TKO Loss Drops Wayne Braithwaite

04.09.05 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr: Saturday night favored the underdogs at the Gund Arena in Cleveland Ohio, where Heavyweight, Owen Beck lost a fair and square Decision to Ray Austin on the under card before the Main Event, a Cruiserweight Eliminator bout for the IBF, WBA and WBC rankings featuring Wayne Braithwaite (21-1-17 KO’s) against Guillermo Jones (33-3-2-25 KO’s) turned out to be an exciting fight.

Jones chased Braithwaite (Photo: David Martin-Warr / Don King Productions for SHOWTIME) into the ropes and hammered him with right hands in a beat down of a first round that saw Braithwaite barely survive. Under pressure, Braithwaite reverted to the same tactics that got him beat the last time—hanging around the ropes and taking too many punches. Instead of using his legs and the ring to box his way out of trouble, Braithwaite made the same mistakes as when he suffered his first loss (back in April) to the WBA, WBC Champion, Jean Marc Mormeck..

Guillermo Jones sported a self-assured demeanor and pressured Braithwaite with little regard for his power. Though Wayne came on a bit better in the second round, he was missing more than he was connecting and was getting tagged regularly. Anyone who saw this fight can easily recognize Braithwaite’s “Achilles heel” of awful defensive skills coupled with a meltdown mentality under pressure.

Jones’ over powering first round had Braithwaite hurt. In the second, Braithwaite tried harder to make it a fight but still lost the round, as Jones was able to score the more telling blows. Braithwaite’s rhythm was off and Jones knew it.

Wayne’s confidence made a cameo appearance in the third round, as he popped Jones with quality shots to the body and head. Jones got slower and appeared a bit sapped of energy after his big first two rounds. It was Braithwaite’s chance to come on strong, and to his credit, he did. Wayne won the third round with effective punching and took less punishment than he did in the first two rounds. The tide was turning in Braithwaite’s favor.

In the fourth, Jones came on strong. So did Braithwaite, who fought on the outside and was effectively landing up and down combinations. As they traded fire, the momentum shifted again, when Jones suddenly landed a few power shots and of course, Braithwaite retreated to the worst place for him—the ropes.

Braithwaite looked to be taking a beating, but was really weathering most of Jones’ storm, slipping and avoiding many punches. But from the view of the referee, Braithwaite was getting hit too much. At one point, it was all Jones, throwing unanswered bombs until the referee, Jim Villers, got involved and asked Braithwaite to show him something, implying that he’d stop the fight otherwise. Braithwaite continued to block and slip shots but didn’t answer with any punches. Jones kept the pressure on, winging shots like a buzz saw until Viller stepped between them and stopped it.

It was over. Braithwaite protested.

Immediately after the stoppage, Jones fell to the canvas and looked to be experiencing convulsions, as his legs jerked back and forth. He didn’t look like a man celebrating a win so much as a guy having a heart attack. It was a spooky moment. His team jumped on him, slapping the circulation back into his legs and attending him until the official announcement was made that Guillermo “El Felino” Jones had won by TKO 4. Upon hearing that, Jones was helped up to his feet and a moment later, he seemed fine.

Jones revealed during the post fight interview that in the second round, he hurt a bone in his foot and was in great pain.

As for the stoppage, arguments can be made that it was premature—but technically, it was the right call. The ref’s job is not only to administer the rules and police the conduct of the combatants, but also to protect the fighters. This wasn’t a case of bias because Jim Viller loudly warned Braithwaite to punch back, but he did not do so. The ref did his job.

After the stoppage, Braithwaite asked Viller why he stopped the fight and Viller said, “I told you to fight back, to show me something. You didn’t.
What was I supposed to do, let him kill you? You’ll go back to the gym, you’ll fight again some day.”

Viller was right. And Wayne Braithwaite should have known better.

With Don King as his promoter, Guillermo Jones will be looking for a fight with IBF “Champion,” O’Neil Bell, who many felt lost but got a gift Decision Win over Dale Brown last May when the Official Judges showed once again why Boxing is losing popularity with mainstream sports fans. Brown vs. Bell was just another case for why this sport needs an authority that can police the officials and insure propriety.

Bell vs. Jones sounds like a good match up. Watching Dale Brown outbox Bell exposed some exploitable weaknesses. Guillermo Jones has good power and strong will. He can certainly get better style wise but I think he has enough spirit to best O’Neil Bell even though both have their fair share of vulnerabilities. Cruiserweight is just shy of Heavyweight, where one punch can define a match. Lets hope it Bell vs. Jones happens and that the fighters decide the outcome instead of the Judges.

I’ve been a fan of Wayne Braithwaite over the years, he’s exciting to watch and has always impressed me with his tenacity, big heart and killer instinct—but his wild punching, off balance attacks and porous defense suggested that his reign as Champion would be a short one. Braithwaite’s boxing skills need serious refinement if he’s ever going to be a Champion again. His most glaring shortcoming is his inability to box his way out of trouble. His lack of mental discipline is proving unforgiving these days as he covers up and leans on the ropes, when he should step back outside and work his jab, forcing his opponent to reset instead of becoming target practice. This loss hurt Braithwaite in a big way. It will require a lot of hard work and discipline to recapture the momentum he enjoyed before losing to Mormeck in April. I wish him the best of luck.

Guillermo Jones must have studied the Mormeck vs. Braithwaite fight diligently because he took advantage of Braithwaite in a similar, although quicker manner. The blueprint for beating Braithwaite seems to be to press him into the ropes and watch him fall apart.

Congratulations to Guillermo Jones. I was impressed with his conviction in this fight but he also made a lot of defensive mistakes and has questionable stamina. The Cruiserweight division is just slightly more exciting than Heavyweight, which, unfortunately, is not saying much—but I’d like to see a tournament involving Johnny Nelson (WBO Champ), O’Neil Bell (IBF Champ) and Jean Marc Mormeck (WBA, WBC Champ). Let Bell face Jones and the winner face Nelson. Whoever wins that one goes on to fight Mormeck. The last man standing should be the ONE Champion of the division. That’s the way it ought to be, instead of this system that waters down the definition of the word Champion.

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Article posted on 04.09.2005

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