Some misguided fans of professional boxing decry the amateur ranks as little more than prospects slapping and jabbing each other into oblivion. If anyone subscribing to that foolish notion happened to be part of the packed house at Friday night’s New York Daily News Golden Gloves Finals in the Theater at Madison Square Garden they were quickly disabused of their misconceptions.
Despite arriving late your correspondent was treated to a series of three-round barnburners worthy of a Pay Per View undercard. The fight of the night was undoubtedly in the 165-lb. open division, where Herve Duroseau, 28, won a punishing contest with Raul Nuncio, 30 in a matchup of Long Island natives. A sanitation worker by day, Duroseau narrowly edged the game Nuncio.
Another excellent fight took place in the 152-lb. women’s division between Olympic hopefuls Nisa Rodriguez, 20, and LaTarisha Fountain, 33. Fountain struck early with flurries to the body but Rodriguez used her considerable height advantage to hold off the older woman and in the process showed off impressive power and slickness. She looked to be the fighter most likely to make some noise at the national level.
The superheavyweight open division saw two Queens natives battle as youth counselor Joseph Williams, 22, bullied police officer Mark Sinatra, 26, around the ring while fellow Far Rock natives at ringside admonished him to “punch that cop in the face.” The continuous cop-related humor continued until well after the bout’s completion.
The most impressive male prospect of the night was probably Marcus Browne, 20, who has already qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials. He won the 178-lb. open division by out-boxing the courageous DeVaun Lee, 23, of Queens.
Crowd favorite and Olympic hopeful Christina Cruz, 28, got on her bike early against Susanna Mellone-Spence, 25, in the 112-lb. division but increased her work rate in the last two round to capture her fifth Golden Gloves title.
In the 141-lb. novice division Julio Arce, 21, outpointed David Green, 26, while Prince Slaughter captured the 132-lb. novice title against Luis Mancilla, 19. The lone sour note of the evening came before the final bout, when Gary Burrell, 28, won the superheavyweight novice title in a walkover after his opponent Eugene Russell, 27, an ironworker, was injured on the job at the World Trade Center construction site.