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

By Teron Briggs on March 11, 2013
The Week That Was (March 4-10, 2013)
“I’ll stop when I want to stop. After tonight, I don’t think people want me to stop either.”

Hopkins become the oldest man to capture a world title, breaking his own record set in 2011 when he earned a decision victory over Jean Pascal…

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA

Cloud unable to rain on Hopkins’ Brooklyn parade

For the umpteenth time Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs), the oldest man to ever win a world title, defeated Father Time as he overcame a formidable challenge from a young champion, this time former IBF titleholder Tavoris Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs). With the victory Hopkins captured a version of the light heavyweight championship and once again wrote his name in the extensive annals of the sweet science.

“I’ll stop when I want to stop. And after tonight, I don’t think people want me to stop either,” Hopkins told the media following his unanimous decision points victory by scores of 116-112 twice and 117-111. In front of an estimated 12,000 plus fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the 48-year-old living legend schooled a man 17 years his junior as he repeatedly beat him to the punch and even managed to outland him in this fairly entertaining 12-round contest.

As expected, the bout got off to a slow start with neither man landing anything significant in the opening round. Cloud gained an early edge as he stalked Hopkins behind a sharp job, only to have the indefatigable boxing senior citizen take control of the fight and land the cleaner more effective punches. Even a bad call by referee Earl Brown, who ruled a nasty cut over Cloud’s left eye to be caused by an accidental head-butt, when replays show it was a left hook that opened the gash, couldn’t deter the former recognized light heavyweight and undisputed middleweight champion. Cloud seemed bothered by the cut and never got back on track as he allowed Hopkins to circle around him with nifty footwork and at times land multiple punch combinations. The 31-year-old former champion used an efficient body attack and decent work-rate in the first few rounds, but was reduced to following around the older man and eating punches in the latter half of the fight. Cloud was able at times to land clean shots on Hopkins, which few fighters are ever able to do, but they were limited to one at a time. By the 12th and final round, Hopkins had completely seized control of the action and reopened the cut over Cloud’s eyelid on his way to cruising to a well-deserved victory. With the win, Hopkins become the oldest man to capture a world title, breaking his own record set in 2011 when he earned a decision victory over Jean Pascal.

For Tavoris Cloud it was a tough setback as he was simply unable to make the proper adjustments against one of the smartest ring technicians in the history of the sport. The one silver lining for the young man might be an opportunity to get out from underneath Don King’s flailing promotional banner, which only gave Cloud the opportunity to make a total of two title defenses in 2011 and 2012. Where the 48-year-old Hopkins goes from here is anyone’s guess. The division is lacking in prominent fighters for him to face, so it will undoubtedly be difficult to find a high profile opponent.

Thurman boxes and slugs his way to victory over Jan Zaveck

Power punching welterweight Keith Thurman (20-0, 18 KOs) had previously stopped 18 of his first 19 opponents, before being forced to settle for a convincing unanimous decision over the iron-chinned former IBF champion Jan Zaveck (32-3, 18 KOs) in the supporting bout to the HBO World Championship card headlined by Cloud vs. Hopkins.

After going 12 rounds for the first time in his career, the prospect turned contender Keith Thurman emerged a winner in the toughest fight of his career. Thurman practically threw the kitchen pipes, a dinette set and a refrigerator at Zaveck in their bout but he was unable to stop the man who had never tasted the canvas before. However, all three judges scored the bout for Thurman 120-108 making it hard for the Florida native to complain about his performance. “I was looking for the [knockout] shot but it wasn’t there,” Thurman would say afterwards, as he battered and beat the slower and smaller man from pillar to post. Zaveck appeared to be close to going down on a few occasions but refused to let the undefeated Thurman be the first man to knock him out. Though Thurman was clearly the faster and stronger fighter, he did hit a couple of rough spots as Zaveck was at times able to counter Thurman as he on occasion recklessly charged forward.

The Slovenian native Zaveck, who is rapidly approaching his 37th birthday, has had a distinguished career in the ring that saw him win a world title, however his best fighting days are behind him. Thurman recorded his third straight victory on the premium cable network and if all goes well he should get a title shot before the year is over.

Resorts Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Taylor stops Victory Cayo in a slugfest

Emmanuel Taylor (17-1, 12 KOs) overcame a fifth round knockdown to score the biggest victory of his career by technical knockout over former junior welterweight title challenger Victor Cayo (31-4, 22 KOs) in front of an animated crowd at the Resorts Hotel & Casino.
Taylor’s previous best win came earlier this year when he recorded a TKO against mediocre contender Raymond Serano. Taylor has now recorded three consecutive victories following the only loss of his a career, a split decision setback in October of 2012. Taylor and Cayo engaged in the most exhilarating fight of the weekend as the two took turns controlling a spirited back and forth fisticuffs. Taylor got off to a fast start in the early rounds as he visibly had the veteran Cayo in distress. Cayo , who had competed against the higher level of opposition, was unable to avoid Taylor’s punishing right hands. A big right hand counter in the 4th round prevented Taylor from steamrolling his opponent and gave him some much needed confidence that he wasn’t outgunned. In the fifth round an energized Cayo, now fighting on his toes in a southpaw stance, landed a perfect right looping hand that that dropped Taylor on his backside. The 6th and the first half of the 7th round were closely contested, until Taylor began to inflict damage on the less than rugged Cayo, who previously had been stopped three times. In round 8 Cayo began resembling a desperate man as he tried to turn the tide with a wide looping right hand that only to miss terribly, only to find his back against the ropes. A fearless Taylor quickly cornered him and unloaded three vicious right hands that snapped back Cayo’s head, with the final knocking him down in the corner. As he attempted to rise to his feet the referee stepped in to save him from further abuse.

Cayo once had ambitions of championship glory but he seems now to be no more than a veteran gatekeeper for the division. Taylor impressed with his combination of speed and power and he will be a tough out for anyone in the talent rich weight class.

Undefeated heavyweight slugger Abdusalamov KOs another one

In the ESPN Friday Night Fight co-feature, Russian heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov (17-0, 17 KOs) recorded his 17th knockout in 17 fights as he stopped the game but overmatched Victor Brisbal (21-2, 15 KOs) in five fun filled rounds.

Abdusalmov, who’s a bit long in the tooth at 31 to be called a prospect, overcame some treacherous early waters to add another scalp to his rapidly growing list of knockout victims. After a decorated amateur career in Puerto Rico, Brisbal has been a disappointment as a professional but early on he displayed the skill set that led many to have high hopes for his career. In the first two rounds he outworked the svelte looking undefeated Russian who fought lethargically. Things took a dramatic change in the third round when Abdusalmov awoke from his slumber and landed some earth shattering shots that clearly hurt the flabby 245-pound Brisbal. By the fourth and fifth rounds Brisbal looked exhausted and weary as he became increasingly unable to withstand Abdusalmov’s ferocious attack. Brisbal was dropped hard but somehow managed to rise to his feet, only to have referee Randy Neumann rightfully waive off the fight.

Abdusalmov will only see the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Cansastota if he buys a ticket, but he’s shown that if matched properly he can participate in enjoyable fights.

Fantasy Springs, Casino, Indio, California, USA

The Boss disappoints but keeps his perfect record intact

In a main event that was akin to a walkout bout on Shobox: The New Generation, rising Oxnard native and junior middleweight prospect Hugo “The Boss” Centeno Jr. upped his record to (18-9, 9 KOs) when he soundly defeated Keandre Leatherwood (12-8-1, 8 KOs) by unanimous scores of 100-90, 100-89 and 99-91.

Leatherwood talked a good game before the fight, and despite his unfortunate last name, he threw very little actual leather in ring. Instead, Leatherwood had a sizable reach advantage, despite being shorter than the 6’1 Centeno, and was more than content to wait for a few counterpunching opportunities while allowing Centeno to dictate the pace. As early as the third round, the fighters had gotten into a sloppy wrestling match that even Vince McMahon would’ve had a hard time stomaching. When it was all said and done, Centeno had his hands raised in victory as he moves on to hopefully fight in more exciting contests.

Puerto Rican prospect Santos sends Hoskins to “sleepyland”

The undefeated super prospect Braulio Santos (10-0, 9 KOs) from Carolina, Puerto Rico, stole the show when he scored a highlight reel knockout over unknown Kevin Hoskins (7-2, 5 KOs) just 57 seconds into the 1st round.

Santos started with a wicked left hook that backed up Hoskins on rubbery legs, then followed up with a perfect double left hook that sent him reeling to the canvas. ShoBox commentator Steve Farhood summed up the situation well when he stated that Hoskins has been sent to “sleepyland.” The unknown appeared as helpless as the elderly woman in the Lifecall commercials who fell and couldn’t get up, though he was able to struggle to his feet before ultimately stumbling across the ring and forcing the referee to mercifully save him. Santos recorded his fourth straight knockout victory and will hopefully be back on national television in the near future.

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Victor Cayo vs Emanuel Taylor

Magomed Abdusalamov vs. Victor Bisbal

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