ESPN Boxcino Tourney Spotlights Junior Middles

By Teron Briggs on February 13, 2015
ESPN Boxcino Tourney Spotlights Junior Middles
Banner Promotion's Boxcino tourney gives fights for fans to watch, instead of just pray for.

When you’ve been shot twice, stabbed, imprisoned for armed robbery and have four kids to look after, long shot odds in the ring aren’t too troubling…

Breaking News Alert! This Just In! Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather both agree that Suge Knight is still a very dangerous man but disagree that Kanye West needs to be duct taped and tied down at any ceremony when an award is presented in a category that Beyoncé is a nominee in. Ok, you caught me. I obviously made that up but the lack of notable fights in recent weeks has forced boxing fans to discuss, ad nauseam at that, topics as silly as this involving the ongoing and exceedingly laborious negotiations between the sport’s biggest stars. Enter from stage left, the highly anticipated return of Banner Promotions’ Boxcino tournament and some actual fights for fans to watch, instead of just pray for.

The tournament, which initially began in the late ‘90s, returned to the sport last year where it was featured in the long running series on ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights,” where it will once again air. The talented and deep junior middleweight division will be on display as the quarterfinals of the tournament showcases six hungry, relatively unknown fighters in four fights scheduled for six rounds. The opulent Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut will host the inaugural installment of Boxcino for 2015.

In the opening bout, 28-year-old Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (17-4-2, 6 KOs) looks to get his career back on track following a TKO loss to contender Dierry Jean (27-1, 19 KOs), way back in May of 2013, when he faces the inexperienced Ricardo Pinell (10-1-1, 6 KOs). This battle between Los Angeles native Mookie and San Francisco kid Pinell will hopefully give fans the kind of excitement that Dodgers vs. Giants games generate, minus the law enforcement involvement. A simple glance at the fighters standing toe-to-toe might lead you to favor the naturally bigger man, Pinell, who has a four-inch height advantage, however if you examine their respective backgrounds you’ll see why Pendarvis is the favorite. At age 10, when most kids are watching Power Rangers and playing with action figures, Mookie first stepped into a boxing ring. Though his amateur career wasn’t particularly impressive, it’s head and shoulders above Pinell’s, who didn’t enter a boxing gym until he was 23 years old. Pinell doesn’t believe his inexperience will handicap him. “We are all good fighters. We just need a break” he was quoted as saying in the lead up to this fight. The problem for him is his opposition has been woeful. The combined record of his last five opponents is 29 wins with 50 losses. Meanwhile, Pendarvis has faced a few recognizable names, including the aforementioned Jean, Mauricio Herrera and Terrance Cauthen. He lost all three of those fights, but went the full eight rounds in two of them.

Next up are two undefeated fighters from the opposite sides of the earth. Michael Moore (13-0-6 KOs) from Cleveland, Ohio will face Stanyslav Skorokhod (8-0, 6 KOs) from Slavutich, Ukraine in the second bout of the card. This might be the most competitive fight therefore the hardest to predict. Both fighters started the sport at early ages and put together respectable amateur careers. Neither has faced a known quantity since turning pro, though Moore did stop the extremely shopworn Michael Walker (19-19-3 12 KOs) in May of 2012. Walker had lost 13 of his previous 15 fights.  I can’t spell or pronounce the names of most of Skorhod’s opponents. Moore is an orthodox fighter, while Skorhod is a southpaw, so hopefully we’ll get an aesthetically pleasing fight without any unintentional head-butts or two fighters stepping on each other’s feet, like a drunk blind couple trying to salsa dance.

Brandon “The Cannon” Adams (15-1, 10 KOs) looks to follow-up his impressive showing in Boxcino last year, he was the runner-up in the middleweight division, in what many expect to be an exciting fight with hardnosed southpaw Alex “Brick City Bullet” Perez (18-1, 10 KOs). Perez enters the fight as the underdog, but when you’ve been shot twice, stabbed, imprisoned for armed robbery and have four kids to look after, long shot odds in the ring probably aren’t too troubling. Though Perez has an impressive looking record, it should be noted the one time he faced a world rated contender in September of 2012, Antonin Decarie (31-2, 10 KOs), he lost by TKO stoppage in the sixth round. The Cannon, who sports a physique that could rival Terrell Owens, is the only fighter on the card who’s already fought in 2015. He stopped the limited Lekan Byfield on January 16th, to rebound from his 10-round decision loss against Willie Monroe Jr. (19-1, 6 KOs) in the Boxcino finals in May of last year. Adams doesn’t just look the part of a bruiser; he literally comes out of his corner banging every round. If Perez isn’t properly prepared this fight won’t last the scheduled six.

The “Candy Man” versus “Vito” sounds like a street fight staged in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn but the final bout in the Boxino junior middleweight quarterfinals is anything but. Guyana born, Bronx, NY resident Simeon “Candy Man” Hardy (13-0, 10 KOs) squares off against Armenian born, Burbank, CA resident Vardan “Vito” Gasparyan (14-3-5, 8 KOs). The latter is most well known for losing a decision to current world titleholder Jessie Vargas in 2012, incredibly enough the last time he fought, and for his famous trainer Justin Fortune who previously served as Manny Pacquiao’s strength coach. The abnormally tall junior middleweight, he’s 6’2”, Candy Man was once such a promising prospect top manager Cameron Dunkin briefly guided his career before the two parted ways. Gasparyan is the most battle tested of any of the fighters in the tournament, but comes into this fight with an alarming long period of inactivity. You have to wonder if his people think so little of Hardy they didn’t even try to schedule a tune-up, or if he’s just showing up to collect a check. Hardy holds two victories, in back-to-back fights, over former European champion Howard Eastman, but Eastman was damn near old enough to collect Social Security. This fight stacks up as arguably the most intriguing of the night.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Dierry Jean vs. Cleotis Pendarvis - Full Length Fight



(BKB) Maniako Abdullaev vs Ricardo Pinell



Michael Moore Boxing Introduction Promo



Станислав Скороход - Андрей Абраменко



Brandon Adams vs Lekan Byfield full fight 16.01.2015



Alex Perez - Francisco Figueroa



Simeon "CandyMan" Hardy - I Am The King (Official Video)



Jermell Charlo vs Vardan Gasparyan



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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:22pm, 02/15/2015

    Piss Poor commentary on Gasparyan/Hardy by Teddy and wingman Joe on Friday night…..talking about “giving it away”.....nobody gave anything away…..Vito boxed and beat the shit out of Hardy and that was that.

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