Muriqi - Ahmad: Rumble in New Rochelle

24.03.07 - By Ted Sares: On July 23, 2002, I was well ensconced in my den in the North Woods of New Hampshire, amber liquid in one hand and a large ring corona in another. Elvir "The Kosovo Kid" Muriqi (24-1, 14 KO's) was set to meet "Slamming" Sam Ahmad (16-3-3, 7 KO's) in New Rochelle, NY. Ahmad, not known for having heavy hands, had made his bones fighting at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia and may have been taken too lightly by Muriqi’s boxing camp which included trainer, Teddy Atlas..

I also noted that Sammy had won a MD over the very tough John Scully who had badly injured his shoulder and still fought through the pain. As for Muriqi, I had seen him lose a dreadful DQ to Dan Sheehan (which he later avenged in another snoozer). I was not impressed, but hell, there was nothing else to do.

But, “BAM POW, BANG,” the fight turned out to be pure savagery. Within a matter of seconds, a surprised Elvir found himself on the deck compliments of an Ahmad numbing right. Quickly recovering, The Kid shot a wicked uppercut on the point of Sammy's chin and dropped him hard. With only a minute and a half having elapsed off the clock, both fighters had been down and I was up and shouting.

“That was the first time I had ever been down and I was like, ‘oh, I’m on the floor.’ It was a place I had never been before so I said, ‘get up, get up fast.’ I got up and I never thought about giving up or losing the fight. I knew I had to get up and win.....When I dropped him I thought I had him and I was going to finish him....Trainer Teddy [Atlas] was banging on the floor for me to look at him, but I didn’t, and I forgot that the guy could hit me back again.” (Thomas Gerbasi, “Elvir Muriqi: Smoothing Out the Rough Edges.” [Available Online].

Muriqi moved in for the kill and launched a left hook but Sammy got inside it and unleashed his own bomb, another malefic right, that sent The Kosovo Kid down for the second time and for all practical purposes, the fight seemed over as Elvir's eyes did a full-tilt boogie.

Somehow, someway, he did a gut check and got up on rubbery legs ready to be savaged, but "Slamming Sammy" was not up to the task. The vulnerable Muriqi hung on and made it to the bell. Sammy had let him off the hook, a fatal mistake.

In the second, Muriqi was again decked early by a countering right that hit him flush. He wobbled up and held on in desperation once more trying to clear the Ahmad-induced cobwebs out. Sammy then scored his fourth knockdown in the what had now become a pier six, but the Lion-hearted Muriqi would not fold. Still, Ahmad sensed the end and so did everybody else in New Rochelle, that is, everybody except "The Kid," who took the mandatory 8 count from boxing Referee Santa.

Looking to end matters once and for all, Ahmad moved in to throw the same right that had earlier rendered Muriqi badly hurt. But this time it was Muriqi who got there first with a right to the side of the head and Ahmad amazingly staggered back visibly hurt. Now it was the Philadelphia fighters' turn to clear the cobwebs. Muriqi pounced on him like white on rice using an uppercut followed by a jack hammer right and then he shoved him to the canvas but it was rightly ruled a no-knockdown. As the bell, ended, Ahmad slowly headed back to his corner.

In the third canter, it was Muriqi who smelled blood and he picked up where he left off. He cracked a lethal right to Sammy's temple to score his second knockdown. When he got up, Elvir went after him with pure malice aforethought and banged him with a right over the top. Ahmad responded by tackling him and both fighters went down. Again, the referee ruled a no-knockdown, but it was a highly questionable ruling. The right clearly had started Sammy on his way down. The tackle merely camouflaged the clean hit.

As the brutal brawl continued, both fighters alternated with trip-hammer rights and lefts, hooks and uppercuts, Finally, Muriqi launched a vicious volley of molar-rattling shots banging Ahmad from pillar to post. The Kid pounded Ahmad onto the ropes where he sagged dangerously vulnerable. Referee Santa gave Sammy an early Christmas gift by rushing in and pulling the rampaging Muriqi off him at 2:57 of the third. The courageous Muriqi displayed an uncommon amount of heart to snatch victory from apparent defeat.

You want action, a pier six, ebb and flow? Will a total of 6 knockdowns called and 2 knockdowns not called in just 3 rounds suffice? Had Mickey Ward not met Arturo Gatti on May 18th at the Mohegan Sun, this fight would have been a slam dunk for the boxing Fight of the Year. Maybe it should have been anyway.

The Kid is now 34 - 3 (21 ko's) and is a hot draw around the Big Apple. Sammy fought one more time and lost by tko.

I’ve had fights where my hair hurt. My HAIR hurt! ‘Iceman’ John Scully.

Article posted on 26.03.2007

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