Philly Fails


By: Shane Willoughby

Philadelphia has been long regarded as America’s number 1 fight city. The last place on earth for boxing purists; the garden of Eden for boxing. The genesis for all the styles we see in the sport today.

Whether it’s from the countless Rocky movies or the several fighters who have come from the town or the infamous Philly shell. No matter what it is, when you think of the city of Philadelphia, you think of the sport of boxing.

March 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer after winning his bout at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

However, the cities reputation has been left to rest on a rocky foundation. No pun intended. This generation of fighters have struggled to live up to their birthright and fulfil their true potential. And the last month has highlighted the cities frailties.

In January we saw 5 of Philadelphia’s most accomplished fighters in recent years perform, and the results were far from pretty. We first saw Jesse Hart take on Joe Smith Jr in what was set to be a real war, Philly style.

Hart came with great confidence and great intent. He took the reputation of Philadelphia and put it on his back; in attempt to get revenge for one of Philly’s most prestigious kings, Bernard Hopkins who was retired by Joe Smith Jr 4 years ago.

Like Adrien Broner, Jesse Hart was “doing this for the whole hood” but unfortunately, like AB, he let the whole hood down. And it was the beginning of a dark page in the cities history books.

Next up was unified champion Julian Jrock Williams. Who had a fairytale 2019, dethroning the division’s number 1 ranked fighter, Jarret Hurd. If there was anybody in recent years who has shown off real Philly heart it was Jrock in that fight.

However, his reign as Champion lasted as long as Apollo Creed vs Ivan Drago. In William’s first title defence, he was defeated. These belts at 154lbs are getting past around faster than Appollo Creed’s entrance to Ivan Drago.

Jeison Rosario absolutely destroyed Jrock in front of the Philly fans. Williams got KO’d in 5 rounds. Looking on the bright side, at least he didn’t have to travel far to get home, and he no longer had the weight of the WBA, IBF and IBO belts and the entire city on his shoulders. Another Philly fail.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Danny Garcia got a convincing win over Ivan Redcach. Also, Jaron Ennis looks like a real prospect at 147lbs. Great athleticism and skill; showing us what it is to be a real Philly fighter. Let’s just hope his actions outside of the ring is up to the same standard.

We have seen certain east coast fighters tank their career recently, with their actions outside of boxing. Which is a brilliant segway to the next Philadelphian to fall.

Tevin Farmer is a real Philly fighter. He optimised everything Philly stood for, the slick defence, always demonstrating the real Philly shell. He could talk the talk. But more than anything he showed that he could come back from defeat and rise to glory, in typical Rocky fashion.

But he also had to bite the dust. Farmer was looking to defend his IBF super featherweight for the 5th time against JoJo Diaz. Whilst many expected Diaz to put up a good fight. Not much expected Farmer to get bullied and manhandled.

2020 hasn’t gone off to a great start for the city of Philadelphia. However, Farmer, Williams and Hart have had to deal with losses in their career. Also, if there is anything we know about Philly fighters is, when you write them off that’s when they’re most dangerous.

Leave a Comment

More Columns