A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
In ESPN Boxcino this past Friday, it was the Middleweights turn as Ray Gatica faced Brandon Adams and Willie Monroe challenged Vitaliy Kolylenko in the semi-final.
Adams and Gatica both used their jabs as path finders for their power shots over the first five minutes. Adams pushed the action over the second half of the second round as he launched one right hand after another and couple even landed. Gatica pushed the action in the opening minutes of the third round but over the second half, Adams connected on two right hands that forced Gatica to retreat.
Adams showed a little nuance as he occasionally set traps for Gatica as he allowed Gatica to move forward before using sharp tight punches. One of those punches, a right hand, nearly derailed Gatica at the end of the fourth round. Adams continued to pot shot Gatica with power shots during the fifth round but Gatica managed to land combinations when Adams lay on the rope in the sixth round. Gatica added an uppercut that landed throughout the round and this round kept Gatica in the fight after he pretty much lost the previous four rounds.
Adams connected on accurate short punches in the seventh round to gain momentum and in the eighth round; he used defensive skills to avoid Gatica punches. Not only did Adams avoid shots but he picked his spots by landing solid power shots. As the bell ring to end the fight, Adams nailed Gatica with a solid right.
Brandon Adams won a split decision with two judges getting right with 78-74 but one judge who obviously missed Adams accurate punches that often turn Gatica’s head and gave the fight to Gatica.
Monroe began his bout with Kopylenko by jabbing and moving over the first three minutes as he controlled the real estate between both fighters. Throughout the early part of the second round, Monroe peppered Kopylenko with combinations and used his speed to confuse his opponent. Over the last minute, Monroe landed two three punch combinations in between maneuvering in and out. This continued into the third round as Kopylenko failed to either pressure Monroe and Monroe simply consistently out punch Kopylenko.
While Monroe won the opening minute of the fourth round, Kopylenko closed the distance and nailed Monroe with two big rights; one that knocked out Monroe mouthpiece. Monroe used his boxing style over the final thirty seconds to counter Kopylenko with two flashy combinations. In the fifth round, Kopylenko landed one big punch, a right uppercut that sent Monroe mouthpiece flying but Monroe won the rest of the round.
If Kopylenko showed his power in the fifth round, Monroe recaptured the early mobility that allowed him to jump out to a lead over the first four rounds throughout the sixth round. Monroe continued his boxing mastery in the seventh round as he simply moved around Kopylenko with ease.
Kopylenko needed a knockout to win but he failed to do so as Monroe used his defense wizardry to avoid the big punch. Monroe flashed a couple of combinations to wrap up his victory. For Kopylenko , it was his first loss. So it will be Monroe versus Adams, a battle of a slick boxer and an aggressive fighter with solid power in the Middleweight final.