Snakes on a plain
“Black Kobra” Cooper wins unimpressive, unanimous decision over “Kid Cobra”; Lonnie licks Lester with lightning strike, steals show
Ringside report & photos by Chris Cozzone / Fightwireimages.com
If there were any early fireworks to be seen, last night at the Plaza Hotel, downtown Las Vegas, it was the sizzle of Lonnie Smith’s inherited lightning strike rather than the fizzle between two defanged Cobra-named cruiserweights.
After an action-steady undercard that opened up the Guilty Boxing – Rattlesnake Events “Punchout” show, Dewey “Black Kobra” Cooper and Cory “Kid Cobra” Phelps, fighting with the speed and smack of pregnant yaks rather than their misnomer monikers, bumbled their way through eight rounds.
Cooper, coming off back-to-back losses to Arthur Williams, should’ve had a mismatched win over Kentucky ham-and-egger Phelps, but, unable to kayo a guy who’d been kayoed in all five of his losses, he had to settle for a decision before the big crowd who showed up to cheer him on.
Fighting in spurts and taking his time, Cooper outhustled Phelps through the first two rounds. Phelps, using a fundamental one-two, plod-ahead approach, was there to be hit, but the “Black Kobra” slithered hither and thither, throwing only occassionally.
Taking the best of Cooper’s straight left, Phelps got brave in the third and fourth rounds, stepping up his pace. Coming at Cooper, he found an easier-than-expected home for his right hand while weathering the pitty-pat flurries of the hometown favorite’s arm punches.
Phelps started to wilt in the fifth while Cooper, on the short end of clean punches, took the rounds by sheer busy-ness. Cooper had his best moments in the sixth, landing big straights on the tiring Kentuckian, who was more affected by stamina than by the Kobra’s sting.
Both fighters paced out the seventh and in the final frame, Cooper tried to, at least, finish in impressive fashion, but it was too little, too late to pick up a knockout win.
All three judges had it 79-73 for Cooper. Fightnews had it 78-74, Cooper.
Cooper moves to 18-3-3, 10 KOs while Phelps gains a moral victory, losing for the first time by decision, yet faling to 13-6-1, 7 KOs.
Battle of undefeateds
In a battle of undefeated welterweights, Las Vegas’ Abdan Lozano (6-0, 1 KO) handed Canadian Andre “Gorgeous” Gorges (8-1, 6 KOs) his first loss, winning unanimously.
For the first two rounds, the two gangling pugs fought like squids, entangling one another and knocking noggins every time a punch was thrown. One such headbutt opened up a cut over Lozano’s left orb, but his corner kept things under control.
Gorges edged the first, while Lozano tried to figure out his opponent’s awkward attacks. A fight on the inside proved the only way to beat Gorges and, by the third, uppercuts on the inside put him ahead on the cards.
With less success in the pocket, Gorges tried to keep to the outside and catch Lozano coming in, with loopy lefts. Success was marginal for Lozano’s constant pressure and cleaner, harder punches on the inside had the gawky Canadian tying up more often than fighting.
All three judges scored it for Lozano, 59-55. Fightnews had it likewise.
Lonnie levels Lester
In the best bout of the night, Las Vegas lightweight Lonnie Smith (8-2-2, 6 KOs) stretched game James Lester (8-3, 4 KOs), of Detroit, on the canvas at 2:10 of the third.
After an awkward half-round, Smith and Lester taking turns wrestling each other down, the two got down to business.
With a zippy left hook, Smith, trapping Lester against the ropes, dropped his man to the canvas. Lester beat the count but, hurt, was put down again, though, this time, it was ruled a trip. With his right eye bleeding, Lester ended the round in rough shape.
In the second, however, after regrouping, Lester came back strong, edging Smith with hard counter shots. Just when it looked like he had the hometown favorite in trouble, the fight was stopped to snip off the ragged, dangling ends of Smith’s glove tape. When the fight resumed, Smith came back strong, going at the body while Lester continued to counter clean.
Smith came out like a whirlwind in the third, going to the body and hurting Lester with a left hook. Again, Lester visited the canvas in what might’ve been a trip.After this, an unintentional low blow had Lester clutching his ‘nads for another short break in the action.
When the fight continued, it wasn’t for long. Instead of a left hook dazing his foe, Smith let loose with the best single shot of the night – an overhand right – that plastered Lester to the canvas for several minutes.
Official time of the stoppage was 2:10.
El Harrak remains undefeated
In the opener, Said El Harrak (6-0, 2 KOs), of Henderson, remained undefeated with a shutout four-round decision over Cincinnati’s James Helmes (6-4, 1 KO), who lost his fourth straight bout.
Helmes was on the short end of two big lefts and two big rights in the first. In the second, the Ohioan was able to catch El Harrak with counter lefts but the bigger punches of the Henderson fighter had the crowd oohing every time they landed.
Helmes, holding his ground, showed little effect from El Harrak’s punches, but sheer aggression through all four rounds made it a no-brainer decision.
All three judges had it 40-36 for El Harrak.
Gloveman Butch Davenport was honored at the fights by promoter Jeff Grmoja and officials Joe Cortez and Jay Nady. Butch is battling cancer.
Ten-counts for boxing great Alexis Arguello and Mikki Wilkins, daughter of IBF President Marian Muhammad, were given honorary ten-counts.
Longtime trainer Kenny Adams was recognized at ringside.
The card also featured a half-dozen amateur MMA bouts, which took place after the boxing bouts.