A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Abril Defends His Title
Gary Russell has hand speed so fast that when he launches combination so quick, they are nothing but blurrs. Russian fighter Vyacheslav Gusev came into the fight with a four fight win streak and his job was to provide competition to the undefeated Russell. Russell began by penetrating Gusev with his quick jab and his hand speed seemed paralyzing Gusev. At the end of the first round, Russell hurt Gusev with combinations that included quick upper cuts and right hand hooks from his southpaw.
Russell continued his assault which began with his jab and he was simply showed too fast for his opponent. A Russell right hand hooks sent Gusev down in the third round after Gusev landed his best combination of the night. Gusev got nailed with several combinations from Russell after the knockdown.
Over the fourth and fifth round, Russell continued to use Gusev as his personal punching bag as he connected on any combinations he threw. Over the sixth and seventh round, Russell simply seemed satisfied to box and work on his combinations as he paced himself with little fear of Gusev. Best comment over the first eight rounds was one of the Showtime announcer who noted that Gusev left his jab in Russia and Al Bernstein added that he never seen a fight in which a fighter fail to connect on any jabs over eight rounds. Gusev got a small break as Russell glove were sliced over but the extra rest didn’t do much for Gusev who continued to be Russell’s punching bag throughout the ninth round. Russell threw only with his right hand and question remained, did Russell injured his left hand? Gusev started to be more aggressive but all that happened was he got hit by Russell right hand. Russell threw his left occasionally but more as a range finder as oppose a serious punch.
Over the final tenth round, Russell merely showed mostly his right hand and he even connected with his left but his corner told Showtime Jim Gray that Russell may have broken his left hand. As for the fight itself, a blind person could have scored this fight as Russell easily won 100 to 89 on all three scorecards. He connected on eight times as many punches over ten rounds.
Sharif Bogere faced Richard Abril in a lightweight championship bout. Abril started out with a jab and even landed with a nasty three punch combinations for the most effective punches of the opening round. Bogere used his speed to move inside of Abril but the second round saw Bogere turn this into a rough fight and the round was hardly an artistic affair. The third round was more of grab and hold affair with occasional punches thrown. While the Showtime crew felt Borgere was outhustling Abril, Borgere was not connecting on clean punches and the first three rounds were hard to judge as what clean punches that did connect was delivered by Abril.
In the fourth round, Bogere finally connected on some punches as Abril did very little jabbing but in the fifth round, Abril landed two clean right hands against the aggressive Bogere. During the sixth round, both fighters managed to connect on solid right hands and Abril ended the round with a left hook but a Bogere head butt open a cut over Abril’s eye. The most interesting aspect of the fight was the discussion between Joe Cortez who defended the referee handling of the fight whereas Paul Malignaggi defended Abril who found himself defending against Borgere charging with his head. While Abril lost a point for deduction, Malignaggi indicated that the point deduction was undeserved and I agreed with Malignaggi that Abril found himself holding out of self-preservation. Through the first eight rounds, this was one of those fights difficult to score with Abril scoring with clean punches but Abril did not jab effectively to keep Borgere off him.
Abril connected with accurate punches as Borgere started to slow down. Between eighth round through the tenth round, Abril connected on three times as many punches and Abril continued this in the eleventh round. Bogere lost a point for his rough tactics which even out point deductions and now Borgere needed to land clean punches to even the round but it was Abril who landed the cleaner shots.
Abril won the decision due to more cleaner punches and Borgere was not rewarded with his aggressiveness but as Compubox noticed; Bogere connected on 60 less punches over the twelve rounds and he was not effective with his style.