Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


In first fight, Ray Edwards win unanimous decision

Posted by: under NFC, Ray Edwards Updated: May 20, 2011 - 11:56 PM

HINCKLEY, MINN. -- A running account of Ray Edwards four-round heavyweight fight against T.J. Gibson. Edwards is wearing red trunks with black trim and had a boxing robe that said "The Cincinnati Kid" on the back.

FIRST ROUND

Edwards (6-foot-5) knocked down the much-shorter Gibson (5-9) with a right-left combo in the biggest development of the round. Both fighters exchanged punches early on. Edwards won that round on the Star Tribune card.

SECOND ROUND

Tough to call that round but Gibson held his own. Gibson took a left hook to the jaw that appeared to hurt him. Hard to call that round but easily could have gone to Gibson. (Turns out, it didn't.)

THIRD ROUND

That wasn't much of a round but Edwards scored more points and the round goes to him.

FOURTH ROUND

Edwards used a left hook to knock Gibson nearly out of the ring toward the end of the fight. Edwards and Gibson exchanged punches to end things.

Edwards wins in a unanimous decision by scores of 40-34, 39-35, 40-34.

The wrap-up

I am certainly not a boxing expert, but it should come as no surprise that Edwards remains very much a work in progress as a boxer. It will be interesting to see who he ends up facing on June 24 in his next fight. That also is scheduled to be at Grand Casino Hinckley and if the opponent is a step up from Gibson (both in size and in quality) Edwards is going to need to be an improved boxer at that point.

Nonetheless, Edwards recorded two knock downs in this fight.

THE QUOTES

Edwards on what went well: "I definitely stayed behind my jab and just keep working. He got a couple of good shots off and [it was] a little rougher than I expected but I rush 300-pound guys all day so I'm used to it. Guys trying to be rough."

Edwards on seeing a number of his teammates: "I didn't see them really until after the fight. I tried to stay focused as I was heading into the ring."

Gibson on Edwards' height advantage: "His height advantage did make a difference. But I came in there to fight. Other than that, it was just like any other fight. The punches seemed like any other guy."

Gibson on Edwards' potential future in boxing: "He's a going to be a great fighter if he keeps it up."

Edwards' trainer, Jeff Warner, on the potential the boxer will face one-time street fighter Kimbo Slice: "I have no idea [if that will happen]. I don't know if they want to fight MMA or fight in a back alley. I have no idea. But whatever they want to do, we're just going to keep training right now and just keep going forward. We want to fight boxers because Ray is going to be a boxer. Bottom line is he's a great football player and he's a great boxer. He's going to do both. I just want him boxing, I want him working off his jab and moving. There were times out there he looked incredible tonight and there were times he looked rough. I'm goinng to be honest with you. I'm not happy. We're going to go back and we're going to work hard on Monday, we're going to work on some things. But overall I was happy. He did about 75 percent of his ability."

Warner said he has not been approached by anybody from the Kimbo Slice camp. There was an earlier report that Slice's promoter had issued a challenge to the Edwards camp. "If they want to call me, give me a holler, we'll sit down and the bottom line is you put some numbers together we'll do it," Warner said.

As for Edwards' next opponent, Warner said it would be good to have that set a few weeks in advance. "Just in case it's a southpaw or something different so we can train for it," Warner said. "But we train for everything."

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