Boxing

Bika Powered Through Manfredo, Jr. for 3rd Rd TKO

Sakio BikaBy Paul Strauss: Providence, RI fans saw their hometown hero Peter Manfredo, Jr. chose to stay in close with Sakio Bika and try to counter Bika's power shots with his own left hooks. Saying Manfredo chose to fight that way is like saying the dog decided to chase the cat. There really isn't any choice involved. Manfredo doesn't know how to fight any other way. He is a warrior and not about to run.

However, tonight he just didn't have the fire power or the needed good jab to keep Bika at bay. Bika is very strong, and punches very hard with both hands. He also employs a big looping right hand that is difficult to defend. Often times it lands behind the head, and although it doesn't have the same knockout potential of a punch to the chin, it still causes havoc with a fighter's equilibrium. That was the case in the very 1st round, when Bika landed two big rights to the back of Manfredo's head. Referee Ricky Gonzalez did not issue a warning, but in fairness to him, a referee many times has no choice but to allow such a punch, because the recipient turns away as the punch is thrown, and gives the back of his head as a target........i.e. Peter versus Toney.

Examination of the scorecards will confuse interested parties a bit, because the cards show that Manfredo was credited with the only knockdown of the fight? Bika vehemently protested. A replay of the action clearly showed there was no punch to cause the referee to award a knockdown in the 2nd round. Bika was definitely winning the round.

Manfredo did have few moments when he would catch Bika will a counter, which was usually a left hook. In the 2nd round, he did catch him with a right hand, but his punches didn't appear to bother Bika.

In the third round, Bika once again pressured Manfredo against the ropes and unloaded, catching Manfredo with a big right. It was obvious that Manfredo was badly hurt. Bika kept after him, and Manfredo might have gone down if not for the ropes. Bika’s barrage was all heavy punches, many of which were landing. Manfredo seemed to be on his way out. Manfredo’s attempt to counter was weak, and he appeared defenseless. The referee apparently thought so too, and as a result stepped in and waved off the action. It was 1:50 seconds of the 3rd. round.

It would seem that Bika is justifiably headed for a big fight payday. He now owns the two of the alphabet belts for super middleweights, with another belt or two being a very real possibility. Even if you don't like Bika's style, you have to admit he is one tough customer. His only three losses include two to two pretty good fighters.........Joe Calzaghe and Lucian Bute. He's still relatively young (age 29), and in excellent shape, very strong, and can punch with just about anyone. He will make a good and exciting fight with any of the others title holders or top contenders.

Manfredo, Jr. on the other hand might consider hanging it up, as it would appear his big fight days are past him even though he is actually two years younger than Bika. But, he just doesn't seem to have the fire or the skills to match with the top fighters. If he decides to continue with his career, it might be just as the proverbial opponent, and that would not be a good thing for someone who has brought so much excitement to the Providence, RI fans.

In an earlier bout, Jaidon Codrington had a heck of time with William Gill. Codrington would show flashes of excellence, ripping off impressive combinations, or countering with a good left hook. However, other times (many) he would appear "gassed", and would be grabbing hold of the rope for support and propulsion. After doing it several times, the referee finally took a point in the 4th round.

Codrington would control the action, but several times when he had Gill backing up, he would try and land hooks. But, many times he was too far away to employ that punch, and it would fall short and leave him open. Gill managed to stay in the fight by taking advantage of those opportunities to land a big punch of his own.

In the fifth round, the referee halted action because of an unintentional low from Codrington. Gill took 1 1/2 minutes of the 5 allowable to recover. By this time, Gill was also showing evidence of a badly cut lip. In the 6th round, Codrington landed several sharp combinations, and used his jab more and to better effect. Announcers Wally Matthews and Nick Charles were still being hard on Codrington for bad footwork.

The 7th also was a good round for Codrington, but he appeared tired. He had many opportunities to land punches to Gill, but was still throwing hooks from too far out. It looked as though a fully extended straight punch combination might put Gill away.

Deep into round eight, Codrington caught Gill with a good right. Gill was hurt and Codrington knew it and reached down deep for some needed oxygen to mount a final assault. He landed many punches, and finally Gill could take no more, and he turned his back and headed for cover. The referee had no choice but to stop the fight even though only 9 seconds remained.

Another fight on tonight's card was between Grady Brewer and Cornelius Bundrage. To call this one an ugly fight is to insult ugly. Most viewers wished it was a 4 rounder at best, rather than the ten rounder for which it unfortunately was scheduled.

Rather than a boxing match, it appeared to be some kind of cage match or MMA action in which two grapplers are looking for the take down. Referee Eddy Claudio was at wits end with the two combatants. Having it up to here, he first told the two wrestlers that he was going to start taking points if they didn't quit what they were doing. It didn't appear either one had a clue as to what they were doing, other that trying to fight. They would fire off a punch, miss and then take turns wrapping an arm around the neck of their opponent and try to wrestle each other to the canvas.

It was the kind of fight in which judges hate to score a round for either fighter. The fans felt the same way and booed often and loudly! The fight ended on yet another sour note when Bundrage was penalized a point for hitting on the break. It was a tough call, because both fighters had been doing that all night, and to finally call in the last round of a "no score for anyone" fight was tough. The score cards were 94-91 and 93-92 for Brewer, and 95-90 for Bundrage, so the split went to Brewer........Yawn!

Article posted on 14.11.2008



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