An Interesting Card On HBO

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: March 28, 2010

IOWA CITY (BASN) — Saturday night, Ali Funeka came into the fight against Jose Guzman with one idea on his mind, to revenge a draw that should have been a W.

Even Guzman admitted that he lost their first encounter and he came into what was suppose to be a title fight nine pound over weight.

Only Funeka could win a championship belt if victorious but for him, it was not just about championship but about showing Guzman and the world that he is the champion.

In the first round, Funeka spent the first round chasing Guzman as he boxed around from the taller Funeka but neither fighter really connected with a serious punch.

In the second round, Funeka pressured Guzman, but he landed some effective counters against the South African fighter whereas Funeka could not land his jab effective or consistently.

Funika started to warm up in the third round as he connected on combinations as he threw more punches as Guzman slow down his pace and after the fourth round, Guzman breathed heavily while taking instructions from his corner.

Halfway through the sixth round, Funika left jab bloodied Guzman nose but Guzman delivered a right hand that dropped Funika and changed the character of the fight. After essentially taking off three rounds, Guzman became the aggressor.

The knockdown gave Guzman the edge going into the second half of the fight. (HBO’s Harold Lederman had the bout 58-55 at the halfway mark but I had the bout 57-56 Guzman.)

Funika threw the majority of the punches in the seventh and eighth round but Guzman threw the harder punches but question that remains for any fight does activity rank over power?

In the 10th round, Guzman landed effective left hooks to the body that effectively stopped Funika activity and forced Funika to retreat for the first time in four rounds or since the sixth round.

For Guzman, the problem was how the judges would score the fight as he was being out punched two to one throughout most of the fight. I had the fight 95- 94 in Funika favorite, but Lederman has Guzman ahead 96-93 with two rounds left.

Guzman scored two big rights in a non-descript 11th round as Funika hesitated to throw punches and let his hands loose. Going into the final rounds, Guzman used his experience to move around in order to throw his right hand and while very few punches landed by either fighter, Guzman landed the more telling punches.

In a close fight that could have gone either way, I had Guzman squeezing out a close fight, 114-113 as he took the final two rounds. Lederman had the fight 116-111 but he admitted that many rounds were close and could have gone either way so it was a fight could have been scored in either fighter favor.

The judges scored fight a split decision with Guzman winning 114-113 and 116-111 on two cards and Funika wining only one card with a score of 114-113. While Jose Guzman won the fight, he came into the fight nine pounds overweight which gave him advantages as Funika punches did not have the same effect they did in their first fight.

Max Kellerman stated it well that it was more than just poor sportsmanship for a fighter not to come in under weight and that several big fights over the past decade have been spoiled when fighters don’t come in the proper weight.

Guzman made no effort to make weight and this gave him a distinct advantage. He may have his victory but he should be suspended.

OTHER BOUTS

In one of boxing deepest division, the junior welterweights, Victor Cayo was a prospect who wanted to challenge one of the best in Marcos Ren Maidana, who showed his power previously when he forced another young contender, Victor Ortiz to quit.

In the opening rounds, Cayo’s movement confuse Maidana as he couldn’t get his own attack going but Cayo’s wider punches lost their impact but he went from boxer to stalker as he forced Maidana to the rope at the end of the second round.

Just as the bell ending the round sounded, Maidana nailed a perfect left hook on Cayo’s head and sent him down. At the end of the third round, Maidana’s right hand found Cayo’s head and he retreated.

In a fight that started to resembled a bar room brawl, both fighter eschewed techniques for brute force. In the fifth round, both fighters exchanged punches but Maidana got the better as the best punch of the round was a Maidana left hook.

Both fighters showed the ability to take punches in particular Cayo, who took sledgehammer punches from Maidana. In the sixth round, a body shot by Maidana that followed several sledge hammer punches ended the fight as he finally sent Cayo down for the count.

Cayo showed guts but also showed that he is a raw talent with much to learn. As for Maidana, he showed that he is a heavy punching machine that many of the other contenders have so far avoided.

Andre Dirrell challenged the fearsome slugger Arthur Abraham as part of the Super Six Super Middleweight tournament and in the early rounds Dirrell looped his punch around the slow starting Abraham who traditionally wears his opponent down with persistent style.

Dirrell’s boxing style dominated in the early rounds but Dirrell had to fight a perfect fight for Abraham strength was his ability to take punches and his strength often took over in the later rounds.

At the end of third round, Abraham gave Dirrell a sample as for a brief ten seconds; he attacked with ferocity only to turn it off. In the fourth round, Abraham attacked and tried to trap Dirrell on the rope but after missing a wild right; a Dirrell left sent Abraham down for a flash knockdown.

And as the fight approached the halfway point, Dirrell outpunched Abraham five to one and connected three to one and Abraham face started to swell. During the seventh round, a Direll left hook open a cut over Abraham right eye and near the end of round, a Dirrell right hand stunned Abraham.

In the 10th round, Abraham may have been robbed of a 10-8 round when an apparent knock down was called a slip as both fighters’ feet got entangled but a right hand did connect that sent Dirrell down.

From the rest of round, Abraham attacked with the idea of ending the fight.

In the 11th round, Dirrell moved effectively, but he avoided a Abraham left hand but slipped on the logo. With Dirrell’s knee on the ground, Abraham struck with a vicious right that resulted in a disqualification.

Dirrell was declared the winner and managed to get up after an Abraham right hand but he still did not realize that he won the fight. Dirrell fought a perfect fight for most of the night as he had a big lead on the cards.

This was the second upset in the tournament as both Andres won against two of the best European fighters. Andre Ward defeated Kessler and now Dirrell triumphed against Abraham.

The two young Americans have taken major steps in Super Middleweights division while showing that America is producing superstars below the heavyweight division.