Photos by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Most of D.C.’s promising young boxers continued their professional journeys unabated on Saturday night at the Convention Center, but at least one found out just how hard it is to earn a living by fighting.
Unbeaten prospects Dusty Harrison (above left), Alantez Fox, Kevin Rivers Jr. and Jarrett Hurd all scored impressive 1st-round stoppages on the Keystone Boxing card, helping the audience reach home in time to watch Juan Manuel Marquez smash Manny Pacquiao on PPV. But D.C. featherweight Shadeed Floyd (below right) became the latest local fighter to sustain his first loss against the extremely game David Huffman (below left) of Cincinnati, who is fast becoming our favorite spoiler in the sport. Also winning on the card were Dillon Hayman and Phil Jackson-Benson, while talented super middleweight Jerry Odom saw his fight turn into a no contest after a cut from a headbutt forced his opponent to quit in the first round.
Darrell Jones was supposed to give Harrison a stiffer test in the main event, but Dusty came into the ring looking more serious than ever, and accompanied by his largest posse to date. Jones started out active, until Dusty woke him up with a right hand. Another hard right followed, dropping Jones to his knees, where Dusty hit him with a left to the head. The foul appeared unintentional, but a harsher referee could have chosen to penalize Harrison. Instead, Jones was given a count, which he beat to regain his feet.
Dusty came straight after him, backing Jones against the ropes and dropping him again with a left to the body. The ref waved it off, giving Dusty his most impressive win as a headliner. Harrison continues to show good progress while building up his already sizable local fanbase. But given his tender age, there is no real need to rush him into harder fights any time soon.
The co-feature saw Jackson-Benson (above left) drop Terrance Smith in the first round with a right hand, only to increase the pressure (and the damage) in the 2nd. Smith somehow survived until the bell, but his corner did their duty and stopped the carnage while he was on his stool. Fox (below) made a big impression in short time period, dropping Jimmy LeBlanc twice and forcing a stoppage at 1:12 of the 1st round. Fox is not known as a big puncher and some on press row were predicting an upset by LeBlanc, but the Boston native was simply overmatched. Fox is abnormally long at 154, which gives him a solid shot against anyone on this level.
Staff favorite Kevin Rivers (below) looked imposing in his third professional bout against Alan Beeman of Providence, forcing Beeman to the mat in the 1st with a pair of looping right hands. Rivers winged the rights with such force, they appeared to punch through Beeman’s guard. Rivers has looked sharp in every fight, and his debut win over Hufman looks more impressive with every passing upset. A rematch wouldn’t be terrible idea, because finding opponents for Rivers won’t be easy or cheap going forward. It seems like only a matter of time before a big-name promoter or talent wrangler swoops in to nab on of the area’s most promising prospects.
It was a more frustrating evening for Rivers’ gym-mate Odom (below), who had vowed on Facebook to make Marcus Clay pay for his pre-fight trash talk. The two met early in a clash of heads, which resulted in a cut on Clay’s head that spouted blood. Ringside physician Dr. Richard Ashby mopped things up and pronounced Clay ready to continue, but neither the fighter nor the referee looked eager to go on. The ref stopped it, declaring the bout a no contest in the 1st. Odom, understandably put out, accused his opponent of being scared and quitting in an interview afterward. We couldn’t find Clay to ask his view. Odom was the 2012 National Golden Gloves Boxer of the Year at 178 lbs. Fighting at 168 in the pros, he is downright frightening.
Maryland junior middleweight Jarrett Hurd (below) had things a little easier against Anthony Jones, who really has no business fighting professionally at 154 lbs. Jones looked tiny and positively terrified against Hurd, a decorated amateur in his own right. The Hillcrest product stalked his cowering prey for just over a minute, before one of his power shots gave Jones a reason to go down. He stayed there, giving Hurd a traditional KO victory just 69 seconds into the fight. Hopefully this is the last time we’ll seen Jones; Hurd looks like he plans on sticking around in the fight game for a while.
Despite the early victories, it wasn’t all knockouts and mismatches on this evening. Another 4-rounder at junior middleweight saw Frederick Boxing’s Dillon Hayman win a squeaker of a decision over Erving Fuller, who fought for the first time in a decade. As we have previously observed, Hayman’s moniker “The Stalker” perfectly suits both his approach and bizarre ring attire. He stayed true to form against Fuller, following him around the ring with the high guard, looking to land power shots.
Fuller, a preacher who currently works as an officer with D.C.’s housing police force, worked harder and did well enough to earn a draw on our cards, but his effort went unrewarded. All three judges awarded him a single round in giving the decision to Hayman 39-37. Hayman did land the more telling blows, especially his right, and looks like an exciting, if limited fighter to follow going forward. Fuller probably has a great story, hopefully we will be able to track him down and report it in the near future.
As has become his specialty, Huffman delivered the lone upset of the night by edging the previously undefeated Shadeed Floyd of D.C. in a bout listed at featherweight. I say listed, because Floyd fought at 123 lbs. and Huffman, who we last saw knocking out Joseph Rector at junior welterweight in October, weighed in at 128 lbs.
Huffman has improved his craft of late, but he remains crude and hardly fluid. His strength is his will and determination, which allow him to absorb shots and fire five, six, and seven punches when most stop at two or three. Floyd fights in what I consider the typical D.C. or urban style: stick and move, box, looking to set his feet and land a perfect counter. Huffman has no subtlety; he comes forward, looks to make it rough and just throws more punches than his opponent.
Floyd showed plenty of technique and slickness early, boxing his bigger and slower foe while avoiding most of the harder shots. Floyd was too skilled in the first, but Huffman’s pressure caught up and unnerved him in the second. Floyd recovered a bit in the 3rd, but Huffman’s size and pressure were clearly wearing on him. Floyd kept looking for the counter and found it in the 4th, landing a pair of perfect left hooks flush on Huffman’s chin. But Floyd’s punches had little discernable effect on his larger foe.
Huffman’s pressure helped him carry that round, and ultimately the fight by split decision. All three cards read 39-37, with two favoring the visiting fighter. Floyd’s handlers are probably peeved at matchmaker Brian Dillon today, but they have no one to blame but themselves. Huffman is a known quantity after fighting five times in the DMV this year, including four previous Keystone Boxing cards. He has made a habit of derailing young unbeaten prospects from the area, and fought his last two fights above 135 lbs. This fight screamed loss for Floyd, and he should have probably never taken it. Hopefully it won’t prevent him from continuing to fight, preferably against opponents closer to his size.
And someone tell his team that if they have any questions about future opponents, they should just stop by Stiff Jab first and find out what they’re getting into.
- Dusty Harrison Caps Parade of KOs in D.C.
- Quick Work For DMV Boxing Prospects
- Kevin Rivers Jr. Turns Pro to Big Expectations
This post was updated on Wednesday, December 12.