Sunday’s Boxing Notebook

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 27, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — When unbeaten WBO junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) defends his championship on August 1, it will be a homecoming. However, former WBA/WBO and IBF lightweight champion Nate Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) promises to ruin the champion’s return to his native California.

” I have no personal beefs with Timmy, and I respect him for taking this fight when a sanctioning organization hasn’t ordered him to do it,” Campbell said in a statement. “Bradley has two things that I want: A world title and his undefeated record, and I will take them both.”

Bradley, fighting for the first time since beating Kendall Holt to unify the WBC/WBO 140-pound championships in April, makes the first defense of the WBO title against Campbell. The bout will be the headline attraction of a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing event at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino, Resort, & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA. The telecast begins at 9 PM/ET and delayed on the West Coast.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to fight out here, a dream come true,” Bradley said of fighting a few minutes away from his native North Palm Springs. “There will not be added pressure. I will not get out of character when I fight Nate. I learned a lot from the Holt fight and I will stick to my game plan.”

Bradley came off the floor against the hard-punching Holt to win a close unanimous decision through 12-rounds at the Bell Centre in Montreal. It was Bradley’s third consecutive victory in a world title fight. Bradley shocked the boxing world in May, claiming a 12-round split decision against Junior Witter in his native England to win the WBC title. Bradley also defeated Edner Cherry (W 12) in September.

Bradley understands that fighting someone like Campbell is not an easy task. Campbell is a very crafty boxer, has great technique, and can punch. The 37 year-old Campbell will be moving up in weight to 140 pounds having vacated his championships after failing to make the 135-pound limit in his last bout against Ali Funeka (W 12) in February.

” Nate is a good person,” Bradley added. “He is a veteran that has been watching me for a while but what he saw from outside of the ring is different than what he will feel inside. (Junior) Witter and (Kendall) Holt both saw me as a lesser threat. Ask them what they think now. And as great as Campbell thinks he is as a fighter, I am in my prime and he will not take that away from me.”

Klitschko proves heavyweight king

***image7***Unified IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (53-3, 47 KOs) dominated Ruslan Chagaev (25-1-1, 17 KOs), the WBA heavyweight champion “in recess.” The bout was stopped at the end of the ninth round, as Klitschko’s performance was nothing short of excellent.

Klitschko’s showcase was highlighted by a dazzling in-ring entrance which consisted of fireworks, a video-taped message from the 6-foot-7 Ukrainian star, and the cheers of more than 61,000 at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Saturday.

Klitschko’s left-jab and straight right was all he needed to pummel Chagaev, who was heavily credited for being one of the best heavys on the planet. Chagaev handed the 7-foot-3 Nikolai Valuev his only defeat and out-pointed John Ruiz. Klitschko beat Chagaev with relative ease, as if to say the Ukrainian giant’s effort was effortless.

Klitschko dropped Chagaev with that same combination in the second round. Chagaev, recognized for his inside fighting ability, simply could not get near Wladimir. Klitschko dictated the pace of the bout from the start. To Chagaev’s credit, he took some serious sledgehammer punches and he kept hanging around. The event appeared to be too much for Chagaev, as he appeared out of his element from the start.

After eight rounds, you could see the damage of Klitschko’s power and accuracy. Chagaev had cuts across this eyes and ears.

There was concern as to what would happen if and when Chagaev started bleeding because, he did test positive for Hepatitis B which caused a cancellation of his rematch with Valuev three weeks ago. Everyone, including Klitschko and veteran referee Eddie Cotton, remained calm and showed virtually no signs of panic.

Also, Chagaev’s blood tests and medical records proved that his Hepatitis blood levels had been consistently stable for several years and it was low enough for him to compete.

Chagaev was a late substitute for former WBC/WBA and WBO cruiserweight champion David Haye, who pulled out of the fight due to a back injury. However, some people speculate that Haye may have pulled out because Sentanta Sports may not have been able to guarantee the purse amount Haye initially agreed to. Others have speculated that Haye wasn’t ready to fight a guy with a power, strength, and size of Klitschko.

Klitschko Theater

One of the highlights of 2009 was Wladimir Klitschko’s ring entrance on Saturday. It was electric and simply amazing. You won’t get that kind of in-ring entrance at a live sporting event here in the United States unless if it’s at a WWE live event.

Wladimir Klitschko’s dazzling ring entrance

For the record, one of the greatest ring introductions for any fighter had to have occurred in October of last year when Vitali Klitschko arrived to defeat Samuel Peter for the WBC heavyweight title. Video-taped mirages of World Heavyweight Champions George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Mike Tyson appeared through lasers, as they each heavily endorsed Vitali on his way to the ring.

Vitali Klitschko enters to Heavyweight Greats

Lennox Lewis more than deserving of Fame

When Lennox Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 13, there was a feeling of admiration. You get the feeling as if to say, “yes, it’s Lewis’ time to be immortalized amongst boxing’s elite.”

Lennox Lewis was one of the biggest men to ever lace up the gloves professionally. Before there was ever a 7-foot-3, 325-pound Valuev or a pair of 6-foot-7 brothers named Klitschko, there stood Lennox Lewis, athletic 6-foot-5, 240-pound fighter born in London, England. No one his size had his ability to punch, move, and outsmart his opponents the way he did during a successful 16 year-year professional career that included three world heavyweight title reigns and a remarkable 41-2-1, 32 KO record.

Lewis also had an extensive amateur background that included a gold medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Lewis had a towering presence to go along with a very relaxed and mellow attitude. He was a thinker, as his boxing matches often became chess matches. In the end, Lewis would often KO his opponents.

Lewis wasn’t accepted as “a people’s champion” because he wasn’t as boastful about knocking out his opponents like Mike Tyson. Lewis didn’t fight with that Evander Holyfield warrior mentality all the time. Lewis was just as laidback as he wanted to be. He took his time to win the majority of his fights convincingly. But when Lewis was assertive, aggressive, and attacked with vigor hardly anyone come close to beating him.

In the words of Bernard Hopkins: “you will miss me when I am gone.” Through all the years fans would boo and root against Lewis, people forget that he was still one of the most recognizable fighters in the world and he was consistent. Once Holyfield and Tyson increasingly faded out of the picture, it was Lewis who emerged as the face of the heavyweight class. Since Lewis retired months after a compelling stoppage of Vitali Klitschko (TKO 6) on cuts in 2003, a lot of people chant Lewis’ name in hopes of encouraging him to fight once more.

Lewis announced his retirement on February 6, 2004 and vowed never to return to the ring. Lewis has since kept his promise. The reward was an induction into the 2009 International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Amongst some of Lewis’ biggest highlights was his knockout win over Mike Tyson in defense of the world heavyweight championship in 2002. Lewis enjoyed pummeling Tyson for eight rounds and making him eat his words for threatening to rip Lewis heart and eating his children.

Also, the most famous and controversial 12-round draw with Holyfield in March 1999 at Madison Square Garden really put Lewis as a fan-favorite. Holyfield said he would KO Lewis in the third round, but it was Lewis who was ripping Holyfield with left jabs and right crosses to the astonishment of the sports world. Remember, people fell in love with Holyfield after he twice defeated Tyson a couple years earlier. So for Lewis to dominate Holyfield in the World’s Most Famous Arena and get robbed of a well decision, the boxing community had no choice but to support him.

Lewis’ biggest win, aside from knocking out Mike Tyson, had to have been his immediate rematch with Holyfield in November 1999 to unify the world heavyweight championship. The fight was more competitive, as Holyfield was more effective on the inside. However, Lewis overwhelming size and reach was a little too much for an aging warrior.

Even though Lewis shockingly lost the world heavyweight championship by knockout to Oliver McCall (September 1994) and Hasim Rahman (April 2001), Lewis managed to avenge both defeats convincingly.

Lewis’ title defenses were always meaningful because, very few fighters his size had his ability to box and punch the way he did. Lewis’ most potent weapon was his sharp right hand. No one in the division had the ability to throw a right hand as crisp and sharp, as Lewis did. Lewis’ right hand power stood out in defenses against Tyson (KO 8), Rahman (KO 4), V. Klitschko (TKO 6), Andrew Golota (KO 1), Shannon Briggs (KO 5), Frans Botha (KO 2), and Michael Grant (KO 2).

A tremendous credit to Lewis’ success following the loss to McCall in ’94 has to be attributed to trainer Emmanuel Steward. He worked with Lewis tirelessly helping to improve his balance, left hand, combination punching, pacing, and overall effectiveness as a power-punching boxer. Steward helped craft and perfect Lewis’ style which is why Lewis’ best years were later in his career.

DiBella signs welterweight prospect

Lou DiBella has recently announced the signing of once-beaten welterweight Antwone Smith (16-1-1, 8 KOs). At age 22, Smith has defeated such as Richard Gutierrez, Norberto Gonzalez and Juan Camilo Novoa. As an amateur, Smith had a decent career that included a Florida Golden Gloves title.

“I became more and more impressed as I watched Antwone win four consecutive nationally televised ESPN fights as the underdog,” said DiBella. “He is a special talent and will be a significant player in the welterweight division.”

DiBella announces Shaun George vs. Chris Henry in Philly

On July 10, at The Arena in Philadelphia is where light heavyweight Shaun George (18-2-2, 9 KOs) meets Chris Henry (23-2, 18 KOs). The bout will be part of an ESPN 2 fight card, also featuring Matt Godfrey vs. Shawn Hawk.

“This is a great fight for Shaun on his path to a future title shot,” said his promoter Lou DiBella.

George is best-known for his knockout of two-time heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd last year. Henry’s experience includes battles with Adrian Daiconu and Yusef Mack.

“I feel like every fight is life or death for me,” said George. “This fight will be no different. I am on a mission to prove I am the best.”

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