Mormeck-Braithwaite: “Big Truck” Has A Flat”

03.04.05 - By Wray Edwards: The road to fame and fortune in the Boxing game is rough and rowdy. Along the way there are bound to be some punishing stretches. Someone once said, “From victory one only learns arrogance, but from defeat one learns volumes.” This writer has been told that, in one way or another, by more than one champion. Jean Marc Mormeck (photo: Tom Casino/Showtime) opened the doors to his one-room schoolhouse and invited Wayne Braithwaite to learn and be tested.

The WBC/WBA Cruiserweight unification match between the Frenchman and the American played to an enthusiastic though sparsely attended boxing match on Showtime from Massachusetts last night. Braithwaite (29) jumped over the ropes into the ring with an easy confidence and waited for Mormeck (32) to follow. Wayne had lost both coin-tosses regarding the brand of gloves and order of entry to the ring. Not good omens.


ROUND ONE had Mormeck pretty much waiting for Wayne to show his stuff and tip his hand (10/9 Wayne). In ROUND TWO Marc tried a few things but did not dominate as Braithwaite repeatedly slammed Mormeck with body shots. Marc did, however, give notice that he was going to come forward, and displayed scary counter-punching ability (10/9 Wayne).

As ROUNDS THREE (10/9 Marc), FOUR (10/9Marc) and FIVE (10/9 Marc) passed, a pattern began to develop and it was not good news for Braithwaite. Wayne, though very effective when he switched to right stance, did not spend much time as a righty. He stayed on the ropes too much and fought Mormeck's fight. Hitting Jean Marc was like hitting a fire hydrant; not that Wayne didn't load up on him, but it just didn't have that much effect.

As for Mormeck, he pretty much schooled Wayne. Even though Wayne had a five inch reach advantage, Marc just popped him in the middle of the ring with very crisp jabs, and four, five and six combo'd Wayne against the ropes. Marc just kept coming forward a la Fraizer. Everybody on the planet could see that Braithwaite must have had a death-wish by his unfortunate proclivity to lean on the ropes and allow himself to be trapped in the corners. Mormeck was so effective in cutting off the ring he made the squared circle look ever smaller as each round passed.

In ROUND SIX (10/9 Wayne) Braithwaite eked out a ten by out-working the Frenchman just a tad. During this round Wayne began to hold excessively and to step right into Marc’s foyer where the hulky Eastman look-alike could do his best work.

ROUND SEVEN (10/8 Mormeck) proved to contain a new experience for the Guyanese Braithwaite as he went to the canvass for the first time in his career. With a very tight combo, which ended with a sturdy right, Mormeck drilled Wayne to the head and sent him reeling to his right and down to the cloth. Wayne regained his feet, then grappled his way to the end of the round as Marc tried, in vain, to put him away.

ROUND EIGHT (9/9) included a point deduction, with 1:03 to go, for holding as Referee Dick Flaherty finally lost patience with Braithwaite’s constant embraces. If Wayne had just thrown a punch on the way in (like Ruiz does) he might have gotten away with it. Unfortunately he would allow Mormeck to get too close, and to protect himself he would just grab on. Wayne did, however, outwork and slightly out-landed Mormeck during the round – thus the wash.

During ROUND NINE (10/9 Mormeck) Marc vigorously pursued and trapped Wayne who was unable to effectively defend himself. Braithwaite continued to deliver body shots from somewhere in Kansas, but he would invariably drop his left when doing so and was usually countered by vicious rights. The punching differential between the two fighters was marked. Braithwaite’s strikes often started with a distant wind-up and came in on wide arcs. Mormeck’s punches were short, quick and very solid. His power was much more centered than the lanky Braithwaite’s

During ROUND TEN (10/9 Braithwaite) Mormeck went on vacation. It seemed that he was either resting, or thought he had the fight in the bag. He just backed up pretty much and though Wayne generally out-worked Marc, Braithwaite did not really seem to want to take advantage of Mormeck’s inactivity. Perhaps he was just glad to be allowed to take pot-shots at a distance. Marc threw only a few counters during this round.

ROUNDS eleven (10/9 Mormeck) and TWELVE (10/9 Mormeck) were dominated by a tough and determined Mormeck. Wayne had been slightly cut on his left eyelid (ruled an unintentional head-butt) earlier in the fight, but it was not a factor as it did not bleed much. Wayne’s cheeks were swelling under both eyes and he did not have the grit or power to KO Mormeck which was his only chance at this point.

Throughout the fight Claire Small, Braithwaite’s Mother and Manager, looked more and more somber. She expressed confidence in her son, but he was unable on this night to justify it. Though Braithwaite called this fight a “make me or break me” event, that does not necessarily have to be the case. The twenty-nine year-old boxer makes a solid contribution to the sport and his division peers. There are plenty of musical titles out there for him to seek, and without the hind-sight of at least one defeat, he might have missed a valuable lesson.

As the post-fight throng filled the ring and milled around, Wayne showed an amiable sportsmanship by congratulating Mormeck three different times. The post-fight interviews included a good-hearted statement by Mormeck that he did not harbor any ill-will as a result of Wayne’s bit-o-trash-talk leading up to the fight.

Jimmy L. called out the judge’s scores which were 114/112, 115/111 and 116/110 in favor of Mormeck for a UD. Yours truly had it 115/111 Mormeck which was not what I expected having picked Wayne to win. Mormeck proved to be more focused, stronger, and possibly even considerably faster than Braithwaite. Notwithstanding Wayne’s five inch reach advantage, Mormeck was masterful at finding range and connecting. Marc took Wayne’s best shots and kept coming.

The bout was certainly exciting. Still, in all, it was a contest in the no-man’s land of the Cruiserweight division as Showtime’s lead-in montage of fan interviews painfully demonstrated. Even though two of the sanctions are now united, we are a long way from having the CD become a fan favorite. Congratulations to both fighters for stepping into the fearsome challenge with honor and courage. They certainly made my day.

Article posted on 03.04.2005

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