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In Defense of The Sweet Science

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The subject of the abolition of boxing pops up periodically. No surprise, most of the time, the drums are beaten for the banishment of the sport after a fighter pays the ultimate price for their participation, their life.

On November 30, a sportswriter for the New York Daily News weighed in with a call to bury the manly art of self defense, putting forth that because we the people now know better, we should do better. His definition of “better” includes a world in which there is no structured setting for a person to test another person in hand-to-hand combat. My reaction to this effort by Filip Bondy? I offer that his thesis was flimsy, his reasoning largely thin and/or flawed, and while I will assume his intentions are good, that he is a fine fellow who means no harm, his editorial betrayed a considerable dosage of ignorance and patronization.

“Boxing has seen its time, and thank goodness that primitive era is done,” the writer put forth in a essay which ran in a Saturday edition of the News.Where to begin? Well, if this “primitive era” is over, I must have missed the memo. Last I checked, man’s inhumanity to man is still in evidence on an hourly basis, and if you permit me a diversion from the world of sport to the wider world, let’s talk about wars. The writer despises the presence of a sport he deems “repulsively gladitorial,” and it made me wonder what he thinks of, say, the war the United States has been partaking in the Middle East and thereabouts. The writers’ thesis and word choice left me pondering what he might think of his newspapers’ description, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 of our participation in the Iraq War. “Despite false starts, failed opportunities and fatefully bad decisions, history will deem the war in Iraq a success,” it was stated in a Daily News op-ed.

Now, I don’t mean to be flippant, but I dare say the families of the near 5,000 Americans killed might not see the war as being so cut and dry. And was there something forbidding the News from mentioning the statistic which pegs the number of Iraqi civilians dead as a result of the US invasion as 1.4 million plus?

Success, huh? Want to reconsider that confident assertion, Daily News? Care to widen the scope of your “boxing should be abolished” op-ed, Mr. Bondy? Care to talk some more about this so-called “enlightened age” we live in, sir?

Now, some might say, hey Mike, Bondy is a sportwriter, we can’t expect him to traffic outside that narrow band. OK, gotcha. Let’s stick to sports. Another thing Bondy didn’t touch in his call to abolish is the mental and emotional makeup, the fierce and at-times all consuming desire of some humans to push themselves to the enth degree. I wouldn’t expect Mr. Bondy to be able to channel that urge; I don’t possess that, and evidently neither does he, as someone who sits on the sidelines and weighs in on the activities of bolder souls. But I’ve spoken to enough fighters–and that’s what they are, fighters, that is their identity, that is their calling, that is their reason for being–to know that these men and women need to test themselves in the ring. They need to prove to themselves and/or the world at large, what they are capable of doing, of being. They need a task, a goal that is larger than what Mr. Bondy and I need to make the time pass. And so, if we ban boxing, we must know without a single shadow of a mitigating doubt that they will seek avenues where they can explore this all-encompassing desire to compete with another being and themselves to such an extreme level.

They will do it in warehouses, dank places surrounded not by physicians and an ambulance at the ready, but by shady entrepeneurs whose structural support platforms consist of nothing beyond a stack of hundred dollar bills to the victor, and an ability to submerge any hint of conscience and decency which our athletic commissions evince on a daily basis.

Now, I’ve read Mr. Bondy, and sometimes enjoyed his work in the past. Most if not all of that material has touched on the sport of tennis. A fine sport, no doubt, one I’ve participated in myself. I enjoy a few sets each summer, in fact, and derive enjoyment from the act. But, let’s be clear, if we are to compare and contrast the thrill, and the deep-set satisfaction one can derive from attaining victory in a “mere” tennis match, as opposed to the satisfaction attained by a prizefighter who has left teaspoons (sometimes tablespoons!) of their blood and sweat on the mat and climbed off the canvas to score a knockout victory and win the heavyweight championship of the world…well, apologies to all the Federers out there, but I think the fighter has a hand up on the racquet man.

It didn’t surprise me that a Bondy took the opportunity to write that simplistic column, so slanted and lacking nuance, as it was printed in the wake of the Magomed Abdusalamov tragedy, which saw the Russian heavyweight suffer brain damage during his Nov. 2 bout against Mike Perez at the Madison Square Garden Theater in NYC.

“Once again this month, we were witness to another boxing atrocity in the city,” Mr. Bondy wrote. The between the lines message could be construed as: once again, and this happens ALL the time, the savage sport left another poor soul rendered fallen, because of the haplessness of overseers. And anyone interpreting Bondy’s messaging in that fashion would be, at best, left with an incomplete conception of that event, and at worst, a fallacious takeaway. I take slight issue with the inclusion of the word “atrocity.” Here’s what I think Bondy did; cursorily examined the Magomed bout, and went to town. He didn’t study the film, see that Mago was still looking to land a KO in the waning seconds of the bout. He evidently didn’t know or wasn’t swayed by the fact that a renowned neurologist spent time with Mago post-bout, assesssing him. No, Bondy wanted to play the self-righteous preacher role, and bemoan the “atrocity,” and prove his bonafides by going all in, and calling for abolition, rather than an examination of practices and protocol that perhaps could be clarified or tweaked to better serve the health and well being of the fighters. You could, I suppose, forgive the man for engaging in unsubtle lobbying suited for the platform he works off of, the tabloid. I won’t, but you could.

And let’s be clear here: Magomed Abdusalamov entered this bout, and this sport, with his eyes wide open. He is and was a fighter to the core, one not prone to quitting, not built like most of us folks to wave a white flag when the going gets tough. He knew what that price could be for his participation, they all do. Do they ponder that potentiality excessively? No, it wouldn’t be prudent, it would in fact be crippling. But ample information, from a hundred years of data collection, is available to any and all pugilist who considers entering the ring and testing their will and skill. And Magomed, being a man operating with free will, engaged in the one life he knew to be available to him, choosing to practice a combat sport which satisfied, I presume, his soul, and offer him a path to improved economic status.

About that “improved economic status.”

I have no way of knowing Mr. Bondy’s net worth, his level of economic comfort, or lack thereof. But I’m hopeful, if not overly optimistic, given the limited scope of his piece, that he understands that in these times, many if not the majority of young adults are at the very least occasionally dubious of their prospects to reach a higher economic level than their parents did. Wage growth has been flat for the masses for 40 years, 50% of us who rent now pay a third or more of our income to the landlord, as opposed to 38% ten years ago, and the costs of higher education have soared more than 500% since 1985 (as opposed to “only” about 200% for gasoline).

For a Caucasian like me, who came from a home where attending college was a given, the path to reasonable prosperity is not so vague. I know I’m fortunate. Does Mr. Bondy comprehend that if he gets his way, and the sport is abolished, that one path to prosperity will be removed for people who don’t enjoy multiple options to a place of prosperity? Perhaps Mr. Bondy isn’t aware that a US citizens’ prospects to jump upward in social class is the third lowest among developed nations. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that in the coming decades, we might well see even more skilled boxers being produced in the US, if Mr. Bondy doesn’t get his way, as one in five American children now live in poverty. Most of us understand that from the most meager existences, some of the most majestic athletes are borne, as it is impossible to manufacture in an atmosphere of abundance the reservoir of determination that grows in some of the superlative souls who beat the grim odds and lift themselves out of dire straits. Now, when the world gets its head screwed on straight, and we better address issues of wealth disparity, and the Rand acolytes are removed from positions of power, then, Mr. Bondy, you and me can revisit the topic. But until then, I’d appreciate you not so blithely lobby for the removal of one road to prosperity for those of meager means.

I take issue with Mr. Bondy’s lobbying, ostensibly, I guess, on behalf of the fighters who he reduces to being “just poor, desperate minorities getting their heads ripped apart internally, synapse by synapse.” I have yet to meet the man who campaigned in the battleground of the sweet science, achieved a level of acclaim and monetary reward, and looks back with nothing but regret, wishing the Bondys of the world had succeeded in deciding for them their life path. Hey, maybe we can revisit Bondy’s concern for the “poor, desperate minorities” when more paths to prosperity are fashioned in a more equitable fashion. And perhaps I will have less scorn for the Bondy piece when he acknowledges the damage done by alcohol, which does a more complete job in ripping heads and lives apart, and skewing synpapses than boxing could ever hope to achieve if there were ten times the number of events held annually.

Mr. Bondy notes that people are more aware of the costs of ring battle, and that the concussion debate and examination is touching other sports. He says its “absurd” to sanction a sport in which the aim is to knock out the foe. There, I’ve found some common ground with Mr. Bondy; I have occasionally come to the same conclusion. It can look absurd. As can the sport of football, which features two men running at 20 MPH and then butting heads like rams. As can the sport of auto racing, which features a person hurtling themselves around a course at 180 MPH, wrapped in a vehicular grenade, and seeking to avoid hitting a wall which could disintegrate their body.

I can go on…and I would end up, forgive me, in the same place. That is a place of dismissiveness of Bondy’s call: if we’re speaking out against sanctioning dangerous practices, shouldn’t we all band together and exit the realm of sports, which offers endless hours of diversion and enjoyment in a world which always has been and will be in need of both, because of the brutish nature of existence for all us masses of men who lead lives of quiet desperation…and instead transition to the real world, and the unending thirst for warfare?

I could go on and on..and I will, actually, since there is something to take offense at in every paragraph of the Bondy piece. What about when the Daily Newser writes, “Whenever a boxer gives up, like Sonny Liston or Roberto Duran, he is mercilessly mocked for the rest of his career.” That is such a simplistic and buffoonish reduction and is so nakedly idiotic as to discourage examination, for the assertion is so facile. To say or imply that the life of Liston or Duran can be boiled down to nothing more than their being an object of ridicule is remarkably ignorant. Let’s backtrack, shall we, to their upbringing. Liston and Duran had in common that their youth was spent in circumstances that would have demolished the soul of most who had to firewalk through it.

Liston was the 24th of 25 kids, and a growling belly was too frequently the norm for him growing up in Arkansas and St. Louis. Shoes were a luxury. Duran fended for himself in a Panama slum and was selling newspapers at age seven. Dad bolted, mom was overwhelmed, so he’d often forage in garbage cans for meals. And both men persevered. And found a sport which would put up with their idiosyncracies of temperament, and instead of leaving behind a wake of carnage and lives–their own, maybe others–lost, and are enshrined in Halls of Fame which boast of their will and skill and accomplishments, which is more than will be said or Mr. Bondy and me, I dare say. Bondy, it seems, hasn’t paused to consider that without boxing, which he hopes will soon be banished, the malevolence of those Durans and Listons would have been directed at any number of innocents.

Every day, at least one kid walks off a street of a slum, in America, and the world over, and comes under the spell of the ring and, hopefully, one or two role models who see themselves in that little boy lost. And a boy adrift and headed for the shoals of sorrow is re-directed, and reborn, in a milieu by no means perfect, but one that affords him, even despite the blows that will rain down on him, a more respectable and fruitful arc of life than he would have been inflicted with otherwise.

Great God, Mr. Bondy, none of us maintain the sport is perfect, and all involved should always be examining ways to make it better, and keep the participants as safe as humanly possible; but sir, there are by no means infinite options for self-improvement for young people whose higher education comes not from classrooms inside Ivy-covered walls, but from negative role models who succumb to the false hope of easy money and self-destructive thrill-seeking…Do you really want to abolish this proven path to a better place, Mr. Bondy? What say you stick to the racquet game, and let the people who have a better grasp of all sides of this sweet and savage science do the analysis of the sports’ strengths and weaknesses.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

Let’s call this week the Big Build Up.

Back in the 1920s to the 1950s the City of Angels was known as the place where Humphrey Bogart lived and played characters out of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Books like the “Big Sleep” and “Lady in a Lake” were made into movies based in Los Angeles.

Well, here we are back where boxing thrives, people or not.

Los Angeles kicks off the big boxing week starting with a televised fight card that features home grown featherweight Vic Pasillas at the Microsoft Theater in the downtown area. Fox Sports 1 will televise the Premier Boxing Championship card on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Pasillas (15-0,8 KOs) faces Dominican fighter Ranfis Encarnacion (17-0, 13 KOs) in the co-main event at a fan-less event that begins a crowded week of boxing as we near the end of 2020.

“Coming out on top against Encarnación is going to catapult me into some big fights at featherweight. The division is wide open and I know with hard work I can take it over,” said Pasillas who is originally from Los Angeles. “This is by far the most important fight of my career. I’m coming with everything I got, because I know this is the turning point that will lead to bigger and better fights. I am ready to bring an exciting fight to the fans and get my hand raised in victory.”

Both Pasillas and Encarnacion are undefeated and unknown to most of the boxing world. A win changes everything especially when it’s difficult to even stage a boxing card.

Promoters are anxious to get their fighters in the ring by any means necessary.

On Thursday in Biloxi, Mississippi, super lightweight Michael Williams Jr. meets Thomas Miller in the headline attraction of a boxing card that will be streamed by UFC Fight Pass.

On Friday in southern Mexico, Serhii Bohachuk (17-0, 17 KOs) meets Alejandro Davila (21-1-2, 8 KOs) in Merida, Yucatan. No word if it will be streamed. The super welterweight from Ukraine has a 17-fight knockout streak and has become a main attraction in Hollywood, California for 360 Promotions.

“Serhii has become one of the most talked about rising stars in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler, promoter of 360 Promotions. “Boxing fans are excited to see if he can continue his knockout streak against Alejandro Davila, the toughest opponent he’s faced. He’s been training very hard with Manny Robles for this fight and if victorious, we’re certain there will be bigger opportunities for him in the near future.”

These are all tasty appetizers for the big buffet coming on Saturday.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Saturday morning, especially if you live in the California area, ESPN+ will showcase the IBF, WBA super lightweight world title fight between champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in London. It will be streamed live on Sept. 26, Saturday morning, starting at 11 a.m PST.

This is an important match for Taylor (pictured on the left) who needs a win to nail down a unification clash with Jose Carlos Ramirez the WBC and WBO titlist. If Scotland’s Taylor emerges victorious the super lightweight clash will be one of the top fights of the year.

And if that fight happens to take place, then that winner more than likely meets WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.

But first things first. Taylor needs to defeat Thailand’s Khongsong on Saturday.

“I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line,” said Taylor.

Charlos Pay-per-view

The Charlos brothers asked for it and they got it.

Long have the brothers from Houston, Texas asked for a pay-per-view fight card and it never seemed possible until now. The Charlos will headline a pay-per-view double-header on Saturday via Showtime.

Beginning at 4 p.m PT/ 7 p.m. ET the Showtime pay-per-view card begins with three top notch bouts:

WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (29-4) vs Ghana’s Duke Micah (24-0, 19 KOs).

WBA super bantamweight titlist Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) vs Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs).

WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) v Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs).

Charlo was not impressed with Derevyanchenko’s performances against Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin because both were losses. He expects to dominate.

Derevyanchenko says he’s ready for Charlo.

“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” said Derevyanchenko. “This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.”

After a 30-minute intermission the second half of the boxing card begins.

Former bantamweight world champion Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) moves up in weight to face Aaron Alameda (25-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBC super bantamweight world title. Both fighters are from Mexico.

Former super bantamweight titlists Danny Roman (27-3-1) and Juan Carlos Payano (21-3) meet in a 12-round bout.

In the grand finale WBC super welterweight titlist Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) challenges IBF and WBA super welterweight titlist Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a fight for all three belts.

“We lions,” said Charlo.

It’s a very big week for boxing that begins on Wednesday and ends Saturday.

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The Return of Wednesday Boxing Evokes Memories of a Golden Era

Arne K. Lang

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There’s a Wednesday card on the boxing docket this week. The card, which features several undefeated up-and-comers of the sort usually found on Showtime’s developmental series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” will play out at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and air on Fox Sports 1.

Not to be out-done, “ShoBox” is returning. The long-running series, which suspended operations in March in obeisance to COVID-19 restrictions, returns on Oct. 7 with a show emanating from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino. The contestants in the main go of the four-fight card, Charles Conwell and Wendy Toussaint, have identical 12-0 records.

It just so happens that Oct. 7 is also a Wednesday. And these upcoming Wednesday shows transported this reporter back to his boyhood when boxing was a fixture on radio and television on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday series sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ran from 1950 to 1960, airing the first five years on CBS and then on ABC.

Fights were all over the TV dial during the 1950s, not that there was much competition. The Big Three — NBC, CBS, and ABC — ruled the airwaves with DuMont a very distant fourth and cable television well off into the future. (For a time, the short-lived DuMont network aired boxing shows on Mondays.)

When televisions first came out, they were a big-ticket item. In 1948, RCA’s cheapest model sold for $395. That’s the equivalent of $10,400 today. By 1954, the cost of the least expensive model had declined to $189 and it came in a bigger box, with a 17-inch screen compared with the 13-inch screen that was standard six years earlier.

With the cost of the coveted contraption beyond the means of many wage earners, saloonkeepers cashed in. Boxing fans flocked to the neighborhood tavern to get their boxing fix. The saloonkeeper could write off his television sets on his taxes as a business expense.

Those were the days, and I date myself, when every town had a TV repair shop and the repairman, like the family doctor, made house calls.

The Wednesday Night Fights were a spin-off of the Friday Night Fights on NBC. The matchmaker for both series (through 1958) was the International Boxing Club which was headquartered at Madison Square Garden. The president of the IBC was James D. Norris (who would come to be seen as a puppet for mobster Frankie Carbo, but that’s a story for another day).

James D. Norris inherited a vast fortune from his father, Canadian businessman James E. Norris. The elder Norris was a big wheel in the sport of hockey and had a financial interest in the arenas that housed NHL teams in Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. He made these arenas available to his son and the Wednesday fight cards moved around, unlike the Friday fights which were pinned to Madison Square Garden.

Both series would eventually venture out at times into virgin territory, but the Wednesday series was the trailblazer. The first nationally televised boxing show from the West Coast was a Wednesday affair. Jimmy Carter defended his world lightweight title against LA fan favorite Art Aragon, the original Golden Boy, at the Olympic Auditorium on Nov. 14, 1951. Aragon had upset Carter in a non-title fight 11 weeks earlier, but Carter took him to school in the rematch, winning a lopsided decision.

The Friday boxing series, which took the name “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports,” would come to be more fondly remembered, but once the TV became a living room staple, which happened fast, the Wednesday series drew higher ratings. This was predictable as more folks stayed home on Wednesday nights than on Friday nights. And although the Friday series had a larger budget, some of the most important fights of the era were staged on Wednesdays.

One of the highlights of the 1951 season was Ezzard Charles’ world heavyweight title defense against Jersey Joe Walcott at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. It was Walcott’s fifth crack at the title and he was considered ancient at age 37, but he avenged his two previous losses to Charles with a thunderous one-punch knockout.

Carmen Basilio appeared in The Ring magazine Fight of the Year in five consecutive years (1955-1959). The first two — his second meeting with Tony DeMarco and his second meeting with Johnny Saxton – were televised on a Wednesday.

Although he would be quickly forgotten, the Wednesday series brought Bob Satterfield a cult following because of his unpredictability. He certainly left an impression on octogenarian boxing writer Ted Sares who recently named Satterfield his all-time favorite fighter.

To conjure up a portrait of Satterfield, think Deontay Wilder and then fix Wilder with a glass jaw. Satterfield, whose best weight was about 182 pounds, was a murderous puncher, but during his career he was stopped 13 times.

LA’s Clarence Henry and Pittsburgh’s Bob Baker were ranked #3 in the heavyweight division when they ventured to Chicago to tangle with Satterfield, Henry in 1952 and Baker the following year. Henry knocked out Satterfield in the opening round. Satterfield hit the canvas so hard, said a ringside reporter, the resin dust flew up.

The Satterfield-Baker fight would also end in the opening round. Baker out-weighed Satterfield by 34 pounds, but Satterfield flattened him. Later on, in a non-Wednesday fight, Satterfield knocked out Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the third round. Williams, 33-1 heading in, was the larger man by 25 pounds.

One bet on or against Bob Satterfield at one’s own peril.

The Wednesday Night Fights had a nice run before the series was cancelled and supplanted in its time slot by “The Naked City,” a critically acclaimed police drama series. Perhaps the return of boxing on Wednesdays augurs well for another mid-week boxing series, but we won’t hold our breath.

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Erickson Lubin Wins, But Misplaced His Hammer

David A. Avila

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Erickson Lubin misplaced the hammer but found a way to victory over Terrell Gausha by unanimous decision in a slow-developing WBC super welterweight eliminator on Saturday.

Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs), a southpaw slugger, was unable to lower the boom on Gausha (21-2-1, 10 KOs) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. But he did enough in a tactical battle that only activated into a real fight in the later rounds.

Back and forth the two super welterweights mostly feinted and fired blows at each other’s guard. Few managed to pierce for scoring blows and those that landed were mostly to the body.

“It was a chess match. I respected what he had, he was trying to counter what I had. My trainer was telling me to be cautious and not get hit with anything stupid,” said Lubin, whose trainer is the respected Kevin Cunningham.

Gausha, 33, was the more accurate puncher but fired less than Lubin. Though he seemingly scored more often with counter rights, the scarcity of his blows allowed Lubin to control the pace of the fight.

It wasn’t until the mid-rounds that Gausha stepped into a slightly quicker pace. In the 10th, a short right connected and wobbled Lubin who covered up.

“I knew I had hurt him, but he was able to recover,” said Gausha, 24, who tried to finish off the hurt fighter but was unable to land another scoring blow.

“I’m in shape and I was able to recuperate,” Lubin revealed.

It was still unclear who was winning the fight. In the 12th and final round Lubin stepped up the pace and connected with a crisp right hook that clearly snapped the head of Gausha. But he fought his way out of the dangerous corner.

After 12 rounds all three judges scored it for Lubin 115-113, 116-112, 118-110.

“Gausha is a tough competitor, he’s at the top for a reason,” said Lubin. “I feel I beat one of the top 154s and I’m going to keep doing that.”

Gausha was classy in defeat.

“I take my hat off to Erickson Lubin. He was the better man tonight,” said Gausha.

Lubin now awaits the winner between Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosario who fight each other next week for the WBC, WBA and IBF super welterweight titles. Showtime will provide the title match on pay-per-view.

Featherweights

Former IBO featherweight titlist Tug Nyambayar (12-1, 9 KOs) floored Cobia Breedy (15-1) twice in the first two rounds but struggled the rest of the way to win by split decision. One judge scored it 115-113 for Breedy and two others for Mongolia’s Nyambayar 114-112 and 114-113.

Nyambayar knocked down Breedy with a counter right cross in the first round and then floored him with four rights and a left hook in the second. After that, Breedy was the busier fighter and no one was able to take control.

“Boxing is boxing. It was a tough fight,” said Nyambayar.

Welterweights

In a solid match Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) was able to find out exactly where he stands against real competition and stopped the unstoppable Juan Carlos Abreu (23-6-1, 21 KOs) in the sixth round by technical knockout in their welterweight showdown.

More than just a knockout win, Ennis discovered that he can indeed take a punch from an elite level puncher.

Nobody questioned whether Ennis had boxing skills or athleticism and power, but nobody knew if he could take a punch. They discovered it as Abreu was able to connect in the fourth and fifth rounds. The Dominican fighter pulled out his tricks and connected several times with sneaky rights and lefts. Ennis remained standing.

Abreu was looking to trade bombs with Ennis in the fifth and sixth round and paid the price in getting delivered to the canvas with a pretty right counter uppercut. He survived. But in the sixth a slew of punches along the ropes sent him down again. He beat the count again but during a fierce exchange he was floored a final time at 1:06 of the sixth round. It was the first time Abreu had ever been stopped.

“I feel I put on a wonderful show and got the knockout,” said Ennis. “I feel I showed the division I am here.”

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