By James Slater: Last night in Paris, France, 38-year-old former cruiserweight king Jean Marc Mormeck won a very close and hard-fought 12-round split decision over the never-stopped Timur Ibragimov of Uzbekistan. Contesting the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) international heavyweight title, as well as being very important in terms of world ratings, the fight was one that could conceivably have gone either way.
In the end, two of the judges went for “The Marksman,” voting for him by scores of 116-111, 116-112 (both scores seemingly too wide), while the third official scored the fight for the visitor, at 115-113. Mormeck is now 36-4(22) overall and 3-0(0) as a heavyweight. 35-year-old Ibragimov lost for the first time in almost four years and is now 33-3-1(16).
Ibragimov started the fight well, with Mormeck being very conservative with his own punches. A fair deal bigger and stronger than Mormeck (at 6’3” and 225-pounds to 5’11” and 215), Ibragimov bullied Mormeck and was winning the rounds.
The tide changed in the 5th, as Mormeck began firing in, and scoring with, some good uppercuts to the chin, forcing Ibragimov onto the ropes. Ibragimov attacked the body in the 8th, and the fight’s momentum switched again. Now clearly tired, more tired than was his opponent, Mormeck was having to dig deep.
There was, overall, way too much holding from both men for the fight to really excite (although the French fans seemed to enjoy it), and in the 10th-round, Ibragimov was deducted a point for hitting Mormeck behind the head. This was just after the Uzbekistani had hurt the local man with a good body shot.
Ibragimov had more left in the closing rounds, with Mormeck looking absolutely shattered. The final drive by the younger man wasn’t enough though, and the French hero won his third straight at heavyweight. But has Mormeck looked good at the new weight in either of his three outings?
Most people thought Mormeck clearly lost his last fight, to Fres Oquendo, while in his heavyweight debut against Vinny Maddalone (an eight-rounder), Mormeck was gassed and being outworked in the later rounds. Now he has escaped with another razor-thin points victory. How much better can Mormeck get as a heavyweight at age 38?
Very much hoping to land a world title shot – against WBA boss and former foe David Haye ideally – Mormeck won’t have scared either Haye or the two Klitschkos with last night’s showing. Mormeck isn’t a bad fighter: he is just too small, too lacking in stamina against the big guys as a result, and too old to pose a genuine threat to the champions. This doesn’t mean he won’t get his shot, though.
As long as Mormeck keeps winning, he will keep asking for his chance. Will “The Hayemaker” give him an opportunity?