Godfrey vs. Hawk & George vs. Henry
Fail To Live Up To Hype

By Tim Donaldson

At the press conference on Wednesday, Godfrey vs. Hawk was billed as the fight that would be Fight of the Year. That might have been the overstatement of the year.

What Godfrey vs. Hawk ended up being was a mediocre fight that left the Philadelphia fans cold. In fact, this might have been the first fight in The Arena where they were walking out by the fourth round of the Main Event. By the second round, the place was so quiet that you could hear the lone voice from the back yelling “lets throw some punches.”

The first round was sign of things to come. I hate to judge a fight by the first round because quite often the boxers are just warming up and getting used to each other. But this first round set the tempo for the first half of the fight. It was a lot of movement, a lot of punches being thrown, but few punches were connecting.

Neither Godfrey nor Hawk did anything to produce any excitement for those in attendance or those watching on television. It seemed as though neither was capable of throwing more than two punches and then, after doing that, walking a few steps. And Godfrey forgot that Hawk had a body that could be hit and concentrated all of his effort on his head, which Hawk most of the time protected. If you are not going to throw a lot of punches, you should at least make the ones you throw count. But from where I was sitting, it looked like the majority of punches thrown lacked any real power. The whole time people were walking out.

Godfrey said at the press conference that he steps it up when he is on television. I don’t think being on television helped, but I am not sure whether or not Godfrey was aware of the fans walking out. I only say this because the seventh round was possibly the best. But by the eighth it seemed as though they were going back to their old ways. The only real excitement came in the tenth round when Hawk managed to knock Godfrey down.

Despite Hawk knocking down Godfrey, Godfrey won the unanimous decision. Maybe he is that much closer to a title fight; maybe he isn’t. Does he deserve it? Judging only by this fight, I don’t think so.

The fight between Chris Henry and Shaun George was not much better. The fight started much better. Henry started out aggressive, and George came alive in the second half of the round, landing several power shots that electrified the crowd. And even though Henry looked more active, it looked like George could win the fight because he was landing the harder shots.

But something changed by the third round. George looked tired. He was trying to last the round by walking around. It might have been strategy. Take a break and come back more active in the next round. However, it was apparent in the fourth round that George had checked out of this fight. He managed to land a couple of power shots, but Henry was out boxing him.

In the fifth, Henry landed a hard right to George’s head. It was a sign that the end was near. Henry ended the fight in the sixth round, hitting George again in the head. George went down but got up for God only knows what reason, only to be caught against the ropes. The referee stopped the fight at 1:08 in the sixth round.

One fighter did live up to the hype. Unfortunately, few got to see her. Olivia Fonesca’s fight was the second fight of the night. People were still coming in, thinking that the best fights would come later, and the television coverage had not yet begun. Marc Abrams said at the press conference that she always stole the show, and she did. Although her opponent, Lisa Bolin started out aggressive, she turned out to be no match for Olivia. Olivia was landing cleaner shots, while proving that she was the better boxer by faking and ducking. In the second round, Olivia landed a punch to the right side of Bolin. Bolin grabbed at her side. Olivia kept up the attack and Bolin failed to respond. The fight was stopped at 1:51 in the second.

Two other fights need to be mentioned. The first was the bout between Derek “Pooh” Ennis and John Mackey. These two fought hard. And there were a few surprises in this fight. Neither fighter dominated the first round. Mackey seemed calmer during the round, while Ennis seemed to be in a hurry. But Ennis had control of the second round. He chased Mackey around the ring and knocked him down. At times though, Ennis would seem to have Mackey at a point where he should have knocked him down, only to let him off the hook. Ennis knocked Mackey down a second time in the sixth. Mackey was able to survive the fight, but Ennis won the unanimous decision.

The second fight that needs to be mentioned was that between Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante and Billy Bailey. Again, these two gave it their all. The fight was very much back and forth between the two fighters. Several times, Ferrante looked as though he was going to knock out Bailey, but he would wear himself out. At that point, Bailey would come back. And when Bailey was able to get in close, it looked like it would be his round. This was especially true during the fourth round. Ferrante was balled up against the ropes but was able to fight his way out of that situation. In the seventh, Ferrante had reversed this. He had Bailey on the ropes. It was obvious at this point that he did want this fight. Even though it was very much a back and forth fight, Ferrante won the majority decision.

Quite often, the undercard is boring and full of one-sided fights. However, Friday night at The Arena, it was the undercard that stood out.