Peltz Boxing brings Philly Fight Night back to 2300 Arena tonight
Tonight from the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, Peltz Boxing will be at it again. Its a novel idea what Hall of Fame promoter J Russell Peltz has been doing with fight cards, since moving his fights to the Arena a few years ago. Making competitive fights with local prospects, fringe contenders and, at times, title challengers. Philadelphia’s long history with the sport has been documented already. However sometimes the post script is that the fight scene isn’t what it used to be. These types of cards, which have been branded as “Philly Fight Night” is a resounding rebuttal to those claims.
“Look, this is nothing new. We have been doing this since 1969,” stated Mr. Peltz. “It’s what promoters are supposed to do, make competitive fights. We just decided to brand these fight cards about a year ago.” With one look at the 11-fight card, which features an all-Philadelphia battle in the main event between lightweights Avery Sparrow, 5-1 (3), and Anthony Burgin, 10-2 (2), one can see this card is a solid mix of local talent, understanding that, in order to increase their profiles and their careers, they need to fight other talented fighters in similar career situations to progress their professional standings.
What also makes this card refreshing is that Peltz Boxing is working with other promoters of note in order to make these types of match-ups. Far too many times, fight cards are put on by individual promoters looking to fill each of their cards with their own roster of talent. In essence, these types of fights can best be described with one word: showcases. What the audience in attendance or watching at home gets is usually a night of action that leaves something to be desired in the area of pure entertainment. Of the 22 fighters participating tonight, Peltz Boxing will only feature one fighter signed to its roster, super welterweight Isaiah Wise, 3-1 (2). This proves, above all, that entertaining the fans is something Peltz Boxing is still committed to achieving. In fairness, so are the promoters of note with whom he is working (more on their fighters later).
As for the actual fights, in the aforementioned main event, two hungry Philadelphia lightweights will test their skills against each other in an eight-round battle. Burgin and Sparrow are seemingly in the same spot, regarding their careers. At age 24, Burgin has faced the stiffer competition and has boxed 51 rounds. With only six fights, compared to Burgin’s 12, Sparrow started his career being active until suffering his first loss due to a disqualification as a result of low blows. What makes that frustrating for Sparrow is he was leading on all of the scorecards at the time the fight was called. Sparrow has one win since that loss but is coming off of a yearlong layoff, since that victory. You get the sense that, by taking this fight, both fighters are aware that a victory or even a solid performance in defeat will begin the process of getting their names involved in higher profile fights at a more consistent rate. This usually leads to better results, due to ring activity that enhances their craft.
“A lot of promoters want to showcase their talent against ducks.” States Peltz. It’s clear that is far from the case with these types of cards. Top Rank Promotions has a pair of young talented mainland Puerto Ricans who are still teenagers. Victor Padilla is only 18 years old and turned professional last December. His record is 2-0 (2), both stoppages coming in the first round. He will face Carlos Castillo, 4-4-1 (3), of California. Castillo himself has been matched tough with the combined record of his last four opponents being 32-5-1. Castillo has been involved in 37 rounds compared to just two for Padilla. Raul “Chino” Rivas, who has established a good stable of young local talent that includes Jason Sosa and Tevin Farmer trains Padilla. Rivas wanted this fight to test the young southpaw with an opponent known to bring some heat, instead of matching him with another easy first round knockout to simply pad his record. What a novel idea, getting your fighter a quality night of work.
This is also the case, regarding 17-year-old Joseph Adorno. Adorno had already established an extensive amateur career by the time he was 16 and felt the professional ranks were ideal, as opposed to continuing his amateur career. Fighting out of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Adorno also turned professional last December and wants to continue to stay as active as possible. Young fighters like Padilla and Adorno, along with Steven Ortiz of Philadelphia, seem to be the answer regarding the next generation of Puerto Rican prospects. It’s a wave of young talent from the mainland who see the type of success champions like Sosa and former two-division champion Danny Garcia have had. No longer are young Puerto Rican prospects strictly coming from the island, itself.
Main Events heavyweight Cassius Chaney, 8-0 (5), will battle Willie Herring, 14-14-3 (5). If you simply look at the records, this seems like just another bout for a good prospect in Chaney. However after just eight pro fights and 21 professional rounds, this fight is clearly a solid step up in competition. Herring has several victories against heavyweights like Chaney, whom were at similar points in their careers, the point being, when a fighter should step it up to another level of competition to test where he is as a prospect, not just what a fighter’s record could suggest. To his credit, Herring has been matched tough and has losses to prospects with Olympic backgrounds like Puerto Rican Victor Bisbal. Herring also lost to light heavyweight and cruiserweight contenders Sullivan Barrera and Matt Godfrey. He also went the distance over 10 rounds against former WBC heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne. All this to say that the 173 rounds Herring has boxed are clearly on another level, compared to Chaney’s experience. “These are two strong heavyweights and the crowd will be excited for it ’cause its a challenge for Chaney and one punch can change everything,” emphasized Peltz.
(Editor’s note: As of press time, Herring pulled out due to injury. In his place is replacement Thomas Washington Jr., from Lansing, Michigan. When faced with this replacement, Chaney said, “I feel good. Just another fight that I have to prepare for and be ready. I’ve worked hard in camp and I’m just winding down and it’s just all mental now.”)
Regarding the future of the Philly Fight Night cards, they already have a deal in place with Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia (CSN Philly), which tapes the entire fight card and re-airs the key fights and highlights on six different occasions. CSN Philly is the local sports channel for all things Philadelphia sports and its reach is priceless for fighters on this card. It’s a reach between the Washington D.C. (they have their own Comcast sports outlet) and the New York markets, which should help with the bottom line, in terms of possible future ticket sales. A good performance can mean all the difference and can lead to platforms with a larger audience. “We are doing these fight cards once every four months or quarterly,” remarked Peltz.
2300 Arena provides the perfect atmosphere and has quickly become the modern stomping ground for fighters to earn their stripes, a rite of passage. It’s a building that rests under the I-95 highway and is summed up best as “old school.” You get the feeling, by just walking into the arena that has a capacity of around 1,100, that you are walking into a time warp into the golden era of boxing, an era in which a cloud of smoke from the audience’s cigarettes would waft above the ring, while local fighters controlled by Mafiosi would simply fight in either solid black trunks with white stripes on the side or the reverse. No music, no entourage, just a cutman and a trainer.
Just what performing well on a card like this at the Arena means big things. Jason Sosa, Jesse Hart, Ray Serrano, Gabriel Rosado, Derek Ennis, Eric Hunter, Steve Cunningham and Danny Garcia are some names that have walked through the Arena doors and put on great performances. As you can see, from that list, local fighters take these cards beyond seriously, in hopes of advancing their careers.