Aaron “Gorilla” Green (8,0) and Raphael “The Silencer” Butler (35,12) getting some great work in at Uppercut Boxing Gym last night. Mr. Green is getting ready for his big January 25 fight, while Butler is preparing for his WBU title shot February 9. Follow MNBoxingLeague on Twitter. and MNBoxingLeague on Facebook.
February 9′s event is coming together nicely, The Main event will feature Raphael Butler (35,12) against Jeremy Williams (45,5,1) in a battle for the WBU heavyweight title! The co feature pits another of Minnesota’s heaviest hitters, Phil Williams (11,5) vs Sujjay El-Amin (12,6) for the WBU super middleweight world title… Plenty of power to close out the show in these two fights…
The undercard features a nice bantamweight Minnesota title fight between Antwan Robertson and Vicente Alfaro… Also on the undercard will be Rob Brant, Wilton Hilario, among others. It also looks like Al Sands will be fighting on this card as well.
The biggest bummer for this card is Hilario vs Muwendo being off, that could have stole the show… Boxing!!!
Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell (25,4) is set to face Josh Gutcher (18,11) April 23 at the St. Paul Armory as part of the Truax/Williams show. Minnesota Ice also has a date at Nelson Mandela Memorial Stadium in Kampala Uganda May 29. Coming off the controversy from his last fight December 4, Ice is looking to get back into the ring in a big way. Minnesota’s heaviest hitter took some time to answer a few questions from The League below.
M….Its now been more than 4 months since your fight with Butler, do you have any final thoughts from that night?
No not really, I have put that behind me. I try and learn from my mistakes but a lot of what happens in the ring is instinct, adrenalin, and or rage. Thats why your taught to follow the ref’s instructions.
M….Do you see a rematch with Butler in your future?
Abell….I don’t think so. There hasn’t been any interest from either camp since the fight and a bit of hostility still exist. I would certainly fight Butler again if the terms were right.
M…. Has it been difficult waiting and watching as the various changes have happened with your upcoming fight in Africa?
Abell….It has been difficult both mentally and physically. I have been training hard for months now and thats very tough on the body. You should only train hard for 4 weeks before a fight, so as the date keeps getting pushed back I have to continue to train. Hopefully we have it right now and I am ready for the next two fights.
M….At first it sounded as though you may face Francois Botha, do you think you may get a shot at the winner of Botha/Holyfield?
Abell…. That depends on what happens tonight in Las Vegas. If its a snoozer probably not, but it could end up very exciting and a match with Botha in Africa (should he win) might be a huge draw because he is from South Africa and he has a huge following.
M….Tony Grygelko informed us that your contracts have been signed for a fight May 29 in Africa, will you still be fighting Al Cole? If so, how much motivation will be gained from your first fight with him?
Abell….The May 29th date should be good. We just signed the contract and I have received some up front money. Money is usually a good indicator if the fight is on. Al Cole is still the opponent and I am extremely motivated to fight him again. He was a bit cocky after the last fight and I look forward to fighting 10 three minute rounds if it lasts that long.
M…. How close do you think you are to getting at some of the top guys in the heavyweight division?
Abell….Our plan is move into that category after four more fights following Africa. We expect to start challenging in the top twenty in less than a year.
M….Given the madness of December 4 and all that happened, how eager are you to get back to the business of boxing on April 23?
Abell….I am very anxious, its been too long for me. I love boxing, the crowds, and of course the money.
M….Do you know much about your opponent?
Abell….Just from clips that are available on the internet. He has fought some quality opponents and I am definitely not taking him lightly. I have learned that lesson.
M….You are one of the fighters frequently spotted at boxing events here in Minnesota, are there any MN guys you are particularly interested in following?
Abell…. I am a huge boxing fan and especially like to watch Minnesota Boxers. Its kind of a club here because its still in its early stages of development. Caleb is of course fun to watch because we train at the same facility. It has been a bit frustrating though trying to get good matches and crowds in Minnesota. I am not sure if its because we don’t really have experienced and established promoters or the fan base just isn’t here. I suspect its the former.
M….How busy of a year do you see for yourself?
Abell….We are planning on 3 or more fights after the Africa fight. Maybe 1 of those will be overseas but nothing is firm yet.
M…. Where do you hope to be a year from now in boxing?
Abell….Well assuming I keep winning, I expect to be challenging the top twenty in the heavyweight division. I have no interest in being a club fighter so I will keep looking toward the top and see how far I can go.
M….I have always been hugely impressed with your power, but in a recent interview with Tony Grygelko, he said your speed is very hard to match in a big man. What would you describe as your greatest strengths in the ring?
Abell…. I think my biggest asset as a heavyweight fighter is my athleticism, being able to move in the ring gives me a great advantage over the slower heavyweights.
2010 looks to be a fun year for Minnesota boxing. Matt Vanda and Phil Williams have big fights on the 29th of this month and February has pro boxing in each of its first two weekends. From all I have been told and read both MSC and Seconds Out Promotions plan on another very busy year of boxing. Andy “Kaos” Kolle called out Matt Vanda and Caleb Truax towards the end of 2009 and rumor has it that Kolle/Vanda could be right around the corner if all goes well. The Fistic Mystic reported that there were bids sent out to Hinckley Grand Casino for a Caleb Truax/Kenny Kost fight and Matt Vanda / Andy Kolle 2, with Vanda/Kolle 2 winning out (Fistic also reported that nothing was final on Vanda/Kolle as contracts were not done at that time). Lets hope that both of these fights stay alive or at least some pairing of these four happens. Below are some MN vs MN fights we would love to see in 2010 if things continue to go well for the fighters mentioned. Big national or tv fights rank high in our book, but this is just Minnesota possibilities and we realise some of them may not make sense to the fighters for several reasons.
Jason Litzau vs Wilton Hilario – We know this is probably a pipe dream for the time being
Andy Kolle vs Caleb Truax – This fight seems a ways off with what has been reported
Andy Kolle vs Matt Vanda – Probably the biggest fight out there in terms of money and turnout
Matt Vanda vs Caleb Truax – Another pipe dream as they share the same gym and trainer
Caleb Truax vs Phil Williams – I really like this fight
Joey Abell vs Raphael Butler – I still would like to see this fight, but dont have much hope of it happening
Gary Eyer vs Jeremy McLaurin – might be too soon for such a meeting, but I love the fight.
Brad Patraw vs Ismail Muwendo – weights are slightly different and this may also be too soon, but I love this fight.
Jeremy McLaurin vs Ismail Muwendo – same as above
Opinions expressed in this piece are the authors, I have heard countless opinions on this from those who were at the fights and those who have only seen the video. The crazy thing is, almost everyone saw this a little different than each other. Jason Timlin is going to be joining us as a writer going into the new year, MNBoxingleague.com will be going through some changes we will discuss at a later date.
The Video Is Out!
By: Jason Timlin
Abell vs Butler fight ruled a no contest is on video for the world to see and a few things can be taken from this tape. First off here is the web address you can see the fight, MinnesotaBoxing.com
Instead of dissecting this fight like one normally would I suggest you go straight to the 6:10 mark so you can see the action. The tape shows Abell landing a big left that stuns Butler and Abell charges forward as Butler falls backward to the corner eating 6 straight punches before going down. Next Butler picks himself up off the canvas to take the standing 8 count. The end of the round bell rings but it becomes obvious the referee doesn’t hear the bell. He instructs the fighters to fight. Butler drops his gloves and takes his first step toward his corner. Abell hits Butler with a right hand then looks at the referee! Next Abell measures Butler with a short right, and lands a knockout left hand. Butler falls to the canvas and it’s clear he is out before he hits the floor. At the 6:39 mark of the video the referee starts his count. He makes it all the way to the count of two before his attention is caught by Butlers corner man who has entered the ring and starts to push Minnesota Ice. It becomes clear to a viewer that referee Bobby Burnette did not know the round was over when the knockout took place. It is very unclear if Abell heard the bell. Abell did clearly hear the referee tell them to fight! The decision to call this a no contest was correct because the referee clearly gives instructions to fight because he didn’t know the round was over. I think Butler was still dazed and didn’t pay attention to the instructions given by the referee because he heard the bell and desperately wanted the minute break between rounds.
Now let us examine the second fight in the ring. I’d just like to say that I don’t think anyone should be suspended! All involved knowingly partook in an unsanctioned street fight. I don’t think the commission that oversees boxing in Minnesota needs to take any action. I didn’t see any victims in the video footage. Now that I got that out of the way let us get back to the brawl. Abell’s corner men jump into the ring and a second fight begins. At the 6:45 mark everyone involved in the second fight is in the ring. Punches are thrown and it’s hard to see who is hitting whom. Referee Bobby Burnette is trying to break up the brawl when Abell jumps into the mess. At the 6:51 mark Joey goes over Burnettes back to grab Butlers corner man O’connor. Abell appears to execute the DDT a move made famous by Jake the Snake Roberts of professional wrestling. O’connor suffered a broken ankle and it can’t be seen on the video tape, but if I had to guess it was Abell’s take down that got the job done. That is about all there is anyone needs to see to know about this fight.
I have heard talks about a rematch. How could a rematch happen? It sounded as if the whole crowd was pro Abell. I have also received accounts from some in attendance that the pro Abell crowd was drunk. A promotions team must take this in to consideration. Abell brings in a following who buys drinks at the Target Center price. These are all good things to have! None of Abell’s drunken fans stormed the ring during any of the fighting, instead they just chanted Abell’s name. Butler’s fans, where were they? Were they buying expensive beers all night? Did they even make anti Abell noise after the shots Butler took after the bell? You sure couldn’t hear them! Butler was also down in the first round! How could anyone offer the same money to Butler as they did for the first fight? Why would Butler take less money for a rematch?
Just one last point before I wrap this up. Had almost any other fighter been in the same situation as Abell was in, I think the fight continues. Sure a guy might land three punches after the bell but he probably wouldn’t knock his opponent out. During the round break the referee, and the time keeper would work something out and a decision would be made if a point should be deducted. Abell’s biggest problem was the explosive power he possesses. He put his opponent out cold, rendering him unable to fight on. Most boxers in the state will never have to worry about that happening when they fight. We would all be left to ponder if a point should have been taken away in the first round, had most anyone in the state had been fighting instead.
The Fight – December 4th 2009
By: Laura Zink
It was boxing. All of it: the promise, the grit, the terror, and the chaos. It was a night that no one saw coming.
The fight last night at the Target Center was more than anybody thought it would be… and for reasons that they never thought it could be. But it was, for everything that it was, a night of boxing that will be remembered in Minnesota boxing history forever.
Everything started out normal enough. The show began in a junior middleweight warm-up kick-started by a furious advance from a debuting fighter, Jacob Dobbe, who lost steam after the first round and was soundly out-boxed by a fighter, Saverino Garcia, who already had a pro fight under his belt.
Next, an enormous “Russian Giant,” Boris Shichporenok(6-1), grappled and socked an MMA fighter, Will Gillette (pro debut), as Gillette tried to barrel through the enormous reach, height, and 48 pound weight advantage of his competitor.
“He got 2 bowls of cereal and you only got one!” Gillette’s corner screamed during round one. “Move! Move! You got to make him work…but throw punches, too!”
And though Gillette moved, the “Giant” caught him with two lumbering head shots which sent Gillette flat on his stomach in 57 seconds of round 2. He got up and walked over to his corner, and much to Gillette’s surprise, the ref called the fight….and the crowd thunderously booed in disagreement.
“It’s time to switch the ref!” one member screamed. “The fight ain’t over!”
Then things began to get even more…unexpected.
The much awaited pro debut of decorated amateur fighter Tony Lee began with a surprise for Lee which would only be heard from his corner. There was something his trainer did not tell Lee about his opponent, Hector Orozco (1-3).
I didn’t know that he was a southpaw coming into the fight,” Lee said after the fight. “Before the bell rung, I said, ‘He’s a f**king southpaw.’ Excuse my language. I am sorry. I said, ‘Otis, he’s a southpaw.’ And he just said, ‘Use your jab and do what you do.’ Otis knew that he was a southpaw, but he doesn’t want me thinking about it. Otis wants me to fight my fight. He knows that I think too much when I fight southpaws. And before the bell rung I said, ‘He’s a southpaw.’ He said, ‘Do what you do. Do Tony. Do Tony Lee.’ And after the fight, after the bell rung, I was mad as heck at Otis, and he knew it. I said ‘You didn’t say…’ and he was like ‘Hey man! We do what we do. That’s why I didn’t tell you. It’s because we do what we do. People need to adjust to you. It is a one man show…and tonight was your night. Now you know. You can do what you want.’ It was a good fight. He was tough. He was a southpaw. I hate southpaws. He has way more experience than me. It was his 5th fight and it was my 1st fight. He beat a guy who was 6 and 0. So I did good.”
His trainer’s surprise worked to Lee’s advantage. Using his remarkable speed and reflexes, Lee soundly out-boxed Orozco, and with a countering quick flash of rights, he even got Orozco down on his knee in the beginning of the fight.
“The first round he threw a wild right hand and I dipped under and hit him with a short right and a right cross and clipped him. It was a flash knock down. I didn’t even feel it go through my arm, but it was enough to put him down. That was a highlight for tonight. The second and third round I threw a few jabs that stung his head pretty good. The fourth round I felt like my hand was hurting. He hit me with a punch that hit my glove, so my hand started dropping, so I kind of gave it to him…I didn’t pick up the steam, but, all in all I dictated the fight and I controlled it.”
And a few more fights in, Gary Eyer (6-0-1) got a surprise of his own when he entered the ring for the battle of the undefeated against Levi Cortez (3-0). Eyer admitted to having no idea that Cortez’s pressure would be so constant…and so challenging.
“I really didn’t think that he was going to be like that,” Eyer said after the bout. “I thought that he was going to be a little bit easier. I thought that I was going to be able to use my reach and that he wasn’t going to be kind of awkward a little bit…I didn’t use all my arsenal…kinda made it hard. He’s good but he was holding a lot. Every time I got close to him, he grabbed me…and I was just trying to score little points, you know, to show that I was doing my best to try to win.”
And did Eyer ever have to work for it. The first two rounds were filled will looping overhand rights from Cortez and barreling tangles which tied Eyer up.
“I was waiting for him to get tired,” Eyer said. “That’s what I thought. I thought that he was going to get tired in a 6 round fight. I thought, ‘he’s just gonna get tired eventually and then I’ll get him.’”
But Cortez didn’t get tired, so Eyer had to use sheer force of will to get through the pressure and the tangles so he could set up and unleash some of his shots. He found his chance in round 3 and shot a left hook through the furious advance of Cortez which sent Cortez to the canvas. But Cortez was not the kind of fighter who would let one knock down count him out, and as Eyer went in for the kill, Cortez tossed overhand shots and barreled in like a torpedo sending the two tumbling to the canvas and wrestling on the floor.
“The left hook, I don’t know how that one happened,” Eyer commented about the first knockdown. “I just threw a hook and it landed good.”
But round 4 was clearly a struggle. Cortez landed a big 1,2 at the beginning of the round which sent Eyer’s head flying back.
“Dance, Gary! Dance!” trainer, Chuck Horton, screamed from Eyer’s corner.
And as Eyer moved, he began to try to time Cortez, but the consistent furious advance sent the timing into a time warp, stifling blows before they could even register. But then, Eyer landed again. In round 5, Eyer gave Cortez a taste of his own overhand right, sending Cortez to the canvas again.
“The second one, I was just like, ‘Ok. I’m not moving my head. I am not fighting as good as I should. This is gonna suck,’ And I just kinda said, ‘Eff it,’ and I said, ‘I’m just gonna time his overhand right with one of my overhand rights and I’m gonna get him.’ And…thank God. And you know, the first time I got him…it took forever to get back in there. It was like waiting, waiting, waiting. I woulda had him out….The second one, I definitely felt, yeah, that ‘you could’ve went down there.’ The first one? I don’t know how that happened.”
And for the sixth round, Cortez, bleeding from a split upper lip and a broken nose, and Eyer, bleeding from the mouth, clashed again and socked it out, Cortez with his overhands and tangling, and Eyer now fighting his way into and out of every advance. With the scent of blood in the air both fighters slammed at each other at 10 seconds out, pounding each other on the ropes until the final bell. And when the unanimous decision was called in his favor, Eyer, let out a sigh of relief, not due to the decision, but because he knew that he had just fought the hardest won fight in his entire career.
“This fight was hard and I just…I’m definitely not cocky but, I will just say that it definitely humbled me,” Eyer commented. “Um…I’m just gonna train harder, and uh…I wouldn’t mind fighting him again.”
“But don’t tell him that I will be throwing two or three punch combos at him the whole time…instead of just one shot….don’t tell him that,” Eyer joked. “I know how to fight him now.”
And then, after the joy and the glory and the fights rolled on, the crowd got a shock that few predicted or were even prepared for. When fans bought tickets to this fight, surely they did not expect to see the end of an era. But in the co-main event, it happened…and all due to the furious hands of Larry “The Razor” Sharpe (23-7). After a seven year pro boxing career, 29 professional fights, and a star-power which inspired a new era in Duluth boxing, Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters retired from boxing after being knocked down and then knocked out in 56 seconds of round one.
“I didn’t think that it was going to happen that fast,” Sharpe said after the fight. “In my mind I expected that I would bang to the body and apply the pressure and I would stop in about the fourth…that was my game plan. I thought that after I went to the body for the first few rounds that his hands would come down and I’d land some clean up top.”
“I knew that he was a good boxer so I planned to come forward and apply pressure,” Sharpe continued. “I’ve gone 10, 12 rounds the last few years, so going 8 rounds, I wasn’t worried about my gas tank. I just put the gas on early and my plan was actually to go to the body more early on, but he stood in front of me a lot longer than I thought he was gonna and he was there for me to hit so…in training I was practicing going up with my shots because I knew he was a taller fighter…and they were landing. They were landing, and I could tell that he was hurt so I just went in for the kill.”
And if that weren’t enough shock for the fans to stomach, the main event threw everyone into a state of complete and utter confusion. In the first heavyweight Minnesota State Title fight in 32 years, the fight was ruled out after round 1 due to disqualification. (It was changed to No Contest) After Raphael Butler got soundly rocked by Joey Abell in round one, something truly terrible happened. Just as Butler was pulling away from Abell and dropping his hands at the end of the round, Abell moved in and threw an uppercut and two shots to the head which made Butler go stiff and fall backwards onto the canvas. Dan O’Conner leaped into the ring and began pushing Abell and screaming at him. Ron Lyke jumped into the ring to defend his fighter as cornermen from all sides began storming the ring. Abell, stunned, did his best to try and break up the pile of battling cornermen. And Butler, as he began to awake from the knockout, lifted his head to see the dogpile tumbling out of control at his feet as he still lay on the canvas. And as everyone fell over each other and the fight began to peter out, it became clear that Abell didn’t know that he threw those final devastating punches after the bell. As Butler was getting up, Abell could be seen in his corner mouthing, ‘I didn’t hear it. I didn’t hear it.’ Butler, realizing that Abell clearly did not intend to hit him after the bell, took the mike and put his arm around Joey and telling the crowd, “It was an accident. We are going to do it again.” And the crowd, shocked by the events that had just taken place, resolutely booed and even broke out into a couple of fights of their own. But after the earthquake and the aftershocks in the crowd subsided, almost everyone, from the fans, to the fighters, to the commissioners, and even the employees at the Target Center stood there for a moment with mouths agape, dumbstruck at the events which has just transpired. It was a fight finish which was truly surreal.
But for all that last night was, the fight at the Target Center will not soon be forgotten. For many in attendance last night, that fight showed boxing for what it is: blood and guts. Equally critical in all its circumstances, be they high or be they low, boxing shows us what life looks like when it is stripped down to its most crucial characteristics. Be it greatest glory, the toughest challenge, the deepest upset, or the most unpredictable chaos, boxing makes us focus on life’s biggest moments, and in the most brutal detail, it shows us the things we want to see, the things we don’t…and the things that we just can’t look away from. And that fight at the Target Center last night had it all.
Last night belonged to Gary “Stone Cold” Eyer and Levi “The Shark” Cortes. Their clash was definitely fight of the night and to many observers fight of the year. Dan “The Common Man” Cole labeled it fight of the year directly after the action. The heavyweight battle we had been waiting for turned into mayhem in the ring. Confusion rained as the first round came to close and Joey Abell landed a vicious combo to Butlers head after the round had ended, causing an all out brawl in the ring between corner men and others, even spilling into the stands. Just prior to this fight Zach Walters was taken down by a buzz saw in Larry Sharpe, and after it was over Walters and his team informed us he would be retiring from the sport. Below is a quick rundown of last nights action. Laura Zink will have a full report with comments from Larry Sharpe, Gary Eyer, Tony Lee and more.
Saverino Garciavs Jacob Dobbe – (UD 40,36/40,36/39,37 Garcia) – Jacob Dobbe started the fight off with heavy pressure and big shots, stalking Garcia around the ring. The effort Dobbe put into that first round seemed to have drained him for the remaining three. Garcia used superior boxing skill to pick apart Dobbe for the rest of the fight.
William Gillette vs Boris- (TKO 57 seconds of 2nd, Boris) – Gillette won the first round in my opinion and then tasted The Russian Giants power in the second. To some it seemed like a quick stoppage, and to me it seemed that maybe Gillette didn’t let the ref know he was ready to continue after being knocked down two times.
Tony Leevs Hector Orozco – (UD 39,36/40,35/39,36 Lee) – Lee had Orozco down in the first round. He pretty much put on a boxing lesson for 3 rounds of 4. As usual Orozco was very game and continued to come forward for much of the fight. But the 4th round aside, Lee worked every legal portion of Orozco’s body. Very impressive pro debut for Lee. Laura Zink was able to catch up with Lee after the fight and will have his comments with her report later today.
Dave Petersonvs Silas Ortley – (TKO 1:22 of 4thround Dave) – Peterson had Ortley down 3 or 4 times in this fight, all from body blows. At one point Orley had to unload his cookies in the middle of the ring. Ortely started the fight throwing hard but very wide shots, and against a skilled fighter like Peterson it just left his body wide open. This was definitely not a pretty fight, but it was all Peterson in my opinion.
Gary Eyervs Levi Cortes – (UD 58,54/57,55/57,56 Eyer) – Holy Cow! I said this would be the fight of the night, and it really lived up to that billing. Cortes started the first round like a man possessed. His relentless attack on Eyer left many wondering if if Eyer would make it out on his feet. Turns out we have another Minnesota fighter with a steel chin. Levi Cortes unloaded some bombs square on Eyers face but even as some seemed to stun Eyer they did not hinder his fight. Eyer put Cortes on the mat in the 3rd and 5th rounds and that probably was the difference in this fight. While Cortes was always on the attack and landing some bombs, Eyer seemed to land more punches and did a good job of working the body. I had Gary winning 4 rounds to 2, but according to the judges scores those two knock downs decided the winner. Laura Zink talked with Eyer after the fight and will include that with her report later today.
Ronnie Peterson vs Tomi Archambault- (Ronnie retired on stool after second round on advice of dr, Archambault) – Archambault got his revenge and his W back in this one. To be honest it never seemed like Peterson was in the fight. I was told that the shoulder that Peterson had surgically repaired last year was re injured and on the Dr’s advice Peterson did not come out for the third round.
Zach Walters vs Larry Sharpe - (TKO 57 seconds of 1rst round, Sharpe) – Sharpe told me prior to this fight he had a lot more pop at 170lbs and he showed that in this short fight. The bell rang and he just overwhelmed Walters with huge punches, putting Walters down two times before the fight was called. After the fight we were told that Jungle Boy would be retiring from the sport of boxing. Walters has as much going on outside of boxing and he will now focus on that. We will have more on Zach Walters later in the week. Laura Zink was able to get some comments from Larry Sharpe after the fight and will include in her report later today.
Joey Abell vs Raphael Butler- (Joey DQed for Knocking Butler out after the bell 1rstround) – Has been changed to a No Contest. – The first round had both fighters stunning the other with heavy shots, but the real action came after the bell. It is being reported that Abell and the ref did not hear the closing bell, and Joey Abell threw a huge combo on Butlers head, Knocking him out after the round had finished and Butler was not defending himself. This caused an initial ruling of DQ but later changed to no contest. It also cause something straight out of professional wrestling. Before the dust settled the ring was full with corner men and others in an all out brawl. Some were trying to stop the fighting while some were throwing down. The madness in the ring left one or two fights outside of the ring and in the crowd as supporters for Butler and Abell clashed.
Are you ready for some bombs? Last night was like walking through a land of giants. The Russian Giant, Boris, came in at 280lbs, his new opponent William Gillette came in at 232. The main event guys Joey Abell and Raphael Butler came in at a combined weight of 500lbs. These four heavies make for 1000 pounds of fun. We posted all the weights from last night in our prior post. Below are some pictures and a few quotes from the combatants.
Raphael Butler – “I can’t believe so many people are picking Joey, they will see tomorrow.”
A member from team Joey Abell – “Joey is focused on this fight, his actions will speak for him.”
Zach “Jungle Boy’ Walters – “We are going to have some fun.”
Levi “The Shark” Cortes – “I always attack just like a shark.”
Tony Lee – “Its awesome to start my career in the Target Center. I’m going to live it up. The pro game offers me more time to set up my punches. I’m just coming to fight.”
I also asked “Golden” Caleb Truax for his thoughts on tonight’s huge show.
Truax – “Its cool to see the best heavies go, its been a while since that’s happened. Joey has looked great in training. I think Joey will take him into the later rounds, then take him out.”
Tony Grygelko – “I’m here to support Minnesota boxing.”
“I guarantee it wont go 10 rounds. I will embarrass Joey so bad he never wants to fight me again. I want to make him quit.” Raphael Butler
I was able to talk with Raphael “The Silencer” Butler last night, and man does he sound ready. I really get the feeling he is more motivated than he has ever been in his career, actually he told me so. We talked about his future goals and his new motivation, his daughter. He also shared that his friendship with Abell should actually make this an even more entertaining fight. Who wants to get beat by a buddy? Butler said some of the greatest fights have come between friends. After talking with Butler, there is no doubt, he has no plans of letting Abell have that one-up. Below is our conversation.
Butler….I found out early on that I was too competitive for team sports. I was always yelling and getting mad. Boxing is the perfect sport for me. My mistake is my mistake, you only have yourself in the ring.
M….Have you always trained under Dan O’Connor?
Butler….Always, he taught me how to fight. I was about 15 when I started the amateurs and turned pro in June of 2004 when I was 20.
M….What has been your biggest moment in boxing to this point?
Butler….Winning the 2004 Golden Glove tournament. That sparked me going pro. It was the first tournament I took seriously. I learned that if I put my all into something nothing could stop me. Before, I had always been told I couldn’t do anything.
M….Where do you see yourself next year at this time?
Butler….If things go to plan, I will be back to where I was a year ago, fighting top 10 guys. I have always felt that I have the talent, but now I also have the drive. The birth of my daughter has given me a new outlook, and more motivation.
M….In one of your radio interviews leading up to this fight I heard you mention that you would like to face Chris Arreola. Any reasons as to why you want to fight him?
Butler….He is just not what boxing is about. He is what those who don’t know boxing think it is. He has a loud mouth and doesn’t respect the sport. I would like to take care of that. The great fighters I have worked with are humble and respectful.
M….How would you describe Joey Abell as a fighter?
Butler….Joey is a decent fighter, he does a good job. I think Joey has a lot to learn. I don’t believe Joey is on my level and I am getting sick of hearing people compare us, I have fought top guys and worked with fighters like Klitschko among others.
M….Do you think Abell possesses world class power?
Butler….He has huge power, maybe more natural power then me. I have only been hit harder by a couple guys, one being klitschko.
M….How would you describe yourself?
Butler….Always learning, I am like a sponge in camp. I take something new from every camp I’m in. I am a well schooled fighter who knows how to adjust once the fight starts.
M….Do you feel like you want this win more than Abell?
Butler….Well, from where I stand he just seems almost like he doesn’t care. I care, I have to do this. Joey has never been where I have, and I have to get back there.
M….What made now the right time for this fight to finally happen?
Butler….We are both at a point in our careers where we need to get things going. A win against the other can do that. I want to shut down all the talk comparing the two of us.
M….Do you have any predictions?
Butler….I guarantee it wont go 10 rounds. I will embarrass Joey so bad he never wants to fight me again. I want to make him quit. I like Joey and we are friends, but this is a sport and I think you want to beat your friends more than any other. You don’t want to have losing to them hanging over your head.
I would like to thank Raphael Butler for taking the time so close to his big showdown to talk with us. Raphael Butler vs Joey Abell, this Friday night at The Target Center.
People are taking notice of this fun card because of all the heavyweight fireworks that should happen. Joey Abell (25,4) vs Raphael Butler (34,8) is sure to please. But the undercard is also loaded with well matched fights that could steal the show. We will be going through some of these match-ups throughout this week leading up to Friday night’s fireworks. We also plan to have some interviews with the contestants of this highly anticipated event. (We had an interview lined up with Zach Walters by Laura Zink, but Walters decided he wanted his actions in the ring to do the talking.) Below is one of the fights that could steal the show.
Gary “Stone Cold” Eyer (6,0,1) is looking to silence some of his critics. While having an undefeated record there are those that have said he has not fought anybody yet. His biggest wins have come against Scott Robinson, he did that in back to back fights. Eyer has not yet faced and opponent with a winning record, this Friday he gets his chance against fellow undeated fighter, Levi Cortes (3,0). For Cortes’s part, he has faced the stiffer of competition in his three fights.
I have had the pleasure of watching most of Eyer’s fights while only catching Levi Cortes’s most recent bout. What I have been told and saw for myself about Cortes, is that he is one tough customer. The time I did see Levi in action, he was non stop in your face and throwing with bad intentions on almost every exchange. After that fight I turned to Laura Zink and told her I cant wait to see this guy again. December 4th I get my wish, and its against another fighter that is must see for me.
Gary Eyer has more slickness to his game than his opponent, but is not afraid to stand in front and pick his guy apart. Eyer has some of the sweetest chopping body shots in the state and I think they will be on full display on Minnesota’s greatest stage. The styles of these two combatants make for sure entertainment in the ring when they square off. Look for Cortes to be on the attack from start to finish while Eyer uses his superior boxing skills to get angles and chop down his attacking foe. This is my pick to be fight of the night, don’t be surprised to see 6 full rounds of action.