By Cliff Rold
There’s something in the water at heavyweight right now. After too many years of turgid, technical boxing matches, fights are breaking out again on a regular basis. They aren’t all technical gems, but that’s never been the primary allure of boxing’s big men.
Finally finding a way to win one of the close ones, 44-year old Amir Mansour (23-2-1, 16 KO), 224 ¼, of Wilmington, Delaware, battled back from a rocky start to halt the 14-fight unbeaten streak of hometown favorite 31-year old Travis Kauffman (31-2, 23 KO), 230 ½, of Reading, Pennsylvania, garnering a twelve round majority decision on Friday night at the Santander Arena in Reading. It was a rugged fight from start to finish. Mansour had come up short in tough nights with Steve Cunningham, Gerald Washington, and Dominic Breazeale only to find a career best night on the road this time. The referee was Shawn Clark.
Kauffman got off to good start, rocking Mansour in the second round and imposing his size. As the fight wore on, the more athletic and heavier handed Mansour started to outwork Kauffman. He rocked him in an exciting ninth and both men had their spots where heavy hands were exchanged. In the final round, both let it all hang out and stayed on their feet. Neither was dropped all night, a commendable display of how bad each wanted to win.
Mansour looked like the winner but had to sweat as the scores were announced, beginning with a 114-114 even card. It was overruled at 117-111 and 115-113, both for Mansour. The fans gave both men a deserved hand for their effort.
After going 4-0 in 2016, the comeback of former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron hit a speed bump on Friday night. Or maybe that’s a speed butt?
29-year old David Grayton (15-1-1, 11 KO), 146, of Washington, DC, settled for a draw but can walk away feeling like a winner. He dropped the 37-year old Puerto Rican Cintron (39-5-2, 30 KO), 146 ¾, of Reading, Pennsylvania, in the fifth round and controlled most of the fight before an accidental head but sent them to the cards at 2:53 of the fifth.
One judge inexplicably had it 49-46 for Cintron. Twin scores of 47-47 at least spared Grayton the ignominy of unearned defeat. The referee was Gary Rosato.
In a fight that drew some boos at the outcome, 25-year old Chordale Booker (6-0, 3 KO), 154 ¾, of Brooklyn, New York, won a six-round unanimous decision over 24-year old Moshea Aleem (4-1-1, 2 KO), 152 ½, of Virginia.
Fans may have preferred the aggression of Aleem but the slicker Booker appeared to do enough to earn the decision was rewarded at 58-56 and 59-55 twice. The referee was Shawn Clark.
The card was televised in the US on Bounce TV as part of the Premiere Boxing Champions series.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]