William Joppy sliced up and stopped Julio Cesar Green, and Keith Holmes won a unanimous decision over Andrew Council as the Washington area's two middleweight champions retained their titles last night at MCI Center.
Joppy captured a slugfest when ringside physician Dawne Carroll ruled at 1 minute 52 seconds of the seventh round that Green's left eye was cut too badly for him to continue. In the previous bout, Holmes rendered a masterful boxing exhibition in his one-sided victory over area rival Council.
Joppy, 29, of Silver Spring, appeared to finish business for good with the rugged Dominican Green. The two traded 12-round decisions earlier in their careers, with Green taking Joppy's World Boxing Association belt in August 1997 and Joppy reclaiming it in January 1998. This time, Joppy (28-1-1, 22 knockouts) bloodied Green and beat him badly, registering a clean sweep of every round on all three judges' cards before the fight was stopped.
Referee Kenny Chevalier halted the scheduled 12-round bout with Joppy landing punches repeatedly to the head, and called for the ring doctor to inspect the damaged eye. Only Green (25-4) protested the stoppage. The partisan crowd, announced as 8,212, shouted its approval.
"I knew he was hurt," Joppy said. "He couldn't keep taking the right. I was moving in for the kill."
Joppy said he was in nearly perfect condition for this fight. He had been training hard since he suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck in a car accident in January. In July he won a nontitle tuneup fight in one round. Before tonight's defense, he offered thanks to God "for bringing me back from the near-fatal car accident." Now he added happily: "I had a total package tonight."
Holmes, from the District, used a five-inch reach advantage and excellent boxing skills to dominate Council, of Lanham, in their World Boxing Council 12-round bout. In so doing, Holmes improved his record to 34-2 and repeated his nontitle decision over Council in 1994. The rangy Holmes again was the artful one in this battle of popular 30-year-olds.
Council (30-7-3) fought aggressively despite being knocked down in the ninth round with a crushing right-hand hook from the left-hander. It was a textbook punch, from which Council did well just to regain his feet. He fell face-forward into a neutral corner and just managed to beat the count before the bell sounded, ending the round.
Sensing an opportunity for a knockout in the opening seconds of the 10th round, Holmes backed Council into his own corner. Council fought his way out of trouble as the two traded punches to the delight of the crowd. In the furious exchange, referee Arthur Mercante deducted a point from Holmes for hitting on the break. Mercante, 79, who refereed the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight, also drew applause for his work.
The well-disciplined Holmes asserted himself especially well from the sixth round on, having stung Council with a left-handed power punch to the left eye in the final seconds of the fifth round. That blow appeared to slow Council from his aggressive tactics for the next two rounds, which all three judges awarded to Holmes. Holmes swept the final nine rounds on one of the judge's cards. The judges' totals were 117-109, 116-111 and 116-110.
Afterward, Holmes revealed that he spent much time this week with a chiropractor because of tension in his back. But he said that once the fight began, he experienced no physical problems. His only concern then was Council.
"He's a cagey fighter," Holmes said. "He likes to play possum. But I kept jabbing him in his face. I kept him on angles the majority of time." Holmes admitted that a few times he unwisely traded punches with Council, taking a hard right hand near the end of the eighth round. "When he hit me," Holmes said, "I sort of woke up."
Council offered no protest over the outcome. "He's a great fighter," Council said. "I got him a couple of times. But he's a southpaw--it was tough to get him inside. I guess that's why he's the champion."
FIGHT RESULTS at MCI center
Featured fights: Keith Holmes, Washington, def. Andrew Council, Lanham, WBC middleweight title bout, 12-round unanimous decision; William Joppy, Silver Spring, def. Julio Cesar Green, Dominican Republic, WBA middleweight title bout, seventh-round KO; DeMarcus Corley, Washington, def. Ener Julio, Colombia, USBA junior welterweight title bout, split decision.
Undercard: Lonnie Bradley, New York, def. Eric Holland, Tacoma, Wash., middleweights, eight-round unanimous decision; Lincoln Carter, Miami, def. Fermin Chirino, Brooklyn, light heavyweights, 10-round unanimous decision; Osvaldo Bello, New York, def. Sammy Retta, Alexandria, super middleweights, sixth-round TKO; Chantel Stanciel, St. Louis, def. Vincent White, Capitol Heights, welterweights, second-round TKO; Mike McFail, Baltimore, def. Norman Smith Jr., Washington, welterweights, four-round split decision; Bridget Riley, Studio City, Calif., def. Donyale Williams, Ashtabula, Ohio, women's feature, first-round TKO; Mackie Willis, Dalton, Ga., def. Charles Clark, Baltimore, super welterweights, six-round majority decision.