By Kevin L. Johnston: Yesterday evening on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, boxing fans got to witness the professional debut of former UNLV Rebel Brett Rather, who also happens to be the great-nephew of famous journalist and television anchor Dan Rather. Brett, a decorated collegiate boxer, was certainly eager to please his hometown Nevada fans in his first fight with the big boys.
From the opening bell, Rather dominated what was a pretty entertaining 4-round scrap. Both fighters were more than happy to let their hands go, and Rather consistently got the better of the exchanges. Rather almost closed the show on a few different occasions, but Woods’ chin held up despite his youth and inexperience.
Rather took the 1st and 2nd rounds convincingly, then Woods finally picked up the pace in the 1st minute of the 3rd stanza. Rather easily withstood the brief onslaught and took the 3rd on my card by seizing control of the final 2 minutes of the round. Rather tried for the knockout early in the 4th but didn’t force the issue, probably assuming he had a favorable decision locked up on the scorecards. I had the fight 40-36 for the winner, Brett Rather. The official scores were 39-37, 40-36 and 40-36, all for Rather.
Despite the somewhat impressive showing, Rather still has a long way to go before he can be considered a serious contender. His hand speed looked too slow to beat anyone above gatekeeper status anytime soon, and he’s significantly undersized for the heavyweight division at about 6-foot-nothing in shoes. I rank Rather about as high as the Indianapolis Colts’ Tom Zbikowski in terms of power, skill and stature, not to mention the fact that both men have extensive amateur experience. Zbikowski was the first name that came to mind when looking for an accurate comparison for Rather, and the similarities are certainly there.
With a little polish on his footwork and technique Rather could become a factor in the division on down the road, but for the time being he needs to get a few more pro fights under his belt before stepping up in class. His next fight is tentatively scheduled for August 3rd of this year, just a two short weeks away.
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