Heavies Clay-Bey and Bryant Draw at Foxwoods
By Alex Pierpaoli
originally published 8/8/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com
New England’s heat wave came indoors at Foxwoods Resort & Casino on Friday night when heavyweights Lawrence Clay-Bey and Derek Bryant rumbled at close quarters for ten grueling rounds and ended up with a majority draw in the Main Event of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. Wednesday’s press conference proclaimed the heavyweight match-up was “a crossroads bout” for both fighters, but the result was the boxing equivalent of two beefy muscle cars that scorch through a drag race only to end in a dead heat. Though both heavyweights were coming back from defeats, neither Clay-Bey, of Hartford, CT, or Bryant, of Philadelphia, were able to leave Uncasville with bragging rights.
After a largely uneventful first round, things heated up in the second when both men hurt each other along the ropes. At first the two-hundred fifty-eight pound Clay-Bey drove Bryant into the ropes only to have Bryant turn the tables and get Clay-Bey on the defensive moments later. But by the end of the second it was Clay-Bey doing more damage when the fighters connected at close range.
In the fourth Clay-Bey had Bryant hurt and slumped in the ropes momentarily before Bryant regained his balance and tried to hold on. Winging shots with both hands, Clay-Bey tried to finish his stunned opponent and almost knocked Bryant right into Judge Julie Lederman’s lap if not for the ropes that stopped him.
In round five Clay-Bey was clearly spent from the effort in the previous round while the two hundred twelve pound Bryant seized the opportunity to rally and score more often against the larger Clay-Bey. The sixth was a repeat of the fifth with Clay-Bey still searching for a second wind while covering up well along the ropes under Bryant’s attack. Though landing with both hands, Bryant’s punches had little effect but after two rounds of little offense from Clay-Bey, the Hartford heavyweight needed a big round in the seventh.
Throughout the fight Clay-Bey was able to pull the close rounds by landing the more infrequent but more damaging punches. Derek Bryant outworked Clay-Bey repeatedly with flurries, but the Philly heavyweight’s punches barely moved the bigger man and as the rounds passed it became clear that a strategy based more on movement and his southpaw style would have probably been more effective for Derek Bryant.
When the official scorecards were read the heavier and harder punching Clay-Bey was tabbed the winner on Judge Don O’Neill’s card while judges Julie Lederman and Don Ackerman both saw the fight at 95-95. KOFantasyBoxing scored the fight 95-94 for Derek Bryant. The draw changes Clay-Bey’s record to 21-3-1 (16) while Bryant ends up at 18-4-1 (15).
The televised portion of the card got started when Delvin Rodriguez of Danbury, CT, scored a scary first round knockout over Luther Smith of Washington, DC. Rodriguez was swinging with power from the bell and opened a cut around the right eye of Smith with a well placed, cracking left hook.
Rodriguez went right after Smith and the DC native made a tremendous error by trading punches rather than using his legs to put some distance between his skull and Rodriguez’ fists, especially when coming off a layoff of three years. As the round was coming to a close Rodriguez blasted Smith with a right uppercut and a grazing left hook that stiffened Smith and sent him face-first into the canvas.
Seconds later, ringside physician, Dr. Michael Schwartz was up and into the ring quickly, shoving Ref. Schiavone aside to get to Luther Smith. Though Smith left the ring on a stretcher, Schwartz said he was “lucidﾅand knew what happened to him” soon after the knockout and Smith was taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich as a precaution. The kayo win puts Rodriguez ahead to 16-1-1 (9) while Smith falls to 20-4-1 (12).
Lenord Pierre of Catskill NY exorcised some demons and came up with the second most impressive kayo of the night when he left Les Ralston sauntering about on Queer Street in round six after a shelling that ended with a monstrous left hook. Lenord Pierre returned to the same ring where he was stopped in one round by John Duddy in March, but this time Pierre was the one scoring the knockout. Les Ralston of Rochester NY stumbled about awkwardly for a bit until referee Danny Schiavone waved off the fight at 1:44 of round six.
Ralston put up a spirited fight versus Pierre but was never able to counter Pierre’s wide punches or time Pierre’s charges to land anymore than a few sporadic straight punches. With the loss Ralston fell to 15-2 (8) as a pro while Pierre improved to 17-1 (11).
Heavyweights Larry Robinson and Barry Lineberger got the night started with a sloppy but intense scuffle that ended in a 6 round majority decision victory for Robinson. Hacking and chopping away at his taller opponent, Larry Robinson outworked Lineberger and kept the pressure on him throughout. The expressive Lineberger won the crowd with his own big shots landed on occasion and lots of facial expressions that had no effect on the official scorecards. Now, 5-1 with 2 kayos, Robinson knocks Lineberger’s record down to 4-8 with 2 kayos.
Manchester, CT’s one hundred twenty-six pound Matt Remillard remained undefeated with a win over Orville Hodge of Oklahoma City. Hodge fought on the run from the opening bell, his chin pointing up toward the cheap seats and presenting an easy target for the aggressive Remillard. Patient but relentless, Remillard focused his aim on the speedy but intimidated Hodge, ripping uppercuts and quick hooks at him and hurting Hodge before the end of the round.
In the second, Remillard battered Hodge to the canvas with a barrage of punches. Ref. Steve Smoger let the bout continue only to save Hodge from further punishment a moment later at 1:42 of round two. Remillard, who is managed by Jackie Kallen, is now 4-0 (3) while Hodge remains winless at 0-4-1.
Boston’s Mark Clancy received a gift decision in the night’s walkout bout. Four largely uninteresting rounds saw Duane White avoid just about everything Clancy threw save for a pair of big rights in round one. Clearly getting the benefit of the New England location, Clancy got the nod from two of three judges with scores of 39-37 while the third saw it 38-38.
White didn’t land much in the fight either but his sporadic jabs, thrown in a panic at times, did more than enough to stymie Clancy’s offense and smack him about the face enough to win every round on the KOFantasy scorecard.
White, a southpaw from the Bronx making only his second start as a pro, has skills but is still very green and too concerned with being hit. The southpaw looks to have a lot of raw talent, tactical savvy and his physical conditioning seems tip top; with more sparring and a short lay-off, White should recover quickly from his first, and unjust, defeat.
Clancy is now 3-0-1 while White is now 1-1.
Send comments or questions to Alex Pierpaoli at: KOFantasyBoxing@gmail.com