Sharkie’s Machine: “The Education of Dominic ‘Southern Disaster’ Guinn”

28.03.04 – By Frank Gonzalez Jr. Dominic Guinn became a somebody in boxing after he disposed of former HW contender, Michael Grant (38-2), who fell like a tree in a forest full of onlookers after tasting Guinn’s quiet power back in June of last year. Dominic made beating Grant looked easy. But by the looks of (the Teddy Atlas trained) Grant at that time, a decent middleweight probably would’ve knocked him out. Guinn TKO’d Grant in seven.

The unknown Guinn was suddenly on the map.

He later fought the respectable and game Duncan Dokiwari (22-1) in September of 2003 and convincingly won a ten round decision. It was an exciting fight. Guinn’s boxing skills proved to be fundamentally sound, both defensively and offensively. He had good poise, a calm demeanor and a very good chin.

Guinn went on to fight Derrick Banks (20-10) and won another 10 round decision. Nothing too fancy but effective.

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Monte Barrett, a decent Heavyweight who could be the Gatekeeper of the division, is a good, solid fighter who has some deficiencies that have prevented him from becoming a belt-wearing Champion. He has a respectable chin, considerable boxing skills and good stamina but tends to be a slow starter who at times gets lazy and unfocused in the ring and loses rounds he might otherwise win.

In his last fight against ‘Baby’ Joe Mesi (27-0), he was getting beaten to the punch and out-hustled for the first six rounds of that ten round fight. He was floored by Mesi in the fifth round and then survived the sixth round. In the seventh, Barrett composed himself and put Mesi on the canvas and continued to dominate him for the remaining three rounds. It was too little, too late. Mesi won a Majority Decision, though he most likely would have lost–had it been a 12 round fight. Barrett squandered the first half of the fight by not jabbing enough and fighting lazy. Only when it was too late did he make the adjustments he needed to succeed. You live and learn, hopefully.

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Whoever arranged this match between Dominic Guinn and Monte Barrett should be commended for great match making. It is rare these days to see two guys so evenly matched. It was a brave decision for both camps. It’s too bad that brave decisions in match making are not the norm in today’s fight game.

Guinn’s people must have studied the tapes of Barrett’s fight with Mesi and assumed he would be a good, name-brand, step-up for Guinn and hopefully a good looking win that would elevate his status even more. Barrett came in a well conditioned looking 219-pounds. Guinn weighed 221-pounds. Both men are about the same height and physical stature. Barrett, a veteran. Guinn, the new kid on the block. Barrett was either going to lose his second fight in a row. Or, Guinn’s O was going to have to go.

Little did anyone know, Barrett would look nothing like he did against Mesi on the 27th of March.

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Barrett and Guinn are both similar in a lot of ways and both were stepping out of character with their fast-start approach to this fight. They both came out throwing lots of punches, bypassing on the feel-out process customary for first round. Guinn was a pinch more effective and won the first round.

As it progressed, Barrett looked better than I ever seen him. I expected Guinn to win after seeing Barrett’s half-assed performance against Mesi. Guinn has been doing nothing but winning since his rise in popularity. Most fans I know thought Guinn would beat Barrett, probably by decision. But that is testimony to how we’re sort of ‘steered’ into giving guys more credit than they deserve because they suddenly become “marketable”. Barrett’s been in with the better competition and sports an impressive record himself.

Barrett is easily the best fighter Guinn has faced so far and though I don’t lose any respect for Guinn, he was taken to school by Barrett, who used his jab and superior boxing skills to frustrate and demoralize Guinn. It got to the point where Guinn was falling far behind and had no clue what to do once he was in the deep waters.

Barrett executed impressively, using his jab and setting up his right hand, which was finding Guinn regularly throughout the fight. Guinn had some good moments himself. But Monte was light on his feet and aggressive. I’ve never seen Barrett look so good, he kept the pressure on and never relented. The action was back and forth with both men even on my scorecard after four rounds. The fifth round I scored even, then Barrett won the sixth and seventh. Guinn came on strong to win the eighth round. Barrett won the remaining rounds.

Monte Barrett showed that Fighters definitely change. While its smart to study film of your opponents last fights, it’s unwise to assume a guy is going to be what you saw in the past. Clearly Guinn’s fast start was a strategy designed to take advantage of Barrett’s typical slow starts.

Apparently it was Barrett who had benefited most from watching the tapes of his last fight.

Barrett’s lazy style and slow start cost him a victory over Baby Joe Mesi in a fight he would have won had it been a 12 rounder. By the end of the tenth, Mesi was out of gas and saved by the bell at a point where he put enough rounds in the bank early in that fight to win over Barrett who put him on the canvas in the 5th and 7th rounds. Monte seems to have learned from his mistakes.

Now, it’s Dominic Guinn’s turn to learn from his mistakes. He didn’t jab consistently and was too defensive when he should have been putting punches together, instead of allowing Barrett’s confidence to grow beyond control. Guinn started aggressively then tried to change back to the moderate pace he normally operates from. It was the wrong adjustment and a flawed strategy. He paid for it. This should be the fight that helps Guinn identify parts of his overall style and technique that need sharpening, namely, his ability to defend against counter right hands. This type of experience is invaluable for up and coming fighters. Guys who have no losses are always suspect. Now, the suspicion is gone and Guinn can keep working and only get better.

This is just an educational bump in the road for Guinn, who still has tremendous potential. I expect he’ll make the most of his lesson. He would probably do well against the likes of Joe Mesi, Hasim Rahman, or Kirk Johnson as Guinn rebuilds his confidence and defines his position in the Heavyweight division. He might also want to reconsider the nickname “Southern Disaster” because that moniker debuted as a “Sudden Disaster.” For now, he’s just “Developing Dominic”.

Congratulations to Monte Barrett for a great performance. I look forward to his next fight to see if he takes his improved style to the next level. As a small HW, he can take advantage of larger, slower fighters and make some noise if he fights like he did against Guinn. But for now, I’d be interested in seeing how he does against some of the other small HW’s like Chris Byrd or Fres Oquendo and definitely a rematch with Joe Mesi for a bit of redemption. I’d love to see him in with James Toney, who talks a wee bit too much after only beating an aged, far past his prime, Evander Holyfield as a Heavyweight.

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In the Main Event (that should have been the under card), unbeaten Middleweight prospect Jermain Taylor took on former Jr. Middleweight Alex Bunema (24-4).

There was a lot of apparent hostility between them in a fight that lasted seven rounds and showed Taylor to be a truly legitimate fighter. It seems that Alex Bunema had been doing some talking about how he was going to be the first real fighter Taylor faced as a pro. The truth must’ve really pissed Taylor off. This was the first “real fight” of Taylor’s 20-0 career. Bunema, unlike all of Taylor’s other opponents, came to win. Unfortunately for Bunema, Taylor’s long jab kept him under control in what was a shutout dictated by Jermain’s jab attack, followed by stinging combinations and ending by knock out in the seventh round.

It’s clear that Taylor has some serious assets, like good power, obviously a great jab and he moves well. I still feel he has yet to be truly challenged. Yet, he is ranked higher then a few solid Middleweights that he’s never even fought, like Ray Joval, Evans Ashira, Robert Allen, Howard Eastman, Felix Strum and many others who in my opinion, would be a lot tougher than Alex Bunema. Taylor is good, but he’s still a work in progress. If he steps up and takes on someone in the top ten of his division and wins as impressively as he did over Bunema, I might see if there’s any room left on his bandwagon.

Beating Bunema the way he did was something of a graduation for Taylor. In his first real fight, he showed the makings of a great Fighter. Lets hope his handlers will feed him some bigger game next time up. I’d love to see him take on Robert Allen or Kuvanych Toygonbayev or even Epifanio Mendoza, before they rank him higher than those guys. After all, you can’t just mail in the results, Fighters should have to fight to EARN their ranking. That’s the only way to determine who’s better than who.

Taylor looks real good now. But looks can be deceiving. When we see how he deals with adversity, how he takes a big punch, the truth will come to light. I’m hoping he’s the real item because he has the promise to be a big Star for real.

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Agree or disagree?

Send comments to dshark87@hotmail.com

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