Wednesday, September 12, 2007
"Never Again": Jaidon Codrington at ESPN Contender Series
Al "Sweetness" Green's already mythical KO of rising star Jaidon Codrington in November 2005. This was Codrington's first and only loss.
ESPN made the right decision to host the third Contender series this year as the first real boxing episode jumped off. I have to admit that, though I tuned in lots of times to Series One and Two, I was always a little turned off by the fact that the actual boxing was severely edited to appeal to the type of fight fan more accustomed to watching “Rocky” movies or “Million Dollar Baby” or about “Cinderella Man” James Braddock. That was a feeling shared, I think, with some of the boxers at the Jesse Harris Boxing Gym in Stroudsburg, Pa. The Contender was a good idea, but there was a lot of what they’d call “fake-$ssed” drama and slowed down shots ala Hollywood. Real fighters like to see things speeded up, not slowed down.
Let’s see… how do you spell Jaidon Codrington? We have a local connection to “The Don” mostly through one of our fighters, R.J Sockwell, who sometimes visits the gyms in New York for sparring. Sockwell originated from Queens, as does Codrington, and it was only natural we’d follow the events of Broadway Boxing where Codrington and fellow “chin checker” Curtis STEVENS often competed and had large New York followings. It’s a neighborhood thing. It was through Sockwell that I met Zab Judah and Monte Barrett at an event where Sockwell was competing (a big W) in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, NY.
I got post-middle-age-drift there. We were talking about Codrington and the Contender III series which jumped off with its first fighter between Jaidon “The Don” Codrington (16-1-0) and Brian Vera (14-1-0) from Houston Texas. The two had fought in the amateurs and Vera was out to avenge his loss.
My Sicilian ancestors have a saying: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Stay cold. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of your objectives, in other words. Where Vera was concerned, it was a big mistake to let his emotions get the best of him. He should have left it to someone else to knock off Codrington, if that can happen. As things were, Vera was drawn into a trash-talk war with Jaidon and that’s something you can’t win with boys from the streets of New York. I’m not saying it’s not just as nasty or tough in the back neighborhoods of Houston, but it’s just not so much the perfected style as it is, say, in Starett City, Bushwick, Brownsville, or Bed-Sty-Do-Or-Die.
Short story. Brian Vera went down hard for the second time in Round Two and the referee did the “right thing.” Vera was game, though, and he pressed the case in close, hoping to connect with the big shot. I was glad for Codrington. The “1” on his 14-1 record was one of the most devastating knockouts in boxing history. Knockouts occur every day in boxing, but not like the one Codrington sustained against Al Green. It was a good sign that Codrington mentioned the KO in the pre-fight coverage. He knew that people were looking for that post-KO mental weakness which afflicts some fighters who get knocked out. The only way to deal with demons like that is to face them and fight them off. Easier said than done, but there was a steely ring of truth in his voice when Codrington said: “That ain’t going to happen again for anybody.”
It sure didn’t happen for Brian Vera. Codrington flashed power and leverage. He showed some nice moves, finishing combinations and stepping off to his right to continue the attack without being effectively countered. Vera had trouble finding him.
Check out the ESPN Contender website. I’ve posted a link at the upper right hand corner of this page under File Cabinet : Boxing Sites. Click on the one that says “The Contender Series ESPN Website. There you will be able to read short biographies of the boxers and learn their boxing history. You can see some metrics like “arm crank” and “light board” and other stuff I didn’t know you could measure.