Braithwaite- Jones: The Fight Does Matter

By Tom Donelson
Updated: September 1, 2005

Braithwaite & Guillermo 

Wayne Braithwaite & Guillermo Jones

NEW YORK — While much ink has been spilled on various upcoming fights such as Peters-Klitschko, very little is being spilled on the Wayne Braithwaite-Guillermo Jones bout. This bout is intriguing simply because just a few months ago, Braithwaite was considered one of the top two Cruiserweights in the world.

Braithwaite ran into a buzz saw in French slugger Jean Mormeck, who dominated their fight. Throughout the fight, Braithwaite found himself on the ropes and fending off the Mormeck pressure. The question that remains is what does he have left after just a tough bout and is he ready to resume another attempt at the title?

Guillermo Jones recently upset Kelvin Davis with a fourth round TKO and is a tall boxer who can give Braithwaite trouble. While Braithwaite is considered the harder puncher, Jones showed that he could hold his own in the power game in his defeat of Davis. Many have discounted this fight because of Jones own history as a fighter.

He began his career as a welterweight and most boxing pundits don’t view Jones as legitimate cruiserweight but a bulk upped junior middleweight. But then the last time I checked, another bulked up middleweight named James Toney did okay as a cruiserweight and has done well as a heavyweight. At 6-4, Jones does have the height to carry the Cruiserweight poundage and will actually be the taller fighter in this fight.

And Jones fought the WBO Cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson to a draw in Nelson back yard, so he is a legitimate contender in the Cruiserweight division. This is a fight that either fighter can win.

Many pundits still discount the Cruiserweight but I, for one, enjoy this division. Many of the fighters are talented, even if they are unheralded and Braithewaite is one of those boxer-punchers who can excite a crowd by both his wizardry in the ring and power.

This fight does have significance for if Braithewaite loses, his chances to capture another Cruiserweight champion is severely curtailed. An impressive win and maybe, Braithewaite gets another chance at the man who demolished him last time. As for Jones, win and he becomes a serious contender with his next bout for a championship belt. Lose and his championship hopes could easily evaporate. For both men, there is a lot at stake.

Boxing fans will be treated to two boxers who can punch and fight. For a tall man, Jones can actually fight well on the inside with an effective uppercut, so this is fight that could feature much action.

Then there is the story of Owen Beck. In his last fight against Monte Barrett, Beck put up a spirited fight against a solid top ten contender and lost. Undefeated going into the Barrett fight, Beck had many question marks that needed to be answered.

He showed that he was a solid fighter but he also showed that he was not yet a top ten contender. The jury is still out on Owen “What the Heck” Beck.

Beck was originally preparing to fight Serguei Lyakhovich in Chicago but the fight was moved to Cleveland as part of Don King’s return home. A training injury to Lyakhovich forced the Belarussian to pull out and now Beck is fighting Cleveland native Ray Austin. Austin last effort was a draw against Larry Donald and no one will confuse Austin with being a top ten contender.

Beck can’t just be satisfied with a win, he must be impressive. This fight is a fight to see what Beck learned from his defeat at the hands of Barrett and if he is potential top ten contender. In Austin, he is challenging a fighter who is nearly five inches taller and fighting in his hometown.

For both fighters, they have the opportunity to show on a major television event what they have. This is Beck’s chance to show that he is a legitimate heavyweight contender, but to prove that he belongs with the elites of the heavyweights, he must beat Austin-decisively.