Corley eases into Contender final
Capitalising on his own strengths and exploiting the weaknesses of his opponent, American boxer DeMarcus 'Chop Chop' Corley gained a majority decision over Jamaica's Michael 'The Wasp' Gardener at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night.
Corley earned himself a place in the 10-round final of the Wray & Nephew Welterweight 2016 Contender series, which will take place on Saturday, July 2 at the Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew. His opponent will be Richard 'Frog' Holmes.
Corley used a clever mixture of guile and power to throw his inexperienced opponent off track and impressed two of the judges, American Eddie Cotton and Jamaican Ransford Burton to vote for him 69-64. The other judge, Laurence Neufville sided with Gardener, however, voting 67-66 for him after seven rounds of boxing. Corley now has a 46-27-1 record, while Gardener, who made his professional debut in the Contender series, is now 2-1.
It was a case of experience versus youth, and in the build-up to the fight, Gardener who is 22, kept reminding Corley, who is 42, that he was "old and the past" while he was "youth and the future".
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Being constantly referred to as being old clearly annoyed Corley, and he promised before the fight to "hurt that kid".
Hurting Gardener was not his main objective, however, on Wednesday. The bigger picture, it became clear after a couple of rounds, was to win the fight and move to the final, and he executed his game plan methodically and successfully.
The first round saw the usual and typical feeling-out process as both men looked to see what his opponent had to offer. Gardener was very confident and composed, while Corley was wary and methodical in his approach.
Corley was always elusive. Gardener tried to get to his body with hooks, but he was usually a step away, and they rarely landed. Corley stepped up the pace in the second round, and after missing with a right hook, he landed a quick right-left-right combination to head and body, after which Gardener bled from a small cut over his left eye.
Corley gradually stepped up the pace in the third round, and Gardener tried to engage him at close quarters, but he would have none of it. He kept Gardener thinking, with his deft body movement and sneak attacks.
Corley summed it up after the fight when he told The Gleaner that "he is bigger than me, so I fought smart tonight. I wanted to get to the final and I was confident that I would, so I made sure that I did not get any cuts or was hurt in any way. Finesse is sometimes necessary, and that is what you saw tonight, a very smart veteran at work".