A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Cintron wins a needed one
Smith loved to fight on the inside and every punch was followed by a grunt as one of the ESPN crew joked that Smith was the Monica Seles of boxing. Cintron viewed this fight as a crossroad fight and Smith was a tough opponent who would be throwing punches in bunches.
Over the first round, Cintron boxed as he jabbed and then threw rights through Smith defenses. Cintron continued his jabbing to try to control the real estate against Smith. Smith continued to move forward but he proved ineffectual over the first two rounds to connect as he was simply being outworked.
By the third round, Smith started to close the gap but he was getting nailed by Cintron’s combinations. Cintron nailed Smith with body shots to follow up with right hands to head as Smith did managed a couple of grunting body shots.
Smith finally got the fight that he wanted as he pumped some solid body shots to Cintron in the fourth round, whereas Cintron landed his own combinations. From that point, it was Smith’s fight as he forced Cintron to fight an inside bout.
In the sixth round, Smith landed solid body shots and the pattern of the fight started to change as Smith became more effective offensively. As for Cintron, this threatened what should have been an easy decision to becoming a close nail biter and a tough fight to score.
In the seventh round saw both men score effectively inside with Cintron throwing a few more punches but Smith forcing the pace. The eighth round proved Cintron best as he used his jab to set up enough space to throw punches. With a minute and half left, Cintron tripled up on his hooks followed by a combination that shook Smith, the only time in the fight either fighter looked stunned.
Ninth round was a close round and Cintron’s corner begged their fighter to fight hard over the final three minutes in between the ninth and tenth. Cintron started the first thirty seconds boxing but Smith forced Cintron to the ropes and pounded the body. Smith had his best round as he unleashed body shots followed by overhead rights.
The score did not reflect the closeness of the bout as Cintron won the decision 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 (which matched what Bernard Hopkins, guest announcer scored it.) Many of the rounds were close and while Cintron threw nearly 400 more punches, both fighters connected on similar number of punches as Cintron accuracies declined as the fight progressed. Smith is used to fighting inside and his hooks to the body proved to be more accurate over the later rounds. Cintron won a big victory to keep his career as an elite fighter.
In the opening bout of the evening, Dannie Williams started out fast as he sent Antonio Cervantes down for an eight count with a quick left. Cervantes attempted to pressure Williams but Williams pot shot Cervanties with his quicker hands. At the beginning of the fourth round, Williams landed a left jab to Cervantes’s chest, who moved his left just enough for Williams to crash a right hand to Cervantes’ jaw. Cervantes hit the canvas and the fight ended. Williams brilliant right hand proved to be the punch of the night.