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Green wins a big one — barely
The 168-pound division is deep and as one other pundit noted, one could have easily found enough fighters to have two separate six men tournaments; it is that deep of a division.
It is a division minus superstars who can attract enough for a PPV event but it is a division filled with great fighters from one through twelve and beyond. Green felt disrespected when he was not asked to fight in the tournament and he wanted to send a message with a devastating victory.
He needed to send that message that he was a top dog that needed to be considered for a championship bout. Green’s goal is to fight the winner of the Andrade-Bute bout but first he had to get by Simms, a last second replacement.
Simms is one of those fighters who’s slippery and smart; a fighter who knows how to find a way to win a fight while making the other fighter look bad in the process. Undefeated, Simms never had that big fight in a long career, but he was fighting at a higher weight against a knockout puncher.
Since neither fighter prepared for the other, the first round was a feeler round as each fighter prodded each other out for weakness. Simms, normally a southpaw, fought in an orthodox stance and this confused Green, who was often confused by the slick Simms.
As Showtime’s Steve Farhood quipped, Simms probably doesn’t know his strategy when he marches into the ring; it certainly made it difficult for Green.
Over the first five rounds, Green had the slight advantage as he scored with enough punches to take a lead but there was never the feeling that Green really had handle on Simms’ style.
To make it worse, Simms switched to his southpaw stance in the sixth round and this slowed Green down completely. He looked bewildered on where to place his punches and on occasion; he look like he was thinking through a complicated math problem.
Green looked like he solved the Simms riddle as he finally connected on solid combination and even laded his best punch in the eighth round and at the end of the round, both fighters threw volleys of punches but Green got the better of it.
Simms turned back to orthodox in the ninth and then turned southpaw in the final round; once again confusing Green. He did not do enough to win but he did enough to slow down the Green express and Green did not look good in winning the decision.
While Green wanted to look impressive with a knock out victory, he fought a slick opponent whose defensive skills made looking good impossible. As one Showtime announcer noted, maybe by looking bad; it will make it easier for Green to get a championship shot.
Green did what he needed to defeat against a difficult opponent. At this level in a division deeper than the Pacific Ocean; this is not an easy thing to do.
Henry Crawford works a full time job but he fought well enough to be undefeated but he was facing a tough opponent against Antowne Smith. Smith is a tough, aggressive fighter who seems to have a habit of upsetting top prospects and often his appearance on ShoBox was to the opponent for another feature fighter only to send the feature fighter home in defeat.
Crawford took the first two rounds with some brilliant boxing. Working on angles, he threw combinations out of harm way of Smith. He looked bewildered and slow but at the end of the third round, Smith landed some solid body shots that slowed Crawford.
From this point, Smith took over the fight with aggressive game plan that forced Crawford to fight off the ropes. Crawford, who threw effective punches in the early rounds, started to threw wild punches that missed Smith. He countered with vicious body shots.
In the sixth round, Smith nearly ended the fight as he pounded Crawford and sending him down with nearly two minutes left in the round. He showed guts as his legs were nothing but rubber and he was barely standing. The fight could have been stopped but Smith could not finish off a nearly beaten fighter.
In the seventh round, Crawford came back by boxing and moving while he threw quick combinations; looking like he did in the early rounds but this was an “Indian Summer” as he was fighting on borrowed time.
Smith pursued Crawford in the eighth and ninth round as he once again took control.
In the early part of the ninth round, Crawford went toe to toe with Smith but this merely lead to a repeat of the sixth round. he stayed on his feet but he went back to his corner as a beaten fighter.
His corner asked him questions but realize that Crawford did not recovered from a Smith overhand right with 12 seconds left. He could not recover and his corner refused to allow him to go out for the 10th round.
Smith won the fight like he always does by out hustling his opponent. Crawford showed talent that maybe working full time on his craft could produced an elite boxer.
In the opening bout, the undefeated Marcus Johnson fought the tough Victor Villereal. Johnson’s quick hands and skills proved decisive as he consistently beat Villereal to the punch as he nailed his opponent with left hooks to the body and moving those hooks to the head.
Throughout most of the fight, Villereal took Johnson’s best. The only time that it looked like just maybe Johnson could end the fight early was when he sent Villereal reeling down to the canvas with a minute left in the sixth.
He survived the knock down, but he did not have the power to slow Johnson down or the hand speed to connect reliably to threaten Johnson. He’s a fine prospects, but he has yet to move beyond prospect level as Villereal may have been his toughest opponent.
Allen Green is still one of the best Super Middleweights and found a way to win against a tricky opponent and Antowne Smith showed that he is a worthy opponent for an up and coming fighter but one question remains, can Smith move up to an elite standing or are we seeing Smith at his very best against top 20 opponents?