DEADLY ENCOUNTERS… Six boxers, three championship fights, one night of top class action
Don’t you dare miss it!!!
By Michael Benjamin
‘Tonight, then is the night, stretched on the massage table he/she breathes liniment and sweat and tries to close his/her ears to the roaring of the crowd, a murky sea of noise that bears upon its tide the frail sound of the bell and brings the cunning fear that he/she might not do well.’
The above excerpt, taken from the poem ‘The fight,’ epitomizes the experiences of a boxer about to engage in the most important fight of his/her life, as he/she shuffles around in the dressing room moments before entering the ‘square jungle,’ and attempting to retain body heat and a calm disposition. Even the most well trained boxer experiences ‘butterflies’ in his/her stomach before that first gong. The experienced pugilists have learnt the art of containing and controlling that feeling until the first gong, when the adrenaline starts flowing and the feeling dissipates and is replaced with a cold and calculating disposition.
Tonight, at the Princes Hotel International, Providence EBD, ‘Deadly’ Denny Dalton and Shondell ‘Mystery Lady” Alfred are engaged in different fights but similar psychological battles as they attempt to define themselves on the international world stage. Standing in their way is Hector ‘Machito’ Camacho and Corinne ‘Sexy Panther’ Van Ryck DeGroot. The former fighter has already established himself on the world stage, defeating notable fighters the likes of Rocky Martinez and former world champion Philip Holiday. He was also engaged in a no contest bout against former world champion Jesse James Leija.
DeGroot has displayed her skills before boxing buffs in her last encounter against Alfred. She entered the ring unbeaten but exited with he first loss. Her cries of robbery reverberated from the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall all the way to New York City until President of the World International Boxing Association, Ryan Wissow ordered a rematch. This is DeGroot’s last chance to turn the tide in her favour. Can she outbox, outsmart and out punch Alfred to turn the tide her way? While his resume of 51 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw and 1 no contest, with 27 wins by knockout may seem flattering, Camacho had had his moments of failure. One of his losses occurred in 2002 against Argentine Omar Weiss, by a decision over ten rounds. He also dropped a crucial bout against Andrey Tsurkan, TKOed in the eighth round at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 10, 2006.
A few days ago, shortly after landing in Guyana, Camacho told this writer that he had had ‘discipline issues’ and rather than remain in the ring and risk serious injury, took a lengthy hiatus away from the sport. When he decided to return he had developed a new resolve. On August 29 last year he defeated Israel Cardona and lifted the vacant WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) Light Middleweight title.
In an interview prior to the match Camacho had said that his passion for boxing had been re-ignited and he had his eyes set on winning a world title. Apart from the CABOFE accolade, the Cardona fight earned him a spot in the top ten ratings. Camacho then added the scalp of Luis ‘Yori Boy’ Campas to his resume with a points decision at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, October 30 last. Undoubtedly, possessing world class ability, Camacho pits his skill against Dalton. Is it an even match?
Dalton’s career has been a bittersweet one. After earning a name for himself on the local scene, he traveled to Canada in March 2000 and lost to Joachim Alcine (TKO by 7). He also lost to Gary Lockett in England in September 2001 (KO by 1) and suffered another setback when he traveled to Canada in April 2002 and fought Alvaro Clavijo, losing a close points decision. He then flew to Hungary to fight Mihaly Kotai for the World Boxing Federation junior/middleweight belt. He lost that fight on points.
Dalton threw those disappointments behind him and rebounded with a win over former World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion, Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis but not before a clash of heads in the first of their three fight encounter forced a premature stoppage and a technical draw. In the final of the trilogy, Lewis out boxed a game Dalton to reverse the second decision.
In October 2007, Dalton traveled to Trinidad and Tobago and notched up a victory over Trinidadian, Kevin Placid, in the latter fighter’s backyard, to lift the WBC CABOFE and the World Boxing Empire welterweight titles. He also fought an epic battle against Howard ‘Battersea Bomber’ Eastman and even though he lost the bout and the middleweight title, he received some consolation for his efforts after Eastman noted his immense punching power. Dalton’s record reads 25 fights, 16 wins, 6 losses and 1 technical draw.
While the perusal of records is important and may be valuable in predicting results, history is replete with instances where such analysis failed. As it is, the boxing analyst can gauge a possible outcome by analyzing the strong points of each fighter.
Like his father, Camacho is a slick classy boxer. A direct contrast to Dalton who is a rough and tumble pugilist. Dalton repertoire may be devoid of technical attributes but he makes up for it with determination and a commendable work ethic. Camacho has experienced fluctuating fortunes on the international stage as had Dalton. This bout would be akin to a Sugar Ray Leonard versus Marvelous Marvin Hagler; the boxer against the brawler. The fighter with the most courage, not to mention ‘oxygen in his tank’ will walk away with the spoils.
Alfred and DeGroot will be a scorcher. After their first encounter, Alfred is assured that she is the better fighter. During the last fight, her defence was severely tested by several sharp punches from DeGroot especially in the last two rounds when the rangy DeGroot rocked her on several occasions. The last two rounds were torrid as DeGroot really turned up the heat. Alfred withstood the ‘temperature’ but after the fight admitted that those were torrid rounds.
Her approach to the first bout was commendable but her fitness failed her as the grueling bout wound down. The boxing pundits can expect to see DeGroot employing similar tactics for this bout. If she elects to carry the pressure in the early rounds, the fight could develop into interesting proportions especially if Alfred is not fully fit. The latter fighter, backed by her coaches’ proclamation, has said that this time around she is prepared for a full fledged war.
When the bell rings to start the bout tonight boxing buffs will assess the fighters but my estimation is that the fight will not go the distance. DeGroot would want to ensure that she relieves the judges of the responsibility while Alfred would be out to prove that her first victory was no fluke.
Add the two other bouts between Elton ‘Coolie Bully’ Dharry against Orlan ‘Pocket Rocket’ Rogers and Gwendolyn ‘Stealth Bomber’ O’Neil up against Veronica Blackman and fight fans are assured of a night of unforgettable fistic fury.
‘Not fear of bodily pain but that his/her pride might be sent crashing down. His/her ambition slain; knocked spinning the glittering crown. It’s like if he/she should be anywhere else but there.’