Tyrone (Butterfly) Crawley, a last-minute replacement for injured Mike James, caught Pat Jefferson totally unprepared for his southpaw style last night and punched his way to a split decision victory in a welterweight fight at the D.C. Armory Starplex.
Judge Tom Green scored the fight, 77-76, Crawley; referee Joe Bunsa had it 79-76, Crawley, and judge Larry Sneed scored it 79-79.
The confident Jefferson, 6-0 as a professional coming into tonight's fight, never adapted to Crawley's flicking jabs and soon became a target for Crawley's combinations. A partisan crowd of 3,000 waited patiently for Jefferson, who fights out of Washington, to use his slight height advantage and physical strength to offset Crawley's quickness. It never happened.
Crawley, who accepted the fight and then rode from Philadelphia on the bus Wednesday night, took command in the fifth round, hitting Jefferson consistently to the body and the head.
"I knew I could win it after the fifth," said Crawley, 4-0 as a professional. "My southpaw style bothered him and I thought my way through this one. I had a fight scheduled next week in Atlantic City, but when they called I jumped at the chance. I didn't know who Jefferson was, but it didn't make any difference because I needed the money."
Jefferson had no squabbles with the decision.
"That was not the way I usually fight," the disappointed Jefferson said. "When you prepare for someone mentally who fights totally different it's tough to change. He was left-handed and he used that Tinkertoy right jab to get his points. He made me look foolish and that won the fight for him.
"It took me four rounds to hit him with two straight punches."
James, an inside type of fighter, injured his elbow sparring Tuesday evening. X rays revealed nothing broken, but James' elbow was too sore and he dropped out of the match.
"My manager (Buzzy Young) convinced me that it was too much of a risk and I didn't want to mess up my career," James said. "I've watched him (Jefferson) fight before and I'm sure I could have beat him. After watching him, I'm sorry I told anyone my elbow was hurting. They promised me another chance at him next month."
Crawley shook off a good right hook in the seventh round, covering up as he backed into a corner. After pushing Jefferson away, he nodded his head to his corner, assuring them that he was fine. Sensing he was behind on points, Jefferson began pressing the elusive Crawley but could not connect solidly.
In the eighth and final round, Crawley delivered several tricky combinations that caught Jefferson totally off guard. But the gutty former captain of the 1980 U.S. boxing team showed he could take a punch and came back with several right hooks of his own.
"He was just so quick and I just wasn't ready," Jefferson said. "It was a good close fight and I learned something. You have to be prepared for every kind of style."
In other matches, junior welterweight Scott Farmer of Manassas was awarded a TKO victory 55 seconds into the fifth round over Ken Corbitt of Harrisburg, Pa.; lightweight Tom Baker of D.C. stopped Archie Chambers of Palmer Park 1:43 into the third round; middleweight Ray Bryant of D.C. won a split decision over Dexter Mason of D.C., and middleweight Don Franklyn of D.C. stopped Thurman Jackson of D.C. 1:43 into the third round.
Welterweight Lloyd Taylor of D.C. won a TKO 2:53 into the fourth round over James Dickson of Philadelphia; junior middleweight Herb Wilens of Gaithersburg won unanimously over Ben Vereen of D.C.; and junior middleweight Tony Stern of Harrisburg, Pa., stopped O.C. Harper of D.C. 2:12 into the second round.