The Memory Bank: Part Nineteen
No one ever promised a happy ending in boxing—maybe great memories, but few happy endings…
On May 19, 2001 Antwun “Kid Dynamite” Echols (24-4-1) met Charles “The Hatchet” Brewer for the vacant NABA super middleweight title at the relatively new Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut (first opened on October 12, 1996). It belonged—conveniently—to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. I was there with my friends after a day of poker and camaraderie in one of the hotel’s expensive suites.
The atmosphere vibed testosterone. Being the oldest, I was choreographer for macho guys who engaged in macho banter. There were Cuban cigars, expensive lighters, more expensive cutters, scotch, bourbon and buckets of ice. Steaks came later. Bling abounded.
Once the buzz set in, the banter became louder; the jokes became “funnier;” and the laughter louder than it should have been. We relived the past for the 99th time. These were hard guys from Providence, Southie, Somerville, and Charlestown. Screw the suburban homes, soccer, and corporate bullshit. We own our own stuff, bars, construction businesses, auto repair shops, and maybe even chop shops. I’m semi-retired but I’m allowed in. I’m from Chicago and that alone allowed me admission. Play a tape of the back-and-forth, send it to Hollywood and make a fortune. Martin Scorsese should have been in the house.
In the lobby, everyone was trying to look like Tony Soprano or Paulie “Walnuts.” Phonies and wannabes were everywhere. Corporate slaves became weekend mobsters. It’s all bullshit. We’re not here for that. We’re not here for wampum or to scope out foul smelling hags feeding their savings to mindless slots. No, we’re here for the linchpin—the cohesive and cathartic element around which everything else is secondary. Hell, we’re here for the fights. Let’s get it on
Brewer was 36-7 at the time and a Philly fighter. The Kid (24-4-1 with 23 KOs) was from the unlikely boxing locale of Davenport, Iowa; unlikely, that is, unless you’re name is Michael Nunn.
Echols was KOd in his first fight in 1993 by light-hitting but difficult-to-fight Anthony “Poison” Ivory (11-13 at the time) after which he won his next 13 all by stoppage and demonstrated that he had KO power in either hand.. He later avenged his defeat against Ivory. Then, after a draw with the very capable and future world champion Eric Lucas in Quebec in 1997, The Kid launched another streak off eight KOs before losing to Bernard Hopkins in 1999. Hopkins beat Echols again in 2000 setting up the Brewer bout in 2001.
As for Brewer, he won his first 14 professional fights before strangely losing two consecutive SDs to fellow Philadelphian Robert Thomas (9-41-3). Upon upsetting the Hatchet the second time, Thomas finished his less-than-stellar career by going 1-16-1-2.
Both Brewer and especially Echols had plenty of pop and both were unpredictable. The level of anticipation in the arena was palpable. The fans seemed to sense something special, but no one expected what was to come.
After a furious and action-packed first round in which both fighters tried to gain respect and control, Echols, in an apparent effort to lose fan support, stuck his tongue out at the Hatchet as the bell sounded.
In the second round, Brewer came out with a vengeance. The Philly fighter then chopped Echols down with a crisp and perfectly thrown straight right. The Kid held on but clearly was hurt. Antwun was again decked this time by a vicious left hook, but there was still more to come. Brewer then lived up to his nickname as he rocked, chopped, and hacked the Kid to the canvas with still another crunching left at the bell. Referee Michael Ortega gave Echols a long look but let things continue into the third round. At this point Kid Dynamite’s trainer, Dan Birmingham, gave some sage advice when he told his fighter that he had weathered the storm and now it was his turn to attack.
As the third stanza began, the Hatchet, sensing the kill, immediately attacked Echols, but then was caught by a right and momentarily staggered. A re-energized and revitalized Echols quickly went on his own attack as the crowd rose screaming in astonishment. Kid Dynamite then decked Brewer (only the ropes held him up) while at the same time falling face first thanks to a hard shove from referee Ortega who now had his hands full. The crowd remained on its feet in disbelief. The Kid worked Brewer onto the ropes where he rocked him with four head snapping shots after which Ortega halted the considerable action. While the Hatchet took some hellacious shots at the end, he remained upright and seemed none the worse for wear.
The crowd booed loudly at what they thought was a premature stoppage and so did just about everyone else including announcer Bobby Czyz, but no one could complain about the rare classic they had just witnessed. The incredible turnaround was one for the Memory Bank.
A poster on You Tube said it best: “ECHOLS got his azz kicked but won the fight ..........wow”
Fighting stiff competition, Antwun Echols went 7-2 after the Brewer fight and was 31-6-1 before his draw with Brazilian Mohamed Said in 2006. However, things have gone decidedly south since then with the Kid going 1-13 -2; he has become a certain win for those looking to put a recognizable notch on their belt. What’s more, nine of Echol’s last 10 defeats have come by way of stoppage
“Kid Dynamite” is no longer a feared, skilled, and seasoned veteran with heavy hands and a decent chin. He is no longer the crowd pleaser who came back more dangerous than ever and managed to snatch victory from impending defeat. However, fighting stiff opposition and particularly going 80 grueling rounds in 2007 and 2008 had its impact. The Kid became a shadow of his former self.
In 2009, he was stopped by rugged Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin (though he did deck “Hell”), Phil Williams, and Angel Hernandez. In 2010, he notched a KO win against winless and hapless Fred Thomas and then went the distance against undefeated Caleb Truax (14-0-1), but was stopped by Darryl Cunningham (19-2) in three, savaged by heavy-handed Joey Spina (25-1-2) in three, and then again waxed in three by a sap-like shot to the head by Colombian bomber Alejandro “Naco” Berrio (31-5).
The plain fact is, Antwun Echols is now fodder—a shot fighter with spaghetti legs who should not be allowed in the ring. For his own sake, I hope and pray that Antwun retires, but that’s a decision he must make. And because of that, I am again reminded that there are many dimensions to this business of boxing and some are darker than others.
Sadly, on November 21, 2012, the Kid was stopped by young Mike Jimenez in the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. The predictable scenario was a far cry from what took place at another more fashionable casino on a beautiful spring evening back in May 2001, but no one ever promised a happy ending in boxing—maybe great memories, but few happy endings.
The Memory Bank: Part One
The Memory Bank: Part Two
The Memory Bank: Part Three
The Memory Bank: Part Four
The Memory Bank: Part Five
The Memory Bank: Part Six
The Memory Bank: Part Seven
The Memory Bank: Part Eight
The Memory Bank: Part Nine
The Memory Bank: Part Ten
The Memory Bank: Part Eleven
The Memory Bank: Part Twelve
The Memory Bank: Part Thirteen
The Memory Bank: Part Fourteen
The Memory Bank: Part Fifteen
The Memory Bank: Part Sixteen
The Memory Bank: Part Seventeen
The Memory Bank: Part Eighteen
The Memory Bank: Part Nineteen