We recently posted what is a great schedule for the Beltway throughout April and May.
The May schedule could have been event better if two quality Beltway Backyard Bouts had not been scrapped on the weekend on May 13 and 14. One bout has already been talked about and the other we had been holding because an announcement was forthcoming. We start with that one first.
On Friday, May 13, undefeated DC welterweight Dusty Hernandez Harrison will headline a Throne Boxing/Roc Nation card at the DC Armory that will be televised on BET. We can tell you now that Harrison's original opponent was slated to be Stevensville, MD's Tony "Mo Better" Jeter in a 10-round bout that was going to be fought at a catchweight of 154 pounds -- meaning Harrison was going to move up in weight and Jeter, a natural middleweight, was coming down.
Let me interject some personal thoughts at this point. Jeter has a signed contract for this bout. I am not showing you the contract because there are addresses listed that I don't want shown to the public. However, I have seen the contract and I know the contract exists. Both boxers reportedly signed the contract. However, the Harrison camp reportedly nixed the bout.
If that is true, then we have to wonder what the plan for Dusty Harrison is at this point. Harrison is 29-0, 16 KO's -- he has more bouts and more knockouts than Jeter (20-5-1, 14 KO's) He is also 19 years younger than Jeter. However, it can be said that Jeter, at age 40, has done more, or at least attempted more, than the 21-year old Harrison has. Jeter has been ranked by three major governing bodies, has fought for interim world titles and has won a number of regional titles.
Harrison has won two regional titles but, unlike Jeter, has not parlayed them into bigger and better paydays. In fact, Harrison has regressed opponent-wise. After winning the WBC Continental Americas Welterweight title -- a belt that has historically been a stepping stone to a world title opportunity -- in January of 2015, Harrison was supposed to face Colombian welterweight Henry Auraad in April in what would have been a quality contest on the Fox Sports 1 network. Auraad was 16-9 with 13 KO's at that point. However, Auraad had visa issues and Harrison ended up fighting a late replacement in Chris Gray at the Foxwoods in Mashantucket, CT. Harrison won by eight-round unanimous decision against an under-.500 boxer.
After the Gray bout, Harrison fought three times against boxers who were veterans but were gatekeepers at best. To his credit, Harrison scored knockouts in all three contests. The question still remains, however -- when is Harrison going to stop fighting gatekeepers?
When you look at some of the pro boxers who were in the amateurs around the same time as Harrison and how their pro careers have progressed -- that question starts to scream out. Boxers like Dominic Wade and Jarrett Hurd have fewer bouts than Harrison, however, they have won huge bouts that have put them in position for bigger paydays. It is beyond time for Harrison to be put in the same position.
If this is happening because the Harrison camp is afraid of losing, they are in the wrong business and they should know that by now. A bout against Jeter would have been great for this area and would have given everyone an idea on where Harrison is at this point. We can only hope Harrison has a quality opponent for May 13.
Now, lets move to Saturday, May 14 where another Beltway Backyard Brawl was scheduled for the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium as the main event for the Shawstyle Promotions/Shabazz Brothers card. James Stevenson was scheduled to face Cecil McCalla in a 10-round bout for the Maryland State Welterweight title. This would have been a great bout for two Baltimore boxers who needed this contest for confidence if nothing else.
What made this bout so intriguing was that both boxers received opportunities recently on national television and both boxers came up short. It would have been close to a "win or go home" situation. It would have been a good style matchup as well with the power of Stevenson against the boxing skills of McCalla. Both men, at one time or another, had reservations about this bout and I can understand why. It is a risky bout even at this stage. However, like Harrison and Jeter would have been for DC, Stevenson-McCalla would have been a huge bout for the Baltimore area. Let's hope this is not a missed opportunity.
As I have said in the past, I normally don't approve of backyard bouts between locals unless there is something on the line. In both these proposed bouts, there would have been a lot on the line -- reputations and titles in particular. And both those contests would have added a whole lot to what will be an outstanding spring. Fortunately, both cards will go on and that will be great for the fans.