J.G Barrington – New York
It was a weekend of contrasting fortunes for old rivals Bernard Hopkins – who defeated Jean Pascal, a man 18 years his junior – and Roy Jones Jr, who was convincingly knocked out by cruiserweight counterpart Denis Lebedev in Moscow. Elsewhere, Nathan Cleverly affirmed his status as world titlist, George Groves bettered James DeGale and Tomas Rojas dominated Juan Jose Montes.
Notes – Roy Jones Jr suffered his third successive defeat, this time at the hands of Russian cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev. Jones Jr showboated in the opening round but Lebedev beat the spirit out of the once great American as a series of blows in the final round knocked Jones Jr out cold. Referee Steve Smoger could have perhaps stepped in earlier to prevent Jones Jr taking a further shot flush on the chin when his lights had already been switched off (see embedded video above, credit – Youtube, Smarties1676, for final round highlights). For On The Beak‘s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
WBC World Light Heavyweight title: Bernard Hopkins – UD – Jean Pascal [116-112, 115-114, 115-113]
Notes – Jones Jr (above) bettered Hopkins in 1993 and secured legendary status with his exploits at light heavyweight and his one successful world heavyweight title shot, however, Hopkins has eclipsed old rival Jones Jr’s achievements by becoming the oldest champion of a major world boxing title when he decisioned Pascal in a rematch of their controversial draw last year. Hopkins fought well, was well conditioned and frustrated and bullied the younger fighter. For On The Beak‘s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
Notes – There was refereeing inconsistency at the This Is It event in London on Saturday, May 21 as George Groves was allowed to go the distance despite bleeding profusely yet, in the WBO world title fight, Polish challenger Kuziemski was denied the opportunity of continuing due to what can only be described as a mild cut. Kuziemski, who is not a hard hitter, actually had Cleverly backing up in the second round but all the other action was enjoyed by the home fighter who looked determined to put on a show in his first defence. For On The Beak‘s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
Light Heavyweight: Chad Dawson – UD – Adrian Diaconu [117-111, 118-110, 116-112]
Notes – Multiple pundits seemed to be too harsh on Dawson who boxed reasonably well considering the length of his layoff and the fact he had a new trainer – Emanuel Steward – in his corner. Steward is instructing Dawson to become more aggressive and, while he lacked a finisher’s instinct or a pressure-fighter’s will against Diaconu, he still pieced together some good combinations and showed good general boxing skills. For On The Beak’s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
British Super Middleweight title: George Groves – MD – James DeGale [115-115, 115-114, 115-114]
Notes – This fight could have gone either way and depended on whether you preferred boxing-and-moving (which surprisingly came from Groves) or pressure (DeGale). For DeGale to progress he may need to alter his corner as his gameplan was all wrong. DeGale finished the fight well, the last two rounds were very exciting, and if he fought like that at the beginning of the bout, Groves may well have been stopped. Credit to Groves’ trainer Adam Booth, though, for masterminding a winning strategy. For On The Beak‘s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
Notes – An esteemed amateur, Saunders, in his ninth professional fight, destroyed a normally durable Hammond in just two rounds. Saunders has a style not too unlike DeGale (above) but will need sterner examinations in order to truly assess whether he is as prodigiously-talented as On The Beak‘s Alan Dawson suggests here. Saunders seemed to have a new found power in his shots against Hammond and his body work in particular was impressive. For On The Beak‘s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
Middleweight: Andy Lee – UD – Alex Bunema [100-90, 100-90, 100-90]
Notes – As well as Dawson (above), trainer Steward had another fighter shine this week as, on Wednesday night, Lee defeated Bunema by way of a one-sided ten-round decision. Lee fought tall, using his height and reach advantages to keep the contest on the outside. He would lead with his jab before unleashing a one-two punch combination. Lee’s southpaw jab and also straight lefts were his key punches.
Welterweight: Frankie Gavin – UD – Young Mutley [119-109, 118-110, 119-109]
Notes – The accolades seem to rain down on Gavin with consistent regularity yet the Birmingham boxer rarely excites. He remains undefeated due to his win over long-time domestic fight servant Mutley and, with the decision win, was awarded the WBO’s intercontinental strap at welterweight. Gavin, though, looked small for a fighter campaigning at 147lbs. For On The Beak‘s scorecard and fight summary, click here.
WBC World Super Flyweight title: Tomas Rojas – 11th Rd RTD – Juan Jose Montes
Notes – Rojas’ second defence of his world title was a success as Montes quit on his stool at the end of the eleventh round. Montes, who has good one-punch knockout power, was denied the opportunity to land the power shot as Rojas broke his opponent down in a brutal display. By the end of the fight, the facial damage evident on Montes was extensive.
WBC Female Flyweight title: Mariana Juarez – 7th Rd TKO – Gabriela Bouvier
Notes – Juarez wowed a 5,000 strong crowd in her first defence. Juarez responded well to the home chants of ‘Mexico!’ and dominated Uruguayan opponent Bouvier from the chime of the opening bell. The referee was required to step in during the seventh round as Juarez was pummeling Bouvier without much response and so a technical knockout was awarded to Juarez.
Alan Dawson – London
British middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders lived up to his On The Beak billing as an incredible talent to watch in 2011 by dominating Kevin Hammond for six minutes due to his constant flurries, ability to use angles effectively and his boxing brain. Hammond, who had never been stopped before their bout at the 02 Arena, London on Saturday May 21, had no answer to Saunders’ right hook and tortuous body shots.
Round By Round Summary
Round One: Saunders’ work-rate from the off was impressive as he struck Hammon with a number of sequences. The punches that troubled Hammond were Billy Joe’s right hook and then also the body work that he put in. Saunders threw punches in bunches directed at Hammond’s midsection and they came at a great speed.
Saunders showed fast hands and also attacked Hammond’s head. Toward the end of the round, Hammond landed a good one-two. Saunders was sprightly on his feet, used good general movement and bobbed Hammond’s shots when necessary. Saunders’ combination-work really was incredible and there looked to be even heavier power in his punches than he had shown in past fights. Completely one-sided stanza (Saunders threw 109 punches).
Round Two: As had been typical with Saunders’ posturing, he led with his shoulder and tucked his chin behind his shoulder. The right hook, like it did in the first round, worked well for Saunders.
The flurries were not as relentless as they were in the first round but that may have been more to do with conserving energy more so than anything else. Saunders’ use of angles and picking his shots belied his young age. The variety of punches shown by Saunders was incredible and Hammond took a knee due to an uppercut, rose to his feet, but then again was on a knee because of a right to the body.
Hammond’s record – he dropped to 8-7-1, 4ko – does not do his durability justice as he had not once been stopped prior to tonight. Saunders’ superb technical skill, his punch-output, his devastating body shots and his combination-work all brought the contest (which had been scheduled for eight rounds) to a close at the end of the second.
“Two’s my lucky number now I think,” Billy Joe, who rose to 9-0-0, 6ko with the win, said on Sky Sports after the win. “Me and Jimmy [Tibbs, Saunders' trainer] had a gameplan. I had a lot of time out, if I did eight rounds it would have done me good but it came early for me. To be honest, I was stuck in second gear, I still had three gears. I’m in the best shape of my life. The weight is no problem.”
A delighted Tibbs beamed: “I’ve been saying it all along… he’s the best 21-year-old. When Frank [Warren, Saunders' promoter] says so he’ll be there for the big time.”
Warren noted: “It was superb performance. He was a different class, a great win for him and it’s only up from here. He’s going to fight again in July, in London, on the undercard for John Murray and Kevin Mitchell.”