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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

After the Famine, Comes the Feast…
By Paul Concannon

I was stuffed, full to the brim on what a close friend called, “a gluttonous orgy of boxing”.  Yes, this fight fan will remember the 4th of the 10th 2003 for a long, long time.

Check out my schedule for that great Saturday…I started off at 6.00 PM with a light starter of Cyrille Thomas Vs Manual Calvo for European honours at featherweight, this bout being screened on Eurosport.  Okay the bout was a few weeks old, but would prove an entertaining affair featuring the smart boxing Frenchman Thomas (pronounced Toe-mars) versus the crafty old veteran Calvo, a man who had taken Naseem Hamed the distance.  The Frenchman took a decision in a keenly contested pairing with his better boxing and a super left jab.  It was quite a tasty appetizer, which nicely bridged a gap to a live bout for the European title at 130 between grizzled veterans Affif Djelti of France and Boris Sinistin of Russia.

It was about this point that SKY kicked off their coverage of Brian Magee’s IBO trinket defence against cagey Argentinean Omar Gonzalez.  This left me with a straight choice, quality Euro pairing and undercard or Magee and supporting card; thank heavens for remote control.

The European card featured a dullish undercard but an excellent main event as the amazing 44-year-old Djelti, a scourge of British

super featherweights, recover from a slow start to win rounds 5 through 8 inclusively and rock the Russian veteran in the dieing moments of the ninth.  Just when it seemed the French banger was gaining the ascendancy he walked into a big right in round 10 and was stopped on the ropes moments later.  It would be a lie if I said I watched that bout from start to finish because SKY were serving up an interesting pairing of 168 pound prospects Jason McKay and Jamie Hearn on the Belfast card.  McKay took a close decision over eight but only after surviving a torrid last three rounds when Hearn’s right hand landed with alarming regularity.  Hearn was unhappy with the verdict and it would make a lovely rematch.

The main event saw hometown hero Magee dispose of Gonzalez with one right hook that landed behind the ear.  The distraught Argentinean just could not beat the count, his equilibrium shot from that one southpaw hook.  Magee should do two things, ditch his IBO ‘who cares’ belt and up his level of competition.  Mooted bouts in the New Year with ex WBC champ Robin Reid and Canadian contender Syd Vanderpool should at least take care of the latter.

After a gap of a few hours the BBC then screened Bexleyheath’s David Walker’s bold attempt to rip the European light-middleweight title from the world class Roman Karmazin, who had been scheduled to fight Oscar De La Hoya last year, and the result was a one-sided stoppage in three rounds for the classy champion.  Walker is an exciting battler at domestic level but was out of his depth against the cagey Russian who seemed at least a division bigger. 

Undercard action featured wins for former WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide and hot super-middleweight prospect Carl Froch.

A bit later Over on SKY, I was treated to 6 (yes six) consecutive hours of championship boxing from the states with coverage of the Holyfield-Toney bill followed by the Morales-Espadas rematch and supporting card,  (okay, I admit I didn’t make it, the video recorder came into use at about 2 AM). 

The highlights were Toney’s impressive victory over the shotter than shot Evander Holyfield the Corrales-Casamayor superfeather battle and the Morales blast out of his old rival Guty Espadas. 

The Casamayor-Corrales bout served as a big reminder of what happens when ambitious world-class fighters are matched, generally, we get great fights.  After being floored by sizzling left crosses in rounds 3 and 4 it was great fun watching Corrales deck the Cuban with a lovely left hook and hurt him twice more before the round had ended. 

The fourth and fifth belonged to the Cuban and a left hand he landed in the sixth to bust-up Diego’s mouth was a wicked shot, but again he was badly hurt in the dieing seconds of the round when a pair of left hooks hit the target causing an alarming wobble.

So, Corrales had the last word before the bout was stopped, (at the end of the round due to his badly cut mouth) and at least he has his excuse. 

Truthfully though, while it was a hell of a fight, both men looked a bit vulnerable and a touch over the hill.  While the much mooted Casamayor rematch with Acelino Freitas will be welcomed, I would rather see the Brazilian in with Corrales in what would be a battle of slightly chinny power-punchers; that would be something else.

Holyfield needs to retire, I cannot say anything sadder or more poignant than the result itself Toney TKO 9 Holyfield.

When you only have one good round in you it’s time to go.   Evander, go and play golf, you have earned the rest.

Morales was superb in blasting out the free-swinging Espadas but he still needs to convince against a genuine superfeather and bouts with Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez or Acelino Freitas would be fun all the way.  

I also enjoyed the bantamweight shootout between Rafael Marquez and Mauricio Martinez, a good old punch-up between champ and challenger.  Marquez now has wins over Pastrana, Tim Austin and Marc Johnson in his last 3; good form from a talented champ who may just go far.

So, quite a night for this UK based boxing fan, and coming after a long period of virtually zero quality action it was akin to dining at a medieval feast after enduring a biblical famine…hic…excuse me…

 *                                      *                                       *

So, Ricky Hatton disposes of Aldo Rios is at the end of 9 one-sided rounds.  Not a big deal, given as his opponent was a blown-up lightweight, the result was entirely predictable. 

I was critical of the match when it was made and I still am but one little thing I noticed about Ricky Hatton that I liked more than ever before; he reminds me of Azumah Nelson. Now before anyone accuses me of sacrilege, the way Ricky continually hunts down his opposition never giving them room to breath while whacking the body and head with artful wide hooks really brought to mind that great Ghanaian’s style when faced with boxers such as Jesse James Leila and Jim McDonnell, just like the African, Hatton is simply relentless. 

He never, ever stops.  He walks forward, walks forward, and walks forward.  Watching him can be almost suffocating as he simply refuses to give his quarry a space for breath. 

I was impressed with the stickabilty of Hatton who must be a nightmare to face for any boxer who any notions of taking a breather within the round.  The only fresh air that you can expect when facing him is the minute’s rest in the corner.  

Yep, I still think he smothers his own work and still think he takes a few too many but there were signs, albeit against lesser opposition, that Ricky might just make things interesting if he ever gets let loose on the top flight.

Time will tell, and his mooted battle with the streaking Bradford boxer-puncher Junior Witter could be a great indicator.

Let’s hope that one happens.
Bye for now…

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