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WHO DO YA LIKE? Broner vs. Maidana?

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SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 12, 2013) -San Antonio solidified itself as a boxing powerhouse in 2013, so it’s only fitting that the home of the Alamo will host the final blockbuster boxing event of the year when Adrien “The Problem” Broner faces Marcos “El Chino” Maidana this Saturday, Dec. 14, live on SHOWTIME® (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

“I put San Antonio with New York City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles as one of the top boxing cities in the country,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said during Thursday’s final press conference for “DANGER ZONE: Broner vs. Maidana.”

And the third SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event to emanate from San Antonio this year might be the best yet. Saturday’s telecast features four can’t-miss world championship fights with each fighter facing potentially the toughest test of their respective careers.

Here’s what the fighters, trainers and promoters had to say during Thursday’s final press conference:

ADRIEN BRONER, WBA Welterweight World Champion

“If he makes a mistake and I have a chance to get him out of there I’m going to get him out of there. If I just beat him to death, then I beat him to death.

“Who doesn’t want to see a young star on the rise like Adrien Broner fight a guy like Marcos Maidana, a hard puncher, a knockout artist with 31 knockouts? Who doesn’t want to see that? There’s always that ‘what if?’

“It’s going to be a hell of a fight. I don’t go for knockouts but I really feel I’m going to knock this guy out; I’m going to be his first stoppage. I’m going to stop this guy and we’re going to move on to the next one.

“Maidana is a good fighter, a hell of a fighter, but he’s not on my level. My career is going to the rooftop. It’s going to skyrocket. But this is just the beginning. It starts here.

“I don’t even think I’ve showed all of my abilities yet. Maidana is a different type of fighter and he might bring something else out of Adrien Broner that the world hasn’t seen yet. Or he might be a regular fighter after I make him look the way I make him look.

“Every boxer wants to be where I am right now. I am the person who is going to take over boxing after Floyd Mayweather. Everybody wants this position. So I don’t get mad when I hear that Keith Thurman wants to fight me – he’s supposed to. Who doesn’t want to be where I am.

“On Dec. 14 we’re worried about Maidana. I respect his coach; I respect him as a fighter. People say I’m being bashful, I’m being respectful. I can’t talk trash to someone who doesn’t speak English. He’s looking at me crazy right now and I don’t know if he’s faking or not. He’s a very respectful guy so I have to respect him, but on Dec. 14 I’m going to beat his ass. I’m going to beat his ass for sure. We can be friends after that.

“I’m not coming to play. It’s going to be the AB show and I’m going to be victorious. We don’t think about losing.

“I don’t watch tape but I’ve seen him a couple of times. Everybody knows Maidana makes a lot of mistakes and you can’t make mistakes with Broner.

“You never know. Maybe I have to sit in there and brawl it out with this guy for 12 rounds. Maybe I mess him up in two. Maybe one.”

MARCOS MAIDANA, Former WBA Super Lightweight World Champion

“I want to thank my team for working hand-in-hand with me, for all their help and support and for working so close with me. Thank you to Sebastian Contursi, Robert Garcia, Cecilio Flores and my right hand, my cousin “Pileta,” that’s been with me all the way.

“I’m ready for this fight; I’ve trained hard and I’m certain I have what it takes to come out victorious on Saturday.

“They might say Broner is one of the best, but I don’ think he is. He’s definitely different to any other opponents I’ve fought, but I’m prepared. I’m ready for him.

“I’m going to hit him hard, very hard, with all I have and I’ll get busy with him. I hope he’s ready, because I am.

“This is the hardest fight of my life. I respect Broner, but I don’t underestimate him. On Saturday, I’ll do my part; I’ll do what I came here for – to fight with my heart and do my best.

“I’m not a trash talker. I’m not that kind of guy and I’m not going to get into that. It’s just not my thing.”

KEITH THURMAN, WBA Interim Welterweight World Champion

“I’m just trying to bring the excitement. This card is called the “Danger Zone” and it’s a guaranteed fact that every time you come into the ring with Keith “One Time” Thurman you’re automatically stepping into the Danger Zone.

“This is the last fight of the year and the last fight of the year is my favorite fight of the year. I like to call it the icing on the cake. I’ve been training really hard for this fight. Soto is a real tough opponent. He gave (Andre) Berto his all. He claims he has a new passion for the sport. I believe the man. I saw it when he fought. I saw his passion and I’m truly looking forward to this fight.

“Christmas came early and I have two presents for Soto right here-my right and my left-two real nice packages. Like I said, this is going to be the icing on the cake.

“Last year I ended with a tremendous victory and I don’t think this fight is going to go the distance. I’m looking forward to putting him down on that blue canvas and make sure he gets to sleep real nice. “One Time,” every time.

“My promoters have been testing me and I’ve been passing every test with flying colors. So I’m ready for the world of boxing. I’m not afraid to lose, I’m not afraid to get beat. I want go out old school and fight the best of the best.

“My KO ratio is phenomenal, but, as a matter of fact, I’m disappointed that I didn’t knock out everybody. I’m the kind of guy that wants to knockout everybody. I’m “One Time,” every time. And that’s what I’m bringing Saturday night.

“I’m on the up and up. I’m on my way to the top. So this fight is important to get not just a victory but a KO victory so I can keep representing “One Time” Thurman.”

“I’m not afraid to put it all on the line. I’ve got “O” and I’m not afraid to let it go.

JESUS SOTO KARASS, Welterweight Contender

“It’s a very important fight for me, especially with the holidays coming up. I’d like to go enjoy the time off with a win.

“My promoters and manager put me against the best. I fight the best and the best comes out of me.

A lot of people don’t believe in me and they don’t think I have what it takes to beat Keith Thurman. But I’ve proven them wrong before and the people will respect me after the fight.

“I’ve been on big cards before. But my job is to go out and win and give the fans what they want. I’m coming to knock him out. If he wants to box I’m going to take him to school. My heart is in this fight.

“I’ve worked really, really hard for this fight. I’ve trained at the Ponce De Leon Gym in Monterrey, Calif., and this Saturday I’m going to show it in the ring.

“There’s not much to say, other than to those that don’t believe I’m worthy to be here, just wait to see me on the ring on December 14.

“For all the people that don’t believe in me, for all those that think I shouldn’t be in this position, I’m going to show everybody on Saturday night what I’m made off and I’m going to do it well.

“I want to thank Keith Thurman and his team for giving me the opportunity to fight for a world title again.”

LEO SANTA CRUZ, WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion

“I’m just excited to be on a great undercard with Maidana and Broner. I’ve trained really hard to be on these guys’ level and I want to defend my title. I know Cesar is a great fighter and that he has everything it takes to become a champion. And I’ve trained hard to give him a great war. We’re going to leave it all in the ring. May the best man win.

“I closed out 2012 with a great win on CBS and I’m excited to do the same this year on SHOWTIME.”

CESAR SEDA, Super Bantamweight Title Challenger

“I want to let you know that you are going to witness a great show on Dec. 14

“From my part, I’ve prepared very well and I assure you, you are going to see a great fight on Saturday night. I hope to see you all there.”

BEIBUT SHUMENOV, WBA Super Light Heavyweight World Champion

“It’s great to be involved in an event like this, one of boxing’s best of the year. I had a great training camp and can’t wait to show the American boxing fans what I am all about.

“I know Tamas is undefeated, he’s very ambitious and he came here to take what’s mine. But I’m not going to let him take my title. I’m going to fight hard for what’s mine. And I’m going to show the world that I’m the best light heavyweight champion of the world.”

TAMAS KOVACS, Light Heavyweight Contender

“This is a very big opportunity for me. This is the fight of my life.

“I’ve been training and preparing for this fight since September. On Saturday, I’m coming out with all I have.

“It took me forty hours to get to San Antonio. It was a difficult trip, but it was worth it. This is the fight of

my life. This is my chance and I’m going to take it.

“I know Shumenov is a good boxer, but I’m good and also clever. So, he better watch out.”

ROBERT GARCIA, Maidana’s Trainer

“Maidana is very happy to be here. We know we are facing a great champion, but Chino [Maidana] knows what he has to do, and he’s ready to do it. Come Saturday night, we are going to give the fans a great fight.

MIKE STAFFORD, Broner’s Trainer

“For this fight Adrien is going to show you something special. He’s going to give you a Christmas present. He had a great camp and this kid is something special. I want to thank Team Maidana for signing the contract. I know it is not easy to commit to fighting a guy like this [looking at Adrien Broner], he’s truly the best.”

RICARDO “DINAMITA” ALVAREZ

“I’m thankful for this fight, this is my first time fighting here. I’m thankful for my promoters, my camp, my friends and my family for all their support.

“December 14 at the Alamodome is going to be a good night for me, it’s my debut in United States and I’m really excited. ”

RICHARD SCHAEFER, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions

“It’s been a great year in boxing and a great year for boxing in San Antonio with spectacular events here in San Antonio. Thanks to the fans for embracing these fights. We promise to keep bringing the big fights and price the big fights appropriately starting at $10. This is our Christmas gift to the great fans in San Antonio.

“We would not be here without Mike Battah and James Leija, a very enthusiastic team to work with.

“Big thank you to Matt Black and Les Moonves along with Stephen Espinoza and their entire team for all their hard work in this incredible year for Golden Boy Promotions. ”

MIKE BATTAH, President of Leija-Battah Promotions

“Welcome everyone to San Antonio from all over the world, very much appreciate your help in building up our business. I made a commitment to San Antonio to build boxing here. Our commitment will continue, it’s great to work with Richard and Golden Boy. Our commitment will stay and continue to grow.

“We have the will to build boxing; we have the skills the structure and the organization.

“One of the biggest cards in Texas in many years, fans will see a terrific night of boxing.

“JESSE” JAMES LEIJA, Texas Boxing Legend, Leija-Battah Promotions

“Want to thanks GBP for giving us this opportunity to prove ourselves. Mike Battah is an incredible businessman and a great partner. Also want to thank the fans of San Antonio, best fans in the world. This is truly an early Christmas gift for the fans to come out and enjoy the fights. We have the top fighters from Golden Boy Promotions on this card.

“Leo Santa Cruz, one of my favorite fighters is in a very tough fight against Cesar Seda.

“Continue to support these events and we will continue to bring the biggest events here to one of the greatest cities in the world.

NICHOLS LANGELLA, General Manager of the Alamodome

“We’re very proud to host this event. It takes a terrific passion and enthusiasm to put on this show. Thanks to James Leija, Mike Battah and Golden Boy for putting this tremendous event together.”

“DANGER ZONE: Broner vs. Maidana,a 12-round fight for Broner’s WBA Welterweight World Championship taking place on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Leija*Battah Promotions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T, Grudge Match and Casamigos Tequila. In the 12-round co-featured attraction, Keith Thurman will defend his interim WBA Welterweight World Championship against Jesus Soto Karass. Leo Santa Cruz will put his WBC Super Bantamweight World title on the line against Cesar Seda in a 12-round bout and Beibut Shumenov faces Tamas Kovacs in a 12-round clash for Shumenov’s WBA Super & IBA Light Heavyweight World titles. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast will air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP). Preliminary bouts will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 105: Angry Welterweights and More

David A. Avila

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Those welterweights don’t play.

One welterweight just got out of jail and wants to take out his angry frustrations in the boxing ring.

“One of us is getting knocked out. If it gets to where I’m behind on points, I’m just going to come forward and try to take him out, even if I end up getting knocked out,” said Juan Carlos Abreu. ““If he stands and fights, it’s better for me. That’s what I want.”

Standing in front of Abreu (23-5-1) will be one of the top welterweights in America, Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KOs). This is could be Ennis’ first true test against an experienced foe on Saturday Sept. 19, at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. Showtime will televise the Premier Boxing Champions card.

Ennis, 23, has been breezing easily since first jumping in the prize ring in April 2016. So far, the competition has been unable to cope with the athleticism he possesses. Will Abreu be the first to pose a problem?

“Whatever he brings, we are going to be ready. I’m going to go out there, do my thing, be smart, have my fun, and get that stoppage at the end of the night,” said Ennis, whose last opponent Bakhtiyar Eyubov was eliminated in four rounds in January. “You can’t just go in there and go for the knockout. That’s how you get tired and lose your cool or even get hit with punches that you shouldn’t be getting hit with.”

Abreu hopes he loses his cool.

“If he stands and fights, it’s better for me. That’s what I want. I really want one of us to get knocked out,” says Abreu of the Dominican Republic who was purportedly jailed for street fighting.

This welterweight matchup is the precursor to the WBC super welterweight eliminator between Terrell Gausha (21-1-1, 10 KOs) and Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs).

Gausha and Lubin both have lost once in their pro careers and need a win to get another crack at a world title.

Gausha lost a decision to Erislandy Lara three years ago. Lubin was stopped in one round by Jermell Charlo three years ago. Both realize the nature of the beast.

“I think Gausha has some problems with southpaws, but I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on my game plan and coming out victorious Saturday night,” said Lubin, 24, a southpaw called “the Hammer” for a reason.

Gausha is originally from Cleveland, Ohio but trains in Southern California and has fought four elite southpaws in his career. He believes one more is not a problem.

“This will be my fourth southpaw in a row. So, I’m more comfortable and familiar this time around,” said Gausha, 33, a former US Olympian who trains with Manny Robles Jr. “The guys before me, they all fought each other. Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran. They all fought each other. To be the best, you have to beat the best. And you can see that the fights I take, even after a long layoff, they are tough fights.”

Top Rank

Also, on Saturday Sept. 19, heavyweights and super lightweights lead a Top Rank card featuring some interesting bouts that will be shown on ESPN+.

Newly acquired Efe Ajagba (13-0,11 KOs) meets Jonnie Rice (13-5-1) in a 10-round heavyweight clash. It’s Nigeria’s Ajagba’s second fight this year. Though still a little raw he shows immense potential and great natural strength.

Rice fights out of Bones Adams’ Gym in Las Vegas and has some power. He built up his record on heavyweights in Tijuana boxing rings but has some pop. He’s a sizeable heavyweight and good measuring stick for Ajagba.

The main event is a doozy.

Puerto Rico’s Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs) meets Southern California’s Javier Molina (22-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super lightweight bout at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.

This should be good.

Pedraza, 31, is a former WBO lightweight world titlist who lost in his first defense to Vasyl Lomachenko. Nothing bad about that. He defeated Mexico’s Raymundo Beltran for the belt and has shown a penchant for showing up big when you least expect it.

Molina, 30, is a 2008 US Olympian and a member of the fighting Molina family. His brother Oscar was a member of Mexico’s 2012 Olympic team. His other brother Carlos fought for the world title against Amir Khan. Though Javier Molina has never shown great power, he can truly fight.  His last win came against Amir Imam this past February.

Pending Lightweight Clash

Speaking of the lightweight division, is anyone else as excited as me about the looming showdown between the remarkable Vasyl Lomachenko and impressive Teofimo Lopez coming in less than a month?

Lomachenko, 32, the Ukrainian stylist known as “Hi Tech,” has that incredible footwork and ability to control distance. He’s a master of frustrating opponents and imposing his style of darting in and out of danger. But as good as he is, he can’t sell tickets. Only hardcore fans appreciate his peerless boxing skills.

Lopez, 23, hails from Brooklyn and has that ex-factor you can’t teach. He’s pizzazz and panache with a punch. That combination of flair and power excites fans and seemingly makes him a natural gate attraction. But in spite of his electric abilities, he’s facing a master boxer. Is he ready?

Top Rank is known for having a team of matchmakers headed by boxing wizard Bruce Trampler. It makes me wonder why they are pitting these two against each other?

The probable answer: neither sells out an arena alone. May the best man win.

A friend of mine from East L.A., who formerly boxed and comes from a boxing family, shared his knowledge and opinion on the matchup. He has an interesting take.

“His footwork is incredible,” said George Rodriguez about Lomachenko. “Don’t get me wrong, Teofimo is an incredible talent, but Lomachenko has that footwork.”

Any way you look at it, the winner of this clash clearly bumps up his own image.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) versus Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas on October 17. Mark down that date. It will be televised on ESPN.

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Boxing Odds and Ends: The Sept. 26 Horn of Plenty and Other Notes

Arne K. Lang

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Considering the constraints, the month of September has been a pretty good month for professional boxing. And the month will close with a flourish. Eight world title-holders will be in action on the 26th, the last Saturday of the month.

Five of the belt-holders will appear on the SHOWTIME PPV doubleheader featuring the Charlo twins. The most intriguing fight on that card finds Jermall Charlo risking his belt and his undefeated record against rugged Sergiy Deveryanchenko. At last glance, Jermall was a consensus 17/10 (minus-170) favorite. In baseball, a 17/10 favorite is a heavy favorite. In boxing, not so. A serious handicapper who wouldn’t think of laying 17/10 in a baseball game would have no hesitation about laying these odds in a boxing match.

When Deveryanchenko steps into the ring, 51 weeks will have elapsed since his last fight, his bruising tiff with Gennadiy Golovkin. Jermall Charlo hasn’t been on the shelf for quite that long, having last fought in December.

A more interesting match on this particular Saturday, at least in the eyes of this reporter, will unfold earlier that day in Munich when the curtain finally comes down on Season 2 of the long-drawn-out World Boxing Super Series. Two titles will be on the line when Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) meets Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs).

Briedis’ lone defeat came at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk in a very competitive fight. Briedis won five rounds on two of the cards and won six rounds on the other. Dorticos’ lone defeat came on enemy turf in Sochi, Russia when he was stopped with eight seconds remaining in a doozy of a fight with Murat Gassiev.

Forget the titles; titles are a dime a dozen. These two guys are plainly the two best cruiserweights on the planet.

“The tickets are flying out the door and we expect to sell out within hours, if not days,” said co-promoter Kalle Sauerland at a pre-fight press conference.

That assertion was made way back on January 22 when the fight, originally targeted for late December of last year, was headed to Riga, Latvia, on March 21. That date didn’t work, nor did the re-scheduled date of May 16, and ultimately Riga didn’t work either.

Whatever tickets were sold, had to be refunded. There will be no fans in attendance when Briedis and Dorticos finally lock horns on Sept. 26 at a TV studio in Munich. The fight will air on DAZN in the U.S.

“Rest makes rust” was an often-heard caution when big gamblers of yesteryear dissected a boxing match. The late, great pricemaker Herb Lambeck reflexively shied away from boxers that had been inactive for a considerable period of time. For him, the Briedis-Dorticos match would likely be a head-scratcher. Both combatants have been inactive since June 15 of last year when they appeared in separate bouts on the same card in Riga, Briedis’s hometown. And they aren’t getting any younger. Briedis is 34 and Dorticos is 35.

The odds got nicked down somewhat when the site shifted from Riga with fans to Munich without, predictably so as Briedis, the first fighter from Latvia to win a world title, has an avid local following.

Briedis, the superior boxer, is a consensus 9/5 favorite. That seems a shade high as he won’t be able to feed off the crowd – there won’t be a crowd – and Dorticos, the Cuban KO Doctor, has a better chance of ending the fight with one punch. It wouldn’t be shocking if the fight followed a similar tack as the recent fight between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin.

In case you missed it, Whyte was dominating his Russian adversary when things changed in a flash in the fifth round. Out of nowhere, Povetkin, the underdog, unleashed a picture-perfect uppercut that left Whyte flat on his back, unconscious before he hit the canvas. There have been other smashing one-punch knockouts this year – Ryan Garcia’s demolition of Francisco Fonseca comes quickly to mind – and there may be a few more, but it’s hard to visualize anyone topping Povetkin in the voting for Knockout of the Year.

By the way, if he wins it, Povetkin, 41, would be the second-oldest boxer to score the Knockout of the Year. George Foreman was 45 when he knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994. The source is The Ring magazine which has been issuing this award since 1989.

And if you happen to know the youngest fighter to score The Ring Knockout of the Year, then you’re pretty sharp. No, it’s not baby-faced Naoya Inoue, who is older (27) than he looks. The honor goes to the long-forgotten African-American/Filipino southpaw Morris East who was 19 when he knocked out defending WBA 140-pound champion Akinobu Hironaka in 1992.

In a rarity, it didn’t take long for Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte to agree on a rematch. They will meet again on Nov. 21. The venue is undecided, but Eddie Hearn is hopeful that he can pot the fight somewhere outside his backyard “fight camp” with fans in attendance. The first lines on the fight show Whyte the favorite in the vicinity of 13/5. Povetkin-Whyte II will be a nice appetizer for the Errol Spence vs. Danny Garcia match that goes off later that day.

In an unrelated development, Fury-Wilder III is purportedly going to Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, in late December. Bob Arum anticipates a crowd of 10,000-15,000 with social distancing protocols in place.

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Meekins vs. Kawoya: File It Under Bizarre

Ted Sares

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 It was August 8, 1988. The location was Resorts International in Atlantic City. The main event featured New Yorker John Wesley Meekins (18-1-2) vs another New Yorker (via Uganda and Denmark) Mohammed Kawoya (11-3).

The rangy and skilled Meekins with a stellar amateur career was a clear favorite over the lesser known Kawoya who had fought only once in the US, losing to Jorge Maysonet on cuts at the Felt Forum. Meekins was expected to move on to a world title fight after dispatching Kawoya.

Meekins enjoyed a successful career between 1984 and 1994, fighting the likes of Davey Montana, Mike Mungin, Harold Brazier, Saoul Mamby, Santos Cardona, Darrin Morris (who won his last 16 fights in a row), and Terence Alli. He would lose to a prime Meldrick Taylor (20-0-1) in 1989 with the IBF World Super Lightweight title at stake.

On June 15, 1990, Meekins beat Santos Cardona over 12 rounds to win the NABF light-welterweight championship, but would lose it to Terence Alli some seven months later. It was downhill after that and he retired in November 1994 with a record of 24-5-2 after being stopped by so-so Darryl Lattimore.

Back to Meekins vs. Kawoya

 This one did not go as expected. After being decked in round 2, Kawoya dropped Meekins in the opening seconds of round 3. An exciting fight with multiple knockdowns and furious exchanges was in progress and the fans loved it.

An aroused Meekins then went after the Ugandan with a vengeance and set up one of the most bizarre endings that few boxing fans have ever heard about, much less witnessed, as he again dropped Kawoya this time with a fast left hook. He then went for the kill. Referee Paul Venti sensed it and moved in—perhaps prematurely– as Meekins unleashed what he hoped would be a fight-ending volley of hard shots.

 As soon as Venti stepped in to stop the fight, Kawoya landed a right that dropped Meekins and had him crawling on the canvas and holding on to the ropes devoid of his senses for at least ten seconds. The punch was thrown at the exact moment that Venti ended matters and Venti didn’t realize what had occurred.

 While Kawoya thought he has scored a clean KO and celebrated wildly, the fact was that Venti had ended the fight a fraction of a second before and his decision would stand.

The fans not only enjoyed a great fight, they witnessed something truly memorable—something that had to be seen to be believed; namely, a winner struggling to get up and a loser celebrating what he thought was a knockout.

Kawoya pulled out of the rematch because of a throat infection and Saoul Mamby took his place as a late sub. The Ugandan never fought again, while Meekins never got the title shot that a more impressive effort might have gotten him.

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com or on Facebook and welcomes comments.

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