OK here’s the drill today, a quick review of two fights last weekend and an even quicker preview of two fights coming up this weekend. Let’s start out with the big boys of boxing the Heavyweight Title defense by Wladimir Klitschko against Lamon Brewster. This was of course a rematch of a fight were Brewster stopped Klitschko in the 5th round in 2004. I predicted a reversal with Wlad ending things before round 9. It took Klitschko only 6 rounds to get the job done in a fight that was totally one-sided.
In truth, Klitschko could have won this fight with one hand and one punch, his left jab. In fact, he did win the fight with that punch as he was easily able to keep Brewster at bay and was easily able to thwart any of the very few attempts Brewster made at trying to get on the inside. It appeared to me that the 34-year old Brewster has lost his will to really go for it as he did in their first fight where he was actually hurt more than this fight. Maybe the detached retina and several eye surgeries have made him a passive fighter. Passivity does not work against a guy as big, strong and good as Klitschko.
Now at age 31, ‘Dr. Steel Hammer’ is clearly the best of the big guys in boxing. His left jab is the best of the heavyweights, and his ability to work off the jab and set up his power right hand and occasional left hook, has made him a nearly the complete package offensively. He is also so much more relaxed in there which is helping his defense and his stamina which helps protect his chin.
Klitschko improves to 49-3 (44 KO’s) and probably could unify the title. His best test would be a rematch against Samuel Peter, who he got off the deck three times only to lose by a decision when they met the first time. Peter should get a share of the title if and when he fights Oleg Masqaev.
One other quick Klitschko comment, it appears that his older brother, Vitali, will make his return to the ring in September against Jameel McCline. Wladimir stopped McCline five years ago.
Now let’s drop down about 120 pounds and talk about the big upset of previously unbeaten Vic Darchinyan by Philipino Nonito Donair. Donair was attempting to avenge his Brother Glenn Donair’s loss to Darchinyan last year. I called the fight when Vic first won his Flyweight Championship stopping Irene Pacheco in Hollywood, Florida in 2004. This was Vic’s 7th title defense and it came last weekend on 7-7-07. I guest there was one to many 7’s for Darchinyan as he was knocked out by one perfectly timed left hook in round 5 by a very inspired Donair.
Darchinyan came into this bout not only unbeaten but with 22 knockouts in his 28 wins. His fight right before this one was a devastating 12th round stoppage of Victor Burgos earlier this year. Burgos had to have emergency brain surgery after the fight and it was touch and go for a while. Thankfully, he appears to be doing well now. Clearly Darchinyan has big time power primarily coming from his left hand off of his southpaw style. Notice I did not say straight left hand, as Vic, who is a transplanted Armenian now living in Australia, basically winds back down under to Sydney before throwing this punch. I mean he really telegraphs this punch. I knew it would be only a matter of time before a slick fighter would be able to set him up if they could withstand his power.
Donair was more than up to the task. Darchinyan, as I pointed out when I called his World Championship win, really drops his right hand down to his thigh after every weak jab he throws, and he does not throw many jabs to begin with. Donair saw this right away and was able to get in a few left hooks earlier in the fight that got Darchinyan’s attention. More importantly, this let Donair know that this would be his ticket to a world title, and it was. Early in round 5, he waited for Darchinyan, who has another bad habit of lunging in, and timed a beautiful short left hook. Much of the power of the punch was created from Darchinyan jumping in and the snap and accuracy of the punch was enough to totally discombobulate Darchinyan and take away his title.
After the fight, Darchinyan really puzzled Showtime’s announce team by saying that he really didn’t feel like he was hurt. It reminded me of one time in a fight where Marlon Starling was knocked out by a punch right after the bell and when he was interviewed following the fight he said that he was even knocked down, let alone knocked out. You know why Starling said that and why Darchinyan said what he did was because they never saw these punches coming and they were hit so hard that the last thing they remember was not even being hit. This causes them to be in sort of denial. Once they see the tape they will see what happened but they never will remember what happened.
Donair is only 24 years of age and improves his record to 18-1 (11 KO’s) and he is fun to watch and, along with his brother, seem to be really good people. No, Manny Pacquiao is not the only Pugilistic Pilipino and, in fact, there are a few more out there as well. As for Darchinyan, he is 31 years of age and that is getting up there for a little guy. He sort of stepped up in size to face the larger Donair, but he says he needs to go up in weight now and he may with his age. His biggest problem will be somewhat like that of Naseem Hamed. Once these big-time punching, awkward and unorthodox power punching southpaws are exposed, like Hamed was against Marco Antonio Barrera and now Darchinyan was against Donair, sometimes they are never the same. Hamed was not, we’ll just have to wait and see about Darchinyan who really has been fun to watch, as was Hamed in his heyday.
Onto this weekend’s action, we’ll start out with a Welterweight Title fight in California with 29-year old Antonio Margarito 34-4 (24 KO’s) defending his title against unbeaten 25-year old Paul Williams 32-0 (24 KO’s). This looks on paper, and other places, to be a very good, close, compelling fight. Williams is a southpaw with power and taller than Margarito. Margarito did not set the world on fire in his last few fights. It would not surprise me to see Williams take the title away in this one.
Across the country in Biloxi, Mississippi, former pound for pound best and future Hall of Famer, Roy Jones, faces unbeaten Tony Hanshaw. When this fight was first announced, I thought it could be a good one as Tony had been trained for a long time by my good friend and former trainer of Buster Douglas, John Russell. Tony and John have severed ties and now Hanshaw will have Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his corner. I’m not too sure about how this teaming will work out especially when your first fight together is against a Roy Jones.
Roy, 50-4 (38 KO’s), is without question past his prime at 38 years of age, and we know he can be knocked out of late as we saw that happen back to back times against Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, but there is a big difference in experience and power from Tarver and Johnson to Hanshaw. Tony is 21-0-1 with (14 KO’s) and is just not a big banger. In my opinion He does not have the pop in his punch to get Roy’s respect. So, I like Roy to prevail in this fight, which is, but should no way be, on PPV.
Great news as we are gonna get the best two Super Middleweights in world in the ring together November 3 in Wales, as long time champion Joe Calzaghe of Wales meets Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler. The two fighters combined record is 82-0 with 61 KO’s, need I say more.
Next week I will spend all, or at least most all of my column, breaking down Bernard vs Winky at Mandalay Bay here in Las Vegas.