Hair, Noise Makers, & Double
Mouth Guards: Boxing at Bally’s Atlantic City
By Tim Donaldson
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey
Sometimes it is the
little things that decide a fight. A fighter can go away
to training camp, eat the right foods, and spar against
the best opponents, but when they step into the ring,
none of that seems to matter anymore. At that moment, it
is the here and now that matters. They have the
prescribed number of rounds to prove that they are the
best. Everything they did before the fight only matters
if they win that fight, and the fight will decide
everything they do after. But for that short amount of
time while they are in the ring, they must focus on one
thing. That one thing is winning. This is particularly
true when you have two good fighters going at each
other. In fights like these, it really is the little
things that make all the difference.
That is exactly what happened in Middleweight Brandon
“Flawless” Gonzales’s victory over Ossie “The Ghanaian
Gladiator” Duran. Nicknames don’t always tell much about
the fighters, but in this case, they do. Ossie Duran is
a tough puncher. When his gloves hit Gonzales, the sound
would reverberate through the ballroom. Gonzales, on the
other hand, was all about technique. Maybe he wasn’t
going to knockout Duran, but he could out score him.
This was obvious from the first round. Gonzales was
using more movement and throwing more punches. Duran was
throwing the stronger punches. Duran rocked Gonzales
with a right half way through the first round.
Compared to Gonzales,
Duran looked stiff. He was constantly stalking Gonzales
in the second round. Although Duran was walking through
Gonzales’s punches, Gonzales was the fighter being
active. The third round started with Gonzales throwing
and landing. The two were fighting toe to toe, neither
backing down. Duran started to take the fight to the
body and rocked Gonzales with a hard left hook. Gonzales
came right back with a combination. Duran used that left
hook throughout the fight. In the fourth round, Duran
rocked Gonzales with it three times. This time Gonzales
started to keep some distance between the two.
It was in the fifth round that things got a little
strange. The referee called time for hair. Ossie Duran’s
locks had fallen into his eyes, making it hard for him
to see. His corner had no scissors, and his trainer at
first looked to be trying to rip the locks from his
head. When they had finally fixed the hair problem,
Duran seemed to come back with a vengeance. He took the
fight to the body of Gonzales and landed several left
hooks to the head. But Duran was messing with his hair
the entire round.
Gonzales came out
aggressive in the sixth round. He was using a lot of
movement. Duran just kept stalking him down. But it
wasn’t only movement that Gonzales was using. He was
outworking Duran throughout the round. Only at the end
did Duran throw a hard shot, knocking Gonzales back. The
seventh round was much like the sixth. Gonzales kept
moving and throwing more than Duran. Duran landed
several hard shots, knocking Gonzales back near the
middle of the round. Near the end of the round, Duran
again rocked Gonzales, this time with an overhand right
to the head.
By the eighth round, both fighters were tired. They
started fighting toe to toe, but Gonzales would resort
to holding as soon as he found himself in any kind of
trouble. Duran still seemed the more powerful puncher,
and a knockout was not inconceivable. But Duran was
throwing everything in short bursts, never enough to
So it ended in a split
decision. Two judges gave it to Gonzales, both scoring
the fight 77-75. One judge saw it for Duran and scored
the fight 78-74. It was a fight destined to be a split
decision. Scoring a fight is subjective. For the one
judge, Duran’s power had to be the deciding factor. For
the other two, they must have preferred Gonzales output
along with his footwork.
In the co-main event,
Welterweight Artemio Reyes defeated former Olympian
Javier Molina. When Reyes made his way to the ring, the
noisemakers began. And it seemed the more his fans used
them, the more active he became. For anyone outside of
the ballroom, they must have thought that it was New
Molina’s best round was the first. At the opening,
Molina was slipping punches through the hands of Reyes.
He would land a punch and then move, giving Reyes little
opportunity to land anything of consequence. It wasn’t
until the end of the round that Reyes landed a few good
shots, chasing Molina half way across the ring at the
In the second round,
Molina tried to stick to his game plan of land a shot
and move. Molina was constantly fighting with his back
up close to the ropes. Reyes was able to catch him there
a few times. Even though Reyes had a definite height
advantage, he was the one preferring to fight in close.
For much of the round, Reyes was backing Molina up.
Molina continued to fight against the ropes in the third
round. Reyes was landing most of his shots to the body.
Molina was slowing down. Molina kept trading with Reyes,
but not with the intensity that he had shown in the
first round. Reyes just kept up his attack on the body.
In the fourth, Molina was trying to keep some distance.
He couldn’t fire an effective shot with Reyes crowding
him. When Reyes made his way in, he would go to the head
and body. Reyes rocked Molina with a right to the head
near the end of the round.
The fifth opened with
Molina firing off a couple quick shots. Reyes appeared
unaffected. The chants for Reyes filled the ballroom, as
did the sound coming from the noisemakers. Reyes was
punishing Molina throughout the round, knocking Molina
off balance at one point. Reyes carried that momentum
into the sixth round. He kept coming forward, walking
through Molina’s shots. Reyes just kept pounding
Molina’s body with lefts and rights.
In the seventh, Reyes
changed his tactic some. Reyes was now going for the
chin. Maybe he thought Molina was ready to go down.
Molina, however, had a little left in him. He managed to
fire a few hard shots, including an overhand right.
Reyes was backing up and having trouble connecting.
Molina tried to keep it going in the eighth round but
could not. Reyes was punishing Molina every time he
tried to come forward. Reyes controlled the majority of
the eighth and final round. Two of the judges scored the
fight 78-74, while one scored it 77-75.
Junior Lightweight Jason Sosa defeated Anthony Allen.
Allen’s defeat must sting for two reasons. First it was
his pro debut. Second his mouthpiece seemed to have
something to do with it. From the beginning, it was
obvious that Allen’s mouthpiece was not a good one. He
came out with his mouth wide open, and when the referee
told him to shut it, it became obvious that he could
not. In the first round it looked as though Allen was
the better fighter. He was doubling up his left hook; he
was jabbing more; and he definitely outworked Sosa. In
the second, the action was stopped twice for Allen. The
first was to tie his shoe. Then he caught Sosa on the
ropes. Sosa fought back, knocking Allen’s mouthpiece
out. This seemed to change the momentum of the fight.
Sosa was now the one catching Allen on the ropes. Allen
had to fight his way off twice. Sosa then managed to
knock Allen off balance, causing his glove to touch the
canvass and costing Allen the round due to a knock down.
The third round was much t
he same. Allen was constantly fighting his off the
ropes. In the fourth Allen started to stage a comeback.
He was giving Sosa all he could whenever he tried to get
in close. But then Sosa backed Allen into the ropes and
again knocked out his mouthpiece. This time the referee
took point for it. All three judges scored the fight for
Sosa: 38-36, 39-35, 40-34.
The one knockout of the night came at the hands of
Junior Welterweight Ramon Ellis. Both he and Jesse
Crawford have losing records, and both were anxious to
get a win. The first round was a back and forth brawl.
Crawford controlled the first half of the round, and
Ellis controlled the second half. The knock down came at
the end of the second round. Ellis knocked Crawford down
ten seconds before the bell. Although Crawford got back
up, the referee decided he was in no shape to continue.
Junior Welterweight Korey Sloane won by majority
decision over Jason Sia. Sia controlled the first round.
Sloane looked as though he needed time to warm up.
Sloane looked stronger in the second round, but by the
middle of the round, both fighters looked tired. Sia
started the third round aggressively, backing Sloane
around the ring. Then Sloane got Sia on the ropes and
wouldn’t let him off. Sia finally resorted to holding
Sloane. When the two were separated, Sia could be seen
taking a deep breath. Even though Sia rocked Sloane with
his left several times in the fourth round, it was Sia
that looked as though he had been through a war, blood
coming from over his left eye. One judge saw the fight
as a draw. The other two scored it 39-37 for Sloane.
Heavyweight John Lennox won all four rounds against
Donnie Crawford. Although the fight was more of a brawl
than a boxing match, Lennox always had the upper hand.
In the opening fight, Kevin Womack Jr. won by unanimous
decision over Korey Pritchett. Womack had the height
advantage and was faster. Although Womack’s punches
didn’t seem to be hurting Pritchett, he was outworking
him. All three judges scored the fight 39-37.