Crowe and Griffis fight to draw |

Crowe and Griffis fight to draw

Steve Yingling

Heavyweights Dale Crowe and Talmadge Griffis each learned a valuable lesson in their main event Saturday night at Caesars Tahoe.

Griffis learned that no matter how many times he’s fought southpaws, he still needs to spar against them before fighting one. Meanwhile, Crowe discovered that boxing at 6,200 feet isn’t the same as fighting back home in Cincinnati.

The two headliners fought to a 10-round draw in the Heavyweight Explosion card that filled most of the seats in the casino’s Circus Maximus Showroom.

“I took the altitude a little bit for granted,” said Crowe outside his hotel room following the nontitle bout. “I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was. I trained hard, but after the fifth round it just ain’t the same. Back home I can go 10-12 rounds. Up here, I get cut in half.”

Griffis’ 20-1-3 pro record includes three victories over southpaws, but he trained for the Crowe fight in Colorado Springs and Houston without southpaw sparring partners. As a result, Crowe’s unusual style left Griffis confused at times.

“I didn’t have any southpaw sparring for this fight, and it was a little more of a problem that I thought it was going to be,” Griffis said. “I was expecting him to come a little more squared up. He had a little more of an angle to him than I thought he was gonna have.”

Crowe (21-4-2) started fast, showing more aggression and landing more combinations. Griffis was content to learn some of Crowe’s tendencies and patiently wait for his high-altitude training edge to kick in.

“I heard he was going to bumrush me at the beginning, so what I tried to do was stay away from the big punches early so I could come on later,” Griffis said. “I should of went ahead and stepped it up, not just the later rounds, and I would have won it clearly. But I left it to the judges.”

Each of the three judges saw a different fight, with one favoring Griffis 97-93, another siding with Crowe 96-94 and a third calling it a 95-95 draw.

Lighting the fuse for Griffis’ midfight comeback was an exchange of late punches after the fifth-round bell and Crowe’s repeated holding tactics.

“It was my fault, too,” Griffis said. “I’d keep ducking away to the right and he’d grab my arms and they’d be behind his back. What he was doing, and the referee didn’t see, was he would grab my head and he’d choke me because I’d have my head down a little bit.

“He did a little more than he was supposed to do in there. He’s a little more experienced than I am. He was doing little things I didn’t appreciate, but it’s part of boxing.”

Crowe said the varying styles contributed to the recurring clenches.

“It wasn’t intentional for either one of us,” Crowe said. “When he would come at me, I was over the top of him and his head would get underneath my arm, or vice versa.”

Neither fighter came close to scoring a knowdown, but Griffis incensed Crowe several times by landing clean shots to the head.

“I felt like I had him hurt a few times, but he never had me hurt, other than me walking away a few times, trying to catch my wind,” Crowe said.

In one of the other large attractions of the evening and the only nonheavyweight bout, Marilyn Salcedo of Rialto, Calif., won a unanimous decision over Naoka Kumaeai of Los Angeles. All three judges scored the four-round women’s junior bantamweight bout 39-37.

Salcedo, who became hooked on boxing after seeing her brother fight, wasn’t intimidated by the kickboxing champion.

“She’s been there and knows how to be a champion, so I thought I did really good,” Salcedo said. “I tried to work my body shots and got some of them in and my hook and stuff. I tried to work on my defense, and I need more work on it, but we’ll get there.”

Salcedo (5-2-2) took no chances with the scoring, going toe to toe with Kumaeai for the first half of the final round.

“I just have to think, “Go, go, fight, give it my all,’ especially the last rounds because the judges see the last rounds and that’s their last impression,” Salcedo said. “And I know is she’s gonna give it her best the last round because we both want to win the fight.”

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