Karmazin takes Ouma on the Highway to Hell

15.07.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Tonight in Las Vegas, Nevada, live underdog Russian Roman Karmazin completely outclassed a fighter touted to be a superstar in the making. Walking into the ring accompanied by AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, Roman did almost as much right as one could do against a dangerous volume punching opponent like Kassim Ouma.

First and foremost Karmazin employed a killer body attack in the early rounds of the fight. The shots were very discouraging and detrimental to Ouma who was sent to the canvas, after a short dance, from a brilliant one, two that hit Ouma square in the left kidney. Seconds later Ouma missed a straight to the head, and found himself on the canvas again. As most people can imagine I probably woke the neighbors up jumping and screaming. Credit should be given to the Ugandan for getting up and continuing on through the hailstorm of punches by Karmazin.

Surviving the round however it was obvious that Karmazin had drained a lot of energy in trying to knock out Ouma, something he just couldn’t quite do. At that point Karmazin put more emphasis on moving back and using his reach and height to keep Ouma at bay.
Ouma was game throughout and did catch Roman with a few good punches but the Russian was smart enough to nullify Ouma’s attack by clinching.

I will admit that at times it was a bit excessive, and I wouldn’t really be against the referee taking away a point from Karmazin, but part of the reason for why it didn’t happen, is American trainer Freddie Roach. Whoever thought of adding him to Karmazin’s corner was instrumental in giving Karmazin a great mental edge. The instance I am referring too, was one in which the referee Robert Byrd came over to Karmazin’s corner and through the noise of the Spanish commentating, seemed to warn Karmazin and threatened to take a point away, at that point Roach distinctly said, “come on the other guy is clinching to,” and the referee basically left it at that. Even though this may seem like a small thing, like I have always said a good, experienced trainer is absolutely imperative in the corner of a good fighter. The influence that a comment like that could exert, depends on the referee like that, but not saying anything would probably give the referee enough reason to make good on his promise. I don’t agree that Ouma clinched that much, but I do think that after the little comment by Roach, the ref was looking carefully to see who was doing the clinching and thus was cautious to take a point away.

While these little incidents were occurring Ouma was coming on strong as Karmazin had visibly lost a step after the tremendous third, and fourth rounds. At that point he mostly controlled the action by back peddling to the ropes while pumping the jab and countering, and if Ouma got in too close he smartly nullified Ouma’ ability to put combinations together, by coming in close, and throwing short shots to the face and body. Eventually the action would halt and once the referee would separate them, Karmazin would go back to work controlling the action till the next phone booth altercation.

To be fair Ouma did land some telling blows, but Karmazin stuck to his gameplan even though tired, and tried to answer back every single time. To me that seemed a bit foolish at certain points, because it was in those instances that Ouma had the best chance to land the lightning shot (which he definitely tried to do) but Karmazin’s shots found their mark as well, and Ouma could never really put enough together to stop Karmazin. On the other hand Karmazin was deathly afraid of being robbed or the judges taking a round away based on him taking too many shots in a round, so he fought tooth and nail to land punches back that would influence the judges enough to discount instances where Ouma’s punching perhaps had more effect or was simply more effective.

In the end the vicious body punching was in my opinion the real decisive factor. Ouma was feeling each and every kidney shot, even the ones he blocked somewhat with his elbow, and the effects of those early body shots carried Karmazin down the stretch for the win. To some degree I can also admit Ouma was not himself in the beginning of the fight, and rather tried to come on late, but the clinching, did not allow him to do anything once he did come close, and in between those instances, Karmazin was constantly moving, not allowing Ouma to stop in the middle of the ring and unload an ammo belt barrage of punches. Again you have to give credit to Ouma for fighting and trying but he was simply beat by a better fighter.

Personally I would love to see Karmazin vs Wright, or Karmazin vs Strum at this point. These guys are great jabbers and it would be interesting to see if Karmazin can adopt his style to beat the elite 154 pounders. Now however, I just want to congratulate Roman Karmazin with his victory, because he definitely earned, by putting in the training, focus and dedication to make it pay off in the ring. I look forward to seeing him on TV in the future.

Article posted on 15.07.2005

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