Lacy, Ouma shine, Klitschko survives Baptism by fire

02.10.04 – By Izyaslav “Slava” – For those of us not willing to pay the necessary “per view” dollars, it was a pretty worthy night of boxing. Jeff Lacy showed he was not all hype by taking out the dangerous and skilled Syd “The Jewel” Vanderpool. While Kassim “the dream” pretty much affirmed what I already believed after his previous fight with Candelo, or more specifically, that he is a legend in the making. Unfortunately, Vladimir Klitschko, although winning, still managed to confuse me in regards to how the previous two losses have effected him. Enough of that, though, let’s get to the action:

Jeff Lacy- Syd Vanderpool:

Round 1 & 2: Vanderpool clearly in command, works the body, and schools Lacy in the art of going in to touch gloves and attempting a sucker punch. In Round two, Vanderpool plays possum and lures Lacy into him, and unloads with good, sweet crisp counters, in other words, 20-18 Syd, after 2.

Rounds 3 & 4: Lacy takes command hurting Vanderpool late in the third, and forcing him to fake trip in the fourth after missing a right that landed behind Syd’s ear.

Round 5: Hard round to score good action throughout, Vanderpool had the hard counters, but also eats a lot of hard punches to make them land. 10-10

Round 6 & 7: This was all Lacy! Just vicious and ferocious aggressiveness. Lacy looked like a possessed gladiator going in for the kill. Furious uppercuts and just an overall well mixed balanced attack. In round 7, Lacy gave just about three punches for every one that he took.

Round 8: Vanderpool clearly hurt by the previous rounds proceedings, finds himself on the ropes, and extremely hurt after three huge jarring, life scarring uppercuts. He whirls around the ring to avoid the attack, and does what anyone who is about to be knocked out is about to do, and that is, he asks the ref “not to stop it.” It was actually not very noticible but as he moves away from Lacy, Syd knows he is about to get knocked out and half pleads with Robert Byrd not to stop it. At that point, it was all academic, as they say, because soon after Vanderpool got hit by a limp jab, effectively the KO punch, he tried to duck away from it about 1 to 2 seconds after it landed. It was obvious from this, that his senses were gone, and that if there would be no intervention, he would be laid flat. Lacy showed very good skill, a durable chin, a varied aggressive and unrelenting attack, as well as calculating patience, as he turned it on after losing the first two rounds. If Hopkins wants a big fight, he should look no further then the “Left Hook” kid.

Kassim Ouma- Verno Phillips

Rounds 1 & 2: In what seemed like a repeat of the previous fight, the veteran came out and established himself early. Phillips worked his way to the body in round one, and led well with a nice jab. In round two, it was more a case of Ouma falling asleep in the ring, and letting Phillips outwork him. 20-18 Phillips

Round 3 & 4: At some point in the round, “The Dream” finally wakes up, and pushes Phillips to the ropes and keeps him there, as he constantly pounds away at him with both hands. In round 4, Ouma hurts Verno with clean shots, and Phillips misses with untamed, wild shots. 39-39

Rounds 5 & 6: Ouma strolls through everything Phillips offers up, and keeps working effectively. Phillips also loses the round because of incessant constant holding. In round 6, Ouma beats Phillips up with simple, yet effective one-two combos. Ouma’s work rate looks like it can hold up the whole night. 58-56 Ouma

Rounds 7 & 8: Phillips has his moments in the 7th as he counters effectively, but not enough to offset Ouma’s tremendous rate of constant punches. Ouma continues wailing away in the 8th as well. 78-74 Ouma

Round 9: Phillips again offers nice counters, but again they cannot discredit Ouma’s affective aggressiveness. 10-9 Ouma

Round 10: Phillips takes this one with good body work, and Ouma shows signs of stepping in quicksand, or slowing down. 10-9 Phillips

Round 11: Okay, here is where the fight ended for me. In my opinion, this fight should have been stopped right here at this point. Ouma hurt Phillips with a destructive body shot that forced Vince to clutch his ribs in pain. Ouma then proceeded to bombard, and blast away at the champion with a mean spirited beating. Phillips was totally out on his feet for the better part of the round, and even those people watching the fight with me who take no great interest in boxing, were asking for Cortez to make the mercy call. I mean, its not that I don’t want to give credit to Phillips, because he did try to fight on, but it was just so bad that there was no point in letting it go on. Had Phillips eaten anything major in this round, I would bet Joe Cortez would take a lot of Flak for not stepping in. 10-8 Ouma

Round 12: This round went to Ouma by default because Phillips chose to run for just about every second of it. I guess you can’t blame him, but you can’t really praise him for it either.

In any case, I had Ouma winning this by a mile, a kilometer, and a light year, so I have no idea why any of the judges would have it 114-113, and 115-113. Ouma looked like he could squeeze that work rate into about 3 more championship fights, before succumbing to fatigue, if he fought all 36 rounds right after this 12th round marathon. Ouma is a very skilled endurance fighter. If it were possible, I would like to see a fight between him and Cory Spinks. I think that fight would be truly special.

Vladimir Klitschko- Davaryll Williamson

Just like at the end of the Brewster fight, I am left scratching my head. I mean, what in the heck happened in the ring tonight? Vladimir was winning comfortably, and still the result leaves the same taste in my mouth as that of a copper penny clinging to your tongue.

Round 1: Both fighters are terrified of each other and that shows, no matter how much staring Vladimir did in the pre-fight instructions. Vladimir knowing he is expected to be the intimidator, as well as the aggressor, goes to work with a hard jab. However, that is not what the boxing public wants to see. We know Wladimir’s jab is as good as it gets. The question is, what happens when Williamson lands something, or anything, for that matter. Unfortunately for us, but luckily for Vladimir, that doesn’t really happen in the first round. Williamson is content to merely run away with hands held high. 10-9 Vlad

Round 2: Vladimir hurts Williamson twice in the round, but TOS holds on. Both guys are still kind of scared and Vladimir begins to open his mouth more and more, showing the first signs of fatigue. His hands are not nearly where they should be, and are kept at chest level. However, Williamson is in no hurry to press the action anyway, so it doesn’t really matter where Vlad’s hands are. Vladimir’s punch output is extremely low, and that to some extent, could be a positive sign from a strategic standpoint. He knows that Williamson will play scared and defensive for the first half of the fight, and then try to pull a Purrity/Brewster in the second half. Vladimir is doing just enough to win the fight, but not using his jab to corner Williamson, as well as open himself up, Instead, he cuts off the ring. Basically, it was his best Vitali impression, but I don’t know whether he should use that style in the future, because if his opponent suddenly attacks, he won’t really be able to counterpunch. Vladimir is not a counterpuncher, and thus depends on his offense to smother his opponent’s attack, which won’t happen if his hands aren’t busy. In any case, still 10-9 Vladimir

Round 3: Vladimir is still breathing hard, but of the two, he is the only one putting punches together and actually working. 10-9 Vladimir

Round 4: Here is what we have all been waiting for. Wladimir misses a combo and leaves himself off balance for a right hand power shot from Williamson that sends him backwards and to the canvas. A collective gasp fills the air. In truth, the punch was not that significant; Williamson was fighting off his back foot, and had just enough power on it to put Klitschko down. So why does Vladimir suddenly become scared, as if he had just seen Corrie Sander’s ghost? What’s more pathetic, is his feeble attempts at clinching Williamson, whose still half scared attacks, look horrible. Vladimir’s arms flail about and he seems off balance and all over the place. Had Williamson been even remotely aware of how weird his opponent acted, he might have done something more significant. No, I don’t agree with Vlad attempting to clinch in this situation, especially because in the latter part of the round, when he went back to wacking at Williamson, he landed two very good shots, which had the showtime commentators actually thinking they might have made it 10-9 for Williamson, rather than 10-8, because of the knockdown. In my humble opinion, Vladimir gave the impression of being more hurt by the knockdown then he really was, and that acting job is what hindered him from regaining his composure and dominating after that. Had he done so, I might have had it 10-9. As it is, 10-8 Williamson.

Round 5: Wladimir regains his composure, but still does not remotely try to press like he is capable of doing. The atmosphere is still taught as a crossbow string, but nothing is really happening except Vlad’s cautious jab, and Williamson constant movement. Towards the end of the round, both fighters are saved from further nerve racking fear, when they collide heads, and a terrible gash opens up on Klitschko’s head. It was so bad, that the doctor, Margaret Goodman, stated that she actually saw “the bone” from Vladimir’s skull and suggested the fight be stopped.

Although it was clear that Vladimir had won, I am still on the fence about what to call this performance. On the one hand, you have Davaryll Williamson who in essence, is a decent heavyweight (based on his Castillo and Sanders fights, at least) when he is on his game. Also, Vladimir did get up from a decent knockdown, and was able to win (I am excluding the Steve Pannel fight because it was not that important). On the other hand, he looked crappy in there on the few times he did get hit, and I really can’t say I am confident in his defensive ability. There is no sign of any decent countering, or head movement, and the clinching could be improved. I just don’t know if all this Americanizing of his style by Manny Steward is making it better or worse for him. I mean, with Sdunek, he pretty much dominated Byrd, and even showed masterful patience in taking out Mccline. However, after the Sanders loss, is it perhaps too late to go back to the Fritz school, of attack, attack, and wait your opponent out? I just don’t know.

I do agree with one thing that Steward said, though, and that is, “win, lose or draw, Vladimir must keep fighting. He can’t contemplate how well he is gonna do by sitting on his ass, and watching video tapes of the greats, or hitting a defenseless everlast bag. He needs to eat leather, and he needs to like it.” I don’t know if anyone noticed it or not (perhaps I am delusional) when Vladimir walked out at the beginning of round 5, for a split second he had the look of a real savage wolf in his eye, and I think that in order for that to become that person again, he just has to keep fighting often, against anyone and everyone.

In closing, this was a good night of action, and all the winners rightly deserved those wins, even though, as in Klitschko’s case, that wasn’t the only thing they were searching for. Regardless of what happened on the Mayorga-Trinidad card, I wouldn’t have minded paying 40 or 50 bucks to watch these six guys.

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