Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Boxing Blogging: 4/23/08

What a nice Wednesday Night Fights! Four fights, four knockouts (more of what I expected last week, to be honest), including one that is in contention for knockout of the year. Even the "Ringside Remembers" sequence was nice -- I didn't know Evander Holyfield literally fought through a heart attack in his loss to Michael Moorer. Just good quality entertainment all around.

Joe Greene (19-0, 14 KOs) TKO9 Joshua Okine (18-4-1, 12 KOs)

How many disadvantages did Okine face coming into this bout? Let us count the ways:

1) He took the fight on four days notice.

2) He's really a welterweight, fighting against a big middleweight.

3) Joe Greene is a bona fide prospect at middleweight.

4) Greene's far faster and more athletic than Okine.

Yeah, that's a tough gig. Okine showed toughness and heart, but was eventually overwhelmed. He was knocked down twice in the 9th before the referee stepped in. The stoppage was a little questionable, because Okine was still throwing back, but he was trapped against the ropes and too tough to quit, so I can't really complain. The second knockdown, incidentally, was a thing of beauty -- but was to be overshadowed at the end of the day.

Greene continues his progression, although a win with that many built in advantages doesn't tell that much. Okine needs to get back down to fights with people his size -- he'll get eaten alive by people who can take his punches, and he has no power at middleweight. Also, he needs to stop smothering himself on the inside. But he has heart and some okay defensive moves -- at least enough to enable him to make a respectable living in the sport.

Wilmer Vasquez (6-0, 4 KOs) TKO3 Rodney Wallace (4-1, 4 KOs)

Isn't this what makes heavyweights great? Wallace was outweighed by 70 pounds and had a 6 inch height deficit, and it was noticeable. Vasquez had a swagger to his step that told everyone he knew he could hammer Wallace into submission (potentially explaining his otherwise baffling lack of a jab). And that's what happened. Wallace tried to stick and move, and had some success at it, but he inevitably got caught and then Vasquez took over. You can't question Wallace's heart -- he was caught clean loads of times and never went down, but you can question whether or not a 5'9" guy should be competing at heavyweight. Eventually, Wallace's corner threw in the towel, and Vasquez picked up a TKO victory.

Juan Urango (20-1-1, 16 KOs) KO4 Carlos Vilches (53-8-2, 31 KOs)

Wow, what a hook. What a hook. I didn't think anything would top Edison Miranda's show-stopper KO of David Banks, but this certainly came close. Vilches was out cold before he hit the ground, and now falls to 1-5 in his trips to the United States.

This was a title eliminator for Paulie Malignaggi's belt, a fight which probably won't occur for awhile given that the Magic Man has at least two more fights ahead of him before he thinks about a mandatory. But Urango certainly earned the fight with this highlight reel knockout. Urango's a slow, plodding pressure fighter who can crack, which makes for an interesting style contrast with the light-hitting, fleet-footed Malignaggi.

Anyway, this shot should be showing up on YouTube soon, and is worth your time. Welcome back into title contention, Juan Urango.

David Estrada (22-4, 13 KOs) KO2 Alexander Pacheco (14-6-1, 12 KOs)

Estrada is an all-action slugger who's tons of fun to watch. His war with Kermit Cintron is a classic, and sadly descriptive of Estrada's career -- tough and gritty, but ultimately falling short against A-level opposition.

Fortunately, Pacheco is not A-level opposition. Not only is a he a bit chinny, but he was willing to stand with Estrada and trade, giving us an entertaining scrap for what little it lasted. Estrada was credited with three knockdowns, though only the last was all that legitimate. The first was really bogus -- Pacheco was literally thrown to the ground. The second Pacheco held onto the ropes for support, but it didn't look like he'd have gone down had they not been there -- the litmus test for whether a ref can rule a knockdown in that situation. The final one was a crisp shot that laid Pacheco flat on his back. He couldn't beat the 10 count, and Estrada earns a KO victory.

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