Published On: Mon, Dec 3rd, 2012

Jabs and Hooks – 3rd December Edition

Hard Copy – Jabs and Hooks – 3rd December Edition

Continuing our new look at combat sports – Jabs and Hooks – Hard Copy will be previewing every weekend’s big combat sports events both nationally and internationally before they happen, and deal with the fallout that remains once the dust has settled the following Monday.

This weekend’s action:

-          Austin Trout defeats Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision

-          Freddie Flintoff defeats Richard Dawson by unanimous decision

-          David Price defeats Matt Skelton by knockout in the second round

-          Tyson Fury defeats Kevin Johnson (NOT Denis Boytsov) by unanimous decision

-          BAMMA 11’s televised broadcast only showcased the two main events

Another boxing dominated weekend provided more pugilistic action as three different cards on two different nights more than delivered. On the negative side, BAMMA’s televised product continues to be poor and focuses more on sideshows like Alex Reid than improving their production.

 

Tyson Fury – WBC Number One Contender

I’ll address a rare journalistic misstep on my part to start things off – Denis Boytsov was not the man facing Tyson Fury on Saturday night. It was in fact former title challenger Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson. Quite how I made the mix up between a black man from New Jersey USA and a white guy from Russia I’ll never know.

A glitch in the Matrix perhaps.

For his part, Johnson did his best to make things interesting in the lead up to the fight, although I could have done without the sight of both opponents’ duet in the pre-fight promo video. I don’t know about you, but it kind of made me doubt Johnson’s claims that the fight would be the Heavyweight version of Gatti vs. Ward.

Those doubts were not unfounded as Johnson laid back and allowed Fury to outwork him for almost the entirety of the fight. If you missed it, you didn’t miss much. Fury closed out the last few rounds with relative ease and is now in line for a shot at a Klitschko at some point in the next year. He did his job with an opponent who seemed content to lay and wait for an opportunity that never came.

I sat there and pondered what would have become of either man had they fought during the mid-nineties and competed with the B and C tier heavyweights of that era: Riddick Bowe, Razor Rudduck, Tommy Morrison, Andrew Golota, Ray Mercer, David Tua et al. Then I watched another round slip by with no action and lamented heavyweight boxing’s slow decline over the last decade.

Does Tyson Fury have a chance to beat either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko? Well, he has as good a chance as any of the current crop of heavyweight contenders do.

Speaking of other contenders, that brings us to the other British hopeful on his way to a title eliminator of his own:

 

David Price Stops Skelton

The towel was thrown in quickly after Matt Skelton slumped to the canvas in the second round. The wind knocked out of him by a David Price bodyshot (these seemed to have gained in popularity in the last few weeks), the former British Heavyweight champion looked every bit his 45 years against a young and heavy handed Price, who never really seemed to leave first gear. For Price the time to step up his level of competition is now. There is no else domestically to challenge him save for the other three big names of Haye, Fury and Chisora. With Fury a Channel 5 fighter and Haye presumably on a beach in Australia somewhere, Chisora is the fight that can and most likely will be made. A shot at Wladimir Klitschko’s Heavyweight crown is the potential reward for the winner which sets up an interesting albeit unlikely scenario:

What if Tyson Fury upsets Vitali Klitschko and either Price or Dereck Chisora is successful against Wladimir? Could a potential all-British clash for the all the marbles – The Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World actually be on the cards? Surely not…

 

Freddie Flintoff Punches like a Girl

He showed great courage and deserves praise in making his debut in front of thousands of fans, with no prior boxing experience, even if the deck was stacked in his favour (two minute rounds?). Let’s face it though; he does kind of punch like a girl. Not to sound sexist but it was very hard to watch him slap and paw at his opponent and find a more apt comparison. The technique on display was very much on par with what you might expect from a few members of the fairer sex after a few too many in The Garage.

I can only guess as to what that might look like however, as I have never been there or in any other such place for that matter. Honest.

Flintoff waded in with punches to the point of being over-eager, and paid the price when he was dropped in the second round by a counter left hook. He wasn’t shaken enough to be discouraged and worked his way through the next five minutes to see an end to the contest and have his hand raised. Most likely, this will be his last fight also. Without any training, and knowing that the spectacle of the fight itself and the promotion he had for it won’t be replicated, it will be hard to justify coming back again. Unless he decides to dedicate himself fully to the craft and vie for a regional title of some sort in the next couple of years, there really seems little point in continuing. He’s proved what he needed to, and made a few more fans along the way.

So, getting punched in the face and being in the gym every day, or sitting next to Georgie Thompson in a Sky One television studio? Decisions, decisions.

 

Key Quotes from the domestic boxing action:

Fury:

“I’m the best heavyweight since Lennox Lewis and after this fight I want Vitali Klitschko or Wladimir Klitschko … Forget about David Haye and David Price”

Price:

“It was a bit scrappy at times, but that’s what you get when you fight Matt Skelton … I’m interested in all the heavyweights in the world, not just Tyson Fury”

Flintoff:

“I think as a personal achievement, this is the best … We saw the real deal in Price a bit ago … I’ve got no aspirations, don’t worry about that.”

 

Trout Stuns Cotto in MSG

The big talking point in the boxing world over the weekend was Miguel Cotto’s Madison Square Garden streak of seven wins without defeat being ended by a determined Austin Trout. The defending champion in the sanctioning body, Trout came to the ring first, was announced first and was generally playing second fiddle to the darling of the crowd in New York, Miguel Cotto. A sure-fire Hall of Famer, Cotto looked flat from the outset, a different fighter from the one who challenged Floyd Mayweather and beat up Antonio Margarito earlier in the year.

Sometimes fighters grow old overnight, and the old boxing adage seemed to be ringing true as Cotto looked shop-worn, his face swelling and marking up, as Trout landed crisp shots and boxed beautifully to confound the Puerto Rican legend. The scores raised a few eyebrows, with Trout getting the nod by six points twice and eleven points once. These seemed wide but Cotto had trouble with Trout’s size all night long and rarely troubled him. As linear champion Saul Alvarez looked on, Cotto surrendered his prized MSG record but as is always the case with him, did not go lightly. He pressed as much as he could against a taller, bigger man. By the time that the decision was being read, Saul Alvarez was gone, a fight to rekindle the Mexican-Puerto Rican rivalry gone with him.

With Cotto’s name value, other super-fights could certainly be made, but equally Cotto could walk away from the sport. Having made his money already, he is in the position of knowing that he is set for life, being aware of the fact he is still able to walk away from the business unscathed and he has made his intention not to fight for too long very clear in the past. Even at 32 years old, retirement would not be met with any criticism.

Cotto has other plans it seems:

“I’m not finished yet … I still have boxing in my mind. I just want to rest with my family the rest of the year. I never make excuses. I accept my defeats and I learn from them and I just move forward.”

 

BAMMA

No amount of witty headings can sum up what I’m about to say about BAMMA and their recent televised effort in BAMMA 11. I need a few more words to express how poorly the show was presented, how low the production values were, how terrible the fights on show were and how anyone watching with curiosity to see what this ‘MMA stuff’ was all about probably would have walked away with a very negative impression indeed.

Alex Reid is a tabloid ‘star’. At one point in his career, he was a promising fighter with solid skills. That isn’t the case now, but the good people at BAMMA seemed not to care about that, building the entire show on the ‘Return of Alex Reid’.

None of the undercard was featured. None of the actually relevant and talented pool of British MMA fighters (including the Scots) was showcased save for the main event. The focus was solely on Reid and his circus-like act coming into town and dragging a few casual fans to the dimly lit arena and towards their televisions.

I wonder if Channel Five would have aired the event at all had Reid not been part of the show.

It amazes me that Channel Five can get the boxing side of things right, signing the likes of Chris Eubank Jr. and Tyson Fury to deals, putting on regular shows (another next weekend) and promoting the talent, but then get MMA so very wrong.

 

Oh well, at least we have a returning UFC next week to satisfy our MMA craving properly, not to mention more boxing action with Pacquiao vs. Marquez and Mikkel Kessler returning to action.

 

Tune into Hard Copy come Friday for all the build-up to the weekend’s fight action when Jabs and Hooks returns.

 

Adil Qazi

@TheRealAdil


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