By Matt Thompson at ringside
Photos: Andy Newman
DeAndre Ware rose to the occasion and scored the biggest win of his career with an upset majority decision over previously undefeated Ronald Ellis in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation Friday on SHOWTIME from Main Street Armory in Rochester. Both fights of the doubleheader were upsets, as Albany, N.Y. native Will Madera defeated Thomas Mattice in an eight-round lightweight co-feature.
Ellis (15-1-2, 10 KOs), who had the advantage over Ware in both height and reach, became the 185th fighter to lose their undefeated record on the prospect developmental series after Mattice suffered his first defeat and became fighter number 184.
Ware (13-1-2, 8 KOs), who edged Ellis 95-95 and 96-94 twice, pressed the action from the outset. While Ellis threw a higher volume of punches throughout the night, Ware was more effective with the punches he landed and worked Ellis inside as the fight progressed.
“I controlled the fight. The whole fight I was landing the harder shots,” said Ware. “I finally had a chance to get in shape and have a full camp, and we were able to show what we really have. I applied the pressure. He was just flicking the jab and it wasn’t doing anything.”
Ellis, who fought his past three fights with his right hand either broken or badly injured, largely stopped using his right hand during the fourth round, indicating he might have re-injured the surgically repaired hand. By the later rounds, he was mainly jabbing with his left and delivering punches in volume that lacked power.
“I couldn’t tell if he hurt his hand,” Ware continued. “I just listed to my coaches and did what I had to do.”
Ellis, who was fighting on ShoBox for the fourth time, didn’t agree with the officials’ decision and was eager for a rematch
“I think I outboxed him,” Ellis said. “He was pressuring the whole fight but he didn’t land anything clean. I hurt my hand a little in the third but I was still able to triple jab him and keep him on the outside. I would do a rematch in a second.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, Will Madera handed ShoBox veteran Thomas Mattice the first loss of his career via a unanimous decision in a battle of unbeaten lightweights.
Madera (13-0-2, 6 KOs), who took the fight on short notice in his national television debut, dominated the pace from the outset. He stayed busy and controlled the first three rounds, coming forward and working the body against a stagnant Mattice (13-1-1, 10 KOs). While Mattice tried to establish his jab, Madera’s movement and insistence on pressing inside made it impossible.
“I had to make some adjustments. He’s a good, tough fighter, but it’s all about staying composed,” Madera said. “I wasn’t fazed by any of his punches. He had a little pop, but nothing that I was afraid of.”
In a fight that started out reminiscent of his 2017 ShoBox debut, Mattice came to life in the later rounds, relying on his jab and increasing his overall volume of work. But his increase in output still lagged behind Madera, who had landed 21 body shots midway through the fight compared to just three landed by Mattice.
“He had a good jab that I just had to time,” Madera said. “With the win, I’m ready to step-up. Whatever they have for me, I’ll take it next.”
Mattice’s best work came in the sixth round, when he relied on a higher volume of combos and a steady jab. Both men traded punches throughout the final round, and Madera closed out the fight with a five-punch combo that had Mattice on the ropes.
“I still feel like I’m the better fighter, I just didn’t get started. I didn’t do what we came here to do, which was box and use my speed,” said Mattice. “I’m kind of glad this one didn’t go my way so we can learn from this and go back to the drawing board.”
Former world title challenger Dominic Wade didn’t look like a fighter who had been out of the ring for nearly three years, since his two round blowout loss to then unified middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Wade wasted no time in blitzing late arrival Martin Fidel Rios of Argentina with two crushing knockdowns, the final one from a left to the head, leaving Rios supine on the deck for the count at 1:48 of the opening session. Wade moves to 19-1, 13 KOs while Rios slides to 23-19-4, 13 KOs.
In bout #3 of the evening, Roney Hines lived up to his nick name of “Too Much” as he overwhelmed Sherman “The Tank” Artis, Jr. via the three knockdown rule in round one. All three drops were caused by well placed shots to the ample midsection of Artis, Jr., who took a knee each time. The final kneel down prompted referee Jamil Antoine to wave maters off at 1:46 of the opening stanza. Hines improves to 4-0, 4 KOs while Artis, Jr. drops to 3-4.
Rochester’s Lawrence King, Jr. had his hands full with sawed off Octavius Webb of Cleveland, OH, both making their pro debuts. Webb chased and bulled the lanky King, Jr. who for his part, jabbed, countered and moved. While the bout seemed close, despite partisan cheering for the Monroe County Sheriff King, Jr., judges Don Ackerman and Pascual Procopio saw it 40-36 and Benoit Roussel tabbed it 39-37, all for King, Jr. now 1-0. The unlucky Webb dropped to 0-1.
In the opening bout of the Shobox card in Rochester, NY, local boy Tracey McGruder made his pro debut a successful one as he manhandled Jersey City’s Michael Lee for three and a half rounds before Lee’s corner stepped on the ring apron, forcing referee Jamil Antoine to call a halt at 1:05 of the fourth. Lee had been taking a pounding for the first three rounds and decided to go for broke as he was hopelessly behind. It turned out to be a detrimental decision as he was met with worse than what he dished out. Lee falls to 2-1, 1 KO while McGruder starts out his long-awaited career at 1-0, 1 KO.