Brown Almost Made It

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 23, 2005

O’Neil Bell

NEW YORK — Poor Dale Brown. Despite bleeding from cuts, Brown fought a brilliant fight. He out punched and at times, out slugged the slugger, O’Neil Bell. In the third round, Brown was within a couple of punches from owning a piece of the cruiserweight championship.

Compubox showed the dominance of Brown as he easily out punched Bell. The only place that Brown lost the fight was on the judges’ scorecard and that was the only scorecard that counted.

This was a fight that showed the problem with judging. Some judges just love to see a fighter move forward, even if it is ineffectual. And there were rounds that were close but somehow, what became apparent-

Brown was the more effective and accurate puncher. On top of that, his ability to control the pace of the fight and force Bell to fight his fight is yet another reason that Brown should have won.

Regardless, this was an entertaining fight and this bout simply proved that the Cruiserweight may be one of boxing more interesting and deep division. There are good fighters in this division and yet no one knows or cares. Too bad.

Cruiserweights ply their trade away from the maddening crowd and publicity. The bastards of boxing, cruiserweights are stuck in the nether land between the traditional light heavyweight and heavyweight division. It is that division devoid of stars and largely forgotten by boxing fans and pundits alike.

This fight showed the contrast of styles. Dale Brown is a slick boxer with less than sculptured body and Bell is a one man wrecking machine, who can end a fight with one punch. This fight prove the old axiom, styles makes fights.

Brown constant combinations and movement provided problems for Bell. Bell tried to box with Brown but more often; he found himself that receiving end of Brown sharp jabs and straight right.

Bell scored effectively with body shots at times throughout the fight and for the most part, he was the aggressor. Brown spent most of the time counter punching but there were moments that Brown stunned Bell.

Bell’s power became evident when his right hand opened a cut over Brown left eye. There were moments that the cut bothered Brown.

While Bell won the decision, Brown gave a good account of himself. Brown had been knocked out when he fought the more heavy-handed fighters in the division and Bell was yet another heavy-handed fighter who stood in the way of a championship belt.

On this night, it was not the opponent who proved Brown undoing but the judges, who saw a different fight than the rest of us. Brown won the fight in the ring and lost on the scorecard. It is a fate that happens occasionally in boxing but once again, the Cruiserweights showed that this is division worth watching.

Americo Santos and Isaac Mendoza

Americo Santos fights like a wind up doll. He throws punches, punches and more punches. He never stops and in his match up with Isaac Mendoza, Santos threw the first punch and never pause. Santos idea of defense is to throw punches. Santos idea of offense is to throw punches. There is no science to Santos.

Isaac Mendoza was on the receiving end of the windmill Santos as he never seems have a chance to catch his breath. Mendoza is a counter puncher and boxer with little power as his five knockouts in his 13 wins attest to. Mendoza is also accurate puncher and his accuracy served him well as he plenty of opportunity to counter the hard charging Santos.

The fight pattern was Santos throwing four or five punches in a row and Mendoza countered. Mendoza consistently nailed Santos with left hooks and straight rights. What saved Santos was his chin and lack of punch in Mendoza punches.

Both fighters came in this undefeated. Santos had 17 knockouts in his first 21st fight and Mendoza had 13 wins. For both fighters, this was their first test against a quality opponent. So what does this fight proved?

Santos is a well-conditioned fighter but his lack of defensive skills or disregard for defense will end his run at the top. Against a top quality fighter with a little punch, Santos will end up on the canvas and counting sheep.

As for Mendoza, his lack of punch may be his undoing. Mendoza has good defensive skills and his ability to take a punch was evident all night as he took several good shots from Santos. And he nailed Santos with several straight rights and left hooks but Santos was still standing at the end.

One fight does not make a career and championship fighters adjust. Santos must learn the art of defense. For Mendoza, his clever boxing must make up for a lack of punch. Both fighters have the potential to be top ten but both fighters have weakness that could derail their career.

As for the fight itself, Santos won a split decision in a fight that could have gone either way. It was that close. Both fighters demonstrated their strengths but also their weakness.