FAIRFAX, VA. — Junior middleweight Jimmy Lange was headed toward a possible big-money fight with John Duddy in what would have been a showdown of regional attractions in the DC and NYC areas. But Chase Shields, who was defeated in his last fight by over-the-hill journeyman J.C. Candelo, had other ideas. In Lange’s backyard, he scored a unanimous decision win, 115-111 across the board. I had Lange winning, actually, but I was in the minority — then again, it was a wacky fight, with the lights going out for five-plus minutes, a couple fights in the stands, some innovative fouling and widespread confusion over what round it was at one point.
It was a great show, from top to bottom, attended by an official 5,000+ but what looked like closer to 3,000 to most of us ringside. Local boxing luminaries Riddick Bowe, Paul Williams and DeMarcus Corley were in attendance, but I didn’t do what I do sometimes when I go to local shows and try to interview people — I was there trying to enjoy the show as much as anything, and sometimes it requires some stressin’ to do interviews and what not. So I hung out with Twitter pal @nazarioz and marveled at the ring card girl who did double duty singing the national anthem (quite well, too) and wondered why Lange gets three ring entrance songs instead of one or two (and a confetti cannon!) and paid particular attention to the main three fights of the eight-card bout.
JIMMY LANGE-CHASE SHIELDS
This was quite a slugfest, which is what I expected, given Lange’s reputation for close, action-packed battles. The first two rounds belonged to Shields. The southpaw was cleverly walking the straight-ahead Lange into shots, particularly uppercuts. Lange got some momentum in the 3rd with crisper shots, only for it to be taken away again in the 4th. And from there, until the 11th, basically, I had Lange sweeping it, because he was trapping Shields along the ropes and scoring to the head and body. It was a rough fight in spots, with Lange hitting on the break a bunch and Shields apparently taking one opportunity to head butt Lange in the crotch.
The 9th was marked by the lights going out for a while, and Shields, whose energy had been waning, seemed like he could have benefited. The 11th was disastrous for Lange. Shields knocked him down once, although it was a bit of a flash knockdown. Then he started pounding Lange all over the ring, popping Lange’s head up repeatedly with uppercuts. He scored another knockdown from that accumulation. It was a 10-6 round on my card for Shields, so comprehensive was the pounding.
Lange came back in the 12th, I thought, and I had it 113-112 for Lange. But as I said, I was in the minority, and plenty of people scored it differently than me.
I skipped the press conference, so I’m not sure if there will be a rematch. But surely the Duddy fight is off. Duddy, based on this performance by Lange, would have knocked his block off. Now we don’t get the chance to see it. It probably would have been a fun brawl. I dunno if this dents Lange’s standing as an attraction in the VA, but we’ll see, I suppose.
One hopes Shields can something out of this. Even a rematch would probably be a good payday for him, and I know I’d come back for it.
BAYAN JARGAL-LOUIE LEIJA
Jargal’s someone I’m pretty familiar with, having profiled the junior welterweight last year. At times, he’s had puzzling marks on his record, like a draw with Richard Hall last year, when Hall was in the middle of a nine-fight winless streak.
This time, the awesome version of Jargal showed up. Granted Leija was on a seven-fight losing streak, but Jargal blew him out in one round the way he should have. He worked the head and body beautifully with mean, mean power shots. Usually it’s his body work that stands out, but his hooks to the head with both hands were the most impressive things. The ref waived it off after a prolonged 30 second or so of whoopin’, not that Leija was ever in any moment that suggested one was better than another to stop it.
At 28, Jargal needs to find some consistency and start stepping up the competition. He’s been lingering against this type of opponent for a while, which makes sense I guess if you’re prone to drawing with the likes of Hall, but it’s getting to the point age-wise where it’s sink or swim.
IKEM ORJI-ANDREW FARMER
I’d seen “The Doo Man” Farmer in action before, and I’d been moderately impressed by the junior welterweight. And for three rounds, I thought he’d looked sharper than before. He’s a good boxer/mover, albeit one who likes to put on a show and tends to mix it up.
Then, when he had the 5-2 Orji caught against the ropes in the 4th, he opened up on him, and Orji wasn’t having it. He caught Farmer with a counter right hook on Farmer’s upward-dangling chin that dropped Farmer hard. I’m not sure how Farmer made it to his feet, but he did. And Orji unloaded. The referee stopped the fight with Farmer stumbling, noting afterward that Farmer’s eyes looked bad.
That a 24-year-old boxer would suffer his second loss in 15 fights is not in and of itself damning. That he was stopped by a monster shot from a guy who’d had 1 total knockout in seven fights is. I’m not sure where Farmer goes from here, but he’s only 24; maybe if you’re not a huge puncher and you’re capable of being knocked out by a guy whose record suggests he’s not got massive power, fighting more cautiously is a good prescription. On the other hand, he’s popular in the region because he makes fun fights. It’s a dilemma.
The rest of the show was fun and for the most part evenly matched. Almost every decision could have gone either way, and every single boxer fought his heart out. I didn’t score along or anything, but here are the rest of the results, because these dudes fought hard enough to warrant a mention:
- Sergey Kovalev knocked out Francois Ambang in the 2nd round of a light heavyweight fight.
- Dwayne McRae scored a split decision over Theron Johnson in a heavyweight bout.
- Cruiserweights Patrick Budd and Robert McConnell fought to a draw.
- Lawrence Jones won a split decision over fellow junior middleweight Vincent Batteast.
- Juan Rodriguez knocked out Damien Butler in the 1st round of their welterweight bout.