Philly Fight of the Year Awarded to KEA Boxing Fighter!
On July 29, 2011, the Asylum Arena was once again the site of the best Philly fight of the year. The fight, a welterweight 6-rounder between an undefeated visitor and a struggling local club fighter, had an unlikely transformation from scheduled preliminary bout to sudden main event, and now the “2011 Philly Fight of the Year”.
Juan Rodriguez vs. Greg Hackett wasn’t supposed to be the main event that night. However, it became exactly that when a troubled KEA Boxing card saw one scheduled main event after another fall out. The last one happened just 24 hours before fight night. So Rodriguez vs. Hackett was elevated to main event status in a desperate move to salvage the collapsing card.
The fighters took the sudden spotlight in stride and went on to fight a memorable battle before a sparse South Philly crowd. Hackett brought the fight to Rodriguez all night, landing a number of hard punches that threatened to turn the fight in his favor. However, each time Hackett fought his way to the brink of something, Rodriguez managed to use his superior boxing skills and some very effective cool under pressure to stay in control and keep the fight going his way.
Both boxers fought hard for all six rounds and filled the fight with dramatic, fast paced, back and forth action. After the fight was over, no one could even remember those other fights that were supposed to be the main event that night.
Rodriguez earned the unanimous decision. Although a few felt the bout should have been declared a draw, everyone agreed that a rematch should happen as soon as possible. From the instant the final bell sounded, the fight was considered a leading candidate for “fight of the year” honors.
Other Philly fights came along throughout 2011, but like a tough old club fighter, this one hung in there, stayed on its feet, and made it to the final bell. Against all odds, this little fight will be remembered as the best fight in Philadelphia of 2011.
It must be noted that 2011 was a tough year for boxing in Philadelphia. Only seven boxing cards were staged in the City over the 12 months of the year. Of the 46 total bouts on the cards that happened here, just two 10-rounders and two 8-rounders were scheduled, but none of them were “fight of the year” type fights. The rest of the ring action came in the form of 6 and 4 round bouts. Of these, Rodriguez-Hackett was clearly the best, even though it was a sleeper.
There were many other good fights – and some very important ones – involving Philly fighters in 2011, but all of them occurred outside Philadelphia – in nearby Atlantic City, Chester, PA, or other suburban locations. As good as these fights may have been, a fight must take place in Philly to win the Briscoe Award for fight of the year.
The fight of the year was promoted by Andre Kut of KEA Boxing.
Both Juan Rodriguez and Greg Hackett will be presented with Briscoe Awards on October 07, 2012 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.