So, What Did “One Of The Worst Fight Cards In Recent Memory” Tell Us?

amir khan(Amir Khan, on right, landing a left hook to the midsection of Stefy Bull) 10.04.07 - By James Slater: There surely cannot be a fight fan out there who hasn’t let his feelings known about the poor collection of fights we were witness to on Saturday night in Cardiff, Wales. Practically anyone with so much as a passing interest in the sport of boxing felt the need to vent their anger at the quite appalling level of quality the fights on Frank Warren’s latest show had. And this anger is well justified. But did the main event and it’s three chief supporting bouts tell us anything else, other than the fact that Mr. Warren needs to let his stable of fighters in there with much more serious tests?

Firstly, the Michael Jennings-Takaloo fight. In hindsight, probably the best boxing fight of those that were televised. Still, this fight too lacked competitiveness. With Takaloo looking to have been suffering from a combination of being ring rusty, weakened at the weight and old as a fighter at thirty-one, Michael Jenning’s speed and work rate were simply too much for him.

To this writer’s thinking the twenty-nine year old barely lost a round. What followed, when the judges’ cards were read proved to be the first shock of the evening - perhaps a sign of the bad stuff that was to come. Incredibly, though the defending champion did nothing but chase the elusive Jennings around the ring all night, getting hit plenty as he did so, two of the three judges had the fight desperately close at the end of the twelve rounds.

One judge (I’m not even going to give names) had Jennings the winner by only two points, while another had the correct man winning by a solitary point. I was flabbergasted by such scoring. Something surely has to be done about this kind of shoddy officiating, a shoddiness that is unfortunately becoming more and more common these days. Imagine, if Takaloo, a man who had been thoroughly outclassed for almost the entire boxing fight, had somehow managed to score a flash knockdown - or if even a dubious looking slip had been ruled as one, as sometimes happens in fights - he would have kept his WBU belt courtesy of a draw. As things stand, however, because the right man won, the outrageous scoring will be forgotten. This does not make it anywhere near right though, obviously. But as bad as this episode was, the night was about to get worse; much worse.

The less said about the God-awful mismatch that was Enzo Maccarinelli vs. Bobby “The Machine” Gunn, the better. All I can say is thank goodness the woefully over matched Canadian was not seriously hurt. There would have been a hell of a lot of questions about how the fight was allowed to have taken place had Bobby been so. Shame on all those involved for sanctioning such a dangerous fight.

As for Amir khan’s fight. I don’t think he did anything to earn himself criticism. Okay, Steffy Bull proved to be no real test at all. But Khan got the job done and put his punches together well on a swiftly moving target. And while, in hindsight, I was perhaps too kind to Bull when claiming he was at least game, the number of hard shots he took before going down was substantial. He certainly didn’t go down at the very first opportunity. There is no doubting the fact, though, that Amir must be moved up in quality in his next fight. Otherwise, as many experts have pointed out, he will run the risk of losing the interest of his huge fan base.

And finally, to the main event. Yes, the stoppage was mildly controversial. But when a fighter is not throwing back, what else can a referee do? Manfredo had no-one but himself to blame. Why he failed to return fire when he himself claimed he was unhurt is a mystery. He must have been aware of the ref hovering over him as he was on the ropes. Put it down to a bad case of inexperience. So the stoppage was deemed too quick by most? In the final analysis it didn’t really matter; allowing the action to continue would only have delayed the inevitable. Joe and Peter are clearly worlds apart talent wise. Why so many knowledgeable fight fans were fooled into thinking they were going to see a competitive fight is another mystery.

So, what did we learn from the letdown of a boxing fight card - at least it was a letdown to those who thought they’d see good, two way action in at least two of the four main bouts of the night.

Firstly, Joe Calzaghe needs to end his career with at least one more fight on foreign soil (Joe has boxed in Germany before). And when fighting somewhere other than his own country, America preferably, it must be against a legitimate test. Otherwise, though he has made his mark on history, at least in Britain, he will possibly be remembered by the rest of the world as a fighter who fought a somewhat handpicked career. In other words, no more “Contenders,” bring on a contender. Will either Mikkel Kessler’s or Jermain Taylor’s telephone be ringing soon? Let’s hope so.

And as for Khan and Maccarinelli, both are undoubtedly talented. But any more poor fights like the ones they had on April 7th will hurt them almost as much as they will hurt their sport. Both men say they’re the best; it’s time they proved it.

Michael Jennings, who’s fight garnered possibly the least attention of the televised part of the whole card, was probably the one real winner of the evening. It may only be the WBU boxing title, but the hard working and fitness minded boxer from Chorley, Lancashire will be over the moon at having claimed it. Despite what two of the judges almost did to him.

Article posted on 10.04.2007

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