FORT WASHINGTON, Md. – When was the last time you saw a junior middleweight enter the ring by stepping OVER the ropes?
Unbeaten Alantez “SlyAza” Fox, of Forestville, Md., a 6-foot-5, 20-year-old prospect, did just that on Saturday night at The Rosecroft Raceway in a clash that represented his first main event.
“I don’t think that they’ve ever seen that. I’m pretty sure that was historical. I’m positive that was historical,” said Fox, of his maneuver. “Thomas Hearns never even did that. It’s beneath me to go that low. But that shows that I’m here to entertain.”
Fox continued to entertain in the ring against the staunch and sturdy 5-foot-8 Julius Kennedy, of Windsor Mill, Md., overcoming a tiny, 16.5-foot square ring which threatened to cramp his maneuverability.
Fox won by six-round unanimous decision, 58-56, 59-55, and, 60-54, respectively, on the cards of judges Ken Chevalier, John Gradowski and Gary Camponeschi to improve to 9-0-1 with four knockouts, dropping Kennedy — who bled from areas around his right eye and at times from his nose — to 7-3-1, with three knockouts.
“That’s the first time that I’ve gone six rounds, even though I had already gone eight rounds,” said Fox. “But I was a little concerned about the size of my ring, even though I was able to maintain my composure.”
Fox executed a well-balanced first round, targeting Kennedy behind his jab, hammering down right hands to the head, and also firing hard rights and hooks to the body, occasionally trapping his man and nailing him along the ropes.
Fox also used constant movement, whether turning or backpedaling. On the rare occasions Kennedy crowded him, Fox was able to cover up or clinch and hold his rival until referee Brent Bovell intervened.
Fox was also successful as an in-fighter, digging to the body with both hands, even as he absorbed a head-swiveling over hand right midway through the third.
Fox went toe-to-toe even more in the fourth, seemingly enjoying the exchanges. The rangy boxer even bravely took yet another dangerous right hand in the final round, retaliating with his own firepower.
“The ring was a little smaller, and that added to a lot of his contact. Plus sometimes, I got a little lazy. But there were also some times where I stood in there and fought him,” said Fox.
“There are times where I like to sit down and fight. The body shots were landing too, and I could tell he was slowing down a little bit. I had to keep turning him because the ring was small. But it was all good. So overall, I thought that it was an amazingly good performance.”
Although Fox had gone farther than four rounds just once — battling to an eight-round draw — Kennedy had twice gone the 10-round distance, losing by majority decision to Baltimore’s Jessie Nicklow in September of 2010 before losing his next fight against Scott Sigmon in December of that same year.
Kennedy also owns a six-round, unanimous decision victory over Aaron Pryor Jr., handing the son of the Hall of Fame former world champion only his second loss at the time in April of 2009.
Compared favorably to former titleholder Paul Williams “physique-wise” by local event promoter Gene Molovinsky, Fox was coming off December’s first-round stoppage victory over Jimmy LeBlanc that helped him to rebound from a September’s draw with New York’s Frank Glarza (8-0-1, 4 KOs).
“When I fought Frank Glarza in New York, the ring was probably about that small, so it wasn’t the first time,” said Fox. “I was able to adjust, even though I knew that he was going to come forward. I used my length, kept moving and kept him confused. I never let him get settled in.
In the end, Fox was able to leave his partisan fans wanting more.
“The local fights are good, because my friends and family come out,” said Fox. “As far my next opponent, I know that I’ll probably be fighting guys as tough as him from now on out. This was probably my toughest opponent, but if I can beat him like that, then I think that I’ll be alright.”
In the night’s first bout, heavyweight Mario Murphy (1-0), of Capital Heights, Md., won a four-round unanimous decision over Lamont Capers (1-1), of Tobyhanna, Pa., by 39-37 on all three cards
Next up, welterweight D’Andre Davis (1-0, 1 KO), of Bowie, Md., scored a second-round TKO over Coy Lambert (1-6, 1 KO), Summerville, S.C., at 44 seconds of the round.
Lightweight Renaldo Gaines (4-1, 1 KO), of Bryans Road, Md., then pounded out a third-round stoppage of Baltimore’s Darrell Martin (4-13, 1 KO), at 23 seconds of that round.
The fourth fight was a four-round light heavyweight unanimous decision by Washington, D.C.’s Greg Newby (5-0, 3 KOs) over John Terry (4-25-3, 1 KO), of Portsmouth, Va.
Bowie super middleweight Jerry Odom (2-0, 2 KOs) scored two knockdowns — the first with a left to the body, and the second, with a similarly-landed right — during his firs-round stoppage of Anthony Madden (0-3), of Biloxi, Miss.
Junior middleweight Jarrett Hurd (4-0, 3 KOs), of Accokeek, Md., routed Trenton Tittsworth (5-15-1, 2 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., over four rounds.
Landover junior lightweight Kevin Rivers (4-0, 3 KOs) dropped Giovanni Vazquez (0-3), of Columbia, SC., twice in the second and final round of his knockout.
Rivers floored Vazquez with a left hook to the jaw, and, later, a left to the body, after which referee Kenny Chevalier waved an end to the bout at the 1:11 mark.
Photo by Juan Marshall
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org