley's advantage of course. Daley needs to learn how to use the entire ring to his advantage during a fight. He would be well served to learn how to effectively cut off the ring, trapping his hapless opponents in the corner, thereby forcing them to trade shots with him.
Daley likes to showboat when he has his opponents hurt. That is not to everyone's taste. There is an old saying in boxing that states when you have your guy hurt, then get him out of their immediately. Daley likes to let his foes hang around a bit when he has them hurt so he can show off a bit more. The downside to that strategy of course is sooner or later one of those guys will come back and knock you out. Admittedly It seems somehow disingenuous to criticize a fighter who won all ten rounds of a fight against an experienced opponent.
Yes, Daley did look outstanding against Hall who was basically a shot fighter hanging on for one more small payday. Still one can't help but wonder how good Daley can be eventually if he continues to learn his craft well. Daley would be better served to learn how to jab his way in and to throw all of his power shots off of his jab. Daley has made it a habit to stop and admire his punches during the course of a fight. Against a skilled counter puncher, that will cost him big time. A top ranked fighter will slip his shot and then drop him with a quick counter punch. Let's hope Daley corrects this flaw on his own before somebody does it for him. Daley should also be using his short stature to his advantage by fighting out of a crouch and thereby giving his foes an even smaller target to aim at.
For a prizefighter with only nine professional fights, Daley is extremely impressive to say the least. He has yet to lose but questions still remain regarding his ring style and technique. With only 9 bouts under his belt, he does however still have a lot to learn about the finer points of the game. There will come a day, during his career, as it surely does for every young prospect with heavy hands, when he lands his knockout punch on a skilled and seasoned fighter and that fighter takes the shot very well and fires back with equal or greater power. How Daley reacts in that moment will decide the rest of his boxing career. All we can do is wait and see.