Starstruck Boxing – October 23 2009 – Fight Report
By: Laura Zink
The Shooting Star Casino Event Center held a night of boxing last Friday which will not soon be forgotten by fans, fighters, and sports writers. It was a night of pro debuts from well-awaited amateurs, slug fests between 200 pound women, knock out victories for fan favorites who crowds want to see add another win to their records, knock out finishes which sent fighters out of the ring on stretchers, and to top it all off, a title fight victory which hailed in a new Minnesota Bantamweight champion…and that champion was Antwan “Lil Superman” Robertson.
The win did not come without a considerable fight from Patraw. From beginning to end, the bout was filled with attacks and counter-attacks from both fighters, each one clearly leaving everything that they had in the ring. But unlike last time that we saw Patraw and Robertson match up, this time we saw a much more aggressive and slick Robertson, an advantage which gave him the win in the end.
“I came in confident,” Robertson said after the fight. “We worked out butt off, so I knew we were going to win that fight. He [Patraw] put up a good fight though. Supposedly it’s gonna be the fight of the year, I hope. I was nervous, but I did what I had to do to win. Like I said, our game plan was a secret…and it worked out.”
The first round began with Robertson (4-1-1) throwing the first punch, which was quickly answered by a harder jab by Patraw (6-0-0). Patraw then threw a triple jab to keep Robertson defensive, followed by two clean head shots. Robertson responds with two jabs of his own, to which Patraw responds with a left, right, left combination. Patraw began to pick up the pace with two body shots on Robertson to which Robertson answers with a strong right to Patraw’s head, causing Patraw to flurry in reply. Robertson then stuck Patraw with a stiff jab, to which Patraw tried to counter, but Robertson slipped out of the shots and mocked Patraw by shaking an open-mouthed face at him. This act made Patraw chase Robertson more and get him into the corner where the two clinch and are separated by ref Nelson. As they were being pulled apart Robertson hit Patraw with a quick-fire jab and ends the round socking Patraw in the temple.
“I fought him, and I knew what he was going to bring to the table,” Robertson said, “I knew where he was going, and what he was going to do. It was me feeling him out pretty much. I was seeing where he was at and he was seeing where I was at…that’s about it.”
In round 2 and 3, Robertson definitely used his quickness and his jab to his advantage while Patraw had to work harder to get and to land shots to answer to Robertson’s speed. While Patraw chased Robertson down looking to capitalize on his power, he was left frustrated as his advances are being stifled with clinching and ducking in the third round. Yet after the third clinch, he punched Robertson out of the clinch with a head shot. Patraw then landed some head shots, snapping Robertson’s head back while he is on the ropes. Robertson got out of the onslaught, but with 10 seconds left, Patraw lands three body shots which send Robertson off balance as Robertson tires to duck away at the bell.
Round 4 evened out the playing field a little bit, the round beginning with Robertson jabbing less and Patraw landing more which gave way to both fighters slamming shots at each other to the cheers of the crowd by the end of the round. As Patraw returned to his corner at the bell, even he looked surprised at Robertson’s aggressiveness at the end of that round. By round 6, Patraw began dropping his hands down, to which Robertson showed the crowd, and Partaw, the power and quickness of his right hook. By mid-round Robertson threw one of those big rights at Patraw when his hands were down, and the two tangled up into the corner, but Robertson slipped out of the way. Still advancing with the same intention and only 30 seconds left in the round, Robertson landed a jab and right hook to Patraw’s head, which sent him skidding back on his rear a noticeable couple of feet. After the 8 count, neither fighter had the opportunity to continue in action before the bell.
“I was pretty sure that he was scared of my right hand because he was there when I dropped Hassan with 16 ounce gloves on,” Robertson said. “I am pretty sure he knew I could punch though. He was pretty much scared of my right hand the whole night. And when I landed it, I dropped him. John was telling me to throw it, and when I finally threw it [the right hook] I dropped him. My reaction was ‘Wow! I just knocked him down!’ [Laughs] It felt pretty good.”
“He caught me with a punch that should have never landed,” Patraw commented after the fight. “I just wasn’t happy with that round. I thought that I could have done a lot better. That was a flash knock down. A legitimate knock down because he did knock me down, but I wasn’t hurt by no means. I think I saw the punch coming, but I just think I moved into it.”
In round 7, Patraw, clearly wanting show that he wasn’t hurt by the knockdown, tired to move in decisively at the beginning of the round, but Robertson using his speed again, landed the first 3 significant punch sequences at the start of the round: a body to head combo, a hard right hand lead to counter Patraw’s 1,2, and a left followed by a hard right. Patraw wasn’t out of the game though and lands a jab, right hook, and a hard 1,2. The fighters clinch and ref, Nelson warns Robertson for holding. After this, Patraw landed two head shots, to which Robertson countered with a straight head shot. As the 10 second signal came in, Robertson landed a hard right hook, causing Patraw to retaliate, both fighters banging it out until the end of the round.
“He was being more aggressive in the late rounds because he knew that he was down,” Robertson said. “But I think I had him hurt 5, 6, 7, and 8. I wasn’t going back, he was going back.”
In round 8, both fighters started off somewhat tentative, throwing jabs to keep each other at bay until they could find a good target to dispose of the other with. Perhaps both fighters, and even the crowd, seemed to know that the decision, if left to it, could go either way at this point…and neither fighter wanted to take a chance and leave it to the judges. The first big move was made by Robertson, who feinted his way into a huge right hand that makes way for a combo on Patraw. Patraw slipped back and fell to the canvas again, but stood up quickly, signaling to the ref that it was not a knockdown. The protest did not go his way, so Patraw had to pick up the pace by landing three solid head shots on Robertson.
“That was a slip,” Patraw said after the bout. “The second knock down was not a knock down.”
“It was a knock down,” Robertson said. “I hit him and then I think we tangled feet a little bit, but right when we tangled feet, I hit him with a left hook, and that’s how he fell. If that happened to me, I would have fell, too, if it wasn’t a knock down. I landed a left hook though, and that is what dropped him.”
Patraw goes in two more times with two punch combinations, the second of which landed less significantly than the first. Seeing the advantage and wanting to work his way back in to the cries of his corner, Robertson tried again to move in with jabs until the fighters clashed together with a head butt which left the side of Patraw’s head bleeding, blood rolling down over the left side of his body and down his back. When the 10 second signal sounded, both men tried to move in and wrestled with each other until the end of the bout, Patraw even landing a 1,2, at the end of the round. But it was not enough. The bell rang and the fighters were separated, Patraw yelling that he wanted a rematch to matchmaker, Cory Rapaz. John Hoffman lifted Robertson on his shoulders for a victory march around the ring, letting Robertson down to pray as the awaited the decision. As Robertson prayed on one knee with his glove on the ropes, he heard them call a unanimous decision, he thanked God for the victory as the judges called 75-76, 74-76, and 74-76, all for our new bantamweight champion, Antwan Robertson. The announcement sent Robertson flying onto his back, as if the victory itself knocked him out. After staring at the lights for a moment, he got up, had the belt wrapped around his waist, and even shed a couple of tears over his joy from the victory.
“I thought I won the fight,” Patraw said, ‘even after he knocked me down. The second knock down, should have never been a knock down. I tripped over his leg…and I think that is what cost me the fight. If we fight again, he’s not going to even have a chance. I don’t care what happened. He’ll never land the shots that he landed that night. I wanted a rematch for the November 13th card on TV. I don’t know if Antwan’s gonna take it though.”
“That first fight in Hinckley, I was all defense, and I wanted to show that that wasn’t me,” Robertson said. “And I think I did that. I just wanted to win so bad. I will give him a rematch though. Not right away, I mean, I need to heal. My bones hurt. But he gave me a rematch, so I’ll give him one. He’s a good fighter. But I trained my butt off for that fight…and it paid off.”
In the co-main event, Minot’s North Dakota’s own Mike Davis (3-6-0) knocked out local favorite Jesse “The Blue Collar” Barbot (6-4-0) in the 6th round of their light middleweight bout. The bout began with some difficulty meshing each fighter’s style, both fighters trying to work their way in and resulting oftentimes with clinches – one in particular which turned Davis fully around and forcing him to face his back to Barbot in the second round. Ref Bobby Brunette seemed to get a little tired of separating the fighters, and after another clinch at the end of that round he told the tangled fighters, “C’mon. Punch out and lets go.”
“I actually found out about the fight a week early, and I was informed that I had to gain 10 pounds for this fight, so I couldn’t really do nothing to train,” Davis said after the bout. “I couldn’t run because I would lose the weight that I had to gain. I did a lot of meditation actually. I worked on my strategy mentally. I was thinking of angles, angles because I know he was a straight forward fighter. Once he plants his feet, I know that his straight right is coming, so I worked with that.”
In round three, the fighters tried to take note of the ref’s instruction and moved in with more landed punches, Barbot at one point literally winding up his left hand before unleashing an uppercut while Davis was on the ropes. After another tangle mid-round, Davis punches his way out, but gets cornered by Barbot where Barbot was landing slow lumbering shots to Davis’ head and body. Davis took the onslaught and moved out, getting to land some hard head shots before the round ended in another clinch.
“At first I was throwing soft jabs,” Davis said, “trying to make him think I was going to go soft with him because we are friends. He didn’t really make any mistakes, but once he came in, I would go soft, and then I would go hard. Hard to the body and upstairs was what my plan was.”
Davis did look tired mid round 5, but led Barbot in with softer punches, and using a hidden untapped store of energy, to landed a combo that sent Barbot down in the neutral corner with his head tangling in the ropes as he went down. Barbot survived the 8 count, but Davis is now ready to capitalize on the damage done from the knockdown. After another combo that led to Barbot slipping, Davis got him on the ropes by the blue corner and kept throwing until he punched Barbot right out of the ropes and onto the judges’ table. Again Barbot withstands the 8 count, and even ends the round by throwing the last punch.
“Tired, tired, tired, and head butts. I had to worry about head butts,” Davis commented. “That’s where I got my most damage was from head butts. The head but happened in the fifth round. It was a great fight though. I loved it. Jesse is a great fighter.”
The two fighters hugged each other to begin the sixth and final round…and it was a good thing because the round ended not only in knockout, but by onslaught. By mid-round, Davis began a head hunt on the twice knocked down Barbot which weakened Barbot’s reserves and slowed down his punches. After trying to get on the inside for some brawling, Davis lands a big right to the head to send Barbot back a few steps. Then Davis went in for the kill, landing two shots to the body which choked Barbot’s mouthpiece out mid-action. As it fell to the canvas, Davis landed a flurry to Barbot’s head which send him backwards, falling stiff onto the canvas, his head snapping back hard onto the floor of the ring. Ref Bobby Brunette rushed over and waved his hands over Barbot’s head with just 9 seconds left in the round. Davis, too, went over to the prostrate fighter to see if he was okay, but was shooed away as the ring docs tended to the injured fighter. After lying on the ground for about 4 minutes, they tried to stand him up, but had to quickly afterward place him back down. The stretcher was called in and for the next 10 minutes, Barbot was strapped down onto the stretcher to stabilize his head. Barbot left the ring on that stretcher and Davis, who knows him as a friend, modestly had his hand raised in victory, one moment looking back as Barbot was taken away as some members of the crowd snapped pictures of the ailing fighter on their cell phones.
“I know him very well,” Davis said after the fight. “Very, very, very well. We rode to fights together and he cornered me in a few fights. I was supposed to fight him in MMA three years ago, but I backed out because I was scared of him because his record was so good. So this is something that I have been looking forward to…overcoming my fear, but I didn’t want it to end this way.”
“I didn’t want to fight at the end,” Davis continued, “I was so tired. I didn’t even know there was just a few seconds left in the match. I just wanted to survive. But I knew that the end of the fight was coming soon, so I thought I would throw one last hard flurry, and hopefully that will end up winning me the fight, and I ended up catching him in that flurry.”
“Afterward, it wasn’t good,” Davis admitted. “He was a good friend, and I knocked him out, and I did not want it to end that way. But in my mind I felt that I had to knock him down or knock him out because I felt like I was losing the fight…and he landed a lot of punches. Hat’s off to Jesse. I love him a lot, and I did not want the fight to end that way. Never. I just love the guy and I hope that he is going to be okay. I don’t want this to be his last fight.”
Before the co-main event, 193 pound Travis McCollough (1-3-0) was stopped by a 183 pound Nick Whiting (1-12-1). Whiting, always a fighter that Minnesota fight fans are pulling for, had to suffer some punishment for his victory. In round 1, McCollough was making good use of his jab and towards the end of the round found an opening for his left hook which sent Whiting back on his rear and skidding backwards on the canvas. In round 2, McCollough began the round with a head body combo to which Whiting answered with a jab lead into some body shots. McCollough began to exchange in response, but Whiting got him on the ropes and threw a left and right hook to McCollough’s body which had him folding his arms around his stomach and sinking to his knees, pressing his forehead to the canvas in pain. Whiting stood in his corner as ref Bobby Brunette counted over his head. In 2 minutes and 18 seconds of round 2, Nick Whiting was declared the winner by TKO.
In other action, fans got to see the much awaited pro debut of “Lil Superman’s” cousin, Derek Winston. David Laque (1-2) came in as a late replacement for Winston’s previous opponent, Tomi Archambault. In round 1, Winston started the bout in a Philly Shell, as Laque tried to keep Winston at bay by the end of a long arm. Laque then switched stance and landed a solid head shot on Winston. Laque begins to lead more and Winston seemed to have a hard time getting in, but finds a way to land some body shots by the end of the round.
The crowd was impatient with the lack of activity already at the beginning of round 2, one fan in particular screaming, “DO SOMETHING!!” as the fighters tried to make their way at each other at the beginning of the round. Laque again tried the stance switching before he lunged at Winston to throw some shots, but Winston lands a good right hand to Laque’s head and steps off for some movement before he goes to the gut. After more movement from Winston, Laque tried to move in but got tagged for it, and at 10 sec out, Winston landed a couple of shots that were stifled as Laque countered and grabbed at Winston’s waist in a wrestling clinch.
Again in round three the crowd had something to say at every move. Just as Winston seemed to be more confident in his moves after landing a good left counter to Laque’s face, the crowd screamed, “C’mon, you guys look like some amateurs up in there!” Winston, focused on the fight at hand, began to counter more effectively as the crowd yells “Jab! Pump your jab!” Perhaps this was not the most effective advice because Laque moved in with a flurry which Winston stopped with a solid left hook. It was that left hook which began to turn the fight in Winston’s favor, something, perhaps, that Laque understood as well. And after some waiting from the previous rounds of action, the fans finally got to see a little bit about what all the Winston hype was about. As Laque moved in for a combo, Winston lands a solid right counter, bloodying Laque’s nose. “Combination!” the crowd yells. But again, the crowd’s advice was not heeded, most attacks were taken one or two punches at a time. But it was toward the end of the round, where the crowd finally got a little bit of the power that they were craving. With just 15 seconds left in the round, Winston throws a big right hand which sent the crowd into a chorus of “OOOOOOHHHHH!”s, realizing there was more to this kid than previously witnessed in the fight. For his pro debut, Derek Winston won a UD with scores of 36-40, 37-38, and 37-39, and left the crowd wanting to see more of that right hand power from Winston in the future.
And toward the beginning of the night, two powerful women with a combined weight of 428 pounds fought a test of endurance which resulted in a majority draw. Bridgette Ten Bears (3-0) stepped into the ring to face debuting Concha Ross in the second bout of the evening. The bout began with a head hunt initiated by Ross that resulted in numerous head shots and tangles until the middle of the round. Ten Bears got more aggressive after that and landed a big body shot toward the end of the round. But at 10 seconds out, Ross landed a 1,2 which got Ten Bears in the corner. Then a furious throw of punches flew from both sides, Ross landing the last one a touch after the bell, which caused ref Brunette to separate the two women at round’s end. Round 2, had some more toe-to-toe action which exhausted both of the fighters until Ten Bears loses her mouthpiece at 2 minutes in. The retrieval and washing of the device gave both fighters a much-needed rest before they continued the action. Ten Bears, now with a bloody nose, went back in to attack Ross, but the round ended with mostly tired wrestling and occasional shots from the inside.
In round 3, Ross tossed a flurry which got Ten Bears into the corner, causing Ten Bears to look at the ref as if she were calling for a break. Quickly after, her mouth guard tumbled out again, causing the ref to stop the action again. “That’s bulls@*t!!” yelled someone in the crowd as the mouth guard was replaced. But both fighters resumed, Ten Bears somewhat more hesitantly, and traded a couple more shots until round’s end. In round 4, Ross chased Ten Bears down, trying to capitalize off of Ten Bears’ hesitancy at the end of the previous round. But Ten Bears has more left in her, and, spitting out blood, tagged Ross mid-round and bloodies her nose. The two circled and tossed shots until Ross tried to move in again at 10 sec out for a strong finish, but the exchange got tangled up in the arms of Ten Bears. Ross went up to give Ten Bears a hug for their tough fight after bout’s finish. The judges called it 39-38, 38-38, and 38-38 for a majority draw.
And in the first bout that evening, Chance Western was knocked out by Lawrence Goodman in the first round of their light heavyweight bout. Western was very awkward and off balance, and Goodman took advantage of by tossing straight shots which kept him moving and tripping over his feet. About 45 seconds in, Goodman has Western in the corner from a double jab right hand to which he added another 1,2 which almost had Western. It didn’t take much longer after that for Goodman to seal the deal. He got Western on the ropes again and combo-ed him out of existence, sending Western down to one knee as Ref Neslon stepped in for the 8 count. But as Western wobbled hard when he tried to stand up, Nelson called the bout at 1 minute and 23 seconds into the first round.
And after the fights were over, the fans, the fighters, and all of the usual suspects made their way over their hotel rooms for a much needed rest, or to the Mustang Lounge for a couple of hours of reveling. A smiling John Hoffman got pats on the back, some beaten up faces roamed the crowd sipping on a beer or a cocktail, and inebriated casino guests spilled drinks on the floor as they danced to the country and western band playing on the platform at the top of the bar. And for those who came for the fight, the conversations carried long into the night until after the bar closed down, talks about fights from the past, about the fight that night, and about fights in the future. For many of us who enjoy watching boxing matches in this state, that fight, perhaps, reminded us a little bit about the good, the bad, and the ugly in all of them…and, I believe, that is the reason we keep coming back for more.