By Ricardo Ibarra
Photos by Mike Blair/Boxingprospects.net
Claiming his tenth consecutive victory, Tacoma welterweight Andre Keys (11-1, 5 KOs) earned a hard-fought decision win over two-time foe Antonio Neal (4-11-1, 3 KOs) on Saturday night at the Clackamas Armory in Clackamas, Oregon. Fighting in the main event of the 2Pound Sports & Entertainment promoted card, Keys used his quicker hand speed and more accurate punching to drop Neal once in the third en route to a six round unanimous decision win.
Keys established his superior hand speed from the start, stepping in with sharp lead rights and popping crisp one-twos in his opponent’s direction. For the first two rounds, Keys had the edge with the busier output, catching the oncoming Neal with accurate shots to the head and body.
In the third, Keys began to fire sustained volleys at Neal, smashing him repeatedly with punches to the head and digging hard to the body. After a thudding left hook to the side appeared to buckle Neal, Keys pounced, slamming his mid-section with a heavy assault that forced the Spokane, Washington fighter to take a knee. Keys pressed hard after the action was allowed to continue, unloading with a sense of urgency and pushing Neal back along the ropes. It was in that rally, though, that Keys allowed his attack to get wild. Neal, who had been firing back even as he took punishment, was able to capitalize, catching Keys with a hard counter to the chin that slowed his attack. Neal went on the offensive and finished the round pushing Keys back along the ropes and landing effectively.
Keys adopted a measured pace in the fourth, maneuvering around the ring more and working off his jab. Neal pressed the action and found success with hard hooks to the body, appearing to land more often throughout the round. Neal continued to press in the fifth, cutting the distance and unloading with fierce attack in the pocket. Keys, for his part, tried to maintain a longer range but had trouble keeping the aggressive minded Neal at bay.
Down the final stretch of the fight, Keys boxed more often from range, working off his one-two, as Neal continued to try and force his way in close where he was more effective. It was the more accurate punching from Keys that seemed to do the most damage, though. All three judges scored the fight for Keys with scores of 58-54, and 59-55 twice.
With the win, Keys claims his second victory over Neal and his eleventh career win overall. Neal, meanwhile, has gone 0-6-1 in his last seven fights.
Four additional pro fights and an exhibition bout made up the rest of the card. In the semi-main event, undefeated Jr. middleweight Chris Johnson (5-0, 1 KO) claimed his fifth win as a pro, pitching a four round shutout over William Fernandez (0-7), of Phoenix, AZ. Johnson set the tempo of the bout early, working at a fast pace and finding his range with crisp combinations. The Bend, Oregon resident continued to maintain a busy work-rate throughout the fight, using his movement well to avoid his opponent’s offense and maneuvering in and out of the pocket with sharp shots. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 for Johnson.
In a closely contested welterweight battle, Normandy Park, Washington’s Andres Garcia Abarca (2-2) handed Las Vegas’ Daquan Wyatt (3-1, 3 KOs) his first loss, taking a close four round split decision win. Wyatt came out strong in the opening round, employing a busy and aggressive approach, clipping Abarca repeatedly with clean one-twos. Abarca seemed to find his range in the second, zeroing in with lead rights and following up with left hooks. Wyatt came back in the third, catching Abarca with hard right hands early and appearing to be the more effective fighter throughout the round. In the fourth, Wyatt lost his mouthpiece after repeatedly being warned for the infraction earlier and was deducted a point. He stormed at Abarca after the point deduction, but his opponent did well in tying him up forcing the fight in close. The remainder of the round was marred by excessive holding with Abarca appearing to land at a slightly higher rate to pull out a close fight. Two judges scored the fight for Abarca at 38-37, with the third seeing it for Wyatt at 38-37, giving the split decision nod to Abarca.
Washington state’s William Hernandez Gomez (1-0, 1 KO) made an impressive entrance into the paid ranks, needing just a little over a minute to dispose of Milwaukie, Oregon’s Ian King (0-3). Gomez quickly dropped King with a vicious right hand-left hook combo flush to the head seconds into the fight. After the mandatory eight-count, Gomez pounced, unloading with a ferocious attack and tagging King repeatedly with a barrage of precise power shots. Seeing Gomez snap back the head of King with several heavy punches, referee Joey Passarella stepped in and called it at 1:01 of the opening round. The bout was contested in the welterweight division.
In the evening’s opening bout, Phoenix, Arizona’s Mike Fernandez (1-1) notched the first win of his professional career, claiming a well-earned shutout win over Virginia’s DeJon Corley (0-1), the son of former world champion DeMarcus Corley. The two southpaws got off to a fast start with both engaging early in the first, Corley landing well at a distance and Fernandez working hard to get in close. It was Fernandez’ relentless pressure that began to pull him ahead late in the opening round as he cut the distance and drilled his opponent with heavy shots in close. Continuing to dig hard to the body, Fernandez maintained his high-pressure assault in the second and kept the fight in the pocket as Corley slowed his movement. For the remainder of the bout, Fernandez controlled the action with a relentless attack, drilling Corley with thudding shots to the head and body. All three judges scored the bout for Fernandez with scores of 40-36. The fight took pace in the Jr. welterweight division.
In a special treat for the Portland area fight crowd, former world champions Steve Forbes and DeMarcus Corley engaged in a three round exhibition bout. The pace was brisk with both putting on display a lot of the skills that made them world champions. Afterwards, Corley announced in the ring he’ll be crossing over into bare knuckle fighting some time in October.
2Pound Sports & Entertainment plan on returning to the Clackamas Armory for their next show in February. For the latest info on upcoming events, visit www.2poundsports.com or the 2Pound Sports and Entertainment Facebook page.