15.10.05 – By Ali Mohammed: Former WBC cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez (40-1, 33 KO’s) scored a ten round unanimous decision over former WBC heavyweight champion Oliver McCall on Saturday night in Dusseldorf, Germany. The bout was highly anticipated in Germany, since it is an eliminator for the WBC heavyweight title, which is currently held by Vitali Klitschko.
Gomez used his hand speed to dominate the early rounds. McCall (45-9, 32 KO’s) tried to trade combinations with the Cuban, but Gomez was just too quick for him. McCall did try to land some solid right hands, but up to that moment, Gomez was still moving pretty quickly, avoiding the occasional bombs from his American foe. That scenario continued through the middle portion of the bout, from rounds four all the way into seven, but even in that portion, Gomez didn’t outbox McCall the way he was expected to.
In many occasions, the crafty Gomez used a kind of a “clutch and grab” strategy, similiar to the way Wladimir clinched against Peter, although it wasn’t excessive, but was enough to show that Gomez wasn’t in good enough shape to circle and throw all the way until the final bell. Moreover, he didn’t use his jab much. Instead, he relied heavily on the straight left hand, which he would lazily throw whenever he saw an opening. Even his leaning and head movement were very slow and lethargic, and it appeared that all Gomez wanted to do was get the bout over so he could go home and take a good nap. For the most part, Gomez slowly walked around, looking sleepy eyed, while McCall just looked too old and slow-footed to make to make a proper fight of it.
In round eight, Gomez was clearly out of gas. As a result, McCall had his moments and landed some excellent left hooks, followed by solid right hands that caused Gomez’s left eye to swell and then cut.
In rounds nine thru ten, Gomez started to circle McCall, as it appeared that the Cuban wanted to take zero risks and wanted to escape with his hide intact. McCall, to his credit, gamefully tried to chase the Cuban, but was unable to close the distance due to Gomez fighting in a retreating sytle. For the most part, Gomez was still throwing punches, yet they were slower than ever and they had no steam on them. McCall did catch Gomez few times, however, he wasn’t powerful enough to do any real damage. All three judges scored the fight for Gomez, 98-92, 98-92 and 96-94.
Final thoughts: Gomez’s performance wasn’t remotely impressive in any way. In my opinion, it looked like he didn’t train well, and this has been an ongoing problem for the Cuban contender. He usually relies heavily on his pure boxing talent to get his through fights, rather than in getting in good shape through hard training, which may ultimately catch up to him in the future when he meets the winner of the Vitali Klitschko vs. Hasim Rahman fight. As for McCall, he did a good job. His stamina was impressive for a 40 year old man, as he kept coming until the final bell and putting Gomez in danger the whole fight.
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