Boxing

Report from the O2 Arena: Mitchell-Johanneson, Haye-Maccarinelli

hayeBy Michael Klimes, photo by Tom Casino: The Main Event: One cannot know what Enzo Maccarinelli was feeling after his opponent David Haye ruthlessly dispatched him in the early hours of Sunday morning to end his title reign and eight year winning streak. He looked like he had been electrocuted as his hair was frazzled and there was shock in his face. Furthermore, the stumbling he did after he got up from his knockdown could be interpreted as his own little dance in the tradition of Zab Judah’s jig in his bout against Kostya Tszyu a number of years ago.

For Haye, he did two things that night fighters rarely do in the modern age – make a promise and live up to it. He predicted he would end the fight quickly and did in an exhilarating style, something fashionable for a man that has modelled for Versace. Haye’s three straight rights that drained his adversary’s grip on reality over a thirty second time span were very impressive.. He demonstrated a mature composure as he did not rush in after the first successful right hand. He waited, teased Maccarinelli’s defence and then struck with savage fury. His two fisted broadsides delivered to Maccarinelli’s head after he had put the Welshman on his backside showed a killer instinct lurks beneath those polished looks.

The cruiserweight clash failed to surpass the expectations of Nigel Benn’s and Chris Eubank’s ‘Judgement Day’ showdown that took place in 1993 but what the fight lacked in duration; it made up for it in drama. What is also more important is that a potential superstar is in the making. Haye has the features, charisma and eloquence to become one of boxing’s poster boys who could transcend barriers. He also has the confidence, power and athleticism to transplant his vision into reality. Haye has declared his decision to invade the heavyweight division and boxing fans around the world that know of this man can only hope he can inject energy into an area of boxing which has been searching for an identity since Lennox Lewis’s retirement in 2004. We all know that the top sports, in so many ways are glamorous films with many different parts to be played and Haye could be one of the leading actors; interweaving flair and substance.

As for Maccarinelli, he is only twenty seven years old and still has the chance to comeback. He is a good fighter with sound fundamentals. He was just a bit unlucky that he did not land the first massive punch. Perhaps nerves got to him since he appeared anxious before the first bell rung and tense when he was fighting. There was a degree of robotic jerkiness in his joints as he strived to find a rhythm which never came. His entrance was telling as he ran into the ring with a hood over his head while Haye walked in slowly without one and absorbed the atmosphere by looking at the crowd. Maccarinelli is obviously in considerable pain at his loss but he has demonstrated he is a world class operator and should be able to regain what he has lost. He is a credit to British boxing and must be encouraged.

Kevin Mitchell versus Carl Johanneson

One of the UK’s most touted prospects, the British super-featherweight champion Kevin Mitchell stopped the tough and crafty Commonwealth super-featherweight champion in the ninth round of a stirring contest. Both participated in exciting exchanges with both brawling and boxing at various points along the way. However, Johanneson demonstrated he was the better defensive fighter and was able to hit Mitchell with many excellent jabs and crosses. It was disturbing to see Mitchell’s glaring lack of defence and he took a lot of unnecessary punishment. Mitchell proved to be very competent offensively yet took far too many shots by being too square in his stance and not having a tight enough guard. He showed that he could absorb punishment which could be seen as a virtue. However, it is paramount Mitchell works on a better stance and guard if he wants to go up to the world class level or even domestically. He was nearly stopped in the middle rounds and if he fights Amir Khan, Khan’s skilful combination punching could put him in serious danger.

The Crowd

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was magnificent. Frank Bruno and Evander Holyfield were in attendance as were the 2008 Olympic boxing team. They all received rapturous applauses when they were introduced to the audience. Unfortunately, there were a number of fans who did not appreciate Maccarinelli’s efforts and were offensive with their choice of words as they shouted remarks at him while he was leaning on the ropes in utter dejection.

Congratulations to all the boxers for making the evening worthwhile.

Article posted on 12.03.2008



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