Veteran referee Tony Weeks is among the world’s most well-known officials.
Weeks was also in the squared circle for September’s unanimous decision by RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC’s belt, as well as June’s 11th-round knockout victory by then-IBF welterweight beltholder Randall Bailey over Mike Jones.
Last May, Weeks also officiated Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous decision over then-WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto. Weeks was also the third man in the ring for Manny Pacquiao’s last victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight in November of 2011.
But Weeks never has offiiciated a fight on the East Coast.
That will change, however, on Friday night, when the 56-year-old Las Vegas resident will be the third man in the ring when IBF junior welterweight beltholder Lamont Peterson makes the first defense of his belt against ex-titleholder Kendall Holt on ESPN2′s Friday Night Fights at The D.C. Armory in Peterson’s native Washington, D.C.
“I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York, but I’ve lived in Las Vegas since 1995. I have family all over the East Coast. In Baltimore, New Jersey, New York,” said Weeks.
“Actually, this is very special for me, because this my very first time refereeing a fight back East. I’ve never done a fight in New York’s Madison Square Garden, never done one in Atlantic City. I’m talking anywhere on the East Coast. Never done it. But I’ve always wanted to do a fight out here at home.”
Weeks is mentioned in a soon-to-be released book, Third Man In The Ring: 33 of Boxing’s Best Referees and Their Stories, co-written by Pat Morley and Mike Fitzgerald.
Other referees discussed in the book include Robert Byrd, Frank Cappuccino, Eddie Cotton, Vic Drakulich, Benjy Esteves, Howard John Foster, Frank Garza, Wayne Kelly, Mills Lane, Sparkle Lee, John McCarthy, Bruce McTavish, Denny Nelson, Mark Nelson, Randy Neumann, John O’Brien, Luis Pabon, Carlos Padilla, Pete Podgorski, Roberto Ramirez, Rafael Ramos, Jack Reiss, Celestino Ruiz, Pat Russell, Gerald Scott, Steve Smoger, Richard Steele, Mickey Vann and Sam Williams.
Feldman was ringside at New York’s Madison Square Garden in January, when WBA middleweight beltholder Gennady Golovkin scored his 13th straight stoppage victory with his seventh-round knockout of rising Philadelphia junior middleweight standout Gabriel Rosado.
Malignaggi won the fight, 114-113 on the cards of judges Nelson Vasquez and Tom Muller, but lost, 118-109, to Cano on that of Feldman, whom Malignaggi claims was influenced by a vocal contingent near Feldman which favored Cano.
A veteran of more than 65 world title fights, Pernick scored November’s eight-round technical split-decision victory by WBA interim junior welterweight beltholder Khabib Allakhverdiev over Joan Guzman in favor of the winner, 76-75, as did as did judge Mark Streisand. Judge Nelson Vazquez scored it for Guzman, 76-75.
Having worked 12 title fights, Levin was last at ringside for a unanimous-decision victory by super middleweight Danny Pastrana, of Orlando, Fla., over Fadoul Louis, of Melbourne, Fla., in December.
ATTORNEY VENROY JULY FIGHTS ON PETERSON-HOLT UNDERCARD
Cruiserweight Venroy “Hard Work” July, a native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, will be after his 14th victory without a loss, his third straight knockout and his seventh overall against Elvin Sanchez, of Paterson, N.J. on Friday night at The D.C. Armory.
July (13-0-2, 6 KOs) will face Sanchez (5-2-1, 4 KOs) on the Peterson-Holt undercard.
A 29-year-old resident of Suitland, Md., July is an attorney in Baltimore who is trained by Adrian Davis, who once trained Hasim Rahman to an upset fifth-round knockout that dethroned Lennox Lewis as undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in April of 2001.
“Adrian trains most of his fighters out of his gym in Capitol Heights, but because of my work schedule, he has to train me really early in the morning,” said July. “So I’m up at 5 a.m., and we train at 6 a.m. out in Rockville. So I drive to Rockville from Baltimore, train in their gym out there called Champion Boxing and Fitness.”
July attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he walked on to the wrestling team there and won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship at 197 pounds in 2004.
“After I went to undergraduate, I went on to the Duke University School of Law, and started my practice in Washington, D.C.,” said July, who is with Hogan Lovells.
“It’s actually one of the largest law firms. We have 2,500 attorneys worldwide. I do corporate law, so we do mergers and acquisitions. In addition, I do some securities and compliance.”
July left Jamaica at the age of 11, and went to junior high in The Bronx, N.Y.
“I got a scholarship to go to a boarding school in Connecticut called Taft High School. That’s where I started wrestling. My junior year I came in second at states, my senior year I won states,” said July, who wrestled in college under Bill Lam.
“When I walked on at college, I remember my coach said, ‘Nobody from Connecticut can wrestle.’ So I had a tough time adjusting. Through hard work, I was able to become one of the better wrestlers in the room, at first, and then, ultimately, in the conference.”
July began boxing in law school.
“The law firm that I first worked at, Dickstein Shapiro, they had a partner that used to box to stay in shape, and so he invited all of the summer associates to come and try it,” said July.
“I went there once, and I was hooked. Initially, it was to stay in shape. Being in law school, you spend so many hours just reading contracts and documents, I needed something to break the day up. But when I got to D.C., I was beating people in the rooms and decided to go into the amateurs.”
That was in 2007. Two years later, after a successful amateur career, July turned pro under Davis.
“I haven’t lost as an amateur or a pro under Adrian Davis. I turned professional in 2009. We had to take fights where we could get them. My first fight was against a guy who was 4-1,” said July, referring to unanimous four-round decision over Melvin Miller in July of 2009 in Hilton Head, S.C.
“There were a lot of times when people were trying to set us up with fights. But we just kept having to do what we had to do. So now, I’m 13-0, and I’m trying to keep winning. I just started my own promotional company, which is Hard Work Promotions. I couldn’t get anybody to put me on cards. I was begging and pleading, so I just decided to start my own promotional company.”
After Friday night, July is planning to put on his next show sometime next month in Frederick, Md.
“It will be at the Frederick Fight Club. They have a nice, small facility. We just want to try to get things under our belt and we’ll go from there,” said July. “We have a ton of of companies in Baltimore that I think I can work with to sort of leverage what we’re doing.”
IF BRYANT JENNINGS WANTS A FIGHT, TEAM SETH MITCHELL SAYS, ‘NO PROBLEM’
When heavyweight Johnathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) suffered a broken right thumb that forced him out of a Feb. 16 rematch with Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs) — who lost by second-round knockout to Banks in November — the promoter of Philadelphia-based heavyweight Bryant Jennings (16-0, 8 KOs) claimed that Jennings was willing to replace Banks.
On Thursday, while attending the Peterson-Holt weigh-in, Mitchell’s manager, Sharif Salim, offered a retort.
“We’re still waiting for Mr. Banks, and understand that we have a rematch clause. Mr. Bryant Jennings, we understand, has reached out and wanted to fight us. Well, Team Mitchell says no problem. We’ll fight anybody at this point. Of course, we want to engage Mr. Johathon Banks again. We feel we have a score to settle,” said Salim, who is Adrian Davis’ brother.
“We have a rematch clause, so we’re waiting for that to happen and waiting for him to get well. But at the same time, we’re in top shape, coming off of a great camp. So if Mr. Jennings would like to get that on, then we wouldn’t have a problem with it. I’m just putting it out there, whether it’s Mr. Jennings or anybody else. Seth is ready to fight, and that goes for everybody.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com