By Elisa Harrison
Updated: October 8, 2005

On Saturday, first day of October, boxing fans the world over awaited the outcome of chapter 3 in the pugilistic life of Antonio ‘The Magic Man’ Tarver and Roy Jones, Jr., otherwise known as Superman, among other monikers, (I guess it’s fair to say the self-appointed P4P #1 is not an even an issue anymore).

The event took place at the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, located along Tampa’s Garrison Seaport District. The venue accommodates approximately 21,500 fans for events other than hockey and basketball, and the attendance for the boxing extravaganza was reported at a near 20,000 fans. The evening’s proceedings were co-promoted by Square Ring Promotions, (Jones’ company) and Joe de Guardia Boxing, (Tarver’s promoter). It was brought to our homes as an HBO Pay per View event. There were few empty seats in the house, and it was great to be a part of one of the most anticipated rivalries Florida had seen in years.

Before we get to the main event, here are some of the highlights of the undercard and the co-feature of the night.

Square Ring Promotions recently signed the Bey brothers, Cortez and Mickey Jr. The legendary Floyd Mayweather, Sr. is training the young men, and I can tell you without any hesitation that these two are definitely worth a look. Cortez dispatched his opponent 35 seconds into the 3rd round while Mickey Jr. stopped his opponent 32 seconds into round 1.

Olympian Andre Ward, also promoted by Roy Jones Jr. and managed by rap mogul James Prince, had an easy night when facing late bloomer Glenn LaPlante in a scheduled six rounder. The 37 year-old LaPlante made his pro debut in 2001, and prior to the boxing gigs, LaPlante was respected in the karate circles. To make ends meet, we were told he works as a bellhop in one of the local hotels, where he is well liked by tourists and natives alike. LaPlante, however, was definitely over his head in this match. It took Ward 2:59 to send him packing, and perhaps LaPlante should consider a permanent career change. Ward improves his record to 6-0, 4 KOs, LaPlante drops to 9-3-1, 6 KOs.

Veterans Raul Frank, 36, a native of Guyana who now resides in Brooklyn, New York, and California resident Rodney Jones, 37, fought a twelve round IBF light middleweight title eliminator, which also turned out to be the most boring fight of the night. The official scoring went as follows: Judge Don O’Neill 117-111 Jones, judge Alex Levin 115-113 Frank, and judge Larry Hazzard Jr. scored it 114 all, making it a draw. Frank’s record now stands at 27-4-2, 13 KOs, Jones’ numbers 36-3-1, 22 KOs.

In a scheduled four-rounder, twenty-two year old Andre Berto, native of Winter Haven, Florida, was on a mission, destroying his opponent, William Johnson, 1:36 into the first stanza. Berto improves his record to 7-0, 5 KOs, while Johnson now stands at 6-5-1, 3 KOs.

Warrior’s Boxing’s Lance Whitaker, 33, weighing in at 272-3/4 lbs., took on Square Ring Productions’ version of the Michelin man in Gabe Brown, 33, who broke, err, I mean, tipped the scales at 337-1/2 pounds. The least said about this bout the better, although it is incomprehensible how Brown can be deemed fit to fight considering his obesity, his total lack of foot movement and/or speed.

Brown began his pro career in July of 1997, at a hefty 310 lbs., weighed an all time low 267 lbs. in August of 1998, and reached an all time high 367 lbs. in November of 2003. Does this sound like a man who trains hard and is in shape? Referee Frank Santore, Jr., a rather short individual, had to jump between the two giants, almost being clocked in the head as he stopped the farce 2:42 into the 5th round. Lance improves his record to 31-3-1, 26 KOs. Brown, also known as “Big G” drops to 17-6-1, 11 KOs.

Chicago resident heavyweight Malachy Farrell, 25, stopped Puerto Rican native and Miami resident Joseph Kenneth Reyes who at age 31 and with a 3-7, 2 KOs record should hang up his gloves. Kenneth hasn’t won a bout since 1997, has lost his last 7 bouts, 4 of those by KO or TKO.

Heavyweight Vinny Maddalone, 31, who hails from Flushing, New York and Brian Minto, 30, from Butler, Pennsylvania had a score to settle. They met up in July of 2004, and Minto stopped Maddalone in 10. The rematch wouldn’t play out much differently; Minto tore into Maddalone early on, opening a very ugly gash over his left eye, rocking him and definitely getting his attention.

This fight was defined early on. Minto was the fresher of the two, and a stronger puncher with better skills, while Maddalone looked every bit a brave, but shot fighter. It was just a matter of time before Maddalone went down or the fight had to be stopped. After enduring a serious beating, mostly flush shots to the head, the last 14 left hooks went unanswered, and referee James Warring put a stop to the massacre 1:21 into the 7th round. Maddalone slips to 25-3-0, 17 KOs, Minto improves to 20-2, 11 KOs.

As a side note, two interesting things happened during the course of this fight. The most obvious one was the fact that both fighters wore tattoos on their backs. I find it outrageous that the tattoos are considered ‘distracting’ while ring mats are littered with advertisement that becomes slick when wet, posing a serious danger to the fighters, yet, nothing is done to address and/or correct the problem. Payment for wearing the tattoos is the only income fighters get 100% of, and as such, boxing commissions should stop the hypocrisy and allow the fighters to wear the tattoos without fines or retaliations; let them make the extra money. I certainly find it more distracting when fighters are slipping and sliding all over the ring, than when they wear a tattoo on their backs.

The other situation involved Roy Jones, Jr. who in an incredible display of arrogance, (does his ego have any boundaries?), and showing a total lack of respect for his fellow fighters, entered the arena mouthing off “I’m home, I’m home,” while Maddalone and Minto were fighting the fight of their lives. It was disruptive and disrespectful to say the least, and I feel that only Roy Jones Jr. could get away with this type of behavior. Minto and Maddalone continued to put on one of the best fights of the night, completely unaware of the major ego show that was going on only feet away from the ring. Is Roy that desperate for attention? He must be… I guess Jones set a trend and it will be acceptable for any other fighter to disrupt an event in the same manner, right, Mr. Commissioner?

The co-feature of the night was between Nate ‘The Galaxxy Warrior’ Campbell and Almazbek Raiymkulov, who when last seen this past June against Joel Casamayor went by the nickname of ‘Kid Diamond.’ This time around, and perhaps to intimidate Campbell, he changed his ring name to ‘Dr. Evil.’

Diamond or Evil, it was not meant to be, as Nate Campbell returned to true form and beat Raiymkulov from pillar to post throughout 10 rounds. Nate did everything a defensive boxer does, and, mixed it up with the heavy-handed Dr. Evil, who ended up getting the worst of most exchanges.

The fight was mercifully stopped by referee Brian Garry 2:26 seconds into the tenth and last round. At the time of the stoppage, the judges had the fight scored as follows: Judge Alex Levin 88-81, judge John Rupert 87-82 and judge Silverman had it a shutout for Nate, with a 90-79 score. The three judges scored the 5th round as a 10-7 round for Campbell. Referee Brian Garry would do a better job refereeing WWF events; it is very hard to keep up with his instructions, the melodrama he seems to relish, not to mention the number of fingers he puts up when counting a knockdown.

It was reported, however unofficially, that Raiymkulov suffered a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and a broken rib. Nate Campbell certainly rearranged his face, and had him spitting blood and breathing out of his mouth from about the 4th round on.

Nate Campbell is back, very comfortable and confident at 135 lbs.; perhaps the promotional change has helped him as well. The very articulate Campbell was overheard discussing with HBO executives the possibility of a rematch with Joel Casamayor, who beat Raiymkulov by way of a majority decision, in a fight many felt Casamayor was awarded a gift decision.

Nate Campbell and Raiymkulov gave the fans 10 electrifying rounds of pure, unadulterated boxing. No holds barred, no survival mode, no running, and no hiding. They boxed, they fought, they traded, and they dug deep, challenging each other to the max. HBO should present fights like this one more often, and certainly a rematch between Campbell and Casamayor would be a super bout. Congratulations are in order for Nate ‘The Galaxxy Warrior’ Campbell, who many of the so-called boxing experts, the gloom and doom crew, had counted down and out.