As expected, Demetrius Davis provided the flash and the -- for the main event as boxing stepped uptown to Martin's West last night. What wasn't expected was the Mitchellsville middleweight also waltzed to an upset victory over Les Johnson.
The inaugural show proved a success not only in the ring, but at the box office (1,800 paid) and in the ambiance as the elegant beltway beanery took smartly to the mores of a fight crowd. "Next card, Feb. 10," promoter Stu Satosky announced proudly even before the feature bout of the evening.
Johnson, beaten just once in 17 previous trips through the ropes, entered with a robe emblazoned with "White Lightning" on the back. It wasn't long before it was apparent Davis was going to capture this lightning in a bottle or any receptacle he so chose. He outmaneuvered, outslugged and even went so far as to outwrestle his opponent, this last "attribute" ending up costing him a unanimous 10-round decision.
It was in the seventh round when, obviously tired of Johnson's octopus style of infighting, Davis simply heaved his opponent completely out of the ring. The resulting penalty point dropped one of the judge's scorecard to 95-95, a laughable injustice that led to a majority decision.
The other judges saw it 98-91 and 97-93 and, afterward, Davis said, "I agreed with all the cards. I knew the crowd was with Les and . . ."
Maybe the reason they were with Johnson is a crowd's natural propensity for pulling for an underdog. From the opening bell it was apparent Demetrius had way too much for his friend and longtime rival from amateur days.
Trained by his father Adrian Davis, a good fighter in his day, Demetrius is a talent far beyond the lackluster 7-3-3 record he carried into the ring. "My boy's a good fighter," said Adrian, "but he's got discipline problems."
For instance, he likes to lift weights to gain himself a body beautiful and as pop points out, "lifting weights don't go in boxing. It's counter-productive." Then there was Davis' insistence on rough-housing with Johnson when it was apparent that he could accomplish just about anything he wanted in the fight.
All told, there were 42 rounds scheduled on the card and just about all of them got fought. In the co-featured eight-rounders, Chuckie Sturm put his usual full-court press on opponent Glen Randolph and prevailed unanimously to run his record to 26-3, and Scott Jones lost a heartbreaker to Jason Waller.
Jones was hoping to avenge the only loss on his pro record (5-1) and Waller came to town as the eighth-rated cruiserweight in the world. The living's obviously been good for the Virginian, because he was pudgy and tired badly after mid-fight. Jones entered the eighth round with a comfortable lead.
"Then I made a bad mistake," he said later. Instead of staying in close, running the clock and clinching when necessary, Jones stood at long range. Midway through the round, one of Waller's haymakers found home and the Baltimorean spent the next minute being pummeled around the ring.
The fight was stopped with just 20 seconds remaining, which played havoc with the blood pressure of Jones' manager and trainer Mack Lewis, but referee Chris Wolleson was completely justified. Jones was offering no defense and not fighting back. "I'll just have to do better next time," offered the dejected loser.
Three other fighters, who figure prominently in future fight cards at Martin's, not only won but showed laudable improvement for boxers who have been pros for just a short time.
Carson McCroury, your typical keep punching and ask questions later Irishman, suddenly has a defense and a constantly improving arsenal of punches from both sides. He ran his record to 6-1 with a unanimous decision over Doug Gillery, a bigger guy with some tools.
Dana Rosenblatt, a Bostonian who doesn't look the part of a slugger but can, didn't have the pleasure of scheduled opponent Joe Blyther and Ivory Teague paid for it. Teague first went down as the result of a lunging left and made the mistake of getting up. Moments later, Rosenblatt dropped the old 1-2 on him and the deuce, a whistling right, was the last thing Teague saw for a while. The bout lasted just one minute, 53 seconds.
Ed Griffin opened the show with a fourth-round TKO victory over Pete Purdy, who for reasons known only to himself stopped punching after three rounds. Mike Whitfield, the heavyweight they call "Little George Foreman" because of his resemblance to the ex-champ, had the night off as his opponent failed to post.