Ibragimov pounds Whitaker into submission; Peter returns with lackluster win!

16.12.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza, photo by Wray Edwards: In what was the most exciting fight of the evening, Russian native, Sultan Ibragimov, took the fight to Lance “Mount” Whitaker, making him submit in the seventh round. Ibragimov started out aggressively from the opening bell, winging hard shots to the body and head, and making sure that he threw lots of them.. Whitaker, for his part, was mostly hanging back and attempting to catch Sultan with the one single shot. Ibragimov was able to knock Whitaker down once in the opening round, but Whitaker did not seem affected by it.

In the second round, Ibragimov continued to press the attack and landed a beauty of a left hook to Whitaker’s midsection, and followed up with a right to the head, that sent Mount down for the second time. Although Ibragimov was clearly dominant, in terms of the punches landed, and the knockdowns, as well as the points lead, he did show signs of fatigue around the fourth and fifth rounds.

Ibragimov's defense was very good, but the fact that he was tired, meant he was hit more then he had to be. Still, he was able to duck under a fair share of punches too, and was also able to move affectively around the ring. This did not allow Whitaker who was pressing in those few middle rounds, the chance to corner him enough but to land those decent single shots. At times Ibragimov was able to step around Whitaker, and find good angles to land solid punches of his own.

In the sixth round, Whitaker was again nailed with a couple of solid shots, lost his balance and fell to the ropes. Ibragimov forced the attack again, and sent Lance down head first onto the canvas seconds later. Throughout the fight, Whitaker took a lot of Ibragimov’s punches, knockdowns or no, and was able to eat them up and smile back, and even if hurt, make it seem as if the punches had no effect. After that knockdown, Whitaker was no longer smiling. He had his moments in the fourth and fifth rounds but he was getting discouraged by Ibragimov, who although tired, was the superior and faster boxer.

In the seventh round, Whitaker was smacked with another beauty of a combo, as Ibragimov again exhibited superb movement stepping around Whitaker, and landing before the Mount could react. The punches caused a gash over Whitaker’s right eye, which the referee ruled as being caused by a punch. The cut did not look very severe, and the doctor asked Lance if he wanted to continue, at which point Whitaker, down big on the cards, cut, tired, and having landed some good shots that did not effect Ibragimov, conceded and told the doctor he wanted the bout to be stopped.

His decision was good because he did not seem like he had enough strength to catch Ibragimov, who although tired, was still able to move better then his bigger foe. Even if Ibragimov would get winded again, Whitaker would not be in good enough shape to make him miss as the situation in the middle rounds did not turn the tide and Lance was back on the defensive, and the canvas, afterwards.

As far as Ibragimov goes, as mentioned, his biggest weakness, is in my mind, stamina. He did everything else well except for the instances where he was visibly tired and was hit by some good punches, most of which that he could probably avoid if he had better endurance. His defense, and his offense off of his defense, are really superb, as he was able to make Whitaker pay, and not only counter but jump in close enough to the bigger man, and cut to the side where Whitaker was not fast enough to turn or react. The only problem is if he fights a guy who can survive the onslaught, like Whitaker did, but have enough left to capitalize with better speed and stamina of his own, in rounds similar to Whitaker’s best ones. Still, on the other hand, it is possible that Ibragimov calculated that even if he did not do enough damage to Whitaker to KO him early, he might do enough to tire Whitaker, where his own stamina would not be an issue if the fight continued, and then he could still win.

After the fight, Whitaker admitted that Ibragimov was the better man, but that he would get back in the gym and work harder, which is respectable. Ibragimov mentioned that he was looking for an early knockout and it was the reason he was a bit winded in the middle rounds.

Mike Tyson was at ringside as well, and was so happy with Sultan’s performance that he actually kissed him, which I take many people will think as being “controversial,” even though its silly to make anything out of it. It was good to see Tyson happy, fans like it, because Tyson will always be a fan favorite. When the announcer mentioned all the names of the celebrity boxers and stars at ringside, as expected, Tyson got the biggest ovation. After Ibragimov’s interview, Tyson answered a few questions as well. Mike said his life was 50/50, to which the interviewer mentioned that most people’s lives are like that, at which point, Tyson retorted, “eh, I just like to complain a lot.” This was a hilarious bit of comedy.

Samuel Peter vs. Robert Hawkins:

Sam Peter came out as the star for the main event of the evening, although I have no idea why, seeing as his opponent was brought in, only to make Peter look good. Even then, Sam seemed almost disinterested in doing more than looking for the one big punch, which Robert Hawkins was able to avoid enough to lose on points in a 10 round decision. Credit should also go to Hawkins trainer, who was able to focus his fighter enough to at least let him go the distance, as he seemed a bit distraught after Peter knocked him down in end of the first.

Peter did not seem much improved after the loss to Klitschko and that can be attributed to a few factors. First, either he did not have enough time to work on anything, or second, he just didn’t care enough to even try. I tend to think it was more a combination of both. Peter got back in the ring relatively quickly and that is important, yet if he wanted to really improve, he would need to take some time off to train more seriously. According to the commentators, he had only sparred for three weeks, which would explain the lack of desire he had to fight.

As I mentioned, Hawkins was doing just enough to hang in there but he was not letting his hands go enough to win rounds. It’s hard to blame him, as he knew that Peter was looking for him to get close enough so he can land his own stuff. So instead, Hawkins mostly moved away or rushed in to clinch. The problem with this is that put the burden on Peter to go out and look for the knockout, which he did not do, and did not seem interested in doing. Sure, he had his monster swing shots but in between, when he actually had a chance to use them, he was not doing enough to corner Hawkins and unload. Save for the 8th round, where for some reason, Peter came alive suddenly and looked significantly better than in all the other rounds, this fight was uninteresting from a boxing standpoint.

From a freaky occurrences standpoint, however, this fight had its moments. In the fifth round, or after the fifth, perhaps, Panama Lewis, who was at ringside, complained of heart problems, and the ambulance on hand had to wheel him out and take him to the hospital. At the same time, the other ambulance was forced to take a look at another injured fan somewhere in the arena. By law, the fight could not continue without at least one ambulance and one set of medical personnel on hand. This prompted the bout to be halted for roughly eleven minutes, as both fighters sat at ringside, staring aimlessly, and the commentators tried to find ways of keeping the viewers entertained.

When the action resumed, Sam Peter was somehow able to split his trunks, and was fighting with a modified version of the gear Sharmba Mitchell and Demarcus Corley fancy. Not to be outdone, Hawkin’s, who’s protective gear was basically covering his entire midsection, from riding up, and his shorts then began to slide south of the border in the tenth and final round. It got so intense, that the commentators, quipped that, “Hawkins may not go down but his trunks will be hitting the canvas shortly.” Having been lulled to sleep by the action, I suddenly came alive wanting to see if that prediction would come true. The referee, who did not yet see the problem, did not intervene to fix the trunks. The trunks began to slide lower! Then the crowd began to boo. It was difficult to understand at first what they were booing at, as the action was more than just less then thrilling, but it was all made clear seconds later. With Hawkins trunks seconds away from dropping, the ref finally stopped the bout and put both guys in a neutral corner to fix the situation. As he lifted Hawkins trunks, the roar of the crowd was deafening. I never laughed harder in my life during a boxing match.

Peter said after the fight, that Hawkins had a good chin, and he wanted to show that he could box more. He was also quite amused by the fact that his trunks split like that.

John Duddy vs. Wilmer Meija:

John Duddy looked superb, both in the ring, and walking out to the sounds of Ireland’s native bagpipe. Personally, I love to see elements of national culture, used to pay respect to the fighter’s homeland in something like the walkout. It gives boxing that great, almost Olympic style, feel that should make fans appreciate the cultural backgrounds of the different fighters.

As far as the action, the interesting part would have been to see if Meija, a southpaw, could have given Duddy any problems. Unfortunately for Meija, Duddy was too aggressive to let that theory be tested. Although he was a bit inaccurate, Duddy was able to corner and stalk Meija enough to discourage him from doing anything with his stance. Duddy mixed in good body shots, and shots to the head that had pop on them. He also did not show signs of fatigue from being so aggressive, and exhibited a very quick feinting motion as he rolled forward. Meija complained of a broken hand after three and the bout was halted.

Dale Brown vs. Dennis Mckinney:

This was the first bout of the televised card, but since I had turned the TV on a little later, I was able to catch only the tail end of it, seeing the last 4 rounds or so. The bout was very slow and more of a boxing and not a slugging match, which was really a decision made by Brown, the taller and more skilled, younger boxer. He was winning the rounds pretty handily with jabs and keeping it on the outside, rather than even walking in and giving his older slower opponent a chance. Mckinney, for his part, did land a few good shots but Brown was able to clinch when necessary or move, so there was no follow up from Mckinney.

Brown did seem winded but he was kept very focused by his corner, headed by the great former cruiser and heavy champ, Michael Moorer. Moorer gave all the right advice and was very focused on making sure he kept Brown focused. Often times, trainers talk and the fighters seem like they don’t even care, which is precisely the opposite of what Moorer did. Moorer never talked for the sake of talking, and all his comments in the corner he made sure Brown obeyed. This was telling, as Brown kept completely composed to lock up the points win. Moorer did a great job as trainer and it will be interesting to see how Brown can develop with a good trainer like that.

Article posted on 16.12.2005

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