Baltimore welterweight Ed Griffin (10-0) kept his unbeaten streak intact at Martin's West last night, but this one was strictly gift-wrapped.
Robert West, a clever boxer-puncher from Youngstown, Ohio, took Griffin to school in the early rounds and withstood a late rally to deserve an eight-round verdict. Instead, he stood in disbelief as the ring announcer informed him he had lost by a split decision.
The crowd of 1,800 howled in disapproval as judges Ray Klingmeyer and Sylvester Cash favored the hometown fighter, 77-75. The third judge, Jody Wingfield, ruled for West, 79-73.
,5 "I'd only be fooling myself if I said I won it," said Griffin. "He was real strong, beat me to the punch and I didn't make him pay when he missed."
Said West (6-4-2), who won 75 of 81 amateur bouts before turning pro: "I tired a bit in the sixth round, and he caught me with some hard hooks. But I know I did enough to win before that. I'll fight him again anywhere but here."
In the companion eight-round fight, Rockville middleweight Les Johnson (21-3) required only two minutes, 38 seconds to dispose of substitute Tony McCrimmion (11-6), of Laurinburg, Pa.
Also, Altoona, Pa., middleweight Brian Hallinan improved to 9-0 by pummeling Horace Watterson (6-14), of Rockville, before referee Ken Chevalier stopped it at 2:29 of the fourth round, and Pittsburgh welterweight Jeff Graffius (8-12) finished Jeff Passero (21-8), of Crofton, with a straight right at 2:38 of the fifth round.
Corey "T-Rex" Sanders, 298 pounds, of Washington, raised his record to 2-0 by stopping a clowning Russell Perry (1-2), of Philadelphia at 1:53 of the fourth; Baltimore cruiserweight Courtney Bridges made a successful pro debut by out-pointing Arnold Fountain (2-4), of Landover, and Dennis Cain (2-3), of Temple Hills, out-pointed Craig Tomlinson (8-3), of Reading, Pa., in a four-round heavyweight bout.
Baltimore super-middleweight Butch Bartlett (2-0) stopped Troy Fredrickson (0-1) after one minute of the second round, and Washington middleweight Keith Kemp (1-1) stopped Sham Smith (0-1) of Charlotte, N.C., at 2:36 of the second round.