Good evening from Baltimore. Chip Mitchell and Robert Uzzell reporting from Du Burns Arena for the Shabazz Brotherz & Shawstyle Productions card.
In attendance were some notables: Former World champion boxer Zabdiel “Zab” Judah, current Baltimore mayor Stephanie “Rawlings” Blake, former mayor Sheila Dixon, television personality Ashley T. Moore, Philadelphia-area promoter/trainer and actor from the movie “Creed“-Joey Eye, former middleweight champion Keith Holmes, and Hasim Rahman who fought an exhibition match.
Singer Scolla Dinero (Dru Hill) sang the national anthem.
In the main event, Sharif Rahman made his pro debut at middleweight by scoring a first-round TKO over Alex Ashbury. Rahman took his time and knocked Ashbury down multiple times as he found little resistance.
Ashbury is winless in his four-fight career. Afterwards there was a celebration as Rahman family and friends partied in the ring with rap artist Young Goldie.
Cruiserweight Travis “Seveer” Reeves has a KO of the Year candidate earlier this year. He now has two as he nearly decapitated Anthony “The Bull” Caputo Smith in the opener.
Reeves dropped Smith early in the round and Smith got up and shook it off. However, moments later Smith connect on a big right that put Smith down hard. Fight over!
Reeves improves to 11-2-1 (5 KOs). Smith falls to 15-7.
Stephon Morris made his professional debut a successful one as he walked Cassanova Brooks into a big overhand right counterpunch to end it in two.
The first round didn’t have much action and could have gone to the underdog Brooks, who drops to 0-2.
Malik “The Iceman” Hawkins went the distance for the first time to earn a four-round unanimous decision victory over Jose Valderrama in a welterweight bout.
This was arguable the most entertaining fight of the night as both fighters threw consistently while looking to land punches. career, winning a four-round unanimous decision over Jose Valderrama of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Hawkins landed more often with some decent counters and solid combinations. There are a few flaws I’d like to see him work on defensively and with keeping the proper distance.
There were also flashes of brilliance from Hawkins as he threw what appears to be a triple left hook, a rest, and then a double left hook followed by a right. You don’t see many people double and triple up on the hooks. I was impressed.
Scores were 40-36 (twice) and 39-37. I’m not sure which round the judge gave Valderrama. Hawkins moves to 5-0 (4 KOs). Valderrama drops to 4-12.
Super middleweight Devin Butcher of Baltimore earned a fourth round TKO over Darryl Watkins of Temple Hills, MD in an extremely awkward match.
Watkins movement and awkward angles gave Butcher fits as he tried to cut the ring off in the first three rounds. He got through in the fourth and dropped Watkins as he tried a back-door escape. Near the end of the fourth, Butcher dropped Watkins again.
It could be argued that the fight should’ve been stopped between knockdowns as Watkins took some big shots. The referee allowed the fight to continue. Watkins recovered to an extent, but then the referee, (with help from the commission), ended it when Watkins was dropped.
The problem I have is that Watkins was up and ready to finish after the second knockdown. He was in much worse shape after the first knockdown. If you don’t stop the fight at that point, (after the first knockdown), then give the man his dignity and let him finish the final ten seconds of the fight. The Martland Boxing Commission always errs on the side of safety but in this case I thought they were off. The referee in this fight had an off night in my opinion.
Butcher moves to 5-0. Watkins goes to 0-2.
The second fight saw highly reputed amateur Jerome Featherstone take on his namesake Jerome Singletary.
Featherstone for most of the fight walked forward towards Singletary. Singletary had his moments as he scored counter-shots against the oncoming rush.
Featherstone remained in control throughly the four round affair and won a unanimous decision on all cards.
Featherstone’s corner implored for him to throw combinations as Jerome seemed a bit gun shy throughout the bout.
It’s a learning curve as its only Featherstone’s second pro bout. He moves to 2-0. Singletary who looked absolutely terrified the second he entered the ring, falls to 0-1.
In the first bout of the evening, Cody Crowley made short work out of Kevin Cooper. The southpaw Crowley threw a right hook after some slapping lefts early in the round that buzzed Cooper.
As Cooper backtracked and Crowley moved in, a short shot by Crowley floored Cooper. A follow up punch landed as Cooper was down, but no foul was called.
The end came shortly thereafter as another short right hurt Cooper and a follow up dropped him again.
Cooper got up and was game but was dropped again a short time later. Cooper was ready to continue, but the referee saw enough and halted the bout at 2:36 of round one.
Crowley moves to 6-0 (4 KOs). Coop drops to 1-5.