The Week That Was (October 22-27, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on October 28, 2013
The Week That Was (October 22-27, 2013)
The young fighter seemed unprepared for this type of Alien onslaught. (Naoki Fukuda)

There has been some talk about Hopkins facing Floyd Mayweather but the chances of that happening are likely as Leonard vs. Hagler II…

Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Ageless Hopkins successfully defends IBF title in a 12-round thriller

I embellished a bit. The 12-round fight between IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs) and mandatory challenger Karo Murat (25-2-1, 15 KOs) wasn’t exactly thrilling, but it was the most crowd-pleasing Hopkins’ fight in years. The 48-year-old future hall-of-famer, whose recent bouts have been as difficult to watch as the 2013 New York Giants, outhustled and beat up a man almost 20 years his junior to retain his title in front of a jubilant partisan crowd who chanted “B-Hop” as he closed the show in style.

After almost 25 years in the ring, Bernard Hopkins finally decided to retire. His nickname “The Executioner” that is. “I’m a freak, I’m an alien,” Hopkins recently stated when asked how he was still able to fight at the world-class level at almost 50 years old. “Aliens don’t have years, months, days or minutes. We’re aliens.” Therefore, it was only natural that just five days prior to Halloween the man now referring to himself as “The Alien” donned a green alien mask and a cape as he marched to the ring at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the fifth time in his illustrious career.

Murat who promised he would give B-Hop his “most difficult fight in years” and “hurt” the older man didn’t start off inflicting much pain. In the third round, the younger man finally started to take it to his elder statesman as he marched forward and landed hard right hands. In the fifth stanza, Hopkins pulled a stunt that might make Miley Cyrus blush, as he kissed Murat on his neck and the back of his head while the two were in a clinch. Thankfully, in the latter half of the fight Hopkins refrained from kissing and only landed punches.

Murat, who complained to veteran referee Steve Smoger about Hopkins’ clinching early on, wasn’t above resorting to dirty tactics himself. When the Alien slipped to the mat in the sixth round, Murat stood over him and attempted to punch him twice while he was down. Smoger, who has a reputation for not being overly officious, warned but didn’t take away any points for the blatant infraction.

The action heated up in the seventh round as Hopkins began landing clean straight punches to Murat’s chin and debilitating shots to his body. The young fighter seemed unprepared for this type of onslaught from a man old enough to be his father, as he resorted to hitting him while the two were being broken apart by the referee. Smoger didn’t turn a blind eye to this foul, as he deducted a point from Murat. Hopkins continued his resurgence in the eighth as he opened a cut over the challenger’s left eye as he increasingly connected with stiff jabs and right crosses.

The championship rounds were lively, as Murat continued to try to win, even landing some good punches when he had The Alien against the ropes, but they weren’t enough. In the final frame a spry Hopkins tried to record his first knockout since he stopped Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, but he failed to do so despite landing some vicious shots to Murat’s head. The judges scored the bout 119-108 twice and 117-110 in favor of the champion.

Murat performed admirably against one of the sport’s all-time great fighters. He complained afterward that if not for the cuts he believed he would’ve won the fight. He’s certainly in the minority there, since the cuts were caused by punches and Hopkins was clearly the superior fighter. Hopkins became the oldest man in the history of the sport to defend a world title, breaking the record he set in 2011 at 46. There has been some talk about him facing Floyd Mayweather in a mega-fight but the chances of that happening are likely as Leonard vs. Hagler II. Floyd fights between 147 and 154 lbs., while Hopkins hasn’t had fight below 170 lbs. since 2005. The most attractive fight at light heavyweight for him would be with WBC titleholder Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, but Stevenson has been fighting on HBO recently, while Hopkins and all Golden Boy fighters are banned from the network. Wherever he goes next, even at almost 50 years old he remains a compelling fighter in the sport.

Quillin retains his WBO title in controversial stoppage win

“It wasn’t easy but I earned every bit of it. I’m not a judge and I’m not an official. I’m a fighter. The doctors do what they have to do to make sure the fighters are safe.” Those were the words of WBO middleweight titleholder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) to the assembled media following his disputed 10th round stoppage victory over tougher than expected challenger Gabriel Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs).

The middleweight division is rather thin in terms of talent and star names, and the heated battle between rival promotional companies Golden Boy and Top Rank only make it that much harder to put on intriguing matchups. This has proven to be an issue that undefeated Brooklyn middleweight titleholder Kid Chocolate must face. The self-proclaimed “Rocky Balboa” Rosado was given this title shot because he is a tough competitor who put on a good performance earlier this year in a fight later declared a no contest against previously undefeated J’Leon Love.

Philadelphia native Rosado, who wore that resembled a table skirt, received a huge ovation from the thousands in attendance who made the short trek to nearby Atlantic City. The crowd didn’t have much to cheer for early on as Quillin got out to a fast start, even dropping Rosado in the second right with lead right hand, left hook combination. Showtime analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who continually displays good ring insight, pointed out that Rosado was “pawing” instead of throwing his jab with authority.

After being ripped by his corner after the second round, the third marked a decided turn in Rosado’s approach. After allowing Quillin to dictate the action early he took over as he walked down the champion behind a stiff jab. Quillin had success with his left hook as he caught Rosado coming in, but Rosado wouldn’t be deterred. A quick right hand by Rosado clipped the champ and buckled his knees before the end of the fourth round.

In the fifth, Rosado now brimming with confidence began to showboat, as he fought with one hand behind his back and played to the crowd. Quillin didn’t lose focus and the next few rounds were back and forth as each fighter had their moments. Rosado had shown that he could hurt the champion, but Quillin’s faster hands allowed him to maintain a slight advantage.

With the exchanges at they’re fiercest in the ninth round Quillin opened up a nasty gash on the left eyelid of Rosado. Blood began to gush out of the open cut between rounds as the challenger’s corner frantically worked to close it, forcing the referee to have the ringside doctor, Blair Bergen, briefly examine it. Dr. Bergen determined Rosado could continue. A precise attack by Quillin, targeting the eye, to start the 10th round was enough to get the referee Allen Huggins to call the doctor in to take a second look at the cut. This time, he ruled that Rosado couldn’t continue. The final CompuBox statistics show that it was a close bout as Quillin was credited with landing 88 of 349 punches (25 percent), while Rosado landed 80 of 297 shots (27 percent). Somehow the official judges had the fight lopsidedly in Quillin’s favor, scoring it 90-81, 89-81 and 87-83.

Rosado was as happy about the stoppage as the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was on the late push penalty called against his team that helped give the rival New York Jets a victory. “I felt like that was B.S. This is a championship fight. We were going into the championship rounds. This was a competitive fight. I never complained about a cut.” Regardless of the magnitude of the fight, if a doctor deems that a fighter can’t continue because of injury the fight must be stopped. A number of observers of the sport protested the stoppage, but I don’t believe any of them were medical doctors who could determine the severity of a cut. Unless you’re going to limit the power of the doctor, or you have reason to believe Dr. Bergen was incompetent or intentionally didn’t act in the best interest of Rosado, pipe down. Unless Quillin can get a fight with another titleholder, or a high profile fighter, I don’t see any reason he shouldn’t give Rosado a rematch.

Undefeated American heavyweight Wilder starches Firtha in four

The last American-born heavyweight to hold a version of the title was Shannon Briggs way back in 2007. Whether Deontay Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs) is the next American to be a champion is anyone’s guess, but beating the likes of Nicolai Firtha (21-11-1, 8 KOs) isn’t helping us find out how good the Olympic Bronze winner might be.

After a bit of rocky start to the fight, Wilder roughed up Firtha and quickly imposed his will and skill on the limited big man. Wilder dropped him twice in the first round as the 6’6, 250-pound fighter from Akron, Ohio was unable to avoid or block the heavy blows from the man nicknamed the “The Bronze Bomber.” Rights, lefts, jabs, uppercuts, you name it, Wilder seemed to land it on Firtha who took a good punch, but was clearly in a world of trouble by the second round. At 1 minute and 26 seconds into the fourth round, Firtha was knocked down for the third time in the fight, which forced the referee to stop the one-sided contest. Wilder celebrated wildly in the ring following the knockout, as Firtha became the 30th man in 30 professional fights to be stopped by the heavyweight from Alabama.

Wilder and his promoter, Golden Boy, have rightfully received a lot of criticism regarding how slowly the title hopeful has been brought along in his career. Firtha was viewed by most as another no-hoper who lacked the acumen to test the man legendary trainer Emanuel Steward once said would be a champion one day. “I’m right there at the door,” Wilder said about how close he is to fighting for a title. “I’m willing to fight and win in good fashion.” After the victory, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he thinks Wilder should fight mandatory title challenger Bermane Stiverne for the WBC title, which he believes will be vacated when Vitali Klitschko retires to run for president of Ukraine. Somehow, Wilder is ranked number three in the WBC rankings despite not having beaten anyone ranked in the top 20. If Wilder gets a title shot in his next fight, after beating Nicolai Firtha, the division is in worse shape than imagined.

Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

UK star Kell Brook sensationally stops Senchenko in four rounds

Fighting before a stoked crowd of 8,000 in his hometown of Sheffield, England, undefeated welterweight Kell Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) outgunned the game but overmatched Vyacheslav Senchenko (34-2, 23 KOs) in four rounds.

The former WBA titleholder Senchenko’s claim to fame is that he retired comebacking former boxing superstar Ricky Hatton in November of last year when he stopped him with a wicked body shot. Though Brook came into the contest as a heavy favorite it was expected the fight would be close. It wasn’t.

After starting off apprehensively, clearly aware of Senchenko’s power, Brook opened things up in the third round. Working behind a sharp jab, he got within range of the slightly longer Senchenko and landed a crushing right hand that dropped his opponent. Brook attempted to finish him then and there, as the hometown crowd went delirious chanting for him to knockout the man from Ukraine. However, Senchenko who was fighting to stay upright, landed a surprising right hand to Brook’s temple that rocked the 27-year-old undefeated fighter. After the brief hiccup, Brook recaptured control of the fight and garnered the stoppage victory, after landing a devastating right hand to once again drop Senchenko.

Three times this year Brook has had fights with IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander postponed due to injury. Brook’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, didn’t talk about fighting Devon after the Sechencko victory; instead he mentioned a potential mega showdown with UK rival Amir Khan or an intriguing fight with WBA titleholder Adrien Broner.

Anthony Joshua records second career victory by second round TKO

The 2012 British Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medal winner Anthony Joshua (2-0, 2 KOs) recorded the second victory of his career when he stopped the hapless Paul Butlin (14-20 3 KOs) in two rounds. It was the third straight loss for Butlin. The 6’6, 230-pound 24-year old is considered by many to be one of the brightest heavyweight hopefuls from the UK in recent years.

EWE Arena, Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany

Arthur Abraham wins another stinker

Abraham moved his record to 38-4, 28 KOs as he beat another unknown fighter in yet another desultory contest in Germany. The former middleweight and super middleweight champion earned a 12-round unanimous decision over Giovanni De Carolis (20-4, 10 KOs) by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109. Outside of his title winning effort over Robert Stieglitz in August of last year, Abraham has performed poorly since stopping Jermain Taylor in 2009. The 33-year-old Abraham was once one of the sport’s most brutal punchers but he’s no longer fun to watch.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Bernard Hopkins vs Karo Murat Full length fight in HD 26.10.2013

Peter Quillin vs Gabriel Rosado full fight in HD 26.10.2013

Deontay Wilder vs Nicolai Firtha

Kell Brook vs Vyacheslav Senchenko full fihgt 26.10.2013

Anthony Joshua Destroys Paul Butlin full fight 26 10 2013 Joshua's 2nd pro fight)

26.10.2013 - Arthur Abraham vs Giovanni De Carolis

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  1. kid vegas 10:22am, 10/29/2013

    Thank you Teron

  2. Darrell 04:47pm, 10/28/2013

    Good selection of fights.

    Quillin will struggle against a good pressure fighter with busy hands who has power…..especially as he’s so open in his stance & guard.  Always admire that Gabe Rosado, no quit in that boy.  Bad cut though in the worst possible place too….if it were not on the eyelid it would have been fine.

    Wilder’s people need to stop pulling opponents out of pubs.  Wilder does generate some wicked power though.

  3. Ted 04:07pm, 10/28/2013

    NYIrish. Smoger is no longer relevant. He is working on his reputation and should not be given any more juicy assignments. He is now an incompetent ref who makes a mockery out of objectivity.

    That is all (for now)

  4. Clarence George 02:20pm, 10/28/2013

    Appreciate the clarification, Bk Don.  I actually agree that a ringside doctor’s recommendation should be heeded in the vast majority of cases, but I think this may have been one of the exceptions.  Stopping a fight because of a cut…I’m not saying it should be unheard of, but it could wind up a slippery slope.  What’s next, mussed hair?

    I agree with you about American middleweights.  There are some good ones—e.g., Caleb Truax—but none who are exceptional, and that includes Quillin.

    By the way, no criticism was intended, me auld warrior!  No, no—just a little friendly and respectful disagreement.

  5. bk don 01:52pm, 10/28/2013

    Thanks for the compliment fellas. It’s great to hear feedback, whether it be praise or criticism.
    CG - I shouldv’e elaborated on that point regarding the dr. I wasn’t trying to imply that according to commission rules the fight needed to be stopped b/c the dr recommend it. I personally feel like if a dr says that the contest needs to end b/c 1 of the participants is in danger then it needs to be called off. If not, what’s the point of the having the dr there, if you’re going to disregard his recommendations. It’s like in football, when they have team dr’s on the sideline. They have the final word. No coach or player can overrule them.  Also, valid point about the division in regards to talent. I do think it’s lacking in star names in the US though.
    IFrankie- Wilder and Joshua, like most hw’s didn’t have anywhere near the kind of amateur pedigree as Lomachenko, who had tons of experienced under his belt when he turned pro. Wilder should be moved along to allow him to grow as a fighter and learn on the job, but he can’t get better if he’s going to fight 30 stiffs that are interchangeable.

  6. NYIrish 12:57pm, 10/28/2013

    What’s with Smoger repeatedly pushing Murat during the fight and mugging it up with Hopkins after the final bell?
    Wider misses a lot. Even when he has nothing in front of him he misses set up shots. There’s a reason he is undefeated. They’re digging graves for opponents. When they put him in with a guy that can fight and punch a little bit Deontay will come down in sections.

  7. Ted 11:44am, 10/28/2013

    CG. and that’s why the challenged (but cunning) Smoger should have allowed Margo to continue against Cotto. But he left it to the doctor to get him off the hook. Guy is disgraceful.

  8. Ted 11:42am, 10/28/2013

    AA is toast

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:41am, 10/28/2013

    Teron Briggs-Great round up once again…which reminds me….more of these prospects like Joshua and Wilder need to go the Lomachenko route…..enough with the seasoning…..errr….learning experiences….errr…. muggings…. errr….set ups….errr….gimmees….errr….farces. If they get a lesson like David Price did along the way….what the heck…even when the wheels fall off, there’s always some shyster who can spin it into a positive life experience and away they go again and again and again.

  10. Clarence George 08:51am, 10/28/2013

    Good synopsis and analysis, as always, but if I may…

    First, I don’t agree that the “middleweight division is rather thin in terms of talent and star names.”  It’s more, I think, a matter of poor or meaningless bouts.  Teron is quite correct in observing that “the heated battle between rival promotional companies Golden Boy and Top Rank only make it that much harder to put on intriguing matchups.”

    Second, Teron writes, in reference to Quillin-Rosado, “if a doctor deems that a fighter can’t continue because of injury the fight must be stopped.”  Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s only true in California.  The ref is otherwise free to disregard the doctor’s advice.  In my opinion, the fight should have continued, at least into the next round.  After all, Rosado had a cutman, didn’t he?