After Long Layoff, Earley Returns to Form

By Christian Giudice on November 18, 2018
After Long Layoff, Earley Returns to Form
LaVonte Earley returned from a year layoff to earn a four-round decision as the headliner.

“It’s really challenging to get out of the ring and then have to go back. There’s absolutely nothing like it…”

On Saturday night in Charlotte, NC, welterweight prospect LaVonte Earley returned from a year layoff to earn a four-round decision as the headliner in a card promoted by LaVonda Earley Stacey and Vegas Grand Boxing Promotions. The card represented her third promotional venture in Charlotte as she attempts to provide a platform for hungry young fighters. One of the main highlights was the presence of six-time world champion Roy Jones Jr., who worked as a trainer for Michael Williams Jr. and Louis Hernandez, both victorious. In a heavily-packed card, notable first-round punishing knockouts included PBC fighter Chordale Booker, who improved to 12-0, and heavyweight Kahlil Smoot, who was making his pro debut.

Often getting back into the ring after a layoff can be daunting for some fighters, but Earley managed to recover nicely. Having suffered a foot injury during a training session months ago, Earley showed no signs of rust, and did not take long to find himself again. Even though the headlining bout only lasted four rounds, Earley (7-0) showed quickness, poise, and composure as he banged out a unanimous decision over LaShawn Alcocks. 

“I just wanted to show my best mental focus,” said Earley. “It’s really challenging to get out of the ring and then have to go back. There’s absolutely nothing like it.”

Using counters effectively while staving off an aggressive attack, Earley was at his best in the fourth round. Although Alcocks landed a few hard shots, it was Earley who established a comfortable rhythm by shifting from conventional to southpaw (a natural lefty) within the flow of the rounds.

“He needed that [victory],” said trainer Adam Esposito. “He’s a different fighter now. He had everything taken away with the injury. … and that kid he faced was tough.”

In the trainer role, Roy Jones Jr. worked the corner of another young fighter in Williams Jr., who earned a unanimous 8-round decision over Stephon McIntyre in welterweight action. It may not be easy for Jones Jr. to get a young fighter to understand how his valuable boxing experiences translate to a young growing fighter with only a handful of fights, but, as a disciplined trainer, he can instill the same passion and love for the sport.

“Nobody is to be taken lightly, some days you have good days and some days you have bad days,” said Jones Jr. “But you can’t take an opponent lightly because some opponents have different desires. Some guys who are supposed to be good, come out and give you nothing. You never can tell what you are going to get, but you always have to be ready.”

Fortunately for local fight fans, upcoming promoters like Jones Jr. will continue to be a presence in the future.

Christian Giudice
Author: A Fire Burns Within: The Miraculous Journey of Wilfredo Gomez
Author: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello
Author: Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran


Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. LaVonda Earley Stacey 05:30am, 01/01/2019

    Thank you for attending the show and writing this great story. We appreciate your coverage of Vegas Grand Boxing Promotions, Charlotte, NC.

Leave a comment