Shaun George had an interesting excuse for why he was stopped in six rounds by Chris Henry.
George's hands had been beaten up by Henry's face.
Tommy Brooks, who trains George, said the Brooklyn, N.Y., fighter possibly broke his right hand during the first round of last night's scheduled 10-round light-heavyweight bout at the Arena in South Philadelphia, a round in which George rocked Henry several times with short, accurate overhand rights.
George (18-3-2, 9 KOs), who is best known for his ninth-round technical knockout of over former IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd on May 16, 2008, a bout in which Byrd took off a whopping 37 3/4 pounds from his previous ring appearance, came out for the ESPN2-televised co-main event as if he wanted to make an uncharacteristically quick night of it. Not known as a particularly powerful puncher, he unloaded on Henry with everything he had.
But everything he had turned out to be not so much beginning in Round 3, when Henry (24-2, 19 KOs), of Houston, began firing back. Henry landed a jolting right hand of his own in that round, and from there, things started to go steadily downhill for George, he came back to his corner with a dejected look on his face. Brooks got nose-to-nose to him and yelled, "You want me to stop this?"
Perhaps Brooks should have called a halt to the proceedings right then, because Henry began the sixth round with the best punch of the fight, a straight right that turned George's legs to cooked spaghetti and led to his going down for the first of two times. A second flooring quickly followed, whereupon referee Steve Smoger waved things off after an elapsed time of 1 minute, 8 seconds.
"He caught me early with some sharp right hands," Henry said. "But later on, when he touched me, I was, like, 'OK, I got to come back with something of my own.' "
And when George slumped onto his stool at the end of the fifth round?
"I knew that was it for him," Henry said. "The body shots were wearing him down. I took his heart.
"I took my time and stayed calmed. I stuck with my jab instead of just coming out winging."
George said it's hard to put much into a punch when it causes greater pain to your own hand than to your opponent.
"I know I hurt him a few times in the first round," George said. "I tried later to hurt him with the same shots, but it wasn't there."
Philadelphia junior middleweight Derek "Pooh" Ennis (18-2-1, 13 KOs) registered knockdowns in the second and sixth rounds en route to a unanimous, six-round decision over John Mackey (11-4-1, 5 KOs), of Montgomery, Ala.
"I thought I had him there for a moment in the second round," said Ennis, whose last scheduled bout was canceled when he was unable to make the contracted weight. "I wanted to prove I could make the weight and prove all the doubters wrong."
An entertaining eight-rounder for the vacant WBF light-heavyweight title, proved of more consequence than the minor bauble that went to the winner. Northeast Philly's Tony "Boom Boom" Ferrante (8-0, 4 KOs) scored a majority decision over Billy Bailey (9-4, 3 KOs), of Bakersfield, Calif., who couldn't match Ferrante on the outside, but landed some solid body punches when he was able to work inside.
"All I knew about him was that he was a tough guy," Ferrante said of Bailey. "He came to fight, I'll give him that. He has a good beard [sturdy chin]."
In the main event, Matt Godfrey (19-1, 10 KOs), of Providence, R.I., defended his NABF cruiserweight title with an unanimous decision over Shawn Hawk (18-1, 16 KOs), of Sioux Falls, S.D. *