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Knockout Nation: Tarver Battles Dawson! Vitali Returns Against Peter! Mosley Blocks Steroid Allegations, Sandy Saddler

vitali

Tarver-Dawson, Klitschko-Peter 10/11 on Showtime

This weekend Showtime will have an intriguing double-header showcasing two of the world’s top light-heavyweights and two of the more exciting pugilists in the heavyweight division.

 

First up, rising star Chad Dawson will challenge veteran Antonio Tarver for the IBF title. Both men are coming off wins, although each went through drastically different scenarios to obtain them.

 

Tarver breezed through a defense against the tough, but limited and plodding Clinton Woods. Behind his superior punching technique, which included a stiff southpaw jab, Tarver dominated and turned that bout midway into a glorified sparring session. On the other hand, Dawson barely escaped with a controversial decision win over hard-nosed Glen Johnson, who hurt the young champ numerous times throughout that contest.

 

With two southpaws, it’s likely both fighters will have difficulty landing clean shots early against each other. Also, because of Dawson’s aggressive style the likelihood of accidental headbutts are high.

 

Dawson has a clear speed advantage that will trouble Tarver. In his signature win, the young titlist befuddled former champ Tomasz Adamek with his hand-speed. Against Glen Johnson, Dawson was able to stun and stifle pressure from Johnson whenever he let loose with flashy but accurate combos.

 

Also, Dawson’s preference to work the body can serve him well in this bout, as the older Tarver would be hard-pressed to handle that attack deep into the later rounds.

 

For Tarver, he brings to the table not only underrated power but also exceptional timing in his punching technique. It was the Magic Man’s punching timing that negated the speed of Hall of Famer Roy Jones in two of Tarver’s biggest wins, and also carried him to wins over Glen Johnson and Montell Griffin.

 

And now after horrible outings against Bernard Hopkins in 2006 and Elvir Muriqi in early 2007, it appears Tarver has now finally regained his form.

 

At various stages, Tarver is going to be able to time Dawson and stun him with stinging counters, and possibly even drop the young lion. However, Dawson showed in the Johnson bout he can take sustained punishment and continue to have the focus to fire back and score points of his own. And Dawson’s fast hands, particularly on the inside to the body, will wear down Tarver’s activity as the fight goes on.

 

While essentially a toss-up, I like Dawson’s flashy but accurate combinations to impress the judges enough for him to come on strong in the bout’s second half.

 

The main event for the card features former titlist Vitali Klitschko, who last fought nearly four years ago on December 11, 2004.

 

Hampered by various injuries, Vitali retired in 2005 and vacated his WBC title. However, the WBC promised him an immediate title shot should he ever return.

 

In a potential regretful decision, “Dr. Iron Fist” is foregoing a tune-up bout and going right at the universally recognized number one American heavyweight Samuel Peter.

 

Despite being the WBC champ, Peter has his own question marks to answer from fans and the boxing press.

 

After dominating James Toney in their 2007 rematch, Peter went on to have a dud of a performance against Jameel McCline last October, getting dropped and nearly knocked out early on. He rebounded late in the fight to win a unanimous decision.

 

In March Peter fared better in a knockout win over faded Oleg Maskaev, but failed to impress many critics who are expecting more from the man touted as the heir apparent to the division crown.

 

If this were the Vitali of 2004, I’d have no qualms picking the Urkrainian. At his best, the former RING champ keeps up a consistent workrate, sometimes tripling his jab and wearing down opponents with hard, clubbing right hands. And for those who managed to land on the 6’7 Klitschko, Dr. Iron Fist retained a sturdy beard that’s put him in the record books as the only heavyweight champ/titlist never to be floored.

 

But that was the Vitali of four years ago, and no matter how hard he’s trained it’s impossible that the various ligament tears that sidelined him along with years of inactivity haven’t taken their toll. Even in his “prime” years, Vitali’s stamina was barely passable, most noticeable in his bout with Corrie Sanders as the Urkrainian giant labored to a 8th round knockout.

 

Vitali’s beard will see him to the final bell, but expect his previous leg injuries and stamina woes to drown him in the bout’s second half, allowing Samuel Peter to dominate the championship rounds for a clear unanimous decision.

 

Prospects Shine on HBO’s B.A.D. (Boxing After Dark)

 

This past Saturday HBO exhibited showcase fights for three of the more exciting prospects at the lighter weights, and each fighter delivered.

 

Light-middleweight southpaw Sergio Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) showed how deadly a hard jab can be, as the Spaniard used the punch to bust up contender Alex Bunema and score a merciful 8th round stoppage.

 

The largely unknown Martinez won every round, dropping Bunema with a straight left hand in the third. Constantly being worked over against the ropes with quick combos to the body and head, the referee gave the tough Bunema every opportunity to get himself back in the fight before calling off matters.

 

Hard-hitting junior middle Alfredo Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) put a brutal TKO beating on Andrey Tsurkan (26-4, 17 KOs) in the card’s second bout. While both are inside fighters, Tsurkan’s slow hands and limited punching accuracy left him a sitting duck for Angulo. After being dissected slowly for the full ten rounds, the white flag was waived by Tsurkan’s corner after manic screams of mercy from announcer Jim Lampley.

 

In the main event, exciting albeit unpolished featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa (12-0, 10 KOs) overcame getting dropped in his second consecutive fight to score a 2nd round stoppage over previously unbeaten Marcos Ramirez (25-1, 16 KOs).

 

Coming in reckless with guns blazing and his chin up the air, Gamboa goaded his opponent into furious exchanges throughout the opening stanza. In the middle of one combination, Gamboa was wobbled by a counter left and subsequently dropped by accidental elbow the referee missed.

 

Enraged, a slightly dazed Gamboa got up and continued firing power shots at Ramirez to close the round.

 

In the second, a sneaky right uppercut from Gamboa toppled Ramirez for an eight count. Relentless in his pressure, the Cuban gold medalist bullied Ramirez into the ropes with lightning fast hooks before ending his night with cracking left to the ribs, followed by another right uppercut.

 

Gamboa’s defense shows he’s not ready for the elite top 5 of his division like Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez, and Chris John. But his face first brawling style ensures he’ll secure another HBO date very soon.

 

Ike Quartey Comeback Confirmed

 

Dan Rafael of espn.com has reported that former welterweight champ Ike Quartey had decided to come out of retirement.

 

Promoter Lou Dibella confirmed the news by stating Quartey is looking to climb back in the ring December 5 against Branco Milenknovic in South Africa.

 

“Ike wants to fight and Branco and I have been working out the details. We’ll be speaking again on Friday,” DiBella revealed. “I’ve had some conversations with Top Rank and Golden Boy about maybe doing something with them. Once Ike is back with a ‘W,’ I’ll talk to them about what fights we can do together that makes sense.”

 

Ever since losing a controversial decision to Oscar De La Hoya in 1999, “Bazooka’s” career has been a mixed bag and overall disappointment given his talent level.

 

And with Quartey turning 39 years of age next month, it’s hard to imagine what the former champ has left at this stage.

 

Mosley Blocks Tell-All Book from BALCO head Victor Conte

 

Shane Mosley has filed a defamation lawsuit in New York against Victor Conte, the infamous doctor of BALCO Institute who was sold performance enhancing drugs to athletes such as Marion Jones and Barry Bonds.

 

Mosley found himself involved in the controversy after documents revealed he visited the clinic shortly before his rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. In that fight, Mosley sported a chiseled physique that disappeared in his next bout with Winky Wright.

 

Conte’s book, entitled BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, and What We Can Do To Save Sports, has been delayed in part due to Mosley’s lawsuit.

 

Even though Mosley claims he thought BALCO’s products were legal, you can bet if the book is released it’ll prove very damaging to the welterweight star’s reputation.

 

David Haye Makes Heavyweight Debut 11/15 Against Monte Barrett

 

It’s put up or shut up time next month for boastful cruiserweight kingpin David Haye, who will make his heavyweight debut next month against dangerous contender Monte Barrett.

 

Haye has been campaigning for the better part of this year for a title shot against Wladimir Klitschko, but first the colorful champ has to prove he can hang with the bangers of the division.

 

To this point, Haye has promised to retire if he cannot get by Barrett.

“If I can’t get through Monte, I’m not going to be able to beat Wladimir Klitschko, so I’ll probably call it a day,” Haye admitted to Wales Online. “If I stumble at the first hurdle I’ll look like a joke. So what’s the point?”

 

Throwback Fighter of the Week: Sandy Saddler

 

Feared in his day for his all-time great power and propensity to make a fight dirty if need be, featherweight Sandy Saddler was one the best fighters of the 40’s and 50’s.

 

He became known on the national scene because of his thrilling four fight series with Willie Pep, who is recognized by most pundits as a top 10 all time pound for pound fighter.

 

In their first bout in 1948, Saddler starched Pep in four rounds after dropping him three times. The 1949 rematch saw Pep outpoint Saddler to regain the title, in what many call one of boxing’s best master-classes.

 

The third fight in 1950 saw Saddler break down Pep with his bruising and sometimes illegal tactics, forcing Pep to retire with a dislocated shoulder after eight rounds.

 

The final 1951 contest, which has been dubbed the dirtiest championship fight in boxing history, saw Saddler once again take the technician Pep out of his game and into a dogfight. Unable to keep up the intense pace, Pep again faltered and was stopped after ten rounds.

 

Possessing a wiry frame that hid his immense punching power, Saddler defeated many world champions in Joe Brown, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, and Jimmy Cater. A nasty fighter, Saddler can be seen in many fights holding and hitting, and even rubbing his head against cuts on other fighters to worsen the damage.

 

After being forced to retire due to a traffic accident in 1956, he went on to help train a young wrecking ball named George Foreman in the early 1970s.

 

Saddler passed away in 2001 at the age of 75.

 

In his career, he scored over 100 knockouts and is ranked #5 on the RING Magazine’s 100 Greatest Punchers of All-Time list.

 

Sandy Saddler’s final record stands at 144-16-2, 103 KOs.

 

Saddler vs. Pep IV

Saddler vs. Elorde II

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