Young heavyweight Thor “Thunder” Soder may have wanted to pay closer attention to the video clip being shown at Marlintini’s Lounge moments before his Friday rematch bout against Al “Mean Machine” Valentine.
The multiple screens during the Roughhouse Fridays event showed former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier’s 27 career knockouts. All seemed to include a monstrous left hook, the same type of blow that Valentine put on the right side of Soder’s jaw in the second round of their bout. The same blow that put Soder on his back for the first time in his young career. The same blow that left Soder with the proverbial cobwebs for the remainder of the fight and hours after.
“That was the best left hook I have ever seen in Alaska,” fight promoter Bob Haag said after. “That was the Al Valentine of old. I, seriously, have never seen a harder punch.”
It was a credit to Soder (3-1) that he was able to take the standing eight count and recover.
“He hit me hard too,” Valentine said. “He is one of the hardest, and most technically sound, punchers I have fought. I am glad there wasn’t one more round.”
The three-round showcase bout of the night was all of that and more. Valentine, 52 years old and 246 pounds, was a menacing stalker in round one, closing the ring and covering his head as he squared off against the younger Soder, 19 and 220 pounds.
When Valentine felt Soder’s hard body shots he retaliated with left and right hooks. While Valentine landed the more solid hits and dictated the offense, Soder provided better counterpunches and a livelier defense.
Between the first and second round both fighters were sweating profusely. Soder appeared to be gasping for breath, not yet getting his wind. Valentine stared straight ahead.
“I knew I had to hurt him the next round,” Valentine said. “He was in too good of shape. If the fight went the distance it would be a brawl for sure.”
Valentine and Soder squared off in the center of the ring for round two. Neither gave ground until a hard body shot from Soder backed Valentine briefly to the ropes. As Soder advanced and continued to throw leather, Valentine absorbed the blows by tucking his elbows in and crouching low. Valentine slowly turned the two fighters’ bodies and as he moved away from the ropes he measured two of Soder’s jabs and unleashed his left hook.
The blow put Soder airborne briefly and sprawling to his back. Dazed and confused Soder took the standing eight count while Valentine sucked huge gasps of air. Valentine tried to end the bout but Soder unleashed a barrage of body blows as the bell rang.
It was apparent both fighters were weathering more of a storm than they could unleash. Each would take a punch or two while covering and then retaliate with crushing shots to the glove covering the side of the opponent’s head. Valentine used both his arms like the experienced veteran, pushing the advancing Soder away and loading up for overhand blows. Soder kept a solid pace of jabs and defensive adjustments while trying to work inside.
It was apparent to the three judges and the ringside crowd who won and both fighters were loudly cheered when Valentine’s arm was raised in victory.
“I definitely have to fight him again,” Valentine said. “It is only fair. We both have won one now. But I want the next bout to be in a tournament or championship, something that I have time to train for. If this had gone one more round the outcome would have been different. I can feel every one of his punches. I feel like I am 52 right now. I feel like I want another bout with him right now, but in eight hours, tomorrow morning, I know my body will say I am crazy.”
Juneau student Gerry Carrillo, 23, 147 pounds, won by technical knockout over Mike Trull, 20, 162 pounds, in a mixed martial arts fight. Trull had to tap out after having his head pinned to the canvas by Carrillo’s elbow, essentially rendering him defenseless.
Joey Chaires, 23, 205 pounds, knocked out Eric Peterson, 28 and 203 pounds, in the second round of their boxing match.
“I hope to join the National Guard,” Chaires said after the fight. “I was surprised how well I did.”
Peterson was outclassed in the bout, turning his back to his opponent numerous times, which resulted in the blow that left him on the canvas surrounded by medical personnel for 10 minutes.
Kake’s Keith Nelson, 38 and 179 pounds, forced Hoonah’s Nate Nichols, 29 and 171 pounds, to tap out in the final round of their MMA match. Nelson used his legs to scissor Nichols’ head and a triangle arm bar on his legs to stretch a submission hold. Ring announcer Haag gave the bout the distinction of being “fight of the night.”
Kevin Wilkins, 24 and 230 pounds stopped Kristopher McKinley, 23 and 205 pounds, in the second round of their boxing match when the referee determined McKinley could no longer defend himself.
Sergio Magallanes, 25 and 166 pounds, destroyed William Milton, 18 and 160 pounds, with the referee stopping the bout in the second round as Milton was out on his feet.
Metlakatla’s Fred Grant, 29 and 159 pounds, had his best showing in five years as he pummeled Ian Kelley, 22 and 159 pounds, until the bout was stopped by knockdown in the second round with Grant standing and Kelley laying down.
United Church youth director Ken Taylor, 30 and 185 pounds, stopped Alaska Seafood’s Akira Uehora, 26 and 189 pounds, in the third round and “Show Stoppa” Brown, 30 and 300 pounds, outpointed Shawn Sheakley, 33 and 292 pounds, in a fan favorite bout.
The next Roughhouse Friday is scheduled for Dec. 9