Battle at the Boat 125

January16, 2020

Brian Halquist and the

Emerald Queen Casino

The main event for the 125th installment of the Battle at the Boat had the makings of marquee fight in that local favorite Andre Keys had only lost once in thirteen outings, and that was almost four years ago. Dannie Williams had only lost three of twenty six, and he came in to the fight with a total of eighteen knockouts. Perhaps some of the problems Keys would face were evident on the evening of the weigh in when he came in a few pounds over weight and had to sacrifice some of his purse money. Then maybe the outcome was simpler than that. Perhaps Dannie Williams did not want to be seen as only an opponent for a local kid looking to add another notch to a rising career.

Williams was more active in the opening round. He threw shots to Keys' body, and often he was able to connect. Keys was able to move well, and he did avoid getting caught with anything heavy, but he could not establish a position that enabled him to consistently catch Williams. Keys fell into a short lived rhythm in the second round as he was able to shoot some heavy shots when he and Williams were fighting in tight quarters. Williams began to double his jab before shooting his right at Keys' body, but that did little to slow Keys from coming forward.

As Williams maintained his assault on Keys, Keys resorted to the counter punch. Keys was occasionally able to land when the two exchanged punches, but Williams controlled much of the round as he started landing three punch combinations. Williams continued to fight behind combinations in the fourth, as he out threw Keys through the round. Though Keys was getting caught, he kept coming forward, and that kept Williams from landing heavy shots in the short distance.

The pace of the fight slowed some in the fifth round as there were fewer punches thrown. Williams stepped away from throwing combinations and resorted to doubling his jab whenever Keys closed the distance between the two. Keys shifted his focus to Williams' head, and he did land a few. The sixth was another busy round for Williams as again threw more punches than Keys. Keys spent much of the round looking to land a heavy counter punch.

Williams kept up his fast paced punching in the seventh round, and he also moved well to avoid Keys' heavy right hand. Because Keys did not return a lot of punches, Williams was able to cut the distance between the two and land shots to Keys' body. Entering the eighth round Keys' corner was urging him to double his jab, to pressure Williams and fight in close, and while doing that, be patient and look for the openings that Williams offered. Williams, for his part, continued to through combinations, often two and three punches at a time.

Keys had a solid ninth round as he was finally able to land his heavy right, catching Williams to the head. Keys also was able to land combinations, and that kept Williams from getting too close. The tenth round was close, though the action was of a slower pace. Williams did not throw as many punches as he had in previous rounds though he threw more than Keys who was looking to close the fight by landing a heavy shot.

At the end of ten rounds two judges scored the fight 96-94, the third scored it 97-93 all in favor of Dannie Williams who would claim the unanimous decision win.

Williams lands his left to Keys' chin

Keys was able to land a heavy right to Williams's head

McFarland shoots his leaft while loading up the right

Niko McFarland and Antonio Neal faced each other over the course of six rounds in the semi main event. Neal was coming of a well deserved win while McFarland entered the bout after losing in his last outing. The two men were well matched stylistically, as both exhibit decent skill without carrying knockout power.

Both men fought at a steady pace in the opening round, using the jab to keep the other off balance while trying to set up body shots. Neal was more active as he made McFarland move about the ring to avoid getting caught with the body shot. McFarland added his right hand to the attack in the second round, and in so doing he was able to score with his combinations. McFarland's movement made it more difficult for Neal to punches to McFarland's body.

McFarland settled in to a rhythm in the third round following his jab with his right to Neal's body. After connecting to Neal's body, forcing Neal to drop his elbows to cover up, McFarland shifted his attack to Neal's head. Neal was able to answer some of the McFarland offense, but too often he was limited to using only his jab. Neal had a solid fourth round as he was able to close the distance between the tow men, negating McFarland's reach while landing solid body shots. As the round closed, McFarland made an adjustment and stepped back to create distance, slowing Neal's assault.

Neal continued to punch effectively in the fifth round as he again closed the distance between the two and focused his shots on McFarland's lanky body. The sixth round was close as both men worked to fight to his strength. Neal wanted to fight in close an attack McFarland's body; McFarland wanted to create distance and use his long reach to score.

After six rounds, two judges scored the fight 59-55, the third scored it 58-56 all in favor of Niko McFarland who would claim the unanimous decision win.

Cody Brown and Jose Cervantes entered the ring for a four round bout, each coming off a strong showing, a knockout win in their professional debut. The crowd in Brown's corner was looking for a quick end to the fight. Cervantes appeared a bit more calm, though he too was going to throw heavy.

Brown answered the opening bell and quickly moved across the ring throwing heavy and quickly at Cervantes. He made Cervantes back away from trouble and kept pressure on him, throwing punches with both hands. Then, about 20 seconds in Brown dropped his defense just enough for Cervantes to shoot a straight right that connected flush and dropped Brown to the canvas. Brown arose, listened to the count, and then continued with his aggressive attack. Again, Cervantes caught Brown with a right, this time staggering Brown who stumbled backward but did not fall. Shortly thereafter Cervantes, sensing that Brown was vulnerable, stepped toward him and unloaded with a strong and heavy right hand that dropped Brown again. Though he would rise and listen to the referee's count, Brown's legs were unsteady.

The referee waved the fight to an end at 1:01 of the first round. Cervantes would again score a TKO victory.

Cervantes' right would send Brown to the canvas and end the fight

Johnson shoots his right

Michael Johnson made his professional debut facing Nicholas Mills in a four round bout. Johnson has the build of a light heavy weight fighter, and the reach to be effective, now all he has to do is hone the skills a boxer needs to fight effectively. Mills, on the other hand, may not look like a man to be feared, but he showed he carries power in both hands, and that should make opponents wary.

The jab was the punch of choice in the first round. Johnson threw more of them, but he did not connect on enough of them to keep Mills from coming forward. Mills landed two heavy right hands in the last minute of the round, and Johnson felt the power in each of them. In the second round Johnson made an adjustment to hi attack and instead of standing in front of Mills and throwing his jab, he jumped in to throw, then stepped back out of Mills' reach. Mills patiently walked Johnson down and again, as the round neared an end, Mills was able to score behind his right and Johnson again was staggered.

Mills was the aggressor as the third round began, and he caught Johnson a number of times, connecting with wide rights thrown at Johnson's body. Johnson looked like he would go down a couple of times, but he was able to keep standing. As the round approached the one minute mark, Johnson's corner man mounted the steps to ask the referee to stop the fight. The referee waved the fight to an end at 1:02 of the third. Mills would remain unbeaten, scoring his second knockout win in three fights.


Joseph Aguilar made his debut as a professional facing Juan Jackson, a veteran of four fights. Johnson's pro career started strong as he claimed unanimous decision wins in his first two bouts, then he lost his next two, also by unanimous decision.

Johnson looked impressive in the opening round. Early he was able to move to create openings in which he could shoot his jab and connect to Aguilar's head and body. Aguilar, as the round progressed, began to shoot his jab, and though he did not throw as many as Johnson, he was able to effectively land at least a few. Aguilar was more aggressive in the second round, and he scored a knockdown as the round neared the one minute mark. After the knockdown Aguilar became even more aggressive as he threw punches an chased Johnson across the ring. Initially, Johnson was able to counter Aguilar's attack, but Aguilar eventually pinned Johnson on the ropes and unloaded a barrage of shots to the head and body that forced the referee to step in to wave the fight to an end.

Aguilar would claim the TKO win at 2:09 of the second round.

Johnson just misses with his right as Aguilar connect with a left to the body

Garcia has to protect his ribs from DeAlba's right

In each of his three professional outings Luis DeAlba has been in tough, and in each he was come out on the losing end. Marco Garcia fought to a draw in his professional debut. The two men opened the night in, with the exception of the main event, what was the best fight of the night.

In the opening moments of the first round, Garcia was the more active fighter. He threw combinations, and often those kept DeAlba from getting too close. then, as the round drew to an end, DeAlba landed a solid right hand to Garcia's body and the momentum of the fight shifted. DeAlba closed the round by landing four more body shots in the closing minute. Garcia returned to were he found success in the first round as he threw more punches and kept DeAlba moving. Both men landed punches to the other's head, though neither landed heavy enough to stop the other.

Most of the action in the third round occurred in the last minute as there were a few furious exchanges and a lot of punches thrown to the head. Garcia spent the round throwing a lot of punches, but he also had to drop his elbow to defend against DeAlba's body shots. DeAlba landed a few body shots early in the fourth round,and that slowed Garcia's output. Garcia spend much of the round moving away from DeAlba's right, and that meant a slower pace as the round ended.

At the end of four rounds one judge scored the fight 39-37 for Garcia. the other two scored it 39-37 and 40-36 for DeAlba who would taste victory for the first time behind the split decision win.

The Ring Card Girls Entertained Between Rounds


Williams celebrates, Keys questions