Posts Tagged ‘stoppage’

Dirrel_Uzcategui2_1

Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott

In the midst all the hoopla from Saturday night’s exciting heavyweight battle between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz, there was a sad finale that occurred on the undercard. Andre Dirrell, once seen as one of the future big names in boxing, stood broken in the corner after failing to come for the eighth round of his rematch against Jose Uzcategui. Written off long ago by most fans and media, there won’t be many articles written about Dirrell’s closing chapter. But for those like myself who once saw the potential in the man dubbed “The Matrix,” his surrender last night serves as a sad finale to one of the most disappointing careers of the last 10 years.

As hard as it is to believe, there once was a time when Andre Dirrell was seen as a more promising talent than Andre Ward. My first introduction to the Flint, Michigan native and Olympic silver medalist came not as a writer, but as a fan way back in 2005. Laila Ali was headlining an ESPN2 card at Atlanta’s Philips Arena against Leatitia Robinson, and both Dirrell brothers were competing in their second fights. Each blew their hapless foes out with Andre doing his in less than a round. Even at this early stage, the otherworldly nature of Dirrell’s speed was something to witness live. He looked like a young Roy Jones Jr. in the making.

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This is the worst fight I’ve seen in my life. This running and potshotting is just horrible! – Harold Lederman on Dirrell vs. Stevens

Speed alone does not make a great fighter. The first chink in the armor came in what was supposed to be his breakout showcase on HBO against Curtis Stevens in 2007. In one of the worst fights ever aired on the network, Dirrell played keep away from Stevens and was content to throw single punches sparingly while being booed out the building. The fight would be Dirrell’s first and last on the network.

He rebounded on Showtime the following year with an impressive fifth round TKO of contender Anthony Hanshaw. We saw Dirrell had power when he was willing to stand his ground, and it brought back some fan goodwill following a one-sided stoppage of Derrick Findley headed into the Super Six tournament in 2009.

The Super Six tournament was the best and worst of times concerning Dirrell’s career. In his two fights against Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham, he looked spectacular in landing dazzling left-hand counters and making his foes look like rank amateurs. In other moments, he turned into a deer in headlights at any semblance of pressure, resorting to constant holding and falling over when more than two punches came his way. He failed to meet Froch’s late aggression and dropped a close split decision, and took a DQ win against Abraham where many feel to this day he milked an illegal punch to avoid Abraham’s late rally.

Then came the “wandering in the wilderness” part of Dirrell’s career. He pulled out the Super Six after claiming neurological issues from the Abraham fight (other speculated it was due to not wanting to face Ward), he would fight just twice from 2010-2013 in non-descript bouts under 50 Cent’s doomed SMS Promotions.

Under Al Haymon, Dirrell got more active fighting three times in 2014 (his most busy year since 2008). That lead to his second chance at a title in early 2015 against James DeGale. The entertaining bout saw DeGale score two knockdowns in the second and hang on for a unanimous decision despite a late Dirrell surge.

By this time, the early flaws in Dirrell’s game had become more pronounced with age. The cat-like reflexes that allowed him to glide out of punching range had ebbed away with Dirrell now on the wrong side of 30. His bad balance was consistently exploited, as evidenced by Blake Caparello dropping him in the second round of what was supposed to be a tuneup fight. Dirrell still took the decision, by the word was out — Dirrell was there for the taking.

This brings us to the Jose Uzcategui, who likely will be the last significant opponent of Dirrell’s career. In the first bout, Dirrell struggled with Uzcategui’s pressure and was hurt several times from power shots. Uzcategui was in the midst of a combination when the eighth round bell sounded, and he hit Dirrell late with a left hand that put him on the canvas. Dirrell was awarded a DQ (and more controversy about whether he was acting) and his trainer, Leon Lawson Jr., a suspension and arrest for sucker punching Dirrell.

I’m going to give you one more round… you’re going to regret this day, son. – Virgil Hunter to Dirrell¬†

Last night’s rematch removed any doubt of who was the better fighter. Uzcategui stripped Dirrell of any confidence by battering him with right hands and constantly forcing him to the ropes. Dirrell retired in his corner after the eighth.

When people look back on the best super middleweights of the 2010s, Andre Dirrell won’t be mentioned. He failed to win a title in two attempts, and never had the signature wins or come from behind victories we’ve seen from his peers in Ward, Froch, Abraham and Mikkel Kessler. He disappeared for long stretches of time. And he never displayed the ability to adjust in the ring and will himself to victory, as we saw Wilder do in the main event against Ortiz.

Could Andre Dirrell’s career trajectory been different under another trainer? Were the Abraham and first Uzcategui first bout just instances of bad luck? Or was Dirrell just an irreparably flawed fighter? That’s the thing about unfulfilled potential — no theorized answer is wrong. And Andre Dirrell is now left to create his own narrative.

 

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RigondeauxDickens_Hoganphotos5

Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

CARDIFF, WALES — Guillermo Rigondeaux killed time this Saturday by breaking the jaw of an overmatched James Dickens for a second round corner stoppage at the Ice Arena.

Ridgondeaux fought at his usual measured pace. The punch output was low, but Rigondeaux controlled both rounds with excellent accuracy with the looping southpaw left. One of those shots in round two resulted in the apparent jaw fracture.

Dickens, who failed to land a significant punch, immediately let his corner know about the injury and retired.

Rigondeaux improves to 17-0 (11 KOs) with his seventh defense of the WBA super bantamweight title.

pbc, bethlehem PA Sept 22 2015

pbc, bethlehem PA Sept 22 2015

Credit: Suzanne Teresa/PBC

BETHELEM, PA — Julian “J Rock” Williams moved a step closer to a desired showdown with Austin Trout stopping Luciano Cuello in just 93 seconds last night.

The undefeated Williams (21-0-1, 13 KOs) stormed out with hard right hands that whipped around Cuello’s high guard. It would end up being the punch that staggered him and lead to Williams raining down several more¬†to force the TKO.

“I may be the fastest super welterweight in the world, and I’m accurate enough to hit guys when I want to,” said Williams.¬†“I knew I was getting to him early and I just stayed vicious. It was a straight right that I landed on him to end things. I saw his left eye bubble up immediately.”

Earlier this month, Austin Trout scored a KO win over former J Rock opponent, Joey Hernandez, telling the cameras “That is how you do it, son.” Williams returned the favor by calling out Trout, who was ringside tonight¬†on commentary.

“I’ve fought undefeated prospects and former champions,” Williams stated.¬†“I’ll fight anybody. I don’t hate (Austin) Trout at all. He’s just higher ranked than me and one of the guys in my way.”


pbc, bethlehem PA Sept 22 2015

pbc, bethlehem PA Sept 22 2015

FLORES WEARS DOWN CUSOLITO: The card opened with an absolute war between Moises “Chucky” Flores and Emanual Cusolito. The two combined to throw over 1700 punches. Early on, Cusolito’s better technical skill gave him the advantage as he landed harder and cleaner power shots. By the middle rounds, Flores non-stop pressure and high punch-put began to wear on Cusolito. The late rounds was a contest of wills with Flores ending matters dramatically in the 12th.

In his post-fight interview, Flores expressed his desire to move up in weight to challenger Leo Santa Cruz.


pbc, bethlehem PA Sept 22 2015

pbc, bethlehem PA Sept 22 2015

OTHER TV RESULTS: 23-year-old prospect Caleb Plant (10-0) remained undefeated with a unanimous eight-round decision over Jamar Freeman. Plant¬†scored a third round knockdown but struggled to put Freeman away after the latter started to move and rely on counter-punching. If you track this fight down, the most memorable thing will be Plant’s repeated use of the “Nae Nae” dance to showboat.

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Photo Credit: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions

CALIFORNIA, PA — Undefeated prospect Sammy Vasquez took another step towards contender status in the welterweight division via a fifth round TKO of Jose Lopez last night at the University of Pennsylvania.

Fighting before his hometown fans, Vasquez’s combination of speed and power took full advantage of Lopez’s predictable charges. Vasquez fired off repeated power shot combinations inside that quickly sapped Lopez’s strength.

“He was real wild and the last thing I wanted was to get caught with a lucky shot,” Vasquez reflected. “His body was wide open every time he came with the right hand. When he came in with the double right hand he left his ribs wide open.
I wanted to key-in on the body, but his head was right there. He bent over and was ready to take punches.”
An unrelenting series of right hooks and left uppercuts put Lopez down in the fourth, and repeated the feat to close the bout in the fifth.

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It’s time to start throwing Vasquez’s name in when we talk about other PBC welterweights. He’s still a win or two away from even being considered against the likes of a Keith Thurman or even a Errol Spence, but I think Vasquez has done enough to earn a shot at someone like Robert Guerrero. And if the rumored Khan-Garcia rematch doesn’t materialize, a Garcia fight against Vasquez would produce great action.

And who does Vasquez himself want?
“Everybody in front of me is on my mind. I can only get to the top by beating the people in front of me. I’m not calling out any names, because I want every person ranked in front of me. I want everyone.”

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Andrzej Fonfara

Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

CARSON, CA — Julio Cesar Chavez found out what it feels like to fight a legit light-heavyweight. Contender Andrzej Fonfara pummeled Chavez Jr. from the opening bell and punctuated his work with a ninth round knockdown that forced Junior to quit before the 10th. After years of enjoying 20+ pound weight advantages on opponents, last night Chavez received what amounted to his “karmic comeuppance.”

EVEN PLAYING FIELD: Even with the “catchweight” for this fight being 172 pounds, Chavez still looked dry at the weigh-in. Fight night he approaches the cruiserweight limit but that had little bearing on Fonfara, who stood his ground in the trenches and abused Chavez with short hooks and uppercuts. Chavez used his head brazenly throughout and whined repeatedly about low blows. Fonfara did lose a dubious point late for returning Chavez’s butts with a shoulder smash, but the deduction had little bearing as Fonfara even won that round.

The whole argument of Chavez having a granite chin was built on his ability to take punches from middleweights that he outweighed by nearly 20 pounds in some cases. When asked to evaluate his opponent’s chin and power, the equally-sized Fonfara was not impressed.

I knew he was a tough fighter, quick and in good shape but when he hit me for the first time in the first round, I knew I was going to win this fight. He didn’t punch as hard as everybody said he did,” Fonfara explained.¬†“I saw his punches easily coming in. I know I threw more punches. I was a little surprised that he did not come out for the (10th) but he was cut, had been getting beat up and had just got knocked down, so he knew what would happen if he came out.

¬†Chavez said before the fight that he didn’t think I could take his body punches. I think I took them pretty good and passed that test.”

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Andrzej Fonfara

PUBLIC HUMILIATION: Let me first be clear — no fighter should be shamed for quitting once they’ve reached their physical limit. Chavez claimed to new trainer Joe Goossen that his was having problems with his right leg and needed the fight stopped. Yes, we’re not in Junior’s body, but the only time we saw any problems with either leg was when Fonfara’s left hook turned them into stone on that knockdown.

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The fans that booed Chavez and threw beer at him were not just deriding his corner retirement. That resentment was from fans sick and tired about his entitled attitude over the last few years. The nepotism, unprofessional approach to his weight, and trying to dictate contract terms to better and more accomplished fighters culminated with an entire arena washing their hands of him.

DELUSIONS OF COMPETITIVENESS: The most absurd moment of the night came with Chavez’s post-fight interview with Jim Gray. Chavez’s first thoughts were that he was “winning the fight.” The ultimate irony came in Chavez saying Fonfara was “too big” and he’d like a catchweight rematch at 170 instead of 172 (still dictating terms).

NEXT ORDER OF BUSINESS: Adonis Stevenson won’t be getting to feast on Chavez nor does it look like he’ll face Kovalev. Considering that Fonfara succeeded in knocking down Stevenson in their first encounter, a PBC rematch makes the most sense.

“I know there are things I can still work on in training to become a more complete boxer, but tonight was a dream come true. I want a rematch with¬†Adonis Stevenson,” said Fonfara.

As for Chavez, he’s currently a man without a division. He’s too big to comfortably make 168 or 160, and not skilled enough to compete at his natural weight (175).

“Maybe 170,172 pounds is too big for me, maybe I’ll go back down. I’m not sure what my future holds. It was a very tough fight. But I congratulate Andrzej,” said Chavez before heading to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Amir Imam vs Walter Castillo

AMIR IMAM PASSES ANOTHER TEST: The opener saw junior welterweight prospect Amir Imam pass a solid test in beating Walter¬†Castillo with a unanimous 10-round decision. Castillo kept the pressure on and had opportunities to work when he pinned Imam on the ropes. But the versatile 24-year-old was able to roll with Castillo’s power shots, work right hand counters, and control distance with a strong jab.

“My combinations were effective the whole night, we stuck to our game plan and came out victorious,” said Imam. “I want any of the world champions next.”

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Boxing - Odyssey Arena

BELFAST, IRELAND — Carl Frampton got the last laugh in the war of words with Chris Avalos by scoring an emphatic fifth round TKO to retain the IBF super bantamweight title.

Frampton begun going to work by nailing Avalos with clean right hands in the second. His best success came from keeping the bout at mid-range, where his better technique nullfied a 5.5-inch reach advantage for Avalos.

A flush right hand buckled Avalos in the fifth. Although he¬†didn’t go down, Frampton never allowed Avalos time to recover and secured a referee stoppage with no complaints from the challenger.

QUIGG AND THEN UNIFICATION?: Frampton affirmed his desire to face Scott Quigg¬†next in a big money UK showdown. If he wins, Frampton then will look towards a unification withthe division’s true champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux, or WBC title-holder Leo Santa Cruz. Because of Frampton’s drawing power in Ireland, he’ll likely hold the negotiation advantage of getting either of thsoe fights in his home country.

Between these unification options, Rigondeaux is the much tougher bout, but the Cuban is also the fighter who’s proven recently that he’ll travel. Frampton’s power gives him a puncher’s chance in that one. With Santa Cruz, who let his Golden Boy contract get brought out to avoid Rigondeaux, is unlikely to head to Belfast when his adviser Al Haymon can get him seven-figure paydays against sub-par competition.

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 Rigondeaux_Amagasa

OSAKA, Japan — Guillermo Rigondeaux¬†closed out 2014 with¬†hard-earned 11th round stoppage over Hisashi¬†Amagasa earlier today at the Bodymaker Colosseum.

Rigondeaux¬†promised a fight filled with “explosive¬†fireworks” and did his best to deliver by taking the lead and stalking his bigger opponent. Amagasa, a natural featherweight who moved down for this bout, enjoyed a 6 1/2 inch height advantage that forced Rigondeaux¬†to take offensive risks to get inside. For the most part, Amagasa¬†was too slow to time him. By the fifth, Rigondeaux was getting full leverage on his overhand lefts and eyeing a stoppage.

Amagasa got on board by catching Rigondeaux off-balance with a short right for a seventh-round flash knockdown. Rigondeau tried to hold, but his larger foe was able to break free and crash home more clubbing rights that stunned the champion and resulted in a second knockdown that questionable due to a push.

Amagasa¬†became the aggressor in the eighth, but that left him vulnerable to Rigondeaux’s counter-punching. The Cuban technician took control by landing hard straight lefts and dropping Amagasa¬†in the 10th.Through bad swelling on his jaw and right eye, Amagasa made a last stand in the 11th but couldn’t answer the bell for the final round.

The win was Rigondeaux’s¬†third defense on the unified WBA¬†and WBO¬†super bantamweight titles.

FULL FIGHT

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