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At ring side or in back row, boxing delivers

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Aug. 25, 2003
CHOCTAW There are few things more exciting than watching boxing live.
Whether you are right on the ring apron or in the row farthest from the action, there is a certain energy in the air that just makes professional bouts a unique atmosphere.
It's the combination of danger, for the participants not the audience, with the rareness of organized fights that gives boxing an electric atmosphere that no other event can compete with in sports.
There is just nothing like watching a good bout.
When the Silver Star Hotel and Casino brought boxing to its convention center floor last Friday, the performers didn't disappoint.
The seven-bout card, a portion of which was aired on ESPN2, presented all of the drama and intrigue that goes along with skilled men putting on a pugilistic performance.
Craig Robinson and Phillip Hammac got the night off to strong start, as the two middleweights battled for three rounds in the scheduled four-round bout.
Robinson scored a TKO just under two minutes into the third round, after the two fighters traded blows throughout the bout.
In the second bout, Antonio Young added some local flavor to the evening.
The Meridian born boxer, who was returning to the ring after a year and a half absence, scored a majority decision victory over Mario Lacey.
Young's performance was accompanied by nearly the entire audience cheering on the Mississippi boxer.
In the third bout, featherweights Rogers Mtagwa and Isidor Tejedor battled for 10 rounds.
Tejedor had to be checked by the ring doctor in the sixth round, but the 127-pound fighter from Florida only seemed to be revived by the quick medical attention.
Tejedor entered the fight with rumors of being a flopper, but the 24-year-old fighter proved to be anything but a flopper.
Despite taking a barrage of shots from all angles, Tejedor stayed on his feet for 10 rounds, and he gave as good as he got from Mtagwa.
As the bout entered the final three rounds, Mtagwa had a look of confusion on his face wondering why he couldn't put his opponent away, and the crowd slowly turned to Tejedor's corner as the fighter refused to go down despite being dominated for most of the match.
The 30-minute fight was followed by the quickest bout of the night, when welterweights James Kirkland of Austin, Texas, and Martinus Clay of Atlanta stepped into the ring.
Kirkland, who came into the ring playing to the crowd and making faces at his opponent, exploded out of his corner to pick up the knockout in 54 seconds over Clay.
The night's main event, Kassim Ouma vs. Carlos Bojorquez, lived up to its billing.
Ouma, 24, showed rare power, nailing the 31-year-old Bojorquez with 226 power punches to pick up a TKO in the eighth round.
Bojorquez showed true warrior spirit throughout the bout, as the elder boxer sustained cuts above and below his right eye. Though the referee stopped the fight, Bojorquez never went down and earned plenty of respect for his show of heart against a younger, quicker opponent.
But boxing is not just about the principles in the ring and the action between the ropes.
It also brings out an interesting cast of characters, such as the night's ring announcer.
The events emcee had performed announcing duties the night before in San Antonio, Texas, and he was jumping onto a plane after the bout to go announce another evening of fights in Florida on Saturday.
But the jetsetting life was just the tip of interesting tidbits about the ring announcer.
The tuxedo-wearing microphone jockey had all of the bouts' information written on large yellow index card in big, black lettering. Each card contained the fighters name, with annunciation guide under it, and biographical information.
The reason the cards were so large was because the ring announcer was blind in his right eye because of diabetes, and he only had about 30 percent vision out of his left.
Kirkland also had an interesting character in his corner.
The welterweight was accompanied to the ring with what looked like a reincarnation of Grateful Dead lead singer Jerry Garcia. This guy had the gray, circular-shaped beard, and if you knocked about 100 pounds off the deceased Garcia, he was definitely him.
These are just of few of the sights that accompany professional boxing, and if you ever get the chance, even if you are not a fan, make your way to at least one fight. You won't regret it.

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