Wild weekend of boxing

By Tom Donelson BASN Staff Writer
Updated: April 10, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA—This was a wild weekend of boxing beginning with Friday night. David Lemieux was to use Friday night as his introduction to the boxing world as he faced Marco Rubio but Rubio decided to crash the introduction. For the first four rounds, Lemieux dominated the action but at the end of the fifth round, Rubio showed that he could hurt Lemieux and Lemieux fought much of the sixth as to avoid being punished. In the seventh round, Rubio nailed Lemieux with a solid right to the ear and this started a weekend of upsets as undefeated contenders and prospects saw their career twisted around.

SHOBOX was upset central when undefeated Willie Nelson lost a tough decision to a Vincent Arroyo and became the first of three favorite undefeated prospects to lose. In the next bout, Danny O’Connor lost his zero to Gabriel Bracero, another undefeated fighter. Bracero simply out grunted and outworked O’Connor to gain an easy decision but the biggest upset came when undefeated Marcus Johnson could not figure how to fight Dyah Davis.

Davis used the entire ring and Johnson showed no ability to cut off the ring and force Davis to fight. Of all the losses, Johnson will be least likely to hurt simply because he lost to a good fighter with a better fight plan. And unlike Nelson, who kept hitting the canvas, Johnson was hardly punished with the exception a body shot that sent him down in the ninth round.

On the following night, James Kirkland was going to be showcased as part of the Morales-Maidana card as he faced Nobuhiro Ishida. Kirkland was a major prospect on the rise before he took a prison detour for two years and now he was back prowling for a title hunt. Unfortunately, Ishida was not informed that his job was to provide good competition before succumbing to the inevitable; instead he came out smoking with solid right hands that consistently nailed Kirkland. Three right hands, three knockdowns, fight’s over.

Kirkland showed a major weakness, vulnerability to right hands; something that need to be corrected.

Paulie Malignaggi looked like Malignaggi of old as he simply out fought Jose Cotto whereas Nate Campbell simply looked old in losing to Danny Garcia. Robert “the Ghost” Guerrero looked like a real champion as he defeated Mike Katsidis in impressive style. Guerrero unleashed a variety of punches as he simply dominated the action against a solid performing as he fought for the WBO and WBA interim championship. (So what is with interim Championships. How about simply a championship bout but these sanctioning bodies keep confusing the boxing scene, with interim and silver championship, before you know it each division will have three champions for each belt? There is a word to describe it, absurd.)

Pundits will look at facts when determining who will win a fight or simply how the fight should proceed. When asked by Radio host LA Batchelor how the fight will proceed, I did not see a close fight and most likely an ignorable defeat. I remember seeing Morales in his last big fight as a lightweight against David Diaz and Diaz dominated the former great champion.

On this night Morales fought a great fight against a younger, stronger fighter and nearly pulled it off. He could have easily been declared the winner but as one pundit noted, he showed he belonged in the ring.

This was a case where a Hall of Fame fighter did not read the critics notices and instead found something extra to pull from his old body. Using guile and skills developed over the past two decades of fighting, Morales showed his younger fighter a few things in the ring. Maidana is a tough hombre but he is not technically sound fighter. Maidana depended upon his power and ability to take punches. Morales showed the younger fighter the ways of the ring and his skills allowed him not just to escape heavy damage but to score some devastating combinations. There were times that Morales looked like the Bull of yore but in the end, Maidana barely avoided a loss. Morales is now back in the thick of more big money and possible championship bouts.

Finally, Tomasz Adamek easily defeated Kevin McBride in a tune up for Adamek’s bout with one of the Klitschko’s brothers. Adamek is a very good fighter and one of the better pound for pound with both a light heavyweight and cruiserweight championship belt but his rise on the heavyweight division has featured mostly has been and never were. The only top ten fighter he has fought in the Heavyweight division was Chris Arreola but nothing of note beyond that. As for McBride, his moment of glory was beating an old Tyson in Tyson’s last fight and he never truly took advantage of that moment. Adamek is in line to fight for a title and last Saturday, he had a sparring session with a big tall fighter to prepare himself for one of the Klitschko. A sparring session that he got well paid for.