McEwan Avoids a Vera Bad Night

By Neil Dennis - Throughout the first half of Friday night’s fight, Teddy Atlas kept pointing out all the similiarities between rising Scottish prospect Craig McEwan and the once seemingly unstoppable Andy Lee. Both were British expatriates learning their craft on American soil. Both were tall, rangy, and undefeated prospects who had been weaned on a diet light opposition. And finally thanks to last night, both saw their ESPN Fright Night Fights’ debut in the ring against the always rugged Brian Vera..

The Lee comparisons were not lost on Vera. Coming into the fight, Vera was predicting the same spoiler outcome as when he turned the Irishman Emmanuel Steward proclaimed could take out middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik into a bloody mess. Problem was, there was a lot more different about Craig McEwan and Andy Lee than was the same.

Trained by Freddie Roach, McEwan showed from the outset he could outbox, and later outslug, a man who has only faltered against top opposition. The opening rounds saw a confident Vera throwing looping power shots that rarely connected. McEwan showed a lot of agility for a taller man as he bobbed and weaved away from most of Vera’s shows of power. In turn, McEwen was constantly sticking Vera with lead lefts and the occasional hook. Unlike Lee, McEwan was not apt to turning the fight into a brawl to prove anything. A small cut did develop under McEwan’s left eye early, leading Atlas to push the Andy Lee comparisons further. However, the cut never developed, even after a Vera assault in the seventh that saw McEwan taking a lot of punishment.

By the eighth round, it was clear McEwan was not going to falter the way Andy Lee had. Vera even developed a cut of his own that bled far worse than McEwan’s. Vera swung for the fences for the final few rounds, but mostly caught air and counters from McEwan for his trouble. By the final round, Vera was tired and wobbly, but McEwan seemed to stay cautious, picking his shots rather than go toe-to-toe with the Austin native.

Overall, it was a dominating performance by McEwan that had ESPN’s Teddy Atlas seeing it 99-91 in favor of the Scotsman. The Texan judges ringside saw it somewhat closer for local favorite Vera, with scores across the board of 97-93. McEwan staggered Vera a number of times late in the fight, but as Bernard Hopkins pointed out, he was “making the fight harder then it ought to be”. Final punch statistics heavily favored McEwan, landing one hundred more punches in the fight than Vera with one less attempt. McEwan’s record improved to 15-0.

Article posted on 09.05.2009

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