Posts Tagged ‘knockout’

Ward 2

Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

Sergey Kovalev promised to end Andre Ward’s career. He vowed that the man he renamed “Son of Judges” wouldn’t get the chance to be saved by favorable scorecards. Today, it is the Krusher’s future that is in doubt following a dramatic and controversial eighth round stoppage loss at the Mandalay Bay. The tagline going into the fight was “no excuses,” and yet less than 24 hours removed, Kovalev and his promoter Main Events are preparing to protest the verdict and prolong the war of words between the camps. Unfortunately for Kovalev, the narrative that played out last night in the ring coupled with historical precedent does not bode well for his hopes of a reversal.

The rounds preceding the knockout showed both men were well-prepared. Ward did not repeat the sluggish start of the first bout; he looked for left hook counters upstairs to stifle Kovalev’s rushes and body work within clinches. Kovalev, now respectful of Ward’s ability, emphasized a higher work rate to counter Ward’s accuracy and inside work.

The fight was a nip-tuck affair with neither man jumping out to significant advantages. If Ward landed a good body shot, Kovalev was right back with several hard, clean jabs. If Kovalev got in a sneaky right, Ward returned the favor by getting right in his chest to maul and work the body.

As with any Ward fight, this wasn’t a clean affair. The clinching resulted in headlocks and rabbit punches from Kovalev, and borderline to clearly low blow shots from Ward. However, Ward was the more comfortable man in this domain — Kovalev’s complaints were more demonstrative and with expectations that he’d be given time to recover.

After seven rounds, my scorecard reflected an even fight (67-67), but not my eyes. Kovalev had noticeably become more labored in his breathing. His punches lacked its usual snap while Ward, never a huge puncher even at his prime weight of 168, looked more powerful and determined.

A right cross in the eighth badly hurt Kovalev. His attempts to hold were shrugged off with additional body shots. Kovalev sagged into the ropes, where Ward pounced on his doubled over opponent with shots that ranged from borderline to low. Assessing Kovalev’s body meek body language and no return punches, referee Tony Weeks opted to stop the contest. There was no protest from the former champion. 

This brings us to the big controversy of the night. Was Kovalev robbed by the non-call on the low-blow? His promoter, Kathy Duva, seems to think so. In the post-fight circus of a press conference, she was absolutely livid.

***

Here’s the big problem that Duva and Kovalev will run into on Monday. There isn’t boxing commission in the world that would have the balls to reverse a decision in a fight of this magnitude. Look no further than the undercard bout against Rigondeaux and Flores (where referee Vic Drakulich and the commissioner look absolutely terrified to make the call between a DQ, No Contest or KO).

Even more daunting is the last time Main Events filed a low blow protest. In 2011, the company was promoting Zab Judah, in the midst of one of his many comebacks, this time against Amir Khan. Judah was thoroughly dominated in every round. In the fifth, a bloody Zab was grappling with Khan in a clinch and bent forward, much like Kovalev last night. Khan fired a borderline shot that resulted in the KO. Main Events filed a protest with Nevada, the WBA and IBF that went on deaf ears to the point we never heard another word about it.

Like any sport, boxing is predicated on momentum. In basketball, teams that go on runs seem to get all the calls while the losing team’s complaints are often ignored. If your getting hands placed on you in the ring, your complaints will come off as looking for a way out, leading to a referee making a quick call like we saw last night. It’s also important to note that unintentional fouls caused by the fighters movements are usually not acknowledged. Case in point — if I’m constantly bending down and away from an opponent, resulting in boderline rabbit shots to the top/side of the head, I’m going to be the one the ref will admonish for causing the “illegal” blow. Check out the KO years back of Glen Johnson on a crouching Allan Green who complains of a rabbit punch.

***

There are certain realities you need to accept when you face certain fighters. Against Bernard Hopkins, be prepared for a night of mauling, sneaky low blows and butts. Evander Holyfield? Again, watch the butts. After 12 rounds against Andre Ward last November, Sergey Kovalev said he was prepared for the rematch, going as far as to say Ward was overrated and he had trained too hard. But last night showed that the Krusher had neither the mental nor physical ability to handle a rough and tumble fight where he couldn’t be the frontrunner.

“I was breathing, he was breathing, but I’m used to working tired,” said Ward. “I’m comfortable being uncomfortable; that’s how we work, that’s how we train. When I saw him put his arms on the ropes in between the rounds – I watch all that stuff – that’s trouble for him. I just needed to keep being smart… I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically.”

Consider the Ward-Kovalev rivalry closed.

Advertisements

StevensonKO

Nearly a year out of the ring hasn’t dulled the potency of Adonis Stevenson’s straight left hand. The lineal light-heavyweight champion needed less than two rounds to repeatedly blitz Andrzej Fonfara to force a ring apron stoppage from trainer Virgil Hunter.

Fonfara never recovered from getting caught with a left-hand counter early in the first round. He was dropped by the shot and nearly stopped as the bell rung. The second was a continuation of the first before Hunter saved his client from a more brutal stoppage.

What would have been an intriguing rematch 2 years ago was rendered pointless by recent developments. Since Fonfara’s notable showing in the first bout, he’s had a brutal Fight of the Year candidate against Nathan Cleverly and got destroyed in one round against Joe Smith Jr. That wear and tear seemed notable in Fonfara looking more like a pinata than a fighter Saturday night.

As for Stevenson, we can say a lot about his putrid level of competition over the last 5 years. However, what can’t be debated is he remains one of the more lethal hitters in the sport (he hurt Fonara badly while backpedaling). Like most PBC fighters, he affirmed in his post-fight interview that he’ll fight whomever Al Haymon puts in front of him. Logically, that should be the winner of Kovalev-Ward II or Eleider Alvarez. Otherwise,  it’s just more of the same for a 39-year old champion whose time at the elite level can end at any given moment.


Alvarez_Pascal

ELEIDER ALVAREZ MD JEAN PASCAL: This was an entertaining scrap. At this stage, the 34-year old Pascal doesn’t have the same explosive athleticism that won him the light-heavyweight title from Chad Dawson. But he still has a huge heart, and it allowed Pascal to go the distance despite being rocked several times by Alvarez. Whenever it seemed like Pascal might be going out, he fired back with body shots and occasionally landed some flashy left hook counter upstairs.

In the end, it was Alvarez’s consistent jab that kept Pascal controlled to take a majority decision (117-111, 116-112, 114-114). The win positions Alvarez as a top contender for Stevenson’s WBC title.

 

Davis_Walsh

LONDON — With his promoter Floyd Mayweather cheering him on from ringside, Gervonta Davis made quick work of hometown hero Liam Walsh to complete the first defense of his IBF super featherweight title.

The fight was no contest from the opening bell. Utilizing the shoulder roll from the southpaw stance, Davis clipped Walsh with right jabs to the body and counter straight lefts from mid-range. The bout’s only knockdown was produced in the third when Walsh’s attempts to maul were stifled by repeated overhand lefts. Walsh beat the count but was quickly overwhelmed to force the referee stoppage.

Davis improves to 18-0. Per Mayweather, Davis will be an active champion and look to fight again within the next few months.


Fantastic performance from Tank. You can see the Mayweather mentorship is paying off via that jab to the stomach. Also, note how Davis adopted the Mayweather lead forearm to the neck to create space and keep the head stationary for punches. The latter proved to be Walsh’s downfall.

When you consider Davis is only 22 years old, his upside remains should he remain focused (keep that weight in check!).

Gamboa_Castellanos

Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

It’s safe to say the window is closed for Yuriorkis Gamboa. The former featherweight titlist, who just signed with Golden Boy Promotions this year in hopes of rebuilding his career, was floored twice by underdog Robinson Castellanos in route to a seventh round corner stoppage.

Although sporting a 23-12 record, Castellanos was the more fundamentally sound fighter. Gamboa looked heavy, exhibited sloppy punch technique, and little of the speed that once made him a P4P talent. His flashy potshots couldn’t hurt the larger Castellanos, who began looking to the time the right hand by the end of the second.

The straight right hand would floor Gamboa late in the third. The counter came off a wide Gamboa left hook. The Cuban tasted the canvas again in the fourth, this time off a lead overhand right just 30 seconds into the round. Gamboa survived, but couldn’t find a rhythm to turn the fight around.

Castellanos would land three solid left hooks throughout the seventh, and a flurry of body shots when Gamboa attempted to hold at round’s end. It was not a bad beating, but the pace, coupled with Gamboa’s poor conditioning, made him decide to not come out for the eighth.


Hindsight is 20/20, but we now know Gamoba leaving Top Rank was the worst decision of his career. Since then, his activity has been wildly inconsistent. The 50 Cent signing made matters even worse. Now he’s 35 and his greatest asset, superb reflexes and speed, are completely gone. Golden Boy can’t even feed him to one of their prospects if he can’t even get past a journeyman-level talent like Castellanos.

I guess the timing is finally right to make Gamboa-JuanMa.

 

AJ_champion

LONDON — Welcome to the Anthony Joshua era. The undefeated fighter staked his claim to heavyweight supremacy by overcoming a sixth round knockdown to stop former undisputed champion and future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko in 11 rounds before 90,000 rabid fans at Wembley Stadium.

Although Klitschko displayed spry footwork in the early rounds, it was Joshua who was the active puncher. The titlist kept Klitschko backpeadling with pushing jabs and overhand rights. However, Klitschko remained dangerous by catching most of those shots on the gloves and landed several strong right hands in the second and fourth.

AJ_Klitschko_knockdown

A dramatic fifth round saw Joshua storm out and hurt Klitschko with a clubbing right hand. He continued the blitzing assault to cut Klitschko over the left eye and score a knockdown. The challenger proved resilient by crashing in multiple left hooks to stun a fatigued Joshua to close the stanza.

It would be the patented Klitschko 1-2 followed by a left hook that produced the most perilous moment of Joshua’s career in round six. He was dropped early in the round and forced to survive off the backfoot as Klitschko pursued with lead hooks. Klitschko built his momentum further by controlling the action with a ramrod jab in rounds 7-8.

AJ_Klitschko_knockdown2

Gradually, Joshua worked his way back into the fight. He outworked Klitshko in rounds 9-10 by focusing his attack on the body. However, Klitschko still was in a position to close the bout, as evidenced by a heavy right hand that punctuated the 10th.

Joshua seized the final advantage in the 11th by exploiting Klitschko’s clinching. He rocked the former champion with a vicious right uppercut that lead to another knockdown. Joshua quickly floored Klitschko again with a right hand for a third knockdown. Klitschko rose again but was trapped in a corner and unable to hold, forcing the referee to call the bout.

Joshua improves to 19-0 and is now the unified IBF and WBA champion. A rematch clause is in place. Should Klitschko not exercise it, Joshua named-checked domestic rival and lineal champion Tyson Fury as a potential opponent.

 

 

 

 

 

Estrada_Salas

Juan Francisco Estrada moved closer to a WBC title shot with a thorough deconstruction of Anuar Salas last night at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

After a slow first round that saw Estrada buzzed by a hook, the former unified flyweight titlist began picking apart Salas with 1-2s and digging body shots. Salas attempts to counter were futile as Estrada’s left hooks and right uppercuts continuously caught him out of position.

The fifth round saw Salas hit the canvas twice. The first was off an angled left hook to the liver. The second and final knockdown came courtesy of a right uppercut to the solar plexus.

The victory gives Estrada the WBC silver super flyweight title and puts him in line for a much-anticipated rematch with WBC champion Roman Gonzalez, who defeated Estrada via close unanimous decision in 2012. Estrada is currently #3 in the WBC’s super flyweight rankings.

browne_williamsjr

CINCINNATI, OH — Marcus Browne overcame a point deduction for a second round foul to score three knockdowns and KO Thomas Williams Jr. at the Cintas Center.

Although both are southpaws, it was Browne who controlled the range behind a long, sturdy jab. Williams opted to lunge in with haymakers, making him susceptible to counters.

The bizarre first knockdown saw Williams badly stunned by a counter right jab. His knee and gloves touched the canvas, but Browne still unleashed a left hand. The referee credited the knockdown, but deducted a point from Browne for the foul and gave Williams five minutes to recover.

The time did little for Williams, whose equilibrium and punch resistance was noticeably diminished. Browne would score two more knockdowns off right hooks before Williams stayed down in the sixth.

Browne, whose record improves to 19-0 (14 KOs), called out WBC light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. Williams, who was knocked out by Stevenson last July, suffers his second straight defeat and falls to 20-3 (14 KOs).