The Week That Was (February 4-10, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on February 11, 2013
The Week That Was (February 4-10, 2013)
Big money fights are available to Carl Frampton if he chooses to come across the pond.

A legitimate star was born in Belfast when Carl Frampton scored a highlight reel ninth round knockout over one of the best opponents of his career…

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

“When your body tells you that it’s time to go, then it’s time to go”

If only former world champion Nate Campbell (36-9-1, 26 KOs) had followed his own words in November of 2010 he wouldn’t have had to sustain a senseless eight-round beating at the hands of previously untested welterweight prospect Keith Bizier (20-0, 14 KOs) on ESPN Friday Night Fights.

When a 40-year-old fighter takes a fight on one and a half weeks notice, at a weight he’s never fought at, against an undefeated man 12 years his junior, his chances of winning are zero to none. For eight rounds Keith Bizier outworked and outfought a game but clearly overmatched foe in Campbell. The size and strength advantages that Campbell had over his opposition when he held three lightweight world titles simply don’t exist at 147 lbs. Campbell was at times able to land some big shots in the fight, but the clearly larger man never once appeared to be hurt. Bizier was able to bully Campbell into the ropes where he unloaded at will to his head and body. Though the prospect had little head movement and stood right in front of Campbell, the older man was simply unable to pull the trigger when he had openings. By the 7th round Campbell’s face was bloodied and battered as Bizier continued his sustained offensive assault.  At the end of eight rounds the ESPN cameras showed the grandfather Campbell—he has a five-year-old granddaughter—on his stool unable to stand due to a back injury. The fight was waved off and Bizier was awarded a technical knockout.

Nate Campbell might want to seriously consider following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI who retired from his post due to deteriorating health. Campbell said he came into the Bizier fight with the back issue and reinjured it in the second round. Campbell said afterward he would return to fight but in the junior welterweight division. Regardless, it marked the fifth loss in his last eight fights and is certainly a sign that his body is telling him it’s time to go. Bizier’s only notable opponent before Campbell was the unremarkable Lanardo Tyner, who he decisioned, so the verdict is still out on the Quebec native.

Hometown decision for Laham?

I’m not going to cry robbery because the fight was close and to be honest, I started dozing off towards the latter rounds, but it certainly seemed like Toronto native Tyler Asselstine (12-1, 7 KOs) had done enough to beat Montreal native Baha Laham (11-0-1, 4 KOs) prior to judges’ decision. However, when the scores were read, Laham was awarded a razor thin decision on scores of 95-95, 96-94 and 96-95.

The fact that Laham was even able to go 10 rounds is a testament to his courage, as he took this bout on only four days notice. With that said, Asselstine was the busier fighter who seemed to land the sharper more crisp shots. He did however fail to use his height and reach advantage, allowing the shorter man to get inside and force him into a phone booth battle at times. Laham continually barreled towards the chest of the bigger man as tried to rough him up and attack his body. By the midpoint of the fight both fighters appeared to be visibly fatigued. Laham, who had previously used a tight guard to block the shots of Asselstime, dropped his hands waist high and began to eat a number of big shots. The last few rounds were sloppy and at times boring as both men threw their punches with no form or discipline. Laham was given the decision, which kept his undefeated record intact, while Asselstine was handed the first loss of his career.

Asselstine has a good amateur background and is only 26 so his career outlook appears to still be fairly bright. Laham, at 31 with only 12 professional fights, doesn’t have much time to make an impact in the sport. But following four years off from the ring between 2007 and 2011, he’s fought six times in the last 14 months and appears to be focused on making a name for himself.

Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Frampton stops Martinez in dramatic fashion

A legitimate star was born in Belfast when beloved hometown fighter Carl Frampton (16-0, 11 KOs) scored a highlight reel ninth round knockout over one of the best opponents of his career, Kiko Martinez (27-4, 19 KOs), in front of a raucous crowd at the Odyssey Arena.

Frampton went into the fight a favorite based on his exceptional talent and recent sixth round technical knockout over former world titleholder Steve Molitor. But Martinez, the European junior featherweight champion, hadn’t lost in over three years and had never been knocked out in his 30-fight career. In the early going, it appeared Frampton would be the first man to stop the champion as he got off to a blistering start. His sharp, accurate combinations and agile foot movement kept the hard charging Spaniard off balance and unable to land any significant shots. By the midpoint of the fight that all changed, as Martinez’s nonstop pressure began to take its toll on Frampton. Frampton displayed a world-class chin as he withstood the champion’s best efforts. Just when it seemed that Martinez might have completely turned the tide the Belfast native landed a wicked right cross that violently dropped Martinez to the seat of his pants and forced the referee to rightfully wave off the contest. The sold out crowd jumped in jubilation as they helped Frampton celebrate his impressive victory.

Martinez deserves some time off after absorbing the kind of punishment he did, but at the age of 26 and with his resume he’ll certainly be back on the world stage again. Frampton appears destined to face England’s Scott Quigg, but that fight isn’t going to happen anytime soon according to various reports. The junior featherweight division is filled with top names like Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares so there are big money fights available to Frampton if he wants to come across the pond to fight in America.

Lee struggles to a decision victory over no-hoper

Quick, name me Andy Lee’s (29-2, 20 KOs) career defining victory. If you can’t come up with one, don’t feel bad because neither can I—unless you want to call his dramatic come-from-behind knockout over the pedestrian Craig McEwan or his workmanlike decision over up and down contender Brian Vera, who had previously knocked out Lee, career defining. If anything, Lee is best known for his former trainer the late, great Emanuel Steward and for an exciting loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2012. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to watch highlights of Lee struggling against no-hoper Anthony Fitzgerald (13-4, 4 KOs) before being given a 10-round decision.

Lee lacked any real snap in his punches and allowed Fitzgerald to physically bull him around the ring. Lee had previously been able to blowout no-hopers like Fitzgerald with his incredible power, but not Saturday night in Northern Ireland. Hopefully, for Lee’s sake, his poor performance is due to his working through the kinks with new trainer Adam Booth, following Steward’s unexpected passing. If not, then Lee will certainly have a difficult time competing against any of the top tier fighters in the middleweight division.

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2013-02-08 ESPN Friday Night Fights

kiko vs sports version.good quality.

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  1. bk don 12:46pm, 02/13/2013

    McGrain, who would you like to see Frampton fight next? Thanks Thresher! He’s a hard worker but he’s not a top tier middleweight and I wonder even in this day and age w/all of these alphabet trinkets if he’s good enough to win a belt.

  2. the thresher 07:12am, 02/12/2013

    Another fine wrap up from TB. Thanks

    Good to see Lee get a win. He is a hardworker.

  3. McGrain 11:32pm, 02/11/2013

    Yeah, Frampton is exciting times for sure.

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