The Under Card
By Ted Sares
More often than not, a decent under card doesn't get its due but that may not be the case on July 29 in Boise, Idaho when King Arthur Williams, 42 (KO's)-14-1, fights "The Emmett Eliminator," Kenny Keene, 51 (KO's)-3. in a 10-round Special Cruiserweight Attraction. The "King," not to be confused with "The Prince" ( Badi of Camden, NJ who is in the main event), has fought top level opponents over the years with names like Imamu Mayfield, Vassiliy Jirov, O'Neil Bell, Steve Little, Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Orlin Norris on his resume, but his best could be behind him. Williams, who has been fighting since 1989, has been a great favorite in Las Vegas over the years having fought there 21 times. He has now transferred that popularity to his new "home," in Worley, Idaho. In his last fight he beat Gary Gomez, 14-5, on January 20, 2006 at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley by 10 round SD. Prior to that in October 2005, he lost to Felix Cora in the same Casino as he retired in his corner in the 8th. The fight was for the NABF Cruiserweight Title which he had won in June by KO over Ali Supreme again in Worley. He has lost 7 by stoppage.
In one of his many career highlights, he beat Adolfo Washington on January 6, 1998, defending his USBA Cruiserweight Title in a 12 round UD. The fight was also an IBF Title Eliminator.
Kenny Keene, The Emmett Eliminator, has also been fighting for 16 years. His only losses were to to Saul Montana, Bobby Crabtree (whom he beat twice by TKO), and a prime Robert Daniels. Keene, who has been called Idaho's greatest all-time boxer, is now working on an 11 bout unbeaten streak including a TKO victory over well-traveled Tony Menefee, 78 (40 ko's)- 23-1, and tough Rob Calloway, 57 (44 ko's)- 7, for the IBA Cruiserweight Title by UD. His last opponent was John Long,19-8-1, whom he ko' d in six. Curiously, Long's claim to "fame" was losing to aging Thomas Hearns last year by 9th round TKO. The 37 year old "Eliminator" also has been in with some tough customers like Ricky Parkey, JB Williamson, James Pritchard, Rocky Gannon, Dominic Carter, and Rich LaMontagne to name a few. He has never been stopped.
On a qualitative basis, their respective opponents are somewhat close in terms of capabilities, but Williams clearly gets the nod. William's KO percentage, based on total fights, is 51%; Keene's is 52%. No clear cut edge for ether fighter.
Of his 44 fights in Idaho, Keene has won 43 with 25 KO' s. This includes a 22-1 (12 KO's) record in Boise alone. His only loss there was nearly 10 years ago. The hometown advantage belongs to Kenny, though "The King" will have his Idaho fans as well.
One possible wild card is that the Calloway fight is said, by some, to have taken a lot out of Kenny. Having fought a lot of rounds during his long career, this could prove a telling point. Many fighters grow "old" overnight. On the other hand, Williams' recent outings have left something to be desired. Thus, while this fight should not necessarily be termed a crossroads battle, the loser will have to assess his future direction while the winner may seek more nice paydays. Both are experienced and both come to fight. There could be some real rock and roll. Indeed, don't be surprised if the crowd noise exceeds that of the main event; after all, the fans have good reason to cheer these two both of whom have made Idaho their boxing home. There is enough here to make it interesting and well worth the watch.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, there is another fight on this PPV venue. North American Boxing Organization light heavyweight champion Prince Badi "The Boxing Prince" Ajamu, based in Vero Beach, FL, already is training in Boise for this July 29 fight against five-time world champion Roy Jones Jr. This fight will Headline the July 29th "Hold Nothing Back!" pay-per-view show at Qwest Arena. Hopefully, along with other serious boxing fans, I'll be watching BOTH fights.
Ted Sares is a syndicated writer and Boxing Historian who can be reached at [email protected]