"Disrespected" Ball Hopes To Finish Christy Early
Kendrick Ball Jr. can't quite explain why he feels the way
he does about his upcoming opponent, Zachary Christy, but
the fact Christy signed his name on the dotted line for
April 7th has sent the 6-foot-2 Ball to a dark place most of
his opponents haven't lived to talk about.
Ball, in his own words, considers it "disrespectful," as if
Christy's willingness to stand toe-to-toe with him next
Friday coming off a two-year absence is some sort of
backhanded compliment, a sign Christy thinks there's a
weakness he can exploit on fight night.
"I'm going to go out there and try to end it early," said
Ball, the 24-year-old Worcester, Mass., middleweight who
boasts a 5-0-2 record with four knockouts entering April
7th. "I've got a little more motivation to go out there and
give a good show."
Ball and Christy (1-0-1) face off Friday, April 7th, 2017 in
a six-round super middleweight bout on the undercard of CES
Boxing's second show of the year at Twin River Casino,
headlined by the 10-round World Boxing Council (WBC) USNBC
Welterweight Championship between Nick DeLomba (11-1, 2 KOs)
and Jimmy Williams (12-0-1, 5 KOs).
Asked if Christy (1-0-1) may be overlooking him, Ball
shrugged and said, "Maybe. I think so. Maybe a little bit,"
his own uncertainty adding a whole other level of intrigue
to next Friday's bout.
Christy himself is as resilient as he is enigmatic, a
32-year-old U.S. Air Force vet who recently returned home to
Warwick, R.I., following his sixth deployment to Afghanistan
and 10th overall. He hasn't fought since 2014 and is at a
six-inch height disadvantage against the lean, lanky Ball,
but cites his own experiences in and out of the ring, from
sparring with world welterweight champion Keith Thurman to
jumping out of airplanes on active duty, as the motivation
that keeps him going despite the odds.
"I have had the privilege to see, do, and run toward things
that would make many of the young men of today piss in their
pants," Christy said. "It's true I've been deployed 10
times. I've jumped out of planes and helicopters, and
strapped 100 pounds to my back and run for miles. I haven't
lost a fight in ten years. I'm 5-foot-6 and I've won amateur
titles at heavyweight. I've run Olympic distance triathlons
directly after returning from Afghanistan.
"I love disadvantages."
The ultimate underdog, Christy makes it clear his limited
number of professional fights does not reflect his true
"I am the veteran in this fight," Christy said.
"Disadvantages are always perceived, never proven. Anyone
who thinks any perceived disadvantage will prevent me from
pouring my heart out, in victory or defeat, will have a big
surprise come fight night. Be prepared for the
quintessential boxing match."
The undefeated Ball will be Christy's toughest test to date.
While Christy's Air Force duties have interrupted his
progress through the years, both as an amateur and a pro,
Ball has carved an undeterred path to the top of his weight
class in New England with seven fights in the first nine
months of his career since his debut in May.
"It feels good," he said. "I like being active because I
feel loose when I go out there."
Staying in the gym, and in shape, has kept Ball busy. So,
too, has his willingness to fight anyone at any given time,
whether it was facing unbeaten David Wilson just six days
after fighting at Twin River or stepping up in weight on a
week's notice to fight undefeated super middleweight Nathan
Millier. Both of those fights ended in a draw, an important
teaching tool for his father and head trainer, Kendrick Ball
Sr., after the younger Ball opened his career with three
knockouts in his first four fights.
The draw against Millier, who entered 9-0-1, was arguably
his most impressive accomplishment considering he trailed on
all three scorecards midway through the scheduled six-round
fight and finished strong to keep his unbeaten record
"I learned you need to be busy nonstop. I think I got the
draw because I fell back a little and wasn't too busy, so
I've got to keep working more and more," Ball said.
"I'm a slow starter. I don't get warmed up until the later
rounds, so I think that's what it was. [CES president] Jimmy
[Burchfield] came up to the corner and was like, 'You've got
to show me something. Show me you really want this!' and my
dad was yelling at me so I had to go out there and turn it
up a little bit."
There won't be any need for pep talks in either corner next
Friday. Both Ball and Christy enter with high hopes, fueled
by different sources, but both chasing the same dream.
In addition to the highly-anticipated championship main
event, April 7th features an eight-round female welterweight
showdown between Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (16-4-2, 1 KO) of
Marshfield, Mass., and Mexican challenger Paty Ramirez
(11-3, 5 KOs), plus a New England Lightweight Title bout
between Springfield, Mass., vet Zack Ramsey (7-1, 3 KOs) and
unbeaten Augusta, Ga., native Divante Jones (9-0, 6 KOs).
Unbeaten New Bedford, Mass., junior middleweight Ray
Oliveira Jr. (7-0, 1 KO) faces his toughest test to date in
the six-round co-feature bout against Portland, Maine native
Casey Kramlich (6-0-1, 3 KOs) in Kramlich's Twin River
Joining Aleksandra Lopes on April 7th is her stepson, Arturo
Lopes (1-0), who ends an eight-year layoff in his return
bout against Taunton, Mass., welterweight Marqus Bates (1-1,
1 KO). The Lopeses fight April 7th in honor of the late
Manny Lopes, a former CES standout who passed away in
December and will be inducted into the CES Ring of Honor.
Worcester, Mass., lightweight Jamaine Ortiz (3-0, 2 KOs),
fresh off a hard-fought win over unbeaten Canton Miller in
February, faces another undefeated challenger in a
four-round bout against Glenn Mitchell (2-0, 2 KOs) of
Steubenville, Ohio, and Lynn, Mass., welterweight Khiry Todd
(2-0, 2 KOs) battles Philadelphia's Vincent Floyd (2-2-1) in
a four-round bout.
Junior welterweight Jonathan Figueroa (2-0, 1 KO) of
Hartford, Conn., returns to Twin River to face Springfield's
Miguel Ortiz (1-0, 1 KO) in a four-round showdown between
two rising New England prospects and amateur standouts Ricky
Delossantos of Providence, R.I., and Philip Davis of
Worcester make their professional debuts against one another
in a four-round super featherweight bout.
Junior welterweight Cristobal Marrero (3-0, 2 KOs) of New
London, Conn., by way of Worcester, returns for the first
time since December in a four-round bout against New York's
Sidney Maccow (4-4, 3 KOs).