SAN DIEGO, December 7, 2013 – The seven bouts dished up for boxing fans from Brooklyn and Atlantic City on Saturday included some killers and some fillers, along with a few surprises.
In Atlantic City, James Kirkland (32-1-0, 28 KOs) and Glen Tapia (20-1-0, 12 KOs) made the biggest impression with their wildly entertaining brawl, ending in a TKO victory at 58 second of round six. It was a much need win for Kirkland coming off a 20-month layoff and a return to original trainer Ann Wolfe, one of the few women trainers in the sport.
The fight should have been stopped at least a round earlier, perhaps two. Tapia came out swinging from the bell, but Kirkland quickly stepped on the gas and never let up. He hurt Tapia with body shots and wicked left hand lead combinations.
Give Tapia credit, he fights with heart. He can take a punch, but no one can take this many punches. By the end of the fourth round he was hurt. He got off the chair for round five when his corner didn’t stop the fight. Tapia was even worse for wear three minutes later, but the ringside physician cleared him and Tapia’s corner gave him one more chance to fight. Kirkland trapped Tapia on the ropes, and referee Steve Smoger jumped in to stop the fight when Tapia failed to defend himself. It was Tapia’s first loss.
Kirkland landed 305 of 644 punches in just over five rounds; Tapia landed 132 of 437 punches. After the stoppage, Kirkland and Wolfe celebrated his comeback victory. Despite the defeat, Tapia earned a lot of respect from the fans. Tapia was taken to the Atlantic City Medical Center following the fight. All head scans were negative for concussion damage and he was released. Let’s hope the stoppage didn’t come too late to prevent any lasting damage.
It would have been hard to top this outcome, and the main event fell short for many fans. Cuban tactical genius Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0-0, 8 KOs) almost literally tied the hands of his opponent Joseph Agbeko of Ghana (29-5-0, 22 KOs), winning every round in a unanimous decision
Rigondeuax landed 114 punches of 848 punches in the entire fight; Agbeko only 48 punches of 349 punches. Compare these numbers to Kirkland and Tapia in five rounds. Tapia lost landing more punches than Rigondeaux in half the rounds.
The Cuban is a genius and doesn’t apologize for the way he dominates his opponents. He told HBO’s Max Kellerman, “I come to do what I need to do. Every time I try to improve, I throw more punches… I am improving every day and I’m showing it.”
Nonito Donaire wants a rematch with Rigondeaux. How about it? “Nonito is a poor man, he is traumatized after the beating I gave him. If he wants another beating, come get it,” said Rigondeaux.
Also on the undercard, Matthew Macklin (30-5-0, 20 KOs) of the UK got the victory he needed against prospect Lamar Russ (14-1-0, 7 KOs). Russ didn’t roll over but he’s still got a lot to learn. It was his first 10 round fight and he showed promise. Macklin now stays in the mix (barely) in a tough division.
In Brooklyn, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs) was surprisingly aggressive and effective against Zab “Super” Judah (42-9, 29 KOs) in the “Battle of Brooklyn,” winning a unanimous decision. Make than Not So Super. Judah was surprisingly sluggish in this welterweight fight. He never seemed to get into any sort of rhythm. Malignaggi let his jab lead the way and mixed up his following punches to efficient effect.
Malignaggi, who was uncharacteristically reserved before the fight, let loose again during the post-fight news conference. He said he’d like to fight the winner of next week’s Broner vs. Maidana bout. He would love to avenge his loss to Broner.
Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs) went the distance for a unanimous decision and remains undefeated with his underdog victory over Devon Alexander (25-2-0, 14 KOs), taking Alexander’s IBF welterweight title. Porter started strong and while Alexander did his best to come back, Porter was able to hang in and seal the win.
Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) was the second Cuban fighter to win Saturday, handing Austin Trout (26-2-0 14 KOs) his second career defeat, taking his WBA light-middleweight belt. Lara was successful forcing Trout to box. The fight became the war of counterpunchers. But just like in ballroom dancing, someone has to lead or no one gets anywhere. Lara did just enough to win, dropping Trout in the 11th round.
Sakio Bika (32-5-2, 21 KOs) and Anthony Dirrell (26-0-2, 22 KOs) fought to a draw. The judges scored it 114-112 for Bika, 116-110 for Dirrell and 113-113 for the draw. It was the correct decision in a fight that was nearly forgotten the minute it was over.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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