In search of his 40th career win, former three-time middleweight world champion and Washington, D.C. native William Joppy returned to the ring on Nov. 6 at George Mason University’s Patriot Center to battle Baltimore local Cory “Black Ice” Cummings in a 10-round fight. With the crowd backing his every move, Joppy endured a beating before the judges scored the fight as a draw, much to the surprise of both fighters and fans.

Appearing in his first fight since a loss to Sebastien Demers earlier this year in March, Joppy (39-6-2) appeared slow and disinterested for much of the bout until an action-laced 10th round. Cummings (17-5, 13 KOs) attacked Joppy from the start of the match, lining him up with hooks, jabs and combinations. Chants of “come on Jop, fight back,” repeatedly filled the arena, as the one-time top fighter swallowed every punch that Cummings was dishing.

“He’s Joe Frazier; he’s a brawler; he’ll crack you if you sleep for one second,” Joppy said about his opponent.

There were moments when Joppy appeared ready to fall, but he continued to bounce back with flurries of quick punches to keep Cummings at bay. Once the bout drew to a close, Cumming’s trainers were sure that their 31-year-old fighter had notched another victory, but one judge called the fight 96-94 in favor of Joppy while the other two judges scored it 95-95 each.

“I thought I won,” a disappointed Cummings said. “I thought the fight was close but I kept inside, I stayed with him, I know that he has a name and I was fighting in his hometown but I also thought the referees were playing to his part. I’m just going to go back and study the tape and build from it and come back stronger. Hopefully I can get a rematch and I can settle it.”

While Cummings appears set on a rematch, Joppy said he may have something else in store besides giving the Baltimore native a second bout.

“I think they want to bring us back to do it again but I don’t know,” Joppy said. “There’s bigger and better things out there for me. I’m still at 39 , I just turned 40 so I wanted to get my 40th win man.”

“It was a rough fight but it felt good to get back in there, I haven’t been in the ring,” Joppy added. “This late in my career I haven’t been fighting like I used to. It felt good to get 10 rounds.”

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO