D-MAC’S DEBUT AT THE DOUBLETREE
4/19/2019-Having been a boxing coach for MANY years I’d stepped away for a minute and told myself it was gonna’ take a special person to get me back in the gym. Last night at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontariio, Ca. on my long time friend Kenny Thompson’s LOCK ‘N LOADED SHOW, I think I found him. Turns out he was there all the time. I’d been training Davonte (D-MAC) McCowen off and on for about six years. Since we’ve renewed our ties, he seems to be not just a new fighter but more importantly, a new man.
After a brief and I do mean brief, amateur career, we decided it was time to get paid to punch people. His amateur career consisted of a mere five ( that’s right) bouts and he won only one. One would say I’d lost my remaining marbles for doing this. But I’d seen a serious drive and dedication in this ‘new’ Davonte and liked what I saw. He works hard at the AV Boxing gym in Palmdale (owned by the Jack of all trades, Hervi Estrada) and handles his business away from the gym. I have always felt that what you do away from the gym is in some ways more important than what you do IN the gym.
It was a bit of a struggle finding a debut opponent at first but we settled on one, a Chris Crawle, fighting out of the TKO Boxing club in Santa Ana. Now there are debuts and there are debuts. Crawley turned out to be one of those strong, tough Irish guys that don’t seem to give a shit about too much of ANYTHING. People often ask “hey coach is your boy gonna’ do well tonight” and I always say, “I know what he can do and what he should do but I won’t know what he’s gonna’ do until he does it”. I knew this was a bit of a gamble because Mr. Badass Crawley had thirty five amateur fights and was accustomed to fighting with no head gear. He was 25 years of age, as is my guy. In the weeks leading up to the fight, D-MAC was calmer than I’d ever seen him, calm and collected and unconcerned about the task at hand. He asked me, “you worried coach”? I jokingly said, “I’m worried because you’re NOT.
In the dressing room he was still as calm as can be, shadow boxing in his fluid style, slick and sharp. He also happens to be a hard puncher so I knew this wasn’t gonna’ be your ‘garden variety’ debut. The main eventer, Eric Ituarte was also from the TKO gym and I had word that Thompson was interested in our opponent. So, we had an ‘us v. the world’ attitude going in. I told D-MAC “ I want you to land the first punch AND the last”. If the fans were expecting a sloppy, feel ‘em out opening round between these two debaters, they were pleasantly in error. Shit got started right away. These two acted like they owed each other money. My boy started with the jab and was boxing smoothly and picking his spots. Chris was looking to get this ‘novice’ up outta’ here early. He launched an assault and we met it head on and the crowd was already involved. Back and forth it went. Chris would start an attack and when he stopped, D-MAC would land hard shots, earning his props. Each ‘newbie’ landed their share of hard shots and this was a REAL throw down. The action was ebb and flow and going into the last round, it was ‘anybody’s scrap’ Crawley got off first, forcing my boy to the ropes but was hit with counter shots on the way in. At the 10 seconds left, clapper, the crowd was on its feet and I think, rooting on both warriors. Keeping to our plan, a second before the final bell, McCowen landed a hard left hook causing Crawley to pause just for a second, signaling a great finish to a war rarely seen in newbies.
The crowd was wet with anticipation, KNOWING this could go either way and I admit, I was concerned, as they carried Chris around the ring. Then, came the call, 39-37 for Crawley and then, 38-38, a draw. Nobody seemed disappointed as this was an EVEN fight. I would love to know what went through Chris’ mind, getting THIS much grief from a guy with FIVE amateur fights. Afterwards, we were approached by LOTS of fans saying we won the fight. Even later at Denny’s restaurant, we were approached by people saying the same thing. All in all, I was extremely proud of my boy’s performance, he was NOT here to lose this fight. A rematch you say? Not anytime soon, as D-MAC feels better at 130 and this fight was 135 lbs. In fact, he weighed in at 131lbs. He’s 5’10” has long arms, boxes well and punches hard so I’m looking for great things from McCowen. Veteran ringside writer Francisco Salazar wrote that this was the ‘fight of the night’. Imagine that and he wasn’t alone in his comment. A job well done by BOTH guys. My guy’s already asking “when can I fight again, coach”? Music to my ears.