Salita wins, calls out Hatton (HONEST)

By George Kimball


Salita wins, calls out Hatton (HONEST)

NEW YORK --- Whether Dmitry Salita is, as he claims, almost ready for the likes of Ricky Hatton remains debatable, but this much we know: He was ready for Grover Wiley.

Salita’s supporters from New York’s Orthodox community turned out in force Thursday night to watch the Ukraine-born kid who boxes under the Nom de Guerre “Star of David” in his Broadway Boxing farewell, and Salita didn’t disappoint, winning a lopsided decision over a game but overmatched Wiley before 1,391 enthusiastic souls at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Beating Wiley to the punch with a jackhammer jab all night long, Salita was only remotely in trouble once. In the second round Wiley surprised him when he speared him with a right-hand lead, and then followed Salita to the ropes to land a hard combination before he could recover.

Apart from that interlude, Salita owned the night, running his record to 27-0-1 in his graduation rite against the hard-nosed pug from Omaha. (Wiley is now 30-9-1.)

“I thought I fought a good fight,” said Salita. “I went back to doing some of the things that made me successful in my amateur days, and my jab was working much better.”

The only other threatening moment came early in the third, when Salita spun away in pain from a clash of heads. The butt appeared to be mutually instigated, though Salita clearly got the worst of it, and Wiley drew a warning from referee Gary Rosata.

Rosata had to caution Salita twice for low blows in the first round alone, and warned him on two subsequent occasions. Having issued innumerable cautions, Rosata was then forced to utterly ignore a Salita low blow in the seventh, when he plainly would have had to take a point.

Salita’s best round  came in the fifth, when he rocked Wiley with a left-right combination before swarming on him in an attack that dislodged the visitor’s mouthpiece. When Rosata subsequently halted the action and took Wiley back to the corner to have it replaced, Salita said later, he probably spared the opponent at least a knockdown.

Judges Robin Taylor and Oscar Perez scored it 99-90 for the winner, while Matt Ruggero (as did Boxing Talk) had it 99-91.

“It’s on to bigger and better things,” vowed Salita after his valedictory. Promoter Lou DiBella has been talking to both Showtime and HBO, but he’d better not get too ambitious. Hatton at this point would seem a far-fetched dream.

When Salita claimed afterward “I am the best in the world in my weight class,” he seemed positively deluded. The odd thing is, there were undoubtedly a lot of people in the audience who actually believe that.

Broadway Boxing is going to miss them.

Curtis Stevens and Jaidon Codrington also posted unanimous decisions, as all three principal bouts went the distance.

Darnell Boone has turned spoiling the records of emerging stars into something of a cottage industry, but the Ohio veteran must have left his bag of tricks at home last night.  Dominating from start to finish, Stevens won every round in what was also billed as his Broadway Boxing finale.

Stevens was much the quicker fighter, at least on this night. Never remotely in danger, he appeared content to outbox the veteran Boone, leaving his supporters in the audience pleading for the violence they had plainly come to see.

In the seventh round, Stevens drove Boone to the ropes and then caught him with a thunderous right uppercut that lifted him, literally, off his feet. Referee Eddie Claudio interceded to administer a count, which in turn gave Stevens a 10-8 round on all three scorecards.

Although there is no Standing 8 in New York, Claudio appeared to have administered one, but the referee explained later that when Boone returned to earth his back had landed on the ring ropes, and that he otherwise would likely have gone down. Hence the count.

“He just kept backing up, so I tried to walk him back and catch him with some shots,” said Stevens of Boone. “He seemed to be in more of a defense mode than a combat mode.”

All three judges (Ruggero, Taylor, and Jim Pierce) scored it 100-89 for Stevens, as did Boxing Talk.

Unlike Salita, Stevens wasn’t calling out any world champions after his victory. Asked where he goes from here, Showtime replied “Whoever.”

“But hopefully Showtime or HBO,” he added.

In what may also have been his farewell to Broadway Boxing, Connecticut light-heavyweight Codrington posted a comfortable decision over Newark veteran Marlon Hayes. An exhausted Hayes ( 23-6) had all he could do to stay on his feet over the final three minutes.

Codrington (15-1) was credited with the fight’s only knockdown in the first. It was in truth more a matter of Hayes’ momentum carryying him forward than Jaidon’s punch, but Hayes’ knee did graze the canvas, and referee Ricky Gonzalez correctly ruled a knockdown. Gonzalez also took a point from Hayes (for holding) in the eighth. Perez scored it 99-89, Ruggero 98-90, and Pierce 97-91, all for Codrignton. The Boxing Talk card concurred with Ruggero’s.

Codrington admitted to being somewhat befuddled by Hayes’ awkward style.

“I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen this,” said Codrington, who was, on the other hand, pleased to have been fighting an opponent, however rugged, who came straight at him.

“I wish I had more fights like this,” said Codrington. “It was a learning experience, but I’m learning and I’m stepping up. Just because I didn’t look great doesn’t mean I didn’t win great.”

Frankie Figueroa had said going in that he hoped to steal the show, and more or less by default, he did.
Fighting as a full-blown welterweight, the New York State 140-pound champ scored a third-round TKO over Dominican journeyman Antonio Ramirez.

Figueroa (15-2) hurt Ramirez (24-15-6) with a left to the body and then floored him with a right hand late in the third, and then decked him twice more in the third – first with a cuffing right to the top of the head, then with a left-right combination. Gary Rosato stopped the fight at 42 seconds of the round without completing his count.

Rosedale (NY) light-heavyweight Ronson “Perfectly” Frank remained a perfect 8-0 as a pro, posting a 60-54 shutout on all three cards (Perez, Robin Taylor, and Ruggero) to win a unanimous decision over Houston’s Don Mouton (2-1).

Heavyweight Shawn McLean, who took time out from his rounds on the New York comedy-club circuit to make his professional boxing debut, knocked out his opponent, corpulent late sub Clifton Adams, with a big right hand at 2:07 of the first round.  Although he could clearly have counted to at least 20, Gonzalez waved it off without a count. Adams is now 0-3.

Rochester featherweight Harvey Murray drew an unexpectedly tough assignment for his pro debut, and had all he could do to earn a draw with Francisco Palacios. Palacios, who wound up with his third draw in four pro fights, showed considerable mettle and sneaked in some big right hands, particularly in the first and fourth, against the stylish Murray, the younger brother of former world champion Charles Murray. The judges – Pierce (39-37, Murray), Ruggero (39-37, Palacios) and Perez (38-38) split three ways on the verdict. (Boxing Talk also scored it even.) Palacios is now 0-1-3.


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