By: Michael Sheffield at ringside
A group of up and coming fighters put on an impressive display of power in what turned out to be short evenings for them and their opponents during the September edition of Prize Fight Boxing’s Fights at the Fitz series at the Fitz Hotel and Casino, Tunica, MS.
None of the four preliminary fights lasted longer than a round and a half, and Olympians Deontay Wilder and Gary Russell Jr. decimated their opponents, Shannon Caudle and Willie Villanueva, respectively with power that neither fighter had ever seen.
The heavyweight Wilder (11-0, 11 KOs) would add to his undefeated record with a two-punch destruction of the undefeated Shannon Caudle (9-0, 8 KOs).
The outcome of the fight was never in doubt from the time the fighters entered the ring until the fight reached its inevitable conclusion
Wilder, who had at least a 6 inch height advantage over Caudle, landed two punches, a right hook to Caudle’s body that reverberated throughout the Fitz event hall and a jab that landed on the top Caudle’s head. Caudle immediately dropped as if he was hit with a gunshot and referee Randy Phillips 10-count was a formality. Caudle wouldn’t stay down for long after the count out, but anyone sitting ringside could clearly see an imprint from Wilder’s glove in his head. The official time was 1:04 in the first round.
Russell, the 2008 Olympic team captain (11-0, 8 KOs), would need another minute to finish off his featherweight opponent, Willie Villanueva (9-2, 2 KOs), but would still end the fight without breaking too much of a sweat.
Russell opened the fight with a hard jab to the jaw that had Villanueva rethinking taking the fight in the first place. Russell would drop his opponent three times with body shots during the first round. Russell would finally isolate Villanueva in his corner and put him out on his feet with a vicious right jab at 2:56 in the first round.
Cruiserweight Alex Guerrero (3-0-1, 1KO) set the pace for the evening’s fights during his scheduled 4-round bout with Dustin Schnakenberg (4-2, 3 KOs), who looked as if he would prefer to be anywhere but in the ring with Guerrero. From the opening bell, Guerrero dominated the first round, dropping Schnakenberg with a right jab that few in the crowd thought he would recover from. After repeatedly landing rights at will, Guerrero mixed it up to end the first round by dropping Schnakenberg with a left with 10 seconds left in the round. Schnakenberg would beat the 10-count and be saved from more punishment by the bell.
The second round was more of the same with Schnakenberg’s corner throwing in the towel after 25 seconds.
The evening’s most entertaining, and relatively, evenly matched fight would showcase middleweights Dominic Wade (8-0 6 KOs) and Freddie Montoya (3-1 2 KOs).
Wade seemed to be on his way to a first round knockout after landing a right that sent Montoya backwards into the ropes. However, Montoya stunned everyone (and possibly himself) by springing back onto his feet immediately and mixing it up with Wade for the rest of the first round. However, it appeared Montoya’s nose was broken in that round. That injury seemed to loom over the second round.
Montoya opened the second round absorbing an obscene level of punishment, but refused to go down. Wade went back to his opponent’s injured nose with a perfect jab that dropped Montoya facedown in the ring. Phillips could have counted to 20 and Montoya wouldn’t have beaten the count. The official time was 2:32 of the second round.
The evening’s main event, a 6-round Featherweight bout between Eric Hunter (14-1 7 KOs)
Andre Wilson (11-4-1 9 KOs), would be the longest fight of the night, but would follow the trend of not going the distance. From the opening bell, the crowd sensed an early knockout of the wide-eyed Wilson by the predatory Hunter. But both fighters were extremely cautious throughout the entire first round, which Hunter narrowly won.
Wilson was the aggressor in the second round; landing several shots that may have given him the round. When Hunter did throw, his punches caused more damage, but he seemed to spend the entire second round preparing for one or two big punches instead of breaking his opponent down.
Despite a successful second round, either through exhaustion or the realization that he couldn’t keep up the pace, Wilson put the brakes on in the third round. He was staggered by a straight right jab late in the round, but Hunter would actually slip and fall shortly after the punch landed. Wilson would end the round slower and bleeding from his mouth.
The 4th round opened with Hunter moving to Wilson’s body, which sent Wilson to a new three different times for standing 8-counts. With each knockdown, Wilson would take more time to get up.
After the third knockdown, Hunter visibly believed the fight was over (there was no three knockdown rule, however). After being informed of that fact, he would return to the body and Phillips would finally halt the fight at 2:10 in the 4th round.
Next Fights at the Fitz, Novemeber 6th.