Hard work pays off for 'Frog' Holmes
Richard 'Frog' Holmes made it to the semi-finals of the Wray and Nephew Contender series once more on Wednesday night when he scored a unanimous decision over Team Canada's Lerone Whyte at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium.
Judges Laurence Neufville and Jim Monkelbaan scored the fight 49-46, and judge Lindell Allen, 50-45, all for Holmes, who said afterwards that his hard work had paid off and that he was now aiming to get to the final for a third time. His record is now18 wins and eight losses.
Whyte, on the other hand, was a picture of disappointment. He told The Gleaner that he believed that he had won the fight because I out-boxed him, and there is no way that he lost by unanimous decision".
His point of view was backed up by a small group of Jamaican family members who cheered him vociferously during the fight. At the end, they challenged the decision and shouted angrily at the ringside officials, who ,they declared, had robbed their man.
It was, however, a clear and unanimous decision, and there was no doubt that Holmes won the fight. He outscored his man from the first bell, and it was only in the last round that Whyte, whose record is now three wins and three losses, dug deep and refused to back off. He was exchanging toe-to-toe with Holmes when the end came. This was one of the most competitive rounds, and Holmes, for a change, did not wilt in the final stages of the fight. His conditioning was much better than when he opened the competition on April 4 with a point's victory over Lloyd Reyes.
He confessed at the end that the long break had taken a toll on him.
"I was not as accurate with my punches as I wanted to be. I could have been sharper with my jabs, and I also missed with my right counters sometimes," he said.
According to him, his stamina was now much better, and some diet changes had paid dividends. He paid tribute to a recent sponsor New Era Fencing, whose financial help assisted him a lot over the past few months.
He did not "run out of steam" in the late rounds as he did in his first fight. His jabs and hooks were on target from the first round and allowed him to seize the initiative. Whyte tried to come in low under the jabs, but his headfirst approach drew cautions from referee Eion Jardine. He bored in with his head low like a charging bull in an attempt to get under his opponent's jabs, but the referee would not have any of this tactic. Whyte then adjusted his tactics and made the fight very competitive.
It turned out to be a good boxing match, with each man using his skills in an attempt to outsmart the other, and the crowd enjoyed the attacks and counter-attacks. It was also refreshing to see good boxing, and the crowd made their appreciation known through their constant cheering. Holmes had the advantage in this regard, and his supporters roared every time he landed a good punch.
Holmes has now made it to the money round of the competition and will definitely take home one of the major prizes. The winner gets $2 million, the runner-up, $500,000, third place, $250,000, and fourth, $200,000.
In the final quarter-final match next Wednesday, Nico Yeyo will represent Team Jamaica, and Team Canada will be represented by Ricardo Salas. Jamaica now has two semi-finalists, the other being Devon Moncriffe. Canada already has David Leblond in the semis.