Mike Jones Knocks Out Esalas In The Second Round In Exciting Night At The Legendary Blue Horizon

By Tim Donaldson

My hat is off to Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz for putting together the most exciting fight card I have seen this year. The night was non-stop action from the first bout to the last, and it proved that boxing is alive and well in the city of Philadelphia.

The main event featured Philadelphia’s hottest prospect and contender in the Welterweight division, Mike MJ Jones, in a defense of his NABA title against Dairo Esalas, a last minute substitution after Larry Mosley dropped out. The crowd at the Blue came out to cheer MJ on to victory, and he gave the people exactly what they wanted to see, a knock out victory.

The fight started out with the two fighters testing each other, trading a shot here and there. But even in that first round, MJ proved his dominance. He took Esalas by surprise and caught him in the chin in that first round. And shortly after, MJ hit Esalas back into the ropes. Esalas still looked good at that point, still getting in some good punches against MJ, but MJ clearly was setting the pace for the fight.

The second round started the same way as the first, the two trading shots. However, Esalas quickly found himself in trouble as MJ released a barrage of hits and knocked Esalas down with a shot to the chin. Esalas got up and the fight continued. But Esalas found himself in the same position again. Trapped against his own corner, Esalas fell again as MJ landed a shot to his chin. Again, the fight was allowed to continue. MJ wasted no time in putting Esalas down again. This time it was ruled a knock out at 1:56 in the second round. After the fight, MJ rewarded his fans by throwing t-shirts out into the crowd. For those of you who do not live near Philadelphia and have not seen Mike Jones fight, I think your time is coming. MJ would like to have that title shot by the end of this year.

But Mike Jones is not the only story of the night. The entire night was packed with good fights, and the only question is where to start? So I will start at the beginning. The night started out with a fight between Junior Middleweights, Jamaal Da Truth Davis and Clarence Taylor. Davis proved himself to be a strong contender and a crowd pleaser. Like most first rounds, Davis and Taylor traded hits but neither really put themselves out there. Taylor looked a little more hesitant at first but came back at the end of the round. By the third round, however, Davis had definitely taken control of the fight. He landed several power shots to the head of Taylor and a really good combination to the body of Taylor.

What was really impressive about Davis was that he seemed to get stronger as the fight went on. By the fourth round, Davis was doubling up his jabs against Taylor and was landing shots before Taylor could land his. At times in round 5, Taylor was looking as though he was just trying to stay up. Davis was still landing shot after shot against the body of Taylor. In round 6, Taylor was having trouble connecting. Davis landed combination after combination, hitting Taylor in the body and head. Davis won the fight by unanimous decision.

The second fight was between Junior Lightweights Derrick Bivens and Luis Esquilin. It was an even match-up from the beginning. Both fighters were throwing lots of punches and taking hard hits. Esquilin was able to bloody the nose of Bivins in the second round and took advantage of this throughout the fight. Bivins seemed to fight best when mad, and he took most of his hits when pulling away from Esquilin. The fight ended in a draw.

The third fight was between Super Middleweights Garret Wilson and Dennis Hasson. Hasson had the advantage as long as he could keep Wilson on the outside, but when Wilson decided to move in, it was a different fight all together. Wilson had the strength. At one point in the sixth round, he hit Hasson with punch after punch, moving him all the way across the ring. But Wilson never kept the attack up. Hasson just kept hitting away throughout the fight, landing more punches and controlling the majority of the fight. Hasson won by unanimous decision.

Bout number four definitely proved to be exciting. The fight was between lightweights Rod Salka and Victor Vasquez. These were two fighters who never backed down from each other, and they both landed hit after hit. By the third round, both had blood coming from their noses. The blood was flying around the ring. Salka, however, dominated the fight from the beginning. In the beginning of the fight, it was a slight advantage, but by the fourth round, Salka was throwing more combinations and looked much faster than Vasquez. Not that Vasquez was ever totally out of the fight, but he just was not performing as well. The only time Salka really looked in trouble was when Vasquez hit him below the belt in the fifth round. Salka won the fight by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight 60-54.

Super Bantamweights Teon Kennedy and Andre Wilson also had an extremely close fight. Kennedy looked much stronger in the first round, backing Wilson into the ropes several times. But in the second round, Wilson seemed to get his rhythm and started to take control. Wilson only got stronger by the third round. He cut Kennedy above the right eye. Wilson kept hitting Kennedy there, trying to hurt him further. But Kennedy was able to keep fighting and was looking better again in the fourth. Kennedy was able to capitalize on the fact that Wilson would step to his left, right into Kennedy’s right hand as he threw it. He did this throughout the fight, even as his corner warned him not to do it. Kennedy was able to land several good shots to the body and head in the fifth and sixth rounds. Both fighters were looking tired by the seventh but came out strong in the eighth. Kennedy was able to land several good shots in the last round and spent the round chasing Wilson around the ring. Teon Kennedy won by split decision.

The final fight of the evening belonged to Welterweights Kaseem Wilson and Martinus Clay. Kaseem Wilson gave the crowd something to cheer about in the first round as he landed a strong hit to the head of Clay, throwing his head back. Clay seemed a little stunned at first. And Wilson was able to repeat this before the round was over. The second and third rounds saw a fairly even fight. Wilson did show that he had better footwork and could get away from Clay easily. In the fourth, the two were slugging it out. At one point, Clay came in low and took a hit on the chin. The fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds were a lot of punches traded between the two. But in the eighth, Wilson came out strong and dominated the round. He was landing more, was able to evade the attacks of Clay, and finished with a strong combination. Wilson won by unanimous decision.

It was a good night for Philly boxing. Mike Jones, Jamaal Davis, Kassem Wilson, and Teon Kennedy, as well as the others, all fought hard and gave the fans what they came to see. If only every fight card could be this strong.