October 28, 2012

KO Digest Ringside Report - Jeter upsets Lange in Virginia

Jeter swings for the fences against Lange
FAIRFAX - By John Scheinman

From star of the old series “The Contender” to an aging fighter along the ropes, unable to move and taking a beating. This was matinee idol-handsome Jimmy Lange at a self-promoted show Oct. 27 at the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University.

Over ten rounds, with only occasional flashes of the old charisma and punching power, Lange, 158, Great Falls, Va. (38-5-2, 25 KOs) got plain beat up by Tony “Mo Better” Jeter, Stevensville, Md., (15-3-1, 10 KOs).

It was a runaway – albeit full of action – in the ring, but extremely close on the scorecards, however, as Jeter pulled out a split-decision. Why? Because referee Steve Smoger took away four points – two in the second, one in the third and another in the eighth – for low blows. While some of the deductions were legitimate, the one in the eighth was for a beltline shot.

Jeter also was dropped to one knee by an overhand right, the first punch Lange threw in the second round, so he had a five-point hole to climb out of. He did it, by using his superb physical conditioning to stand right in front of the immobile Lange and punch to the end of every bell.

The judges scored 94-91 (Lange), 94-91 (Jeter) and 93-92 (Jeter). KO Digest scored 93-92 for Jeter, as well.

Lange failed to come out for the post-fight press conference, represented by his father Johnny, instead, who was bitter and incredulous about the scoring. Although his son has created an unprecedented fan base at the Patriot Center, where he has been able to successfully charge up to $500 per ticket, Johnny Lange vowed no more fights in Virginia until he receives an explanation of how the judges scored for Jeter with all those points taken away.

Lange, 37, however, probably should be thinking about retirement. He was on a seven-fight win streak dating back to a 12-round loss to Chase Shields in March 2010, but he clearly didn’t have much to keep the relentless Jeter off him. “Both of us put on one of the toughest fights you’ll ever see, and you couldn’t have done it without me or without him,” said Jeter, who said he has a good relationship with the WBC and expects to climb into the rankings.

The second round was by far the most controversial and almost cost Jeter the fight. After Lange knocked him down for an eight-count, Jeter returned to action with a hard head butt. He then began holding and hitting and received a second warning from Smoger.

After Lange doubled up hard right hand shots, Jeter landed a low blow and Smoger took a point away. The brisk fighting resumed, and soon Smoger was taking another point for a low blow. Undeterred, Jeter was out fast in the third, ripping head shots and backing Lange into the ropes. Lange, always a slow starter, battled back. By the end of the round, both fighters were teeing off with knockout-strength blows. Then, Smoger took a point from Jeter again for low blows – that were not low.

Steve Smoger took 4 points from Jeter!
Still, Jeter was destroying Lange.

In the fourth round, the crowd was pleading with Lange to get off, and finally he did, having probably his only quality round of the fight.

In the fifth, however, Jeter went back to work, ripping left hooks to the body, punches that served him well throughout the fight. Without showing any mobility, something it was said he worked on with former world champion William Joppy in preparation for the fight, Lange was vulnerable to Jeter’s hardest blows.

By the seventh round, Jeter was just chopping wood. Lange had his moments, but he was paying an enormous physical price, pinned on the ropes, crushed by an uppercut at round’s end. Lange opened the eight round punching very well, looking to time Jeter between shots, but his back was back to the ropes. Smoger took another point for a low blow. Jeter could barely believe it. He walked right over to Lange, who was in a neutral corner and yelled “Fuck!”

By the ninth, Lange was bleeding from the head and a cut around the right eye. Smoger stopped the action to allow a ringside physician to examine the wounds and the fight continued with Jeter firing heavy punches toward the end of the round.

Jeter hits while Lange catches!
In the 10th, Jeter’s conditioning carried him. Strangely, Lange began to move and jab. It should have been there earlier if he had it in him at all. Jeter sought a knockout and the crowd, always Lange country, began chanting “Tony! Tony!” Jeter, who has a promotional license in Maryland and puts on regular small shows, was effusive in his praise for the Langes and thankful for getting the fight.

Asked what Smoger said to him during the fight, Jeter said, “He told me I was a dirty fighter, but, you know, Jimmy fights rough. But I don’t think it was as much of a dirty fight as a rough fight. Jimmy hit me low, I hit him low. He had his shorts up high. He head-butted me, I head-butted him. I’ve got knots on my head. It’s just boxing. But it was just a phenomenal fight. These are the type of fights this area needs. Everybody says Jimmy doesn’t want to step up, that I don’t want to step up."

"Well, there you go, that was a step up. That was a step up!”

Ringside Report by John Scheinman  - exclusively for KO Digest
Photos by Mike Greehnhill