Vintage McCloskey halts Morrison

boxingBy Brendan Galbraith – Ringside Report. Last night, Paul ‘Dudey’ McCloskey showcased his slick boxing skills to dominate the gallant challenge of unfancied Motherwell man, Barry Morrison, forcing the stoppage in the seventh round.

The Aura Letterkenny Leisure Centre was packed to its 2000 capacity by the time McCloskey and Morrison entered the ring. Letterkenny in County Donegal is just over the Irish border and about an hour drive from McCloskey’s hometown of Dungiven in County Derry. So, The Aura was very accessible for McCloskey’s Derry-based fans and it proved to be an excellent compact venue providing good vantage points through the hall and facilitating a rousing atmosphere from the passionate crowd. Although, vastly outnumbered, the small army of Morrison fans made their presence felt. The Morrison fans looked like they had spent the day in the pub, but were, nonetheless, good natured in their cheering, singing and provided sterling support for their fighter..

The fight that unfolded was a return to McCloskey’s silky boxing skills, picking his shots from the fringes of the pocket and cleverly measuring the range to both land his shots and make his opponent miss by inches. Unlike, the previous performance against Giuseppe Lauri were McCloskey employed his technical skills for the first two rounds before going toe-to-toe and getting drawn into a brawl, the Dungiven man was disciplined with Morrison and stuck to his boxing throughout. Morrison, who was not given much of a chance in this fight by most pundits, provided tough opposition in the earlier rounds, and managed to penetrate McCloskey’s defence with good head combinations and several scoring solid body shots. However, McCloskey comfortably absorbed this and from the second round onwards he began to get the measure of Morrison, working behind his range finding jab and finishing with an assortment of heavier shots, most notably, a series of beautiful straight lefts.

In the fourth, McCloskey’s complete control of the fight was assumed by a vintage display of what he does best, exploiting the space in the ring to circle his opponent and unleash his full arsenal; landing shots, effortlessly slipping counters, circle again anti-clockwise from the orthodox fighter, and land again. This pattern continued and when McCloskey clicks into this mode he is an exemplar to any young pro looking to learn how to hit and move.

In the fifth, McCloskey’s dominance began to take its toll and he landed a solid right hook to the top of Morrison’s head, forcing the Motherwell man onto one knee. Morrison fought well to survive the round and commenced the sixth with full gusto, getting through with good head and body shots. But, McCloskey retaliated with double measure and ended the round strongly. The seventh round and fight was ended when McCloskey dropped Morrison with a left and referee, Mark Green, had seen enough and stopped the fight to the delight of McCloskey and his legion of fans.

On the whole, a polished performance by McCloskey and a reminder of his classy technical skills and underrated power. McCloskey retains his European Title but is aiming for a world title shot. Afterwards, McCloskey repeated his intent on facing Khan in an Anglo-Irish World Title clash or against US belt holders Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley. Unless Khan agrees to an Anglo-Irish fight with McCloskey this side of the Atlantic, it is difficult to see McCloskey getting a shot at Khan, Alexander or Bradley on US soil and US TV. Ideally, McCloskey would benefit from a good win from an established US contender, for example Lamont Peterson or Nate Campbell. If McCloskey can win and look good in the process, with either of those opponents it would certainly raise his profile to the lucrative US paymasters.

* A round up of the under card of the McCloskey-Morrison, Brian Peters Promotion will follow later.

Article posted on 03.10.2010

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