A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Last Saturday Night, Showtime had one of the greatest nights of boxing with three matches that featured wall to wall action. Showtime boxing announcer Mauro Ranallo summed up the night when he stated to the audience saw “the beauty and brutality of boxing.” What made these fights great was that each bout had something important to decide and for the fighters, it was do or die. For Andre Berto and Jesus Soto Karass, it was a fight that could determine a career. The loser would find himself falling further behind in a crowded welterweight division and the winner could be in position for a title shot. Both fighters showed the desperation required of a fight of this nature. Karass found a place for his right hand in the first hand as he rocked Berto and if Berto wasn’t desperate enough, he injured his shoulder in the early rounds.
Berto threw a wild left and landed on the mat in the fifth round, injuring his shoulder even further. Karass pummeled Berto in the rest of the round and Berto nearly didn’t make it out for the sixth but Berto couldn’t afford to quit. From that point, he was essentially a one armed fighter but he managed to tighten the fight on the scorecard as he managed to score a knockdown in the eleventh. Going into the final round, Berto was ahead on one card and Karass the other with the third even. Within the first minute, Karass nailed Berto with a sharp short left hook that beat Berto wider left hook to punch. Berto went down and when he got up, his leg wavered and the referee stopped the fight. Karass fought one of his best fights of his career as Berto lost his third fight in his last four bouts. Berto was one of those fighters who was looking at a Hall of Fame career a few years back but now, he is a beaten fighter who has been in too many wars and the quick hands of old seemed just a tad bit slower. Berto showed the scars of too many brutal rounds as his face showed the mark of every punch ever delivered, to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel.
Omar Figueroa and Nihito Arakawa fought toe to toe from the opening seconds to the final bell. Figueroa knocked Aarakawa twice, once in the second round and in the sixth round but Arakawa continued to throw punches in bunches. No matter how many solid shots he was hit, Aarkawa continued to fight back. Figueroa connected on half of his punches and by the end of the fight, Aarkawa’s face was simply swollen. The real miracle was that Aarkawa was still standing at the end of fight. Figueroa idea of defense was to throw punches and use his head to block punches coming back at him.
Keith Thurman showed that he was the real thing as he fought a tough Argentina Diego Gabriel Chaves. Argentina has produced some solid fighters like Marcos Rene Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Sergio Martinez and Chaves looked like he was new star on the rise. He pressured Thurman throughout the bout as he landed some solid body shots and right hands over Thurman left jab. Thurman found himself moving away from the power but he used his jab to set up his own right. Thurman began to throw body shots of his own to slow down the powerful Chaves. For eight rounds, it was anyone fight but in the ninth round, a Thurman left hook to the body sent Chaves to the canvas. Thurman finished off Chaves with a right hand with Chaves forced to the rope after a previous Thurman attack.
Thurman showed that he is now ready to be a true contender not just a prospect. He faced a determined opponent who could take shots and deliver them. Thurman not only took solid punches but showed versatility in being able to box and maneuver and showed he could fight a grinding tough toe to toe battle.
If there was a theme for these bouts, it was desperation with every fighter understanding they had much to lose and even serious injury just as Berto shoulder would not prevent any combatant from fighting. It was a contest of will combined with blood and guts thrown in as each fighter on this night showed no surrender and in the case of Chaves and Berto, they went out on their shield. For the winners, another big pay day but the bruises to show that they may have won the bouts but they paid a price for victory.