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Johnson stops Griffin in 11!

Friday, May 18, 2007

By Matt Cleary at ringside

On May 16th, 2007, Seminole Warriors Boxing and Promotions in association with the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino presented an evening of boxing with the main event televised on ESPN2's Wednesday Night Fights.
The main event featured two mainstays of the light heavyweight division, Glen "The Road Warrior" Johnson of Jamaica and Montell "Ice" Griffin of Chicago, Illinois. Johnson and Griffin were matching up for the first time in their respective careers, despite having many former opponents in common including Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver, Eric Harding, Derrick Harmon, George Jones, and Julio Cesar Gonzalez, with a right to fight for Clinton Wood's IBF belt on the line. Griffin, a former world champion, has faded recently in the division, not having won a meaningful fight since 2002. On the other hand, Johnson, also a former world champion, had several big wins over the last few years but lost his previous fight to the aforementioned Woods. The first round started well for Johnson as he was able to control the ring. Griffin had a good second round, ending it was a nice combination. The third round was even as Griffin was effectively counterpunching Johnson. Johnson then started to control the fight as he was able to open a cut on Griffin's eye in the fifth round and Griffin was starting to fade. It was still a relatively close fight however because neither boxer was really able to hurt the other one effectively. Finally in the eleventh round, Griffin's corner jumped on the apron to stop the fight. It was clear that Johnson wasn't able to knock Griffin out, but that he would be able to sustain constant head punchs. The corner knew Griffin was well behind on the cards and it would be better to make the decision that Griffin's heart, talent, and experience would never let him make. The official time of the stoppage was 2:38 in the eleventh. Johnson goes to 45-11-2 (30 KO's) with the win and Griffin falls to 48-7 (30 KO's).
In the first televised fight, "Mean" Joe Greene of Brooklyn, New York took on Jose "Seek and Destroy" Spearman of Indianapolis, Indiana. Greene is a top prospect in the middleweight divsion and in Spearman he was facing a solid stepping stone level fighter. Greene took the fight right to Spearman from the get go, flooring him in the second round with a vicious left cross. At the end of the fourth round Greene knocked Spearman down again with a short hand to the chin. However, Spearman was hitting Greene rather well as Greene's left eye was nearly swollen shut by the end of the fifth round. Greene dominated every round however as reflected in the scores of 80-70, 79-71 (twice). Greene stays undefeated with a record of 15-0 (11 KO's) and Spearman goes back to Indiana with a record of 27-13-4 (11 KO's).
In the co-main event Joel Julio of Monteria, Colombia, promoted by Tuto Zabala, Jr., took his undefeated record into the fight against Mauro "Golden Fist" Lucero of Juarez, Mexico. Lucero, a former world title challenger, was a late addition to the card. Julio, owner of a regional belt,  is one of South Florida's best young prospects and showed it well by making quick work of Lucero with two knockdowns in the first round. On the second knockdown Lucero remained on his knees and was counted out at 3:00 of the first round. With the impressive win Julio goes to 30-1 (28 KO's) and will probably start looking for an even higher level of competition. Lucero drops to 42-12-1 (21 KO's).
In the opening match in the supermiddleweight division Eric Clinton of Delray Beach, Florida made his debut against also debuting John Palacio of Miami, Florida. After an accidental headbutt in the second round referee Frank Gentile stopped the fight and it was declared a no-contest. Just like it never happened, save for the gash on Palacio's head.
In the next fight Damian "Devo" Frias of Miami, Florida took on Travis Hartman of St. Joseph, Missouri. Frias is another top South Florida prospect, staying busy with a lot of action on a lot of local cards. In the second round Hartman went down after a low blow, taking the full five minutes to recover. After Hartman was unable to continue after a long break referee Frank Santore, Jr. stopped the fight by TKO.
In other action Derrick "D-Train" Brown of Orlando, Florida took on Alfredo Escalera of San Juan, Puerto Rico in a six round cruiserweight fight. After a great right where Brown and Escalera showed off great defense and masterful combinations in a back and forth affair. The fight was part action adventure and part drama as the story was that Brown's defense kept adjusting to Escalera's offense. The scorecards reflected the closeness of the fight with scores of 58-56 Brown, 58-56 Escalera, and 57-57. With the draw Escalera stays undefeated at 14-0-1 (11 KO's) and Brown goes to 13-2-3 (11 KO's).
In the first walkout bout Kenny Galarza of Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico overcame a first round knockdown to stop Jesse Francisco of Crystal River, Florida in the second round 1:55. Galarza also knocked Francisco down in the first round. Galarza won his pro debut and Francisco goes to 1-5.
In the final walkout bout Damien "Blade" Tinker of Nassau, Bahamas took on Khabib Alakhverdiev of Kurush, Russia. Alakhverdiev dominated the fight, winning 40-36 on all cards, settling the epic question of Russian versus Bahamian boxers. Alakhverdiev goes to 3-0 (1 KO) and Tinker suffers his first loss to fall to 3-1 (1 KO).

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