Dreams Of Holyfield: Title Quest Continues With TKO Of Maddalone

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 19, 2007

NEW YORK— Evander Holyfield (41-8-2, 27 KOs ) is the only boxer to win the unified WBC,WBA, and IBF championships in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions.

At age 44, Holyfield’s quest to fight for another world heavyweight title continues following an impressive third round TKO of Vinny Maddalone (27-4, 19 KOs) in front of more than 6,500 at the American Bank Arena in Corpus Christi, TX on Saturday.

The victory marked Holyfield’s third consecutive win (all in Texas ) since being reissued a boxing license last year. He’s now 3-0, 2 KOs and appears to be on course toward earning another heavyweight title fight.

Holyfield was quick on his feet in the opening round, fighting behind his left jab. Eventually, Holyfield would throw double jabs and left hooks which lacerated Maddalone’s right eye.

“I started off with the jab,” Holyfield said. “I was able to hit him with uppercuts and right hands. Punch from different angles.”

Maddalone, who kept charging into Holyfield, suffered a cut from an accidental head butt in the second round. Maddalone fought hard, but quickly became target practice for Holyfield.

“I was catching him with harder shots, but he lunged into me and got cut,” Holyfield added. “I knew that was a distraction for him.”

The fight came to an end at the 2:48 second mark after Holyfield drilled Maddalone with a series of left and right hooks that buckled Maddalone’s knees. Maddalone’s corner knew their fighter was overmatched and waved the fight off.

Holyfield is slowly positioning himself for a world title shot. It won’t be immediately, as the current heavyweight champions will have their plate full this spring.

Although IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko disposed of mandatory challenger Ray Austin in two rounds on March 10, there is talk of Wladimir facing Lamon Brewster in a rematch. Brewster took a serious beating against Wladimir before knocking out Klitschko to win the vacant WBO heavyweight title in April 2004.

WBA champion, unbeaten Nikolai Valuev has a mandatory defense on April 14 against Ruslan Chagaev in Germany .

WBO champion, Shannon Briggs will have to travel to Russia on June 2 for a mandatory defense against unbeaten southpaw, Sultan Ibragimov.

WBC champion, Oleg Maskaev is involved in a legal mess with the WBC. There is an ongoing debate as to whom he should fight next. Either mandatory challenger Sam Peter, who won two elimination fights against James Toney in 2006, or WBC “Champion Emeritus,” Vitali Klitschko.

Mormeck Unseats Bell, Wins WBC/WBA Cruiserweight Titles in Rematch

Jean-Marc Mormeck and O’Neil Bell fought in a rematch of their trilling cruiserweight championship fight in Jan. 2006. Bell and Mormeck fought a fierce battle that ended in the tenth round when Mormeck was knocked out in the tenth round.

Bell unified the WBC, WBA, and IBF 200-pound championships to become the first undisputed world cruiserweight champion since Evander Holyfield in 1988.

The rematch occurred in Levallos , France on Saturday. Both Bell and Mormeck fought a repeat of their entertaining battle on Mormeck’s home turf. Mormeck (33-3, 22 KOs) needed every ounce of energy to regain the unified WBC/WBA cruiserweight titles from Bell (26-2-1, 24 KOs ) with a 12-round unanimous decision at Palais des Sports Marcel Cerdan.

All three judges at ringside scored the bout for Mormeck 115-113 (twice) and 116-112.

Bell was stripped of the IBF title because he failed to make a mandatory defense against Steve Cunningham. Bell said he had a tooth ache that required time off from boxing. The rematch with Mormeck would be Bell ’s first fight in more than 14 months.

Mormeck, a 34-year-old from Pantin, France, appeared to be better prepared and more durable in the early rounds. Mormeck looked to pressure the champion against the ropes with hard left and right hooks and uppercuts.

Mormeck simply wanted to bang. Mormeck continued to land big shots in the third, but was greeted by two separate low blows from Bell . Mormeck was given as much time as needed to recover before staggering Bell backward with big shots.

By the fourth round, Bell-Mormeck II was similar to their first encounter. Bell , who often fought against the ropes, looked to slip punches before countering with hooks and uppercuts of his own. Mormeck was out to apply pressure and hurt the champion with big shots.

The difference was that Mormeck wasn’t the one-two punch fighter he was at Madison Square Garden . Instead, Mormeck threw three-four punch combinations and landed the bigger punches more consistently and did not stagger as much when Bell countered.

Open scoring was announced to the crowd at the end of the fourth round. When they announced that Mormeck held a close lead on the scorecards of the three official judges at ringside, the fifth round had already begun.

Also, it took a lot of the anticipation and the drama out of the fight because fans felt reassured that Mormeck was winning. The scores were announced in French, Bell speaks and understands English. The challenger unfairly had a clear advantage.

Mormeck was dominant in the first half of the fight, but fatigue and problems dealing with Bell’s 6-foot-0 phrase soon followed.

Bell’s strategy of leaning against the ropes to counter Mormeck put Bell in a hole in the scorecards. Bell ’s strategy was effective towards the end of the sixth round when he had Mormeck out on his feet after landing two hard rights to the chin. The ropes literally held Bell upwards, as the bell sounded to end the sixth round.

In the seventh, both fighters showed fatigue, which worsened as the fight progressed. Bell wobbled after Mormeck landed one jab at a time. Bell missing punches from close range. Mormeck staggering around the ring because he was so tired.

In the eighth, both Mormeck and Bell at one point stopped moving and stared at one another because they were both so tired. Fatigue causes many athletes to make mistakes, as Mormeck dropped Bell to his knees following a low blow.

Bell hit with a low-blow and given five minutes to recover but only took a few moments. Mormeck’s fatiguing allowed Bell to creep back into the fight on the three judges’ scorecards.

In the final round, Bell clearly needed a knockout or at least a knockdown to retain his championships. The champion couldn’t land anything significant. Bell spent time chasing Mormeck around the ring, but without urgency. An exhausted Mormeck clinched and peddled on his bicycle to avoid Bell , who didn’t throw a punch unless he had a stationary target.

Mormeck-Bell III: The first encounter was pretty good. The rematch thrilled. Both fights were very close, and highly anticipated, but the score is even 1-1. Mormeck and Bell should have a third and decisive encounter to determine who the best cruiserweight in the world is.

Bell came back from a beating to knockout Mormeck in their first fight. Bell had Mormeck out on his feet at the sixth round of the rematch, but lost his title by a single round on two of the three judges’ scorecards. Had two of the three officials who scored the bout 115-113 given Bell a round, he would have retained his titles on a majority draw.

A third fight should be made.