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Great Boxing Weekend
Diaz and Brock move forward
Prospects go through different stages. First, there are the tomato cans and the barely breathing. Then there are the older fighters on last legs, followed by top twenty fighters but not the elites. Then there are the top ten fighters.
Calvin Brock fought a top twenty fighter in Clifford “The Black Rhino” Etienne and this was his first major test since he fought the undefeated Terry Smith last May. Etienne looked sharp in the first round as he ripped some effective body shots. His punches looked sharper and more compact as Brock was willing to fight inside with Etienne.
ESPN Teddy Atlas noticed that the “Black Rhino” was leaning in and vulnerable to Brock uppercuts. Atlas proved prophetic as Brock took advantage of Etienne’s mistakes. In the second round, Brock took a step back and unleashed left and right combination then sent Etienne down. Etienne made a comeback in the last thirty seconds as his experience allowed him to survive. All this little flurry did was delay the inevitable. In the third round, Brock laid another right to the top of Etienne’s head and down went the “Black Rhino.” Brock had Etienne in trouble and unlike the second round, he did not allow this opportunity to slip past him. So Brock finished off Etienne for a nice three round victory.
In the main event, Juan Diaz defeated Billy Irwin in business like fashion. Like a typical Diaz fight, the Baby Bull went after Irwin with a variety of punches from a variety of angles. He jabbed and then bullied Irwin on the ropes. Irwin only hope was to launch a counter punch but this hope soon dissipated among the flurry of punches coming his direction. In the second round, Irwin went down from a Diaz left hook. This was only the second time Irwin had ever been down in his career. As one ESPN announcer observed, Diaz pursued Irwin with relentless fury and Irwin became a perpetual punching bag. Irwin was reduced to just blocking shots as oppose to doing some actual countering. In the sixth round, Irwin only landed three punches.
The fight ended in the ninth round, as the referee was tired of seeing Irwin getting hit. Irwin was still standing and in possession of his wit, but his face was swollen from his beating. Enough was enough.
What can we gather from these fights? As for Brock, he took a small step toward the Heavyweight top ten. Brock showed power and the ability to end a fight against a top 20 fighter but he has yet to face a top ten fighter. The jury is still out on Brock as a heavyweight contender but at least, he has a shot at some big money fights.
As for Diaz, the biggest obstacle is his lack of power. Yes, he did stop Irwin and Irwin is a tough man to stop but with the amount of leather that Irwin was taking- should Diaz have stopped Irwin earlier? Diaz throws 70-100 punches a round and he is accurate with enough of his power shots but opponents keep lasting in the later rounds. Diaz is one of the world best lightweights right now but he is not yet the best.
SHO BOX: The Dundee Factor
I will admit one thing: I favored Chris Smith over David Estrada in a squeaker. While Estrada’s victory did not surprise, the fashion of his victory did. Going into this fight, I felt that Chris Smith was the better technician but on this night, I did not take in account the Dundee factor. Estrada is trained by Angelo Dundee, the legend and during this fight; Dundee mark was all over it. Estrada used a variety of punches and threw those punches from a variety of angles. He never stood in front of Smith and effectively slowed Smith down with vicious body shots.
Showtime Steve Farhood stated that Estrada needed to build up a lead on the scorecard to stave off any Smith comeback in the second half of the fight. Neither fighter was noted for knock out punches but both were capable of throwing volley of punches throughout the fight. Estrada followed Farhood advice and took the first four rounds. Smith took over the last minute of the fifth round and won the sixth round. Going into the second half of the fight, Smith had some momentum build up. This proved illusionary. Estrada body attack slowed Smith down and sapped his strength. With a five-punch combination culminated by a left-right combination, Estrada sent Smith down. If Estrada did not lose his mouthpiece with thirty-second left in the round, he may have ended the fight right then and there. Instead, Smith was given a reprieve but Estrada took over the fight for good. In the eleventh, Estrada stopped Smith and walked with a TKO victory.
In the preliminary fight, Sechew Powell took care of business as he easily out boxed the game Pat “One Punch” Thompson. Powell moved, jabbed and then let loose with sharp combinations. In his previous exposure to Sho Box audiences, Powell was lucky to escape with a decision. In this fight, there was really no round that you could have given to Thompson. Thompson repeatedly tried to throw that one punch to turn the fight around but he could never penetrate Powell defenses nor could he deal with Powell quicker hands.
Right now, the welterweight division is the midst of transition and there is plenty of room at the top for the moment. Estrada certainly has the skill to be a contender and his ability to learn from previous fights is a plus. Estrada improves with every fight. However, the Welterweight may soon be a headline division with De La Hoya coming back and some of the better junior welterweights weighing their options to move up. As for Smith, one loss should not destroy a career. In this fight, he was out fought and out thought. Smith proved to be one dimensioned against Estrada but this was due to Estrada’s own movements.
Smith allowed Estrada to dictate the pace of the fight and this cost him. He lost this fight as much to Estrada strategy as Estrada skills. Smith certainly has talent and the ability to make a run at the title. He needs to learn from this fight.
As Powell took a giant step as he appeared fluid in his movement and allowed his speed to dictate the pace. This was small step for Powell and a giant step for Estrada. Once again, Sho Box gave us a competitive evening of boxing in which we saw young prospects take risks in their career. There were winners and there were losers but on this night, even the losers showed potential.
Mayweather Puts on a Show
Al Bernstein told me a few months back that Floyd Mayweather was a special fighter. Last Saturday night, Mayweather marched to a future title bout with Arturo Gatti. He moved and jabbed the first three rounds and Henry Bruseles was mostly swinging at air while seemly wearing Mayweather punches on his face.
In the fourth, Mayweather stood in front of Bruseles but it didn’t do the Puerto Rican fighter any good. For the next five rounds, he got nailed by hooks, right hand crosses and uppercuts. In the seventh round, Mayweather told Jim Lampley that the Patriots will beat the Steelers while nailing his opponent with a sharp three punch combination. And before stopping Bruseles in the eight, he tells Lampley that Vicks will lead the Falcons over the Eagles. This while landing punches upon his hapless opponent. So Mayweather not only won the fight in easy fashion but found time in between punches to chat with the HBO crew.
After a smashing a right to Bruseles midsection send the game Puerto Rican down for the first time, Mayweather ended the show with flashy combinations and Bruseles corner seen enough.
In the prelim, Samuel Peters looked the best in his career as he dispatched Yanqui Diaz. Diaz previously ended Juan Carlos Gomez run as Heavyweight contender with a first round knock out. When Diaz hit Peters with the same right that stopped Gomez, he only seemed to make Peters mad. As for Peters, he nailed Diaz with effective body shots that weakened his Cuban opponent and his two fisted attack sent Diaz down five times n the first 13 minutes of the fight. The end came after Peters landed a 10-punch combination that went unanswered. The referee ended the fight, figuring that maybe after seeing Diaz go down five times previously that this fight was essentially over.
Peters looks ready for a top ten competitor as he is putting his punches together better. He jabbed effectively and his body shots paralyzed Diaz. Just as Brock took a step in the right direction so did Peters. The march of Heavyweight prospect moves forward. As for Mayweather, he is waiting for Gatti to win next week.