Rumble at Resorts Results!
By Tracy Morin at ringside, MemphisBoxing.com; Photos by Wesley Ortiz
Rumble at Resorts, held February 23, 2012, at Resorts Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, showcased two promising prospects—and gave four less-experienced fighters tough tests on their way up the ranks.
In the main event, super middleweight Tony Mack (4-0, 2 KOs) squared off against William “Pete” Johnson (9-27, 3 KOs), a crafty veteran who was able to survive if not thrive. The six-rounder had the feel of a sparring match, with Mack teeing off combinations and absorbing few clean shots thanks to his solid defense. From the third round, Mack launched a vicious body attack with both hands, though Johnson was able to connect with a couple of uppercuts in the middle rounds. The pro-Mack crowd was treated to a one-sided victory, reflected in the judges’ scorecards: Reccia Mullins, Mack Thornton and Gerald Deming each turned in tallies of 60-54.
Post-fight interview with Tony Mack:
You’ve been staying busy. Did you want to get some rounds in tonight?
I wanted to get some rounds in, but I came in thinking whatever happened would happen—if I knocked him out, I knocked him out; if it went to a decision, it went to a decision. But it was a good experience—he was very tough, so I got some experience.
What’d you learn in the ring tonight?
I hurt my hand in the first round with an uppercut, and I had to fight with my left hand mostly, so I learned how to fight through adversity. And he kept headbutting me, so I learned to fight through some tough moments.
You were in control throughout the fight. Did he catch you with anything that caught you off guard?
Not really; he caught me with an uppercut in the fourth round. That was the only punch that fazed me. But his punches were a little wild, and my defense is real tight, so he didn’t hit me with anything clean—only one shot. When we got in close, he hit me with a little sneaky uppercut.
You went to the body really well. Were you surprised he was able to go the distance?
Yeah, he was tough!
When will you be fighting next?
Soon, hopefully in March—but if not, I will be fighting in Dallas on April 6. That’s my hometown, so that’s awesome.
The opening bout of the evening featured another local favorite in Joey Bryant (3-0, 2 KOs), an 18-year-old amateur star from Memphis returning to the ring after a 10-month layoff. Bryant seemed to be easily handling his opponent, Aaron Slusser (1-0), in the first round—until a right hand caught him flush on the chin and knocked him down, sending a nervous ripple through the crowd. But Bryant popped up quickly and came back strong, causing ref Randy Phillips to step in for a count when the game Slusser absorbed an array of shots with his back against the ropes. After the back-and-forth action in the first, Bryant regained control in the subsequent stanzas and ultimately punctuated his effort with a jolting right that knocked his opponent down for the count. Phillips waved off the fight at 2:03 of the third round.
Post-fight interview with Joey Bryant:
That was a tough first round for you; what did you know about your opponent coming in, and what was your game plan?
I didn’t know anything about him, and I really didn’t have a game plan coming in. I was just listening to everything my dad and coach said—just stick to my jab and don’t take him lightly and do some body work. I was probably a little hard-headed in the first couple of rounds.
Were you surprised to get knocked down in the first round?
I was very surprised when it happened. I think my life—18 years—flashed before my eyes! Because it was a four-round fight and if I would have lost one more round and didn’t come back to give him a standing eight count, I would have lost.
What adjustments did you make after the knockdown?
I wasn’t hurt—my legs were great—but I knew that I was down and I had to come back in the same round. That’s what I knew. In the second round, I was boxing beautifully. I boxed the first round beautifully, but he just caught me with a really good right hand. But I wanted to stick to him, outbox him and try to outwork him.
Are you going to try to stay busier this year?
Yes, this was a layoff—I haven’t fought in 10 months—but I’m going to get back active and try to fight once every month this year.
Is there anything you would like to say to all of your local fans?
I want everybody to know Aaron Slusser’s a tough kid!The second fight, in the junior middleweight division, pitted Tom Howard (1-1) vs. Donta Linzie (0-1). Thanks in part to an almost nonexistent body attack and too-wide punches, Linzie was unable to score his first victory, but not for lack of determination; both fighters showed plenty of heart and stamina as they swung from the fences throughout the four-rounder. However, Howard’s consistent body shots, straight rights and combinations won him the decision on all three scorecards, with each judge seeing the fight 39-37.
Post-fight interview with Tom Howard:
What did you want to do in the ring tonight? Was the body work part of your plan coming in?
Yeah, it was, actually. I wanted to stay on the outside and use the jab more, but he had range on me, so that kind of got cancelled out. He was the taller guy, so I attacked the body.
What’d you learn tonight that you’ll take with you to the gym?
I learned to get in better shape for next time!
Did you want to go for the knockout tonight?
I had my mindset coming in to get a knockout. Maybe that was where I messed up—they say you’re not supposed to look for a knockout.
What will you do next?
I’m going to work on the jab, staying outside and better conditioning. I’ll be fighting next in April in Meridian, Mississippi.The evening’s third bout was an entertaining scrap between lightweight Michael Doyle, making his pro debut, and Rogelio Casarez (2-0, 1 KO). In an evenly matched fight, the two tussled around the ring, engaging in exchanges at close quarters—leading to a flash knockdown when Casarez got caught with a short left hook in the final seconds of the third round. The southpaw Casarez’s shots didn’t seem to slow the bulldog-like Doyle even when they landed cleanly (and because Doyle’s hands often strayed to his waist, they frequently did). However, the knockdown would prove the deciding factor in the fight; all three judges handed in scores of 38-37.
Post-fight interview with Michael Doyle:
This is your pro debut. How did you get into boxing?
I got into boxing while I was incarcerated. Tonight I wanted to see if I’m for real, and do better in life.
What do you want to work on next?
Keeping my hands up more, moving my head more and moving my hands.
Calvin Smith (1-1) faced Erick Hernandez Perez (2-3-1, 1 KO) in the fourth fight of the night, a four-rounder in the lightweight division. Smith never seemed in danger of being hurt by the slapping, wide punches of the pressure-fighting Hernandez Perez; though the more experienced fighter was the aggressor—constantly coming forward and throwing—Smith was more effective, with measured shots that landed with greater accuracy. Thornton scored the bout a draw (38-38), but Mullins and Deming saw the fight 39-37, giving Smith the majority decision.
Post-fight interview with Calvin Smith:
You fought a pressure fighter tonight who smothered you a bit. Did you have to make any changes in the ring because of his style?
I was going to adjust to the situation, but my plan was just to jab and see what he did, then try to catch him when he left an opening. He did try to smother me, but I just went with him and didn’t resist. I let him do his thing and got out of there, and then waited for him to do it again. I saw I was catching him with my jab, and I knew he would react to that, so I waited for his reaction, and then I would react.
You seemed to pick it up in the last round. Did you think the fight was close?
I didn’t think it was close; I knew I had it. I caught him with some good shots. I was just throwing them and see where they landed!
His punches were also a little wide. Did you get hurt at any time?
No, I didn’t get hurt at all. When I saw he was throwing the wild punches, I knew he was going to tire himself out, so I just guarded real tight and waited for him to throw those wild punches and blocked them, so when he got tired I would try to come back. Basically, I tried to make him use all his energy.
What are you going to take back to the gym, and what’s next for you?
Keep the tight guard and go toward the body more. I noticed I haven’t been doing a lot of the body shots; the only way I got them tonight is because I was in close. So I’ll be studying my technique.
The final fight before the main event was a one-sided six-rounder between D.C.-based junior welterweight prospect Dusty Harrison (12-0, 8 KO) and Aaron Anderson (2-19, 1 KO). Anderson, at a massive height disadvantage, wasn’t able to get inside on the 6’1” Harrison, who worked a consistent jab and circled, landing speedy combinations at will (including impressive uppercuts to the body from unexpected angles). Anderson’s showboating—shimmying, taunting and holding one hand behind his back—elicited some boos from the crowd and a chuckle from Harrison, but the judges were unimpressed with his antics, awarding Harrison the unanimous decision with scores of 60-54.
Post-fight interview with Dusty Harrison:
MemphisBoxing.com last talked to you in July 2011, after you scored your second win. Now you’re 13-0. What have you been up to?
I’ve been fighting a lot in my hometown, but I just fought two weeks ago in Delaware. Now I’m 13-0 with 8 knockouts, and I want to stay just as busy this year as I was last year.
What are your goals for this year?
My goals are a little different from my team’s goals, because I want to fight for a world championship right now. But they know I’m young, so for now I want to keep stepping it up in my matches. I’ll be fighting a lot.
What have you been working on improving?
I feel I did pretty good tonight. I just have been taking care of myself in the gym because the more I fight, the longer the fights will be, with more rounds. I’ve fought one eight-rounder before, and I think maybe my next two fights will be eight rounds, too.
Did your opponent tonight show you anything you haven’t seen before?
He took a lot of shots and stayed in there. Most guys I’ve fought would have gone down. But it was good to get the rounds in. He was actually supposed to be a good amateur back in the day, so it was a good experience.
When will you be in the ring next?
I know I’ll be fighting next April 12 at Dover Downs in Delaware.