Harding outpoints Judah at Mohegan Sun
By Alex Pierpaoli
originally published 10/26/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com
Light Heavyweights were the spotlight attraction at the Mohegan Sun on Friday night when West Hartford’s own Eric Harding defeated previously unbeaten Daniel Judah in the evening’s Main Event. Harding outworked and out landed Judah over twelve rounds to win a unanimous decision and renew interest in a rubber match with 175 pound champ Antonio Tarver.
Working behind one of the best jabs in boxing; and arguably the best of all southpaw jabs, Eric Harding set the pace early and kept the pressure on Brooklyn’s Daniel Judah throughout the fight. This contest of southpaw versus southpaw saw Judah throwing the wider, flashier punches while Harding’s blows were mostly straight punches and short, chopping hooks.
After a very careful first round from both men, Harding took the lead quickly with his busy stick of a right jab. Similar fighters in style; both southpaws, both seeking a leap into the title picture at light heavy and both with similar taste in trunks–Harding’s were white with black trim while Judah’s were black trimmed in white.
As the third round got underway Judah was being painted with jabs while Harding mixed double right hooks and lead lefts into his attack. After Harding scored with a ripping uppercut, Judah shook his head telling Harding, no, no, you’re not hurting me. Whether or not Judah was being stung by Harding’s punches didn’t matter, the fact was that Harding’s blasts were scoring points, setting the pace and raising pinkish welts around the eyes of Judah. With just thirty seconds left in round three, Judah got the better of an exchange, landing three hard right hooks that stole him the round on this writer’s card. In the fourth things heated up as both fighters exchanged power punches in center ring. Half the assembled crowd chanted HARD-ING, HARD-ING while the other half chanted JU-DAH, JU-DAH. Hearing the crowd’s enthusiasm, Harding landed better in a round that saw several heated exchanges punctuated by hard right hooks from the busier Harding.
In the fifth Harding made it look easy, landing a triple right hook with no response from the Brooklynite save for more head shaking and muttered come ons and you got nothings.
In the seventh Judah is puzzled. He is hesitating too much and Harding is capitalizing well on his foe’s difficulty in getting past that right hand stick. Harding knocks Judah’s mouthpiece loose and when Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. pauses the action to replace Judah’s mouthpiece, he warns Judah for too much talking.
In the tenth round they stood in center ring and slugged, a style which would seem to favor the stronger Judah. Taking a breather, Harding covered up well but probably ended up losing the round on all the scorecards. Harding got right back to work in the eleventh, rejuvenated by the break in round ten, and working behind the jab to finish the fight in complete control.
When the decision is read it is unanimous in Harding’s favor by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111. This writer saw the fight as 118-110 for Harding as Judah just never seemed to take charge of more than a few seconds of the fight at a time. Afterwards when asked about whether or not Harding hopes for another chance to prove himself against Antonio Tarver, Harding was very clear about his hopes.
“The rubber match,” Harding smiled. “I’m always up for it!” After his victory over David Telesco in February and now this impressive win over Judah, Eric Harding has shouldered his way into a top spot in the light heavyweight ranks. Harding is now 23-3-1 (17) and Daniel Judah finishes with a record of 20-1-3 (10).
The card’s main supporting bout was a snoozer featuring heavyweights Derrick Rossy of Medford, NY versus David Polk. Fighting mainly defensively, Polk spent much of the bout making Rossy miss and waiting for spots along the ropes when he could score against the more aggressive Rossy. In the end the defensive minded Polk came up short against the lunging and pressuring Rossy. After eight rounds the decision was unanimous in favor of Rossy by scores of 77-75, 80-72 and 79-73. Rossy is now 9-0 (5) while Polk’s record falls to 9-5.
In other fights, Manchester Connecticut’s unbeaten featherweight Matt Remillard took on Alexis Rubin in an over-the-weight bout. Giving up eight pounds to his larger opponent, Remillard got an early scare in round one when hammered by a right hand to the jaw that nearly spun his head completely around. In serious trouble, Remillard was able to keep his wits about him and remain on his feet while covering up along the ropes. Showing no lasting effects, Remillard came out for round two and got right back to work on Rubin finishing him off by technical knockout at 2:32 of the second. Remillard remains unbeaten at 6-0 (5), while Rubin drops to 0-4.
In the evening’s only female fight, twenty-seven year old Chika Nakamura got her second win in as many starts against Cimberly Harris. Nakamura kept the pressure on her opponent from the opening bell, working behind a crisp jab. Bloodying the nose of Harris, Nakamura hit her repeatedly with quick jabs and right crosses. Harris’ effort and aggression were impressive but Nakamura was just too skilled and too quick for her. When the official decision was announced it was unanimous for Nakamura by scores of 39-37 and 40-36 twice. Harris moves on with a record of 3-7 while Nakamura is now 2-0 (1).
Hard hitting Ehinomen Ehikhamenor had trouble with the elusive Daniel Sackey in a six round cruiserweight bout. Ehikhamenor chased Sackey for much of the bout, swinging power punches at him but landing little. In the end it was Sackey by unanimous decision who improves his record to 10-1-1 (5) while Ehikhamenor falls to 11-2 (7).
In the first bout of the night heavyweights Rudolf Pierre Louis and Rubin Bracero fought a largely uneventful four rounder. Louis prevailed by unanimous decision with three scores of 40-36. Louis is now 1-1 while Bracero falls to 2-4 (1).
Unbeaten Connecticut fighters, Mike Oliver of Hartford and Elvin Ayala of New Haven were to be featured on the card in separate bouts, however no opponent could be secured for Oliver, and Ayala, who was present at ringside, fractured his hand in training. Both fighters will be back in action soon.
Send comments or questions to Alex Pierpaoli at: KOFantasyBoxing@gmail.com