Hendrix knocks out Cannon

By Michael Sheffield at ringside,

After a four-month layoff, Prize Fight Boxing returned to Tunica Saturday night at the Fit, with an event that picked up right where it left off -- with two broken noses, two brutal knockouts and a guest appearance by Jermain Taylor.

In the main event, a scheduled eight-rounder, lightweight Tyrese “Head Honcho” Hendrix (17-0-1, 7 KOs), KO’d Robbie “Pea Shooter” Cannon (12-3, 6 KOs) in the second round.

Hendrix spent the first three minutes of the fight testing Cannon’s defense, which was good enough to ward off punches, but broke down in the second when Hendrix landed a perfectly executed right to the chin. Cannon stumbled into the ropes and Hendrix instantly pounced, chasing him to the other end of the ring where he landed a mean right hook to the jaw that put Cannon into the ropes and down.

Cannon recovered, but was soon out cold after Hendrix landed another hard combination. Cannon’s corner attempted to enter the ring during referee Randy Phillips’ ten count, but the ref called them off. Meanwhile, an unresponsive Cannon took at least three minutes to recover from the knockout.

The official time was 2:05 of the second round, but could have been 30 seconds sooner.

The first broken nose of the night came in an upset. Heavyweight Larry Slayton (1-1-1) won a decision against Randy Johnson (2-1, 2 KOs) in a fight that could have been more action packed, if not for the tentative nature of both fighters.

Slayton landed a hook that possibly broke Johnson’s nose early in the first round; it would prove to be his best punch of the night. Johnson was game for the remainder of the four-rounder, and Slayton certainly provided him with enough opportunities to take the fight back as he spent the majority of the fourth round clinching and wrestling.

The judges saw more from Slayton than Johnson, however, scoring the fight 40-36, 38-38 and 39-37, giving Slayton the majority decision.

The action picked up considerably in the second fight, a scheduled four-round showdown between light heavyweights Anthony Doughty and Cody Kennedy, who had the misfortune of making his pro debut against a 4-0 favorite.

Kennedy was visibly nervous as he entered the ring, but came out aggressive, attempting to bully Doughty around the ring, but never landing anything of substance. What his punches did accomplish, however, was to wake up Doughty who landed a hard jab that broke Kennedy’s nose.

He followed that with a body shot that put Kennedy down. Kennedy then sprang up, leading Referee Phillips who tried to force him to accept the standing eight count. Doughty sprinted over to pounce again, knocking Kennedy down three more times before Phillips finally called a halt to the action at 2:30 in the first round.

Just as in the main event, the fight went on for at least 30 seconds too long.

The fight of the night came as a surprise to a crowd that expected an early ending.

The four-round junior welterweight showdown between Xavier Burgos (1-0) and Jamar Saunders (2-3, 1 KO) started with a display of speed from both fighters, and three knockdowns from consecutive left jabs to Saunders’ chin from Burgos. Saunders not only survived the first round, but managed to take Burgos the distance, after switching to a southpaw stance in the second round that confused his opponent.

Saunders, who received a cut over his left eye from an accidental head butt in the fourth round, gave nearly as good as he got, but the early knockdowns obviously saved the fight for Burgos, who won the unanimous decision with scores of 39-35, 35-34 and 38-37.

A rematch between these two fighters would be a welcome addition to a future event.

A six-round women's bout between welterweights Nicole Woods (8-4, 1 KO) and Kita Watkins (3-4, 1 KO) was rounded off the evening's entertainment. Woods, who has a following from the Fitz crowd, put her boxing skills on display, while Watkins was more willing to keep moving forward than defend herself. Because of her strategy, or lack thereof, Watkins absorbed a ton of punishment from Woods, who has previously shown her punching power, but couldn’t finish Watkins off. Woods easily won a unanimous decision of 60-54 on all cards.

Both women received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd, while Watkins posed for pictures with fans in the hall after the fight for at least 30 minutes - an illustration of the respect she won, despite losing the fight.

The next Fights at the Fitz event is scheduled for Aug. 29 and will feature Fernando Guerrero, who was also a guest at ringside.

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