Sunday, July 17, 2016

Big Fight Report: Rumble at the River in Pittsburgh

Photo: Christopher Nolan

By Stephen Donatelli

The bright lights of the ‘Rivers Casino’ were in full effect, and the river was calm, as a mild breeze brought about a near perfect atmosphere for the Friday night boxing show (July 15th) at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Many boxing fans were proudly wearing their ‘Made Men’ T-shirts, as they got ready for the boxing matches, which entertained the full crowd in the heart of Pittsburgh, PA.  First off, cruiserweight Lawrence Blakey (4-4, 3koes) from Homewood, Pennsylvania, used his superior body punching to overcome the previously unbeaten Mike Stull(1-1.)  The first two rounds were pretty academic, as Lawrence used effective aggression to stay on top of Stull, until a pair of blistering body shots in the 3rd round, froze Stull onto one knee, and he was unable to rise before the count of 10.

The next bout showcased undefeated ’Appalachian State Champion’ light-welterweight, Matt ’Sweet Child’ Conway (6-0-1, 3koes) going in against Chris Alexander (4-2-1, 3koes), and representing Norfolk, Virginia.  My good friend Skeets Levandosky is a second in the corner of Conway, as his head trainer is Conway’s Father.

Conway started this scheduled 6-round bout by using a decent double jab, and at every opportunity, was digging to the body of the sturdy Alexander. After the fight was over, it seemed that ’Sweet Child’ Conway got pushed a bit during the 6 rounds, yet handled it really well. However, the scorecards told a very different story. The judge’s cards read as follows, 57-57, a draw, 59-55 Conway and an incredible 59-55 for Alexander, making the fight a very disputed draw. I was baffled, bewildered, and sort of wondered if I had made my last eye appointment.  The Father of Conway was visibly and verbally irate,and for good reason.  Don’t get me wrong, Chris Alexander had his moments, but they were few and far between and that’s what left me, and the majority of the crowd baffled.  Hopefully this doesn’t discourage a great young kid like Conway, who has loads of potential.

Following the Conway fight, Dustin Echard (13-4, 10koes) ran through cruiserweight, ’The Handsome Hitman’ Josh Himes (9-1, 5koes), as it was evident from the start who was the better boxer. As much as Himes tried to move and stay game, he felt the thudding power of Echard, and was steadily worn down before being knocked out in the 4th round.

The main event of ’The Rumble at The River’ pitted heavyweights Ed ’Black Magic’ Larimore (13-0, 7koes) against Juan Goode.  Latimore fights out of the ’Dog House’ Boxing Gym in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while Juan Goode (6-4, 5koes) is from the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan.  This fight started out a bit tactical, with a lot of posturing.  As the fight progressed Latimore concentrated mainly on the body, while Goode basically went into a defensive shell for most of the contest.  Black Magic tried casting that potion or spell which would bring the fight to an end before the need of any scorecards, but it was not to be, and the fight went the full 6 rounds.  Here is where the judge’s scorecards seemed to go a bit crazy once again!  The scores read 59-55 Goode, 58-56 Latimore, and 58-56 Latimore.  Giving Latimore the victory, but only by a split decision.  I can’t speak on behalf of everybody, but the judge that voted 59-55 for Goode, left me scratching my head!. 

In any case, aside form some unexpected judge’s scores, it was an thoroughly entertaining night of boxing at The Rivers Casino.  Hopefully there will be many more fight cards like this in the future, promoted by ‘Made Men’ promotions.  Pittsburgh boxing is slowly but surely making a resurgence, which makes everybody happy.  

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to


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