By J. R. Jowett at ringside:

Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions presented a fine grass-roots club show at the Reverb Nightclub in Reading’s Hispanic neighborhood. Marshall did the local fighters no favors in the matchmaking, which resulted in the fans’ favor as a fine, competitive card.

The main event highlighted local favorite Keenan Collins, 155, Reading, 14-7-3 (9), still trying to turn the corner on an up-and-down career, versus difficult spoiler George Rivera, 156, Charlottesville, VA, 13-7-1 (4). Give the judges a contest with little action and their imaginations run wild, as evidenced by the erratic scoring, where extraneous factors like style points or embarrassing the hero (a/k/a “Scappoose Effect”) begin to “count”. The contest was a tedious tactical struggle that produced few clean blows and no sustained action. The lanky Collins moved forward behind the jab while Rivera exhibited next to no serious attempts at offense, but moved and dodged punches well.

Keenan had his best rounds in the third and fourth, when he set Rivera up with the jab and followed with payoff rights. But the elusive opponent managed to turn them into no more than “whisker” shots and slip away. Collins lapsed back into following George around in the fifth, and the generally inoffensive Rivera actually landed some counters and won the sixth. The final two at last produced some upswing in action, but still few conclusive shots. Round eight was a mish-mosh of mauling and wrestling, so that it appeared Keenan would get the decision, for forcing the fight if nothing else. The air tensed when John Gradowski’s score was announced at 77-75 Rivera. Jimmy “Meatball” Condon was having none of George’s smokescreen, and scored 80-72 Collins! Dave Braslow spilt it down the middle at 76-76.

Ironically, it was Rivera who bristled over the verdict while Collins seemed to concede the judge’s point. “I outboxed him, outjabbed him, and outworked him, and he missed a lot of shots,” George declared, “And they gave him a draw. They took victory from me.” Conceded Collins, “He ran a lot. I could have brought more pressure, but he ran a lot. He fought a good fight. When I tried to get off, he grabbed. Because of the way he ran, I didn’t think he won.”

Glenn Tapia, 156, Passaic, NJ, 13-0 (7), was too big and strong for once-tough but now used-up Manuel Guzman, 156, Lancaster, 7-16-2 (3), in a scheduled six. Guzman was mugged and overwhelmed, going down in the second and third by way of escape more than injury, with referee Hurley McCall counting him out at 0:27.

In a battle of lefties, Frankie de Alba, 132, Reading, 3-1-2 (1), barely escaped with a split decision over late sub Andrew Bentley, 131 ½, Bayonne, 1-1, four. Bentley circled and countered well to gain some daylight in the third of a tight contest, but Frankie reasserted himself and overpowered him in a hectic finale. Braslow had Bentley 39-37, while Gradowski scored the same for de Alba, and Condon had 40-36 for Frankie.

It was a close and tight boxing match but nonetheless a good contest between prospect Josh Bowles, 124, Harrisburg, 4-0 (1), and sleeper Derrick Bivins, 124, Phila., 1-1-1, four. The shorter Bowles stepped in sharply behind popping overhand rights to take the play away from the tall Bivins, and won by 40-36 from Condon, 39-37 from the others.

Popular Rolando Chinea, 136, Lancaster, 3-0 (2), had all he wanted from southpaw Jamell Tyson, 135, Rochester, 3-6-1 (1), but willed himself to win in a rugged and bruising four. The free-swinging and at times wild action produced head clanging and a bad cut to Rolando’s right eye that poured blood by the final bell. Manager, trainer/cutman Barry Stumpf kept it in check enough for Rolando to pressure Jamell on the ropes and gain a fair, majority decision. Gradowski scored 38-38, the others 39-37.

Debuting Jeremy Miller, 130, Balto., got a heated scrap from hard-luck Cesar Gonzalez, 132, Reading, 0-3-2, but pulled out a majority win. The compact Miller switched gears and began to outwork the bigger foe in the second, then poured it on in a big third. Cesar came back with some clean shots in a desperate fourth, but Jeremy had work rate on his side and won 39-37 twice, while Gradowski again had 38-38.

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