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Monte Carlo nearly a bust for McDonnell

SHAUN BROWN

I didn’t watch Luis Ortiz v Malik Scott last night.
  
I’ve earned my stripes watching painfully boring heavyweight fights. Sitting at a laptop trying to keep my eyes peeled, on Nikolai Valuev v Evander Holyfield on a German stream, in a freezing cold flat always springs to mind.

Not that I knew Ortiz v Scott would be of the same calibre beforehand, but the benefits of having recordable television and accidentally seeing some of the reaction on social media was worth its weight in gold to me.

I asked a good friend of mine, and fellow writer if it was worth watching. His response: “It’s horrendous. Scott is making Erislandy Lara look like Gatti!”

Malik Scott would take to Twitter after his fight to say: “Shit shit fight guys… wish I could disagree wit you all but FACTS are FACTS n I had a shitty performance. Happily excepting all criticism.”

Ortiz, who beat Scott over 12 rounds, returns to action on December 10 in Manchester on the Anthony Joshua-Eric Molina card. Will I be watching him then? Unsure. I’ll buy the pay-per-view, but Ortiz’s drugs ban in 2015 for nandrolone doesn’t sit right with me. It’s a stance I should see through from here on in for all fighters who have been banned for failing drugs tests, and the sport itself. Are we hypocrites if we do watch them after they return? Some we might not choose to watch anyway. For example, Kid Galahad’s fighting style doesn’t make me want to stop whatever I’m doing to watch him in action (even if it was housework).

It was Monte Carlo or bust (Ed: had to be said) for Martin Murray in the principality last night. His fight with unbeaten German-based Nigerian Nuhu Lawal. Lawal took the fight on Wednesday night at 10pm, apparently, after Dmitrii Chudinov pulled out with a virus. This after Arthur Abraham withdrew from his WBO super middleweight title final eliminator against Murray because of injury, or to instead take a fight against Robin Krasniqi. Pick a side on that one.

Murray, who admits he is still growing into the 168lb weight, seemed to have his hands full with Lawal who is in no way a super middleweight, early on. Lawal is more a middleweight possibly a super welterweight.

Lawal threw his idea of the kitchen sink at Murray. Coming forward with purpose, not a lot of method but enough to catch the Brit with troublesome punches and make the fight competitive. I had the fight dead level after six rounds but Lawal’s tiredness, Murray’s accuracy and an ultra dominant ninth round where he almost had Lawal out of there helped him to take a 12-round unanimous decision. This despite having a point taken off in the final round for leading with his head. Something that did not sit well with the former world title challenger afterwards.

2017 might will result in either world title glory or retirement for Murray, in my opinion. The win against Lawal gave him the WBA Continental super middleweight belt. A foot in the door with Gilberto Mendoza and his gang. Don’t rule out seeing Murray v George Groves 2 in 2017, especially if Groves gets an opportunity at Fedor Chudinov for full WBA world honours at the weight.

Grass is green, water is wet… one boxing scorecard per week is ridiculous. This week’s culprits are Nelson Vasquez, Stanley Christodoulou and Robert Hoyle and their numbers of 116-112, 115-113 and 117-111 in favour of Jamie McDonnell.

McDonnell was making the fifth defence of his WBA bantamweight title against Venezuela’s Liborio Solis. It was, on paper, a tricky looking defence and one that had no right to have the champion as 1/18 with one bookmaker earlier in the week.

Solis, 34, and a former unified world super flyweight champion rarely gave McDonnell a moment to breathe in their fight. Solis smothered the 30-year-old with effective pressure and the kind of shots that, in my eyes, gave him a big lead after six rounds (5-1 to be precise). McDonnell, no stranger to making a slow start in fights did so again and seemingly injured his right hand during the fight.

An injury that, at the end of the 11th round, prompted trainer Dave Coldwell to say: “Forget about your right hand. There’s fighters that have boxed with broken jaws! I know it’s going to hurt but you’ve got three minutes, mate. It’ll be back down to low paydays and no-one giving a shit about you.”

It was, as is the norm from Coldwell these days, an inspirational kick up the backside. I had McDonnell taking the final round, three of the last four to be exact, but 116-112 for Solis in conclusion. I was so confident of the result, I felt as though I didn’t need to hear the scores as I went to the kitchen for a drink.

“AND STILL…!”

I didn’t make it to the kitchen. As I normally say, this was the type of fight I could watch a hundred times and always have the same winner.

Jason Sosa picked himself up a few UK fans after a successful first defence of his WBA world super featherweight title against Stephen Smith in the night's main event.

Sosa’s fan-friendly style did a job of forcing Smith into having a war with the American. A tactic that seemed to be more successful for the challenger in the second half of the fight. Sosa’s aggression looked too much for Smith early on, and looked on his way to a stoppage victory. But Smith, no stranger to boxing trench warfare himself, slugged it out and admirably fought fire with fire. Cut, bruised and deflated afterwards, Smith said, “I need to learn my lesson”, commenting on his second world title defeat after falling short against Jose Pedraza earlier this year.

The top ten at 130lbs is shark infested waters for Smith, but the guts, resolve and ability he showed in his showing against Sosa will have been enough to get him back in the mix in 2017.
  




November 13, 2016