Holyfield outworks Oquendo for victory

13.11.06 - By Geoffrey Ciani: On Friday night, former undisputed heavyweight champion, Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield, continued his quest to become five-time heavyweight champion of the world when he scored a unanimous decision victory over heavyweight contender, “Fast” Fres Oquendo. The victory seemingly puts Holyfield right back into the mix of a wide-open heavyweight division.

Holyfield didn’t waste anytime as he immediately sent Oquendo to the canvas with the first punch he landed, a solid right hand to the temple area. It was a legitimate knockdown that totally caught Oquendo off-guard. Oquendo made it back to his feet with a new found respect for Holyfield’s power.

In the next few rounds, Oquendo seemed to be establishing a rhythm, as he began peppering the former champion with jabs and the occasional right hand. Unfortunately for Oquendo, he wasn’t focused enough to stick with his game plan, quite possibly out of fear of getting tagged by a Holyfield counter. When he used his jab, Oquendo seemed to be in control, but he used it so infrequently that it could hardly be considered effective.

In fact, Holyfield often looked like the younger fighter in the ring, as he continuously backed Oquendo up throughout most of the contest. At 44 years old, Holyfield certainly lacked the work rate that once enabled him to be one of the greatest fighters of his generation. Even still, despite the fact he was often throwing one punch at a time, Holyfield was still outworking and out-hustling his younger opponent. Indeed, it seemed as if the older fighter had stolen his younger foe’s will to battle, as Oquendo seemed content just backing away from Holyfield while throwing out the occasional jab in resistance.

In round six, Holyfield turned back the clock and unleashed a brutal combo on the inside. A nice left hook to the body sent Oquendo to the canvas again, however, the referee ruled that an unintentional low blow landed in the midst of the combination. Frankly, I didn’t see the low blow; it appeared to be a borderline punch from my vantage point, and in any case, it was the left hook that sent Fres crumbling to the canvas.

The “low blow” seemed to revitalize Holyfield, who continued his assault on the younger fighter. In the end, Holyfield simply outworked his younger opponent and waltzed his way to a clear-cut decision. The final scorecards saw Holyfield as the unanimous winner by scores of 116-111, 114-113, and 114-113. In all honesty, I thought Holyfield won by an even wider margin: I scored the bout in his favor by a margin of 117-110.

So what’s next for “The Real Deal”? Holyfield has made no secret of the fact that he wants one of the champions in his next bout. Whether it be Wladimir Klitschko, Oleg Maskaev, Nicolai Valuev, or the newly crowned WBO champion, Shannon Briggs, Holyfield wants a title shot. With his recent win over Oquendo, he might just get one.

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Article posted on 13.11.2006

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