May 20, 2014
On Friday, the finals of ESPN’s Boxcino 2014 Tournament will take place at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N. Y. Are you going? In the resort’s enticing advertisement they claim to have “luxurious accommodations, fine cuisine, impeccable service” and if they keep it up, they can add “great boxing shows” to their highlight reel because Friday’s show should be an excellent one.
And while you’re making plans, take note, Verona, N. Y., being in the center of the state, is just an hour and fifteen minutes from Cooperstown where you can visit Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Then, if you can stay another week, you head back up to Canastota where on June 5th thru the 8th, they’ll be holding the induction ceremonies for the 2014 Class of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Among this year’s inductees you have Joe Calzaghe, the “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya, Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Richard Steele. That week long event goes from June 5 thru June 8.
Back we go to Friday’s show in Verona, N.Y.
On February 28th, the organizers of this ESPN Boxing Tournament, Banner Promotions, kicked off the festivities with 16 of the best, perhaps hungriest, boxers in both the lightweight and middleweight divisions. Then, they whittled this group down to just four. At this point, the tournament finals, promoted by Banner Promotions and broadcast live on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN, will air live, on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PCT.
The lightweight finals feature the Russian Petr “Zar” Petrov who resides in Madrid, Spain (34-4-2, 16 KOs) taking on 23 year-old Fernando “El Guerrero Yaqui” Carcamo (17-5-0, 13 KOs) of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico while middleweight Brandon Adams (14-0-0, 9 KOs), a home boy from Southern California and managed by San Diego’s Bobby DePhilippis, will square off against Willie Monroe Jr. (17-1-0, 6 KOs) of Ithaca, N. Y. which is only an hour and a half drive from Verona.
Each boxer has won two fights and because of their willingness to step up and fight the top competitors in their division, the World Boxing Association recognized each in their WBA world rankings. Adams is now ranked #6 while Monroe Jr. is slotted at #14??
Why the big difference in the Adams versus Monroe World Rankings? You got to figure this must be some sort of ploy to get Monroe motivated? If you check out their strength of schedules, you’ll notice Monroe has faced the tougher opponents. His one major slip up was that split decision loss to Darnell “Deezol” Boone in March of 2011. But Boone is certainly no pushover. Just ask Andre Ward. When Boone face him, he knocked Ward off his feet. He also beat Adonis Stevenson back in April of 2010.
On February 28, 2014, the 24 year-old Adams defeated Daniel Edouard (23-4-2). The fourth round stoppage completed his first hurdle. On April 18, Adams then faced an even tougher opponent Raymond Gatica (14-2) and won by split decision.
To get to this point, Monroe Jr. had to first defeat Donatas “Bondas” Bondorovas (18-4-1) of Chicago, Illinois by way of Lithuania plus the tournament favorite, Vitaliy Kopylenko (23-0) from Kiev, Ukraine.
On Friday, Adams, a righty, with just four years of pro experience, will face Monroe, a 27 year-old southpaw, who has seven years experience. And it just so happens that Monroe Jr. is the son of Willie “the Body Rock” Monroe of Rochester, N. Y. and great-nephew of the legendary Willie “The Worm” Monroe of Philadelphia who faced guys like Marvin Hagler, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, David Love and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts.
A worrywart might ask: “Is this too tall a mountain for Adams to climb?”
How much weight should we place on the following? 1) Difference in their experience – as an Amateur, Monroe had a record of 128-14 and won gold at the Empire Games and N. Y. Golden Gloves. Adams had very little Amateur experience. 2) Since Monroe hails from Ithaca, N. Y. which is only an hour and 20 minutes away, he should have a large fan base to cheer for him, 3) the long lineage of boxing greats within Monroe’s family, 4) the above average coaching that Monroe received – inspired by the likes of Eddie Futch, George Benton and Yank Durham and now he has Danny Akers as his trainer, 5) Monroe should enjoy a hometown advantage from judges like Don Ackerman, Eric Marlinski and Tom Schreck. They know Monroe and have already judged many of his fights.
On the other half of this Boxcino 2014 tournament fight card you have the lightweights with Fernando Carcamo who is now ranked #11 by the WBA facing Petr Petrov who is ranked #12.
The statement issued today by Banner Promotions president Arthur Pelullo: “This is exactly what we envisioned when we put Boxcino 2014 together. Fighters fighting other top fighters and then rewarded in the rankings that will facilitate their careers into title opportunities and thus big fights. I want to thank everyone at ESPN for having the same vision and helping us to put this tournament together.”
Follow-up: Thursday morning, May 22, 2014, word came the four remaining boxers would not only be competing for the Boxcino 2014 Championship belt, the two sanctioning organizations, the WBO and WBA, added the Middleweight and Lightweight NABA and the NABO belts.
The venue awaits