PHILADELPHIA - There is an old saying in boxing warning against leaving final decisions in the hands of the judges.
Bridgeport's "Lightning" Harry Joe Yorgey found that out firsthand of a center-stage fight at the Wachovia Spectrum last Thursday evening.
Yorgey battled to a draw against Martinus Clay of Wilson, N.C., in a 10-round main event for the vacant IBU Junior Middleweight title.
It marked the first blemish on Yorgey's otherwise perfect record of 16-0-1, with eight knockouts. Clay dropped to 12-13-2 with four knockouts while facing a lot of top competition and losing some close, questionable decisions.
One judge scored the fight 96-94 in favor of Clay. Another gave it to Yorgey by 96-94. The third judge ruled an even 95-95 count, forging the final decision of a draw among the three judges.
"It is disappointing," said Yorgey. "You want to win. They said they gave him the last round for the draw. He (Clay) was busy. You have to fight. It was a good championship fight. Nine out of 10, everybody in the crowd would pay for that fight. I hit him with clearner shots. He was busier. He kept the pressure on.
"I abandoned the jab. Other times I had three or four jabs. He was not hurting me. But that is not what wins fights. It is not just hurting the fighter. It (draw) is not the end. It is not a loss, but it is not a win. I don't expect anything but a win."
Yorgey agreed it is not safe to leave the verdict up to the judges. One judge, he said, might like busier fighters while another might like cleaner shots.
"You can't give rounds away," Yorgey said. "I needed a little more in one round. It is hard to swallow one round."
Clay's other draw came against Keenan Collins on Sept. 29, 2005, in a six-round encounter. In the rematch on Nov. 10, 2005, Collins beat Clay in an eight-round split decision.
In the 10th round, Clay delivered multiple blows to score while Yorgey landed a hard overhand right to the head late in the round.
Yorgey appeared to control the beginning of the fight while Clay finished strong, clearly taking the fifth and seventh rounds.
Yorgey attempted to utilize several uppercuts with rights to the head, but Clay countered with combinations to the head and body to prevent any finishing blows.
Yorgey, a Phoenixville Police Athletic League (PAL) product who trains at the Civic Center in Phoenixville, was joined in his corner by trainer John Mulvenna, manager Jimmy Deoria and coach Willis "Skeeb" Foreman.
Broad Street Boxing Promotions sponsored the seven-bout card.
Also, Coatesville's Kevin Hood (2-5) took a majority decision in a four-round heavyweight bout against Philadelphia's Jarad Vasquez (0-2).
In the co-feature, Chuckie Cavallo (12-0, 3 KOs) of Trenton, N.J., won a unanimous decision in a six-round light heavyweight fight against William Gill of Toms River, N.J.
North Philadelphian Taneal Goyco won his professional debut with a knockout at 2:29 of the first round over Hamilton Verano of Newark, N.J., in a scheduled four-round super middleweight bout. In a six-round junior welterweight fight, Patrick Lopez of New Hampshire beat Eric Rodriguez of Puerto Rico by virtue of a unanimous decision.
In a four-round welterweight battle, Victor Vasquez topped Emmanuel Rose with a TKO at 1:56 of the third round. Rose, a North Philadelphian, made his professional debut after gaining experience as a cage fighter.
Philadelphia's Simon "One Punch" Carr fought a three-round exhibition due to a scheduled opponent's last-minute pullout.