Smithsburg, MD lightweight Dean "Pit Bull" White battled Verquan "The Show" Kimbrough of Pittsburgh, PA to an eight-round draw tonight in the main event of the Fight Night charity boxing event at the Washington Hilton in DC.
White did a nice job of counterpunching throughout the contest, seemingly beating Kimbrough to the punch. Kimbrough suffered a cut that was directly between his right eye and the bridge of his nose. White stepped up the pace in the last three rounds but it apparently was not enough to sway the judges completely. Judge Tammye Jenkins saw the bout 77-75 for White while Judge David Jordan scored the contest 77-75 for Kimbrough. Judge Paul Wallace saw the draw at 76-76. The BATB/Fightnews.com card scored the bout for White, 78-74.
White is now 15-10-2, seven KO's while Kimbrough is 21-2-3, seven KO's. The bout was for the honorary Fight For Children title and was a rematch of a six-round bout that Kimbrough won by majority decision in 2007.
The first contest on the three-bout card also ended in a draw as DC cruiserweight Venroy July battled four rounds with Fred McClinton of Winston-Salem, NC. This was a very close contest with both men trading good shots throughout. McClinton dropped July with about two seconds to go in the first round but July bounced back well and managed the draw. Judge Wallace saw the bout for July at 38-37 while judge Jenkins scored it for McClinton 39-37. Judge Jordan scored the draw at 38-38.
July remains undefeated at 2-0-1, one KO while McClinton evens his record at 1-1-1, one KO.
In the closing bout, Palmer Park, MD super middleweight Robert "Rated X" Reed made short work of the debuting "Double J" Jason Johns of Danville, VA, landing a right hand midway through the first round to drop Johns. Johns made it back to his feet but referee Joe Cooper stopped the contest at 1:45 of the first. Reed is now 2-0 with two first-round knockouts.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: First, about the boxing card. There have been times when I've seen Dean White look very good, times when I've seen him look okay and times when he has looked awful. Tonight was truly one of the good times for the "Pit Bull" and it should have resulted in a win. White counterpunched very well and kept Kimbrough off balance. Also, White showed very good defense. However as many have pointed out recently, it is very hard to get points for defense in today's boxing world and White didn't get nearly enough credit for his defense tonight. What makes this an even more bitter pill to swallow is that this is the second straight hard luck decision White has received against Kimbrough. I thought White won the first bout in 2007 and I'm even more convinced he won tonight.
Once Robert Reed learns the nuances of boxing, he will be extremely tough to deal with. Right now, he's relying on power shots and it's working. But when he starts showing how to box, he will be one to watch.
Hopefully, one of the local promoters who attended tonight's card will put a rematch between Venroy July and Fred McClinton. That was a good even matchup where both guys fought very well.
Kudos to Eric Bottjer and Ollie Dunlap for keeping a commitment to having local boxers on this card. A card, by the way that a lot of the movers and shakers who attended actually paid attention to and were enthusiastic about. That doesn't always happen at this event.
Now about the event. First, BATB joins the growing number of groups that congratulate Joseph E. Robert, Jr., who founded Fight Night back in 1990. Fight Night is the one boxing event that all boxing fans should try to get to at least once. I know it is not an event for the regular boxing fan, but it is a fun night.
Fight Night has also raised millions of dollars for many children's charities and I have witnessed first hand how those donations have worked. In my regular duties as a 12th grade english teacher, I work with a representative from the DC College Access Program, a group that finds ways to give students better and easier access to college. Without those added funds, there would be a number of students who would have a much tougher time getting into college.
Tonight, Robert heard a number of congratulatory messages via video from many influential friends in politics, media and entertainment including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Lionel Richie, Washington Post Chairman and CEO Donald Graham and the rock group Kiss.
Of course, one of the huge highlights of Fight Night was the Parade of Boxing Legends. Sugar Ray Leonard received a great hometown ovation as he joined Aaron Pryor, Ray Mancini, Jake La Motta, Joe Frazier, Gerry Cooney, James "Buster" Douglas, Ernie Terrell, Earnie Shavers, current legend Roy Jones, Jr. and Ken Norton, who was this year's inductee into Fight Night's Hall of Fame. It's interesting (and makes me feel old) to see how this part of the event has evolved. The first time I attended this event was in 1996, 13 years ago. The legends then were a lot of the boxers my Dad used to talk about -- Kid Gavilan, Gene Fullmer, Sandy Saddler, Carmen Basilio, Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johannsen and others. The only one I had actually watch box in person then was Muhammad Ali, who came to Fight Night in that year. Now, most of the legends (in fact all, except La Motta) are boxers I saw fight regularly either on TV or in person.
During the live auction, an American flag that flew over Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan garned a winning bid of $62,500. This year's entertainment had a local flavor as rocker Joan Jett (who went to high school in Wheaton, MD) and the Blackhearts performed their three big hits "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock N'Roll" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You." Also, the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders made their annual appearance performing routines that you will NEVER see at FedEx Field. Also, Grammy Award-winning singer Patti Austin gave a very moving rendition of the National Anthem.
One other note: The DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission did something last night that they have never done before. They bought a table for the event. This may not seem like much, but this was a dream of the late commission chair, Arnold McKnight. Alfred Grant, the deputy commissioner, was the one who spearheaded the event and it did show unity among commission members. Special note should also be given to referee Joe "Thunder" Cooper who was the third man for all three bouts last night while wearing a nice looking tuxedo shirt to go with his bow tie.
By the way, we do have new members of the commission. The chair is Bryan "Scottie" Irving. The commissioners are Viraj Gandhi and Jeffrey Horowitz.