First off, I want to give credit where credit is due. MSC, RDS company, and Hinckley Grand Casino held what has to be one of the years best cards. I want to specifically congratulate Cory Rapacz on the best matched card of the year in my opinion, there was only one fight where the judges were not needed. All but two fights were close in my mind.
This night belonged to Matt Vanda, he is a Minnesota boxing superstar. There is just something about Skeletor/The Predator that feels almost bigger than the fights. His walk to the ring with loud heavy music blaring is really something to be seen in person. Once that first bell rang, this fight pretty much belonged to the teacher. Vanda stalked, landed, joked, taunted, and defended with the aggression and control of guy who knew he was just too much for the less experienced foe.
Vanda took my keys to the fight and threw them out the window. Guess there is a reason he has a MUCH greater boxing mind in his corner, Ron Lyke. Vanda acted and looked to be the stronger man. He landed the much more meaningful punches and was pressing and pushing Williams around the ring with what looked to me to be EASE. This fight was pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought it would be. During the 8th round Vandas corner was yelling “He can’t hurt you”. Phil Williams just looked like he never got started. The Drill maybe let two or three of his bombs fly in this fight, and against a guy with as much experience and understanding of the ring as Matt Vanda, that’s just never going to work for somebody who’s game depends on power. As a guy who sat ringside for Williams fight against Echols, I was baffalled and frustrated at the way The Drill approached this one. Matt Vanda deserves credit for how he outclassed Williams from start to finish. In what to me was a big surprise, the judges scored this a split decision, thankfully the right guy won. (SD, 97,93/ 96,95/ 97,94/ Matt Vanda winner) After the fight I started to ask Phil Williams why he never let his hands go? Before I got the words out of my mouth, Williams said “I know I should have let my hands go”.
The co main event was Wilton Hilario vs Leon Bobo and this one had no chance of being pretty. Hilario came to fight, but you need two to tango. Bobo was fast and allusive, but that is pretty much it. I give credit to Hilario for doing all he could to make it a fight and watchable for the fans. (UD, 78,74/ 78,74/ 79,73/ Wilton Hilario winner)
Lamar Harris vs Cerresso Fort was the fight of the night. Well, the fight of the night if you love toe to toe slug fests, and I do. You could see the bad blood Jesse Kelley of MinnesotaBoxing.com had reported yesterday. These guys were throwing home run swings from the start. Both Harris and Fort had the other hurt at several points. After this fight there should be no question about the chins of either of these guys. Handling the shots of Harris should leave no question that Fort is strongly in the mix a middle. (UD, 59,56/ 58,54/ 59,55/ Cerresso Fort winner)
Javontae Starks vs Dan Copp was pretty much what all expected it to be, a great debut for Starks. The first round was mostly just testing out the waters. Round two was ended by the vicious body blows Starks was known for as an amateur. (TKO 1:29 of the second, Javontae Starks winner)
The night started with a with a pretty exciting fight. Tim Taggart vs Sam Morales was a slug fest, not much in the way of defense. (MD, 38,38/ 38,38/ 39,37/ last judge scoring for Taggart)
Also on the card was Zach Schumach vs Don Tierney (MD, 38,38/ 39,38/ 39,37/ Zach Schumach winner)
Stay tuned for Laura Zink’s fight report and comments from Vanda and Williams.