BOXING Commings returns with disputed defeat
One judge voted for a draw, but the other two went for his opponent.
CHESTER, W.Va. -- Youngstown's Roland Commings experienced the good and bad Thursday night before a packed crowd at the Grande Ballroom of The Convention Centre at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort.
Commings lost a four-round majority decision in his 150-pound fight against George Klinesmith, but he was buoyed by a good start and fine finish, winning the cheers of the crowd who disagreed with the outcome.
Commings, who turns 40 in December, fought for the first time since December 2002, but he accepted the bout with little more than a week's notice.
Against his 29-year-old opponent, Commings came out quick with a right hand lead and a short left hook. He landed several good body shots around a countering left hook and finished the first round with an excellent flurry.
The taller Klinesmith landed a right uppercut with a series of straight rights that were included in some quick combinations in round two. Through it all Commings, tired but alert, answered with a countering right to the body. In round three Klinesmith again scored with solid rights as Commings defied him with an aggressive style.
In the final round, Commings countered the quick combinations of Klinesmith with a solid left hook and several stinging right hand leads, then closed the bout with a two fisted rally that had the crowd roaring.
The first judge voted it a draw at 38-38, but the next two judges went 40-36 and 39-37 for Klinesmith, drawing boos from the crowd.
"For me it was like driving from Youngstown to Columbus on a 16th of a tank of gas in a Dodge Charger," said Commings, now 22-23-3. "But I lasted and truthfully I thought I at least had a draw. The only time he really hurt me was with a head butt that the referee obviously didn't see."
With a smile, Commings added, "I caught him with some good shots, didn't I?"
Klinesmith congratulated Commings' effort, saying, "He is one tough guy."
Responded Commings: "Let's do it again and soon."
Kimbrough vs. Robbins and other fights
In the 10-round finale of the night, Mountaineer favorite Verquan Kimbrough defended his IBA Super Featherweight championship against Marty Robbins, a veteran from Crossville, Tenn.
Kimbrough waltzed through round after round, jabbing and outmoving Robbins, who showed little offense. But in the final round, Robbins started quickly, and a solid left hook sent Kimbrough to the deck. Soon another barrage had him take a standing eight count and seconds later a right uppercut sent Kimbrough down and sprawled on the apron where he just beat a 10 count. From then on it was a matter of surviving the round.
Kimbrough's superior boxing had given him an insurmountable lead and even with Robbins' (21-27-1) finish the three judges voted 96-91, 96-91 and 97-91 for a unanimous decision.
Monty Meza-Clay improved to 16-0 when he knocked out Juan Polo Perez at 34 seconds of the sixth round with a solid right to the body. It was Clay's 13th knockout.
Columbus ranked lightweight Michael Clark, who is co-managed by Pat Nelson and Lou Schiavoni, knocked out John Scalzi of Altoona, Pa., at 48 seconds of the first round. Clark, who finished his opponent with a short right to the jaw, is 35-3 with 16 knockouts.
Also, Robbie Strauss won a majority decision over Don Shrock in a light heavyweight four-rounder, and Leslie Perella took a four-round decision over Ashlyn Johnson in a battle of female lightweights.