Former WBA Heavyweight Champ Ruslan Chagaev Wins Eight-Round Points Decision Over Travis Walker, Fails To Look Good

By James Slater: Last night in Hamburg, Germany, Ruslan Chagaev, the former WBA heavyweight champion and the current WBA mandatory contender for David Haye, won a hard-fought eight-round UD over the always-game Travis “Freight Train” Walker. The southpaw “White Tyson” prevailed via scores of 78-75, 77-75 and 77-76 (I had it 77-76 for Walker). The 32-year-old, beaten only by Wladimir Klitschko as a pro, is now 27-1-1(17). 31-year-old Walker, who really needed a win last night, is now 34-6-1(28).

Chagaev, looking a little soft at 232-pounds, fought well in bursts in the 1st-round (as he would do pretty much all night), scoring with some sharp left hands to the head. Walker, looking the slower of the two men, began to get his left jab working.

Walker landed a nice right uppercut to the head in the 2nd, and he began firing in some dangerous, if slow, right hands. The action was decent enough to watch, and both men threw quite a lot of leather in the bout.

Chagaev landed some eye-catching punches in the 3rd, scoring with a straight left to the head, followed by a right uppercut to the chin and another left hand. The former champ was using his advantage in speed to good effect. Walker came back with some good inside work, even appearing to bully Chagaev a little.

Chagaev scored with more fast blows in the 4th, his left hand and his uppercuts scoring for him. After a brief slip by the southpaw, Walker went to work himself. There was good action in this session, and it was a case of Chagaev’s left hand Vs. Walker’s right hand.

One again, in the 5th, Chagaev fired off a quick burst of punches - before Walker landed some sharp inside uppercuts to the head. Walker was pushing his man back now, and he scored with another crisp right uppercut to the chin. Chagaev pumped out lefts and rights, and both men were working hard. The two traded to the bell. A close round to score.

Walker let loose with three hard right hands in the 6th, punches that were powerful but slow. Chagaev was looking tired now, and he was again being pushed back by the physically strong visitor. Both men were looking slow by this stage, but “Freight Train” found time to do a little showboating. Walker was swinging in some big right hands, some landing, others missing.

The 7th saw Walker forcing out more work than the home fighter; his jabs and right hands taking the fight to Chagaev. Walker had what was arguably his best round of the fight here, as he landed some heavy right hands upstairs, one of them snapping Chagaev’s head back. “White Tyson” came back at the end of the round, but it was clearly a Walker round.

The 8th and final round, and Walker, though open-mouthed, pumped out more work again. Chagaev, mostly on the back-foot, scored with his own swings. Both men were digging in and throwing out punches - left hands in Chagaev’s case, rights and lefts in the case of Walker. The final session was another close one to score.

In the end, Chagaev, his left eye noticeably marked, got the win - but did he give the kind of performance that will have given David Haye anything to worry about? No way.

Of course, Chagaev was having just his second fight since taking a hammering from “Dr. Steel Hamer” in June of last year, and he will surely be sharper and fitter in a challenge of Haye. But at age 32, and after health problems and injuries, can Ruslan perform that much better than he did last night? Judging solely by his showing against the unlucky Walker, Chagaev would get murdered by the fast and lethal “Hayemaker.”

Article posted on 20.11.2010

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