Home Boxing News Second in a series of weekly boxing columns from Peltz Boxing Promotions

Second in a series of weekly boxing columns from Peltz Boxing Promotions


People often ask: “Why is the Philly fight game not what it used to be?” Fighters like Joey Giardello, Gypsy Joe Harris, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Eugene Cyclone Hart, Stanley Kitten Hayward, Bennie Briscoe, Willie The Worm Monroe, Bobby Boogaloo Watts, Charlie Choo Choo Brown and Richie Kates helped to build their reputations off inner-city rivalries. Talented local warriors would fight each other two or three times. It helped to build competition and energy, pitting neighborhood against neighborhood, city against city. What happened? Where did it go? Why did it all disappear?

Rivalries spin when fighters from different local areas meet in the ring, even when they don’t live in the same city. Future light-heavyweight champion Saad Muhammad, of South Philadelphia, and Kates, of Millville, NJ, met in a classic on Feb. 10, 1978 at the Spectrum. That all-out war never will be forgotten in Philadelphia history. The same goes for the two Spectrum brawls between Hart and Briscoe, a pair of North Philadelphia neighbors who met in 1975 and 1976. Long before, Giardello’s wars with Gil Turner and Henry Hank were classics. What about Gypsy Joe’s big win over Hayward?

Is there a change coming? Do we smell something in the air? Are we going back to the future?

Up-and-coming welterweight Ronald Cruz (pictured on the left) will box Doel Carrasquillo on July 1 at the new Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA. Hometowns located so close make for passionate fans. Cruz is from Bethlehem; Carrasquillo from Lancaster, PA. Their hometowns are approximately 60 miles apart and that should make for its own intense, in-state rivalry. Cruz is 24, unbeaten, and on the way up. Carrasquillo is 38, with a good punch and a good chin and a reputation for knocking off young prospects. Passion and a challenge like the one Cruz is taking on makes for energy in the audience.

That energy needs to return. Philadelphia junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado is bringing back the importance of rivalries in the Philadelphia area. Last summer, Rosado met Derek Pooh Ennis at The Arena in South Philadelphia. Their 12-rounder for the USBA title had the liveliness to it that fight fans want. Why? It was because of the rivalry between two fighters and their neighborhoods, North Philadelphia (Rosado) and Germantown (Ennis). The atmosphere resembled a Big Five basketball game at The Palestra. Rosado lost the fight but it hardly put a dent in his career.

Rosado is making a name for himself. He has the heart and the confidence to step into the ring with any fighter willing to fight him. He did it earlier this year when he knocked out Philly rival Jamaal Davis at Bally’s Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Now he’s doing it again. Rosado will showcase his skills against another local fighter, Harry Joe Yorgey, of Bridgeport, PA, on July 15, again at Bally’s. Though we would have liked to have seen Rosado vs. Yorgey in Philadelphia, it still will be a night and a fight to remember. Yorgey jumped at the chance to fight Rosado and that’s what we want to see from our local attractions.

Rivalries build a fighter’s resume and give the fighter the confidence and experience to help him on his way to, hopefully, a world championship opportunity.

COMING HOME: Philadelphia’s undefeated welterweight contender Mike Jones will stay busy when he faces Raul Munoz, of Leon, Mexico, on June 25 at The Arena in South Philadelphia. Jones built his resume locally before taking his show on the road to Dallas, TX, and Las Vegas, NV. Now he’s coming back to Philly for the first time in more than two years. Stablemate Teon Kennedy, a world-ranked super bantamweight, is right behind Jones on the international scene. He returns Aug. 13 at Bally’s. Looks like this will be a busy summer for Peltz Boxing!

IN OTHER BOXING NEWS: I would like to congratulate Bernard The Executioner Hopkins for becoming the oldest World Champion in boxing history, moving past the great George Foreman. BHop did this by exposing (former) light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal last Saturday night in Montreal, Canada. Hopkins is a Philadelphia fighter who continuously had to prove himself and he added to his legacy. Gabriel Rosado (pictured with BHop), who sparred with Hopkins for the Pascal fight, said it best: I can’t stop thinking about Bernard’s big win last night. Classic! I’m so blessed to be around a legend and learn the old school craft hands on. Philly doesn’t know what they got in a champ like Bernard. It’s time he gets the love he deserves.”…Philadelphia junior welterweight Steve Chambers’ scheduled fight on ESPN this Friday has been postponed…Boxing returns to Harrah’s Chester on Friday, June 3, and the next night, Saturday, June 4, there will be boxing in Atlantic City as well as Hamilton Township, NJ.

The author is a senior in sport and recreation management at Temple University.  She recently joined Peltz Boxing as an intern.  This is the second in a series of weekly columns.

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