Atlantic City boxer Osnel Charles is not going to be a world champion.
The lightweight is almost 35, owns a 12-19-2 record and has won just three of his last 21 bouts.
But win or lose, he can always be counted on to give an honest effort. That’s why he was upset after watching Colombian light-heavyweight Milton Nunez and super-middleweight Ronald Montes appear to quit on their stools Saturday night at the Showboat hotel.
“This is the part of boxing that disgusts me,” Charles said from ringside. “I’m leaving.”
If he had stuck around, he would have seen yet another fighter refuse to come out of his corner.
In the main event, Santander Silgado decided to stage a sit-in after two rounds of his scheduled 10-rounder against Paulsboro’s Chazz Witherspoon.
New Jersey State Athletic Control Board Commissioner Larry Hazzard was livid and withheld Silgado’s $6,500 purse pending a hearing.
“He never told the referee why he quit, and he never told me,” Hazzard said. “When I asked the corner why he quit, they all just looked at me with blank stares.”
The argument could be made that a language barrier was responsible for the lack of communication since Silgado doesn’t speak English, but I’m guessing referee Benjy Esteves, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, understands Spanish.
Or Silgado could have merely pointed to his supposedly injured body part — his shoulder — when ringside medical personnel visited his corner.
Maybe Silgado could have convinced Nunez or Montes to help. All three are from Colombia and had the same trainer, Samuel Mesa, in their corner.
The weird part about that fight was Silgado (28-7, 22 KOs) had fared well in the first two rounds. He was ahead on two judges’ scorecards and the fight was even on another.
“Why would he quit in a fight he was winning?” said Millville junior-middleweight Thomas LaManna, who set up the card as matchmaker for Rising Star Promotions. “It makes no sense. He hurt his shoulder. There’s no way the commission should have withheld his purse. It’s ridiculous.”
Serving as a boxing matchmaker is a tough job.
You have to balance the desire to make competitive bouts against the popularity of fighters who sell hundreds of tickets to watch them.
LaManna (27-2-1, 9 KOs), who is also a world-ranked junior-middleweight, accomplished the goal in most of the 10 bouts Saturday, especially in the co-feature.
Pleasantville welterweight Anthony Young’s fight against Union City’s Juan Rodriguez Jr. provided an example of what makes boxing such a compelling, thrilling sport.
They displayed heart, courage, toughness and talent. Even while their arms ached and they were gasping for breath, Young (20-2, 7 KOs) and Rodriguez (13-7, 5 KOs) continued to trade punches, drawing cheers from the 900 fans at Showboat’s old casino floor.
When the fight ended in the sixth round, with Young having earned the New Jersey state title with a TKO, both boxers received standing ovations.
Perhaps his best matchmaking came in the four-round bout between Mays Landing heavyweight Quian Davis (6-0-2, 2 KOs) and Larry Knight (3-18-1, 6 KOs). On paper, it looked to be an easy win for Davis, a former football and baseball player at Buena Regional High School. But though Knight’s record wasn’t the best, he had won two of his last three outings.
Davis had to work for his unanimous decision.
“I did my research,” LaManna said.
Nunez and Montes both claimed injuries at the end of their fights. Nunez (35-22-1, 31 KOs) reportedly told referee Shada Murdaugh he had hurt his right elbow four rounds into an eight-rounder against unbeaten Frederic Julan (11-0, 9 KOs). Montes cited a rib injury while calling it quits after three rounds of a six-round bout against Atlantic City prospect Gabriel Pham (9-1, 4 KOs).
Silgado’s bout was easily the most bizarre since there had been no indication he was hurt during the first two rounds.
It didn’t seem like he should have taken that defeat sitting down.
Just when I think I’ve seen everything in boxing — controversial decisions, phantom punches, ear-biting — something else comes along that makes me want to pull my hair out.
No wonder I’m almost bald.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.