By Jake Donovan
Bernard Hopkins is the boxer this generation most often associates with the adage “age is nothing but a number,” but it’s DeMarcus Corley who has been actively carrying that torch in recent times.
The 42-year old southpaw is not only still in the grind, but fighting at a rate that puts boxers 20 years younger to shame. The former 140-pound titlist came up aces in settling for a split decision win over Michael Gardener in the Jamaica Contender semifinal match Wednesday evening at Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium in Kingston, Jamaica.
Scores were 69-64 (twice) in favor of Corley, and a strangely tallied 67-66 for Gardener (2-1, 1KO).
That the fight ended in a split decision is typical of the sport’s politics that Corley has been forced to overcome in traveling the globe. The veteran boxer was fighting for the ninth time inside of 13 months, a stretch that has spanned five different countries.
Wednesday’s affair marked his third trip to Jamaica in his past four fights, having entered the country’s version of the famed Contender series beginning with a decision win over Iwan Azore this past March.
His opponent, Gardener was just 2-0 going in with a seasoned veteran entering his 74th pro fight. The difference in talent was apparent, a testament to Corley always maintaining peak physical condition in remaining ready for any available opportunity.
Gardener was the bigger foe and attempted to play the role of aggressor, while Corley’s early plan was to smartly box from the outside. The visiting boxer eventually worked his way inside, throwing wicked body shots while also coming back to land right hooks upstairs.
The response from Gardener was to let his hands go and throw in combination, even if catching air on most occasions. The strategy worked in the eyes of one judge who awarded him the contest, overruled by saner officials who recognized the superior work put in by Corley.
With the win, Corley – who turned 42 earlier this month – moves to 46-27-1 (26KOs). He now moves on from “The Wasp” to “The Frog” as he advances to the Jamaican Contender finals versus Richard “The Frog” Holmes, who backed into the championship round with a No-Contest when his June 8 fight with Tsetsi Davis ended on a cut inside of a round.
The Jamaica Contender finals will take place July 2 at National Indoor Sports Centre, also in Kingston, Jamaica.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2