This Week from Canada: Neven Pajkic Remains Undefeated; Molitor Retains Title

boxingBy GM Ross: In his book Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer sociologist Loic Wacquant routinely utilizes notebooks to retell the story of his journey through boxing. Within these notes are his observations of gyms, fights, fighters, neighbourhoods, etc. From this point onward I will be keeping similar notebooks whenever I attend a fight, from which my analysis will be drawn. Hopefully, this approach will result in a more unique style of writing than I have thus far employed. Readers will receive my honest opinions – jotted in the heat of the moment –regarding the fights I attend, preventing me from falling back on the assessments provided by dominant media sources like TSN or Sportsnet. Of course, when not in attendance I will be forced to depend on the views of others, especially when footage of a contest is unavailable. When such situations occur I will endeavour to provide readers with information from the fighters and promoters themselves, and/or the most reputable published sources available. “This Week from Canada” will run every Sunday for the foreseeable future..

Neven Pajkic Remains Perfect at Royal York

“Go ahead and get wild!” bellowed the ring announcer as I looked on from press row at Wildcard Promotions’ “WCP1,” at Toronto’s glamorous Royal York Hotel on September 4th. “Wild” was an understatement. In one of the most gruelling matches I’ve ever witnessed in person, Canadian Professional Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Neven ‘No Surrender’ Pajkic (14-0-0) of Toronto endured the accurate power punches of Raphael Butler (35-9-0) of Rochester, Minnesota, for three rounds, before surging back to steal the victory. Things looked mighty grim for Pajkic in the early going, his knees buckling in the first under the force of Butler’s punches. No knockdown was scored, although Pajkic’s glove appeared to have made contact with the canvas. The referee even rubbed Pajkic’s gloves clean. Thus, he implicitly acknowledged a knockdown, yet refused to perform a count. “A slip?” I thought to myself, “but Butler landed.” Whatever the case, it seemed only a matter of time before Butler introduced Pajkic to the sandman.

Butler controlled the first four rounds of the contest, jolting the big Canadian’s head in all directions. Pajkic’s nose bled profusely from about round two onward. Luckily, some talented corner work limited the leak. My notes on the fight reflect my surprise at what happened next. “Neven dominating. Landing flurries and big shots!” This was followed shortly thereafter by “Neven has him on queer street.” Remarkably, after a meagre four rounds of output, the badly battered Pajkic fired back with regularity. It wasn’t long before his much larger foe showed signs of fatigue and held on tight in hopes of sneaking a few spare breaths.

Rounds five through eight undeniably belonged to Pajkic. My notes became increasingly one sided: “Neven timing him,” “almost all Neven!” “Neven busier.” By round nine the Canadian champ seemed to have things tilted in his favour. Butler, however, staged a brief but effective comeback, shifting gears and staggering Pajkic. “Neven rocked. Hurt,” I scribbled while attempting to keep one eye on the ring. No sooner had I finished noting Butler’s success than Pajkic returned the favour. “VERY CLOSE!” I frantically noted in all capitals before shooting a grin at the reporters to my right. They returned the gesture – conversing in body language as fight fans are apt to do – as if to say, “one hell of a fight!” before turning to their respective laptops.

Pajkic turned in a solid final round, but Butler landed the more effective punches and, in my opinion, took the stanza. Although I scored the fight 95-95 a draw, I feared Butler’s success in the final round may have earned him the decision. The judges, however, saw it differently – in one case very differently - scoring the fight 97-93, 97-93 and, somehow, 99-91, all in favour of Pajkic.

In the night’s other heavyweight contest, Taffo Asongawed (0-4-2) of Montreal and Artem Lipanov (1-0-1) of Toronto fought to a draw in a contest lacking any real science. Lipanov was content to throw jab-cross combinations over and over again, while Asongawed started slowly, throwing few punches until the third round. When Asongawed decided to press things in the third he was able to control the contest with combinations, alternating from body to head with some success. Between the third and the fourth rounds I noted the following: “Enormous power in Artem’s punches, but many blocked. He’s [Artem] Tiring. Taffo’s confidence noticeably increasing.” In the fourth Taffo played with the audience, encouraging them to cheer as he unleashed hooks with both hands. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late, for Asongawed and the judges delivered a split draw.

In the only other fight of the night, Felix Mercedes (6-0-0) of Toronto sent Argentina’s Sergio Leonides Aparicio (13-4-1) home early, scoring a technical knockout in the fifth of a scheduled six rounds. The bout was relatively close through four, although I had Mercedes winning every round by a slight margin. After being dropped in the fifth, Aparicio fought back diligently, refusing to concede the contest. Shortly thereafter, however, Mercedes was able to trap Aparicio along the ropes forcing referee John Wylie to halt the fight.

Steve Molitor Retains Super Bantamweight Laurels

On Saturday, September 11, Steve ‘The Canadian Kid’ Molitor retained his IBF super bantamweight title of the world in England, defeating Jason Booth of Nottingham via a twelve round majority decision. According to BBC Sport, “after a bright start from Booth, Molitor's class started to show.” Since losing to Celestino Caballero back in 2008, Molitor has put together a perfect 5-0-0 record.

This Week’s Fights (September 13-18)

September 17, 2010

Shediac, New Brunswick: New Generation Productions

Emile Arsenault vs Julian Collette

Guy Desforges vs Chris Norrad

Eric Roy vs Robbie Cameron

Norman Peters vs Steven Clement

Denis Martin vs Timothy Skidmore

Jonah Eagles vs Dave Spence

September 17, 2010

Calgary, Alberta: KO Boxing Promotions

Ayana Pelletier vs Sarah Pucek

Max Gagne vs Mike Buccannan

Janks Trotter vs Roberto McLellan

Sheldon Hinton vs Ken Frank

Jorge Ravanal Jr. vs Mike Kruse

Paul Bzdel vs Stuart McLellan

September 18, 2010

Montreal, Quebec: UGC

Abdou Sow vs Jorge Banos (CPBC Lightweight Title)

Ali Nestor Charles vs Jose Humberto Corral

Sylvera Louis vs Taffo Asongawed

Pierre-Paul Roody vs Eric Forget

Arash Usmanee vs Gregorio Jimenez

Article posted on 12.09.2010

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