By Joe Scalzo
With his right hand hurting, his dreadlocks flying and his body tiring, “Dangerous” Dannie Williams had to fight with his head and his heart on Friday night.
Fortunately, that was enough.
Williams earned a unanimous decision victory over Colombia’s Oscar Cuero in a 10-round lightweight bout at “The Real Deal” boxing show in front of crowd of about 1,500 outside the Covelli Centre.
“I’m disappointed,” said Williams (18-1), a St. Louis native who now trains at the Southside Boxing Club. “I didn’t look as good as I should.
“That last round, I had to suck it up and fight like I was losing.”
Two judges scored it 97-93 in favor of Williams — The Vindicator had the same score — while one had Williams winning 99-91. After dominating the first three rounds, Cuero (13-7) came alive in the fourth, winning that round, as well as the sixth and seventh, before Williams regrouped.
Williams said he injured his right hand in the second round and did much of his damage with left hooks and left jabs, opening up cuts around Cuero’s right eye and right ear.
“My right hand was hurting but I still had to punch,” Williams said. “I can’t quit in no fight or I’m going to lose, so I had to keep using it.”
Williams also had to contend with his Bob Marley-esque hair — his corner eventually taped his dreads back — and his fatigue. He said he lost too much weight too quickly — both fighters weighed in at 137, two pounds above the scheduled weight — and was tired in the later rounds.
“I was more concerned about his damn hair,” said his trainer, Jack Loew. “We’re going to take care of that issue.
“He fought a tough kid and he hit him with some vicious shots but that kid can take them shots. It wasn’t his best performance but, hey, listen, we won.”
In the night’s co-main event, Campbell light welterweight Jake Giuriceo earned a unanimous decision win over Georgia native Winston Mathis, with two judges giving him all six rounds and another awarding Mathis one round.
“He was a very tough opponent,” said Giuriceo (12-0-1). “He had a lot of ring smartness, he knew how to control his distance, he knew when to hold and how to hold and when to use his head inside. He was a very smart opponent.”
While Williams’ bout was a more tactical fight, with both fighters biding their time to throw combinations, Giuriceo’s bout was more like a street fight. Giuriceo threw more — and better — punches but Mathis (7-4) established from the first round that he was there to fight.
“I never get intimidated or back down but he was hard to hit,” said Giuriceo, who wore white trunks with “Jesus” in several spots while Mathis wore black trunks with “reaper” at the belt. “He threw me out of my normal technique. A couple times I was just standing there like, ‘Man, should I keep bouncing with the dude?’”
“I had my hands full with him tonight but I won it.”
In the first of the showcase bouts, Niles’ Billy Lyell won every round en route to six-round unanimous decision win over Chicago middleweight Michael Walker. Lyell (24-9), who weighed in at five pounds below the 160-pound limit, wasn’t able hurt Walker but clearly out-landed the bigger Walker (19-9) in every round.
“I think my left uppercut to the body slowed him down,” said Lyell, whose frame is better suited to the 154-pound junior middleweight division. “He was strong in there and seemed a lot bigger me, so I had to try to wear him down somehow.
“I felt great and it was just a fun fight in front of the home crowd. They gave me a boost and there were a lot of positive vibes.”