The Week That Was (Jan. 13-19, 2014)

By Teron Briggs on January 20, 2014
The Week That Was (Jan. 13-19, 2014)
Pascal told Kellerman he “chased” Bute for “five years” to get into the ring. (Herby Whyne)

A sold-out house witnessed what happens when a once promising fight simply takes too long to be staged. Take note Mayweather and Pacquiao…

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Pascal dominates Montreal rival Bute in dissatisfying fight

Sometimes the Super Bowl can produce classic games like the riveting 2007 New York Giants upset victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots that makes all of the massive pre-game hype seem more than justified. Unfortunately, we’ve also had Super duds like the 1998 Denver Broncos thrashing of the overwhelmed Atlanta Falcons team that leaves one wondering what all the fuss was about. In a fight dubbed as the Super Bowl of Canadian boxing former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) convincingly outpointed longtime nemesis Lucian Bute (31-2, 24 KOs) over 12 one-sided rounds that more resembled the Broncos/Falcons than it did Giants/Patriots.

A sold-out house of 20,479 mostly disappointed fight fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal witnessed what happens when a once promising fight simply takes too long to be staged. Take note Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Jean Pascal entered the fight as the betting, though not crowd, favorite and over 11 rounds he showed us exactly why. He did to Bute what Ashton Kutcher use to do to so many celebrities on MTV. He punk’d him.

“He was brilliant,” Pascal’s promoter Yvon Michel said of his charge, “and in control through the 11th (round).” I wouldn’t call the Haitian-born Quebecois’ performance “brilliant” but he certainly proved that he still has the skills and physical tools to compete at the world-class championship level. “It means a lot. This is like a dream come true,” Pascal would tell HBO analyst Max Kellerman after his dominant victory over his Montreal rival Bute whom he said he “chased” for “five years” to get into the ring. Even two years ago this fight might have been more entertaining, prior to Carl Froch exposing and obliterating then undefeated Lucian Bute in May of 2012. Before that bout the then IBF super middleweight titleholder was one of the most technically skilled yet vicious body punchers and knockout artists in the sport. That version of Bute made a brief appearance in the much-ballyhooed fight with Pascal in the 12th round when he finally gave his supporters something to cheer for. “I prepared and trained well, but things didn’t go as planned,” Bute said afterward. “My arms just weren’t moving.” But the real Lucian Bute is the one you saw in the 12th round.” For the other rounds he was as stiff as a human cadaver as he refused to fistically engage the man he promised to “shut up.” Bute didn’t move his arms because he seemed to be afraid to get hit by Pascal who rocked him on a couple of occasions throughout the fight.  Why it took almost 11 rounds and his corner pleading with him to “bring him (Pascal) down” for Bute to finally show some life is puzzling. In that round Bute landed 44 of 98 punches, somehow only landing 106 in the first 11 rounds. For his part, Pascal claimed that he allowed Bute to have his shining moment in the 12th because it “was all about the rematch, to make the fight a little closer.”

“I want a rematch,” Bute said after the loss. In Canada there might be a market for one because the two men are such huge stars but I’m pretty sure there isn’t any fervor amongst American boxing fans to see a Pascal vs. Bute II. Bute’s best days in the ring are clearly behind him and though he can still sell a boatload of tickets, it’s unlikely he could beat any of the top light heavyweights in the world. Pascal had former pound-for-pound king and his idol Roy Jones Jr. serve as his assistant trainer and it appeared the legend was able to teach the pupil a few new tricks. The former champion boxed and moved well at times, though if he had stepped up his aggression he might have been able to stop the gun shy Bute. Pascal can have his choice of his next opponent but whom he chooses is anyone’s guess. He ducked Max Kellerman’s question about would he be interested in facing WBC titleholder and new Montreal star Adonis Stevenson, who seems headed toward a fight with undefeated Andrzej Fonfara in the spring. Pascal is unlikely to risk his #1 ranking in the WBC to face the dangerous WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev. Maybe a return bout with former conqueror and IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch might prove to be an attractive option for the “Super Bowl” winner.

Perez ekes out a majority draw over tougher than expected Takam

The last time we saw Mike Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs) in the ring in November of 2013 he engaged in possibly the best and certainly the most savage heavyweight fight of the year. He earned a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Magomed Abdusalamov. The punishment that the Russian boxer sustained put him in a coma from a blood clot on his brain. Possibly still recovering from the physical and emotional toll of that fight, held less than three months ago, the heavily hyped Cuban star fizzled in his second appearance on HBO against the pedestrian though tenacious Carlos Takam (29-1-1, 23 KOs).

If Perez fought with seemingly half of the ferocity he displayed in his win over Abdusalamov he would’ve probably have been victorious over Takam. He didn’t and instead he was very lucky to receive this gift majority draw by scores of 95-95 twice and 96-94. Perez is a southpaw with some pop in his fists but you certainly wouldn’t know that from the feather-fisted punches he hit Takam with. The former was unable to hurt the once defeated and unknown Cameroon heavyweight. Takam’s only loss was a unanimous decision defeat to Gregory Tony in 2009. In the Prizefighter Tournament in 2011 Perez knocked out the same Tony in one round. Takam used a better than expected jab to keep the lethargic and at times disinterested Perez at bay. A gash over his right eye in the third round only added to Perez’s bad night. In the tenth and final frame, with both men desperately needing the round, Takam rocked Perez with a wicked right hand and did more than enough to earn the win. The final scores don’t warrant a ‘Bridgegate’ type investigation but they were a bit disappointing.

Takam didn’t show himself to be world-beater but did enough to earn another date with a heavyweight prospect or contender. He would be a step up opponent for the heavily protected Deontay Wilder who’s feasted on bums in his career. Perez kept the 0 on his ledger but took a hit to his burgeoning reputation. In hindsight his people probably brought him back too soon after such a difficult and grueling fight against Abdusalamov. Hopefully with some time off he can return to the ring and show some flashes of the exciting heavyweight we saw in November. Perez is ranked number five by both the WBO and WBC so don’t expect to see him fall off the radar any time soon.

Cook Convention Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Hard-hitting Redkach earns unanimous decision victory

With a close to 80% knockout ratio Ukrainian southpaw lightweight Ivan Redkach (16-0, 13 KOs) was expected to earn his 14th knockout over once beaten Tony Luis (17-2, 7 KOs) in the main event of the 2014 debut of ShoBox: The Next Generation. The latter wouldn’t allow it, however, as he gave Redkach a spirited 10-round fight before losing a lopsided decision by scores of 99-90, 97-92 and 97-93.

Luis isn’t a big puncher, as his seven knockouts in 19 fights indicate, but he is a come-forward brawler not afraid to throw punches. He spent much of the fight about two inches from Redkach’s nose as he constantly pressured the favorite. This fight included a head-butt, a cut, a knockdown, a slip and at times toe-to-toe exchanges. Redkach clearly won the late rounds as his heavy hands repeatedly hurt the Canadian Luis, who displayed a formidable chin. Ivan the Terrible’s inability to consistently throw straight and targeted punches allowed his opponent to find success with accurate counter shots.

With less than 20 professional bouts and still at the relatively youthful age of 27, Redkach has some time to develop as a prospect/contender. Fights like the one he engaged in with Luis should prove to be the type of on the job education he needs to advance to the next step in his career. The WBC No. 13 ranked contender Redack told reporters after the win, “I learned a lot. Tony is a true warrior.”

The “Notorious” Galarza records highlight reel KO over Thompson

Brooklyn’s Frank “The Notorious Rocky” Galarza (12-0 8 KOs) put himself on the boxing map when he starched the previously undefeated John “Apollo Kid” Thompson (14-1, 5 KOs) in the second round of their eight-round contest.

Thompson, a 6’1” African American from Newark, New Jersey, entered with the lightly regarded WBC Latino Junior Middleweight belt that he earned in a unanimous decision win over Giovanni Rodriguez in May of 2013. After a spirited first round that saw Thompson adeptly utilize his Gheorghe Muresan type reach and Galarza demonstrate Justin Timberlake-like footwork two brutal punches ended the fight. Galarza got off his stool to start the second round and promptly landed a vicious right hand followed by a sick left hook that hit Thompson flush and buckled his legs, sending him careening to the canvas face first. The referee foolishly administered a count; stopping at nine when he realized the Apollo Kid was as likely to get up as Apollo Creed was after Ivan Drago KO’d him in the fourth Rocky film.

The 28-year-old Galarza only had 11 amateur bouts so he’s learning on the job, but he certainly earned an A+ for a highlight reel knockout that’s certain to earn him another televised fight. “Considering this was on the national stage, it has to be one of the very best wins of my career,” the beaming Galarza said. Galarza is going to need to fight as often as possible if he’s going to have any chance to develop into a contender.

Hooker and Ramos battle to a draw

Light welterweights Abel Ramos (8-0-1, 4 KOs) and Maurice Hooker (12-0-2 9 KOs) put on an enjoyable contest in a fight ultimately declared a majority draw. The judges scored the bout 76-76 twice and 77-75 for Hooker. The action took place from round one to round eight and both guys gave as good as they received. Boxing fans certainly would welcome a rematch.

Follow Teron Briggs on Twitter @TeronBriggs

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Ivan Redkach vs Tony Luis full fight 17.01.2014 / Иван Редкач - Тони Льюис 17.01.2014

Frank Galarza vs John Thompson full fight 17.01.2014

Maurice Hooker vs Abel Ramos full fight 17 01 2014

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  1. Ted 06:00pm, 01/20/2014

    bk don, you may be a sadist

  2. bk don 04:19pm, 01/20/2014

    Hahaha at Irish Frankie’s comment about Wilder potentially facing Takam. I’ve never seen a guy so heavily protected who’s allegedly so close to challenging for a world title. I mean, Wilder’s chin must be more fragile than Bute’s for them to continue steering him clear of any opposition with any kind of pulse. I’m not saying Takam is a hidden gem but he did make some good mid fight adjustments & showed he has the ability to take a punch which is more than most hw’s can say.  Alex that sounds like a good idea but I remember Rocky did that in the fourth film. He went to Russia for a charity fight and returned home penny less and punch drink. The moral of the story is this isn’t basketball. These men get hit in the head and to do it for free, in a promotion that would generate as much money as this is a nice, but pretty stupid gesture. Ted i’m like a boxing tv programmer. I love them knockouts!

  3. Ted 12:31pm, 01/20/2014

    Good stuff in that Galarza paragraph Teron.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:29pm, 01/20/2014

    Teron Briggs-One more one more thing….Takam’s corner was.unlike Bute’s corner where Bute (from the expression on his face as his cornerman implored him to get going) for all the world could have been thinking, “Talk to the hand” or “You don’t understand this person is trying to knock me out’!

  5. alex 11:31am, 01/20/2014

    Pacquiao is now challenging Mayweather for a fight for charity. All proceeds will go to charities around the world. Not even a cent for them. He is apparently fed up with Mayweather saying he needs money desperately. This should be good!

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:25am, 01/20/2014

    Teron Briggs-One more thing….there seemed to be a real connection between Takam and his cornerman (trainer?)....he definitely was getting through to Takam and the fighter was responding accordingly…...possibly because he started so late (23 years of age), Takam really gets it that his trainer does in fact know more than him….anyway they sure worked well together.

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:09am, 01/20/2014

    Teron Briggs-Right on as usual….no BS and no bias….which reminds me…..Redkach is very low tech considering his 300 amateur bouts….“foolish referees” can be harmful to the health of fighters, especially those on the receiving end of crushing blows and hell will freeze over before Wilder signs up for Takam who is a certified ten round fighter with a Super Heavyweight’s punch resistance.

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