by David P. Greisman, live from ringside
Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, Md. -- Bilal Mahasin is a grown man, a 31-year-old with several tattoos -- the word "Rebellious" adorns both his stomach and his boxing trunks -- and with a criminal background and a 10-year prison sentence behind him. Mike "Yes Indeed" Reed is only recently old enough to drink, a 21-year-old college
student majoring in accounting and with nary a tattoo to be seen.
Mahasin tried to bully Reed in the opening moments of their six-round bout, but Reed is a former amateur standout who is now a junior-welterweight prospect in the professional ranks. Reed remained calm early, protected himself well, and soon seized control of the action en route to a unanimous decision victory on Friday night at the
Rosecroft Raceway in Ft. Washington, Md.
The scorecards were 60-54 (twice) and 59-55.
Mahasin committed armed robbery many years ago that left him on the run and fighting under an alias -- yet he nevertheless got caught after his third bout, an appearance on a May 2002 episode of ESPN's "Thursday Night Fights," according to an article on
TheSweetScience.com. He returned to the ring this past October for the first time in nearly 11 and a half years, notching his fourth pro win.
Reed (141 pounds) covered up well as Mahasin (139 pounds) sought to blast away at him. Before the first round was over, it was Reed coming forward, thanks in large part to Reed's body shots, which he continued to unleash throughout the bout. Mahasin remained game, yet he never had Reed in danger again. Reed opened a cut above Mahasin's left eye in the second round, stayed in command and left with his undefeated
The resident of Waldorf, Md., had his first pro fight almost exactly a year ago and is now 8-0 (5 knockouts). Mahasin, of Oakland, is now 4-1 (zero KOs).
On the undercard:
- The first fight between Kevin Womack Jr. (145.5 pounds) and Yurii Polischuk, back in November, had ended as a split draw. The rematch brought a winner before the final bell, with Polischuk scoring a third-round technical knockout.
Polischuk hurt Womack in the second round, then knocked him down hard in the third round. Womack seemed to wake the moment he hit the canvas, though he was still in bad condition. Polischuk closed the show with an onslaught, and Womack's high chin absorbed several shots until referee Brent Bovell jumped in with the proper stoppage with a second to go before the round ended.
There was a scuffle between the teams after the end, as Womack was upset about the stoppage, so upset that his corner needed to hold him on his stool as his temper tantrum continued for several minutes.
Polischuk, 23, of Alexandria, Va., improves to 3-1-1 (2 KOs). Womack, 25, of Baltimore, falls to 4-4-1 (2 KOs).
- After nearly six rounds of toe-to-toe trading, Joshua Davis (131.5 pounds)) finally put Joel Flores (131 pounds) to the canvas in the final seconds of the final round, a crucial moment that provided Davis with the edge in the split-decision victory.
The scorecards were 58-55 and 57-56 for Davis, countered by 57-56 for Flores.
Flores waited until referee David Braslow hit the count of nine before rising, and Davis was already up on the ropes celebrating his victory. There were still a few seconds left in the bout, though, and Davis wound up waiting to find out whether he had won.
Davis, a 23-year-old from the Baltimore suburb of Catonsville, is now 6-1 (3 KOs). Flores, 23, of Hart, Mich., drops to 4-5 (3 KOs).
- Larry Recio (154 pounds) knocked Michael Santiago (156 pounds) down twice in the second round and did enough damage that the ringside physician waved the bout off before Santiago could come out for the third. The first knockdown came off a right uppercut. Santiago bounced back quickly, but Recio knew what had just worked and began to follow his right crosses with left uppercuts. The second knockdown actually came off a one-two combination, though.
Recio, 23, of nearby Landover, Md., is now 4-0 (3 KOs). This was the pro debut for Santiago, 24, of Chicago, and as such he is now 0-1.
- Marquel Johns (123.5 pounds) hurt Gabriel Braxton (120.5 pounds) early in the first, hurt him again late in the first, and then hurt him for the final time in the second round, scoring a technical knockout off a right hand that left Braxton leaning forward woozily through the ropes. Braxton got up, but the referee didn't feel he was in condition to continue. The time of the stoppage was 1:01.
Johns, a 28-year-old billed out of Ft. Washington, Md., is now 2-0-1 (2 KOs). Braxton, 29, of Ellenwood, Ga., is now 0-2.
- In the show's opener, Charlie Natal (149.5 pounds) won a four-round decision over Dontre King (151 pounds). The scorecards were 40-35 (twice) and 40-36.
Natal, who was adorned with three bullet-hole tattoos on his left side -- complete with inked-on blood -- stuck to a strategy of popping in, throwing a shot or two and then jumping out of range, moving and resetting. In the second round, however, King caught Natal squared up and with his gloves down as he was circling away from the ropes. The
right hand sent Natal staggering all the way across the ring. Natal recovered, continued to dig thudding shots to the body, hammered away at King in the third round and then was awarded a knockdown in the fourth when the referee ruled that the ropes held King up.
Natal, 21, of Cleveland, is now 3-0-1 (no knockouts). King, 32, of Cambridge, Md., is now 7-15-2 (3 KOs).
Pick up a copy of David's new book, "Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing," at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]