Jonathon Banks Fails To Impress With Points Win Over Rossito on Klitschko-Thompson Undercard

by James Slater: Boxing on the under-card of the Klitschko-Thompson heavyweight title fight in Hamburg, Germany, unbeaten Kronk cruiserweight Jonathon Banks earned a less than impressive points win over experienced Italian veteran Vincenzo Rossito. With his majority win, the 26-year-old from Detroit won the lightly regarded IBO title. The scores after 12 dull rounds were 117-114, 115-113 and 114-114. Banks improved to 20-0(14). The 32-year-old Rossito fell to 36-6-2(22)..

Expected to make a statement, the highly touted Banks instead did himself few favours as he laboured to his boring win. Starting off ok, while boxing on the front foot against his cagey southpaw opponent, Banks was showing major signs of fatigue by the middle-to-later rounds. An orthodox Michael Moorer look alike (at least from a distance), with his shaven head and beard, Banks won the early rounds with his left jab, his right hand leads and his aggression.

But after the early KO many had expected failed to come, Banks looked a very ordinary fighter. Indeed, the Italian, who was ultra-negative in the first 4 or 5 rounds, came on to his front foot once Banks began to blow and visibly tire. There were two time-outs in the 5th, as an accidental head-clash opened a cut over the Italian's right eye. After the initial time-out the fight resumed, only for Rossito to say something to referee Jack Reiss that prompted a second look at the cut by the doctor. "What's he saying to me?" the ref said - not understanding Italian. In any case, the fight carried on right until the full 12 rounds were done - unfortunately for the fans watching.

Pretty much a stinker, with a number of messy periods, the fight would have been subjected to a torrent of boos had it not been taking place in front of such a polite German audience. By the 9th, quite amazingly, it seemed as though banks was actually giving out distress signals. Dead tired and blowing heavily between rounds as he sucked in as much air as he could, Banks was grimacing and appearing to be on the verge of turning away at times during the action.

Rossito was spurred on by the sight of his back-pedalling and rapidly tiring opponent, and the older man forced the late rounds. Until the 12th and final session, that is. In the final round, Banks, sensing it was close on the cards, came on and hurt his man with a good right hand to the head. With nothing much left to try and get the finish, however, Banks saw Rossito hold on and survive to the final bell.

Banks remained unbeaten, won the IBO title and kept alive the possibility of a big fight with Enzo Maccarinelli, but he failed to cover himself with any glory whatsoever. It is to be hoped the 26-year-old simply had a bad night.

Article posted on 13.07.2008

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