Burnett Survives A Last-Second Shot

By Tom Donelson
Updated: June 22, 2008

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — There was just one second left before Kevin Burnett would celebrate his 13th victory.Suddenly, a right hand came crashing over hislazy left and he collapsed.

1-2-3, the count began and Burnett lay prostrated on the ground.4-5-6, and Burnett struggled to get up; knowing that if he could not beat the count, he would lose a fight he had easily within reach.

7-8-9, Burnett staggered toward his corner and victory was barely his.

Boxing is the only sport that one punch can overcome an overwhelming lead.

In this match featured on ESPN, Burnett used his height to build up a solid lead over Horace Grant.In the fourth round, Burnett maneuvered Grant to the rope and unleashed a barrage of punches that sent him down and nearly ended the fight right then and there.

Throughout the fight, Grant never could reach the taller Burnett and even when Burnett gave up his height, he still got the better of the exchanges or he did until the 2:59 second mark of the eighth and final round.

That is when the right nearly derailed the Burnett express.For 10 dramatic seconds, Burnett struggled to beat the count and fans saw the drama unfolded; not knowing if Burnett would beat the count. He did and won the decision.

Alonzo Butler had never lost a fight in 27 fights but on this night, he was fighting his most experience opponent. For most of his career, Butler faced inferior opponents and never truly was challenged or in danger of losing his zero.

His career nearly ended 13 months ago when he suffered a detached retina and now he facedAhunanya Friday.He often came up short when he faced better opponents but his experience would challenge the more inexperienced Butler.

The first three rounds went Butler way as he merely jabbed and then threw slow plodding combinations that never seemed to bother Ahunanya but he didn’t seem willing to fight back.

With a minute and half left in the fourth, Ahunanya overhand right sent Butler reeling into the rope.Butler covered up but three straight Ahunanya’s right sent him down and now with a minute left, Butler saw his zero in danger of becoming one.

Ahunanya had a minute to dispatch Butler but he did not follow up on his successes and allowed Butler to survive but the fight was essentially over.

Ahunanya took control of the fight as his overhand swelled Butler’s left eye. In the eighth round, Butler’s nearly went down for good.His eyes ballooned up and he couldn’t see the right hand that often hit its mark.

Butler was ready to quit as he moved toward his corner but he saw the TV camera. He refused to fold but it didn’t stop the inevitable result.

Butler showed guts but he didn’t show the skills required of a championship fighter and his swollen eye was the same eye that that required surgery.This was a night of heavyweight prospects.

Burnett showed that he has much ground left to cover before there is even talk of him challengingthe Heavyweight elites.As for Butler, he only survived ten rounds because Ahunanya allowed Butler to survive by simply easing off the pedal.

Ahunanya could have ended the fight in the fourth round, the fifth round or even the eighth round. Butler survival was as much a gift as due to his own ability to survive.He showed that he was too slow and easy to hit; but his power did not have the same impact with higher caliber of opponent.

For team Butler, the time has come to decide whether Butler can really win a title and if the journey should continued.

On ShoBox, Andre Ward showed that he is slowly becoming a force in the Super Middleweights. Using his quick hands and superior skills, he constantly outboxed Jerson Ravelo.

Ravelo’s biggest weapon was his right hand but Ward neutralized that by using a quick left jab that lead to quick combinations. His defensive skills avoided the Ravelo’s right.

By the fourth round, the skill level that existed between the two fighters became more obvious. From this point, Ward simply broke Ravelo down and when he finally ended the fight in the eighth round, it was obvious who was going to win.

It was a question of when and Ward threw a combination that ended the fight; forcing Ravelo’s corner to throw in the towel and concede.

Friday night saw one prospect suffer a devastating loss and his weakness exposed as Butler did not have any answer for Ahunanya.Then fighting in the Cayman Island, Ward showed that potential may soon lead to a title shot.