Monday, May 28, 2012

Violent Meditation - Carl Froch Steamrolls Lucian Bute, Ji-Hoon Kim Edges Alisher Rahimov & More

Photo: Getty Images

The super middleweight division is apparently alive and well, based on the last few weeks of action from overseas. It's difficult to say how exactly Lamont Peterson vs. Amir Khan II would've unfolded, but if it were anything like the first bout, it might have at least hinted at taking a little focus off the 168 lb. entertainment we've gotten. 

Mikkel Kessler's annihilation of Allan Green (video) in Denmark last weekend was a little more competitive and interesting than this week's extra-middleweight match, but both have been the talk of the town since they've happened. 

There was other stuff that happened this weekend though, and some of it was worth spending time on. 

Past Carl Froch's eye-opening mincemeatery of Lucian Bute (video) in Nottingham, there were a handful of different styles and classes to choose from over the weekend, like former contender turned former B-side Pablo Cesar Cano pounding out a stoppage over Fidel Monterrosa on the undercard of Sergio Thompson's mop-up of Juan Solis, Ji-Hoon Kim's extremely busy decision over Alisher Rahimov, and then some. 



For my more complete recap, click here.

Just about the only issue worth discussing further is that some post-fight discussions have involved the idea that Bute's team should consider protesting the result because promoter Eddie Hearn entered the ring from Froch's corner as referee Earl Brown was administering a count to a spacey Lucian Bute. Ultimately the blame for any confusion lies with Brown, whose ambiguous call (raising his arms as if to wave the fight off, then attempting to send Froch to a neutral corner so as to administer a count) is what makes the idea of a protest possible. But beyond that, the real chatter should be about Carl Froch's belt-winning performance and not some way to nullify it. Had Bute been more effective or accomplished more in the fight before being halted, a protest would still be futile. 


Again, for the extensive recap, click here

Ji-Hoon Kim is good television, and Friday Night Fights should continue to showcase the guy -- maybe even give his "story" a little more focus. Rahimov may be worth a few more looks himself, though he could tone down the physicality of his style some. The elbowing and forearming stuff is excessive, as is the way he leads with his head. He'd be better served using his legs more to set up shots rather than putting his head down and boring in half-blind. 

Here's a video of the lightweight main event, but don't bother looking up the Vince Thompson vs. Joell Godfrey heavyweight co-feature. It wasn't good. 


Fellow staffer Scott Kraus wrote a good recap of this Azteca America event here, but to sum up, welterweight Soto Karass applied pressure in his usual fashion, often swinging wide and missing, but refusing to waver nonetheless, while El Harrak actually looked quite sharp (video) for a guy that's been inactive, and he relied on stiff counters to keep Soto Karass on the edge of his reach. At times he did it very well, but Soto Karass used his physicality to bull El Harrak to the ropes and bang away every so often, and especially downstairs. He did a fair amount of chasing though, and many of the clean punches were landed by El Harrak in the match up. A split or close decision either way was the right call, and with the win, Jesus Soto Karass picked up his first win in almost three years. 

Soto Karass, 25-7-3 (16 KO) and 1 No Contest, isn't a fancy fighter by any means, and his limitations against straighter punchers and guys with better feet were showcased here. In reality the win might not even be the best thing for him, as it might lend a sense of false confidence heading into a bigger match up that he's liable to lose if his opponent is competent. On the other hand, El Harrak, now 10-2-1 (5 KO), might be able to take something from this close loss. Had he put Soto Karass on his heels a bit and stood his ground more often, perhaps the judges wouldn't have favored the Mexican's often ineffective pressure. 

In the co-feature, welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez stayed unbeaten and brought his record to 15-0 (12 KO) in thwacking Josh Sosa around the ring for 6 rounds (video). Dialing in with jabs, right hands and some raking hooks, Benevidez showed why he's considered blue chip by many boxing pundits by transitioning from offense to defense smoothly and showing Sosa, now 10-3 (5 KO), a number of different looks. Benavidez was the aggressor sometimes, the counterpuncher others, and did both well, albeit against a guy who didn't seem to have an answer for anything the 2009 National Golden Gloves champ did. 


Scoring his second win in a row since being stopped by Mexican great Erik Morales last year, junior welterweight Cano improved his numbers to 24-1-1 (19 KO) with a 9th round stoppage of Monterrosa in Cancun, Mexico, televised by Fox Deportes. Having faced Humberto Soto twice in recent years, Monterrosa played his role perfectly, fighting gamely enough to go rounds and make Cano work for his win, but never threatening to take the fight away. "El Demoledor" ("Demolition Man") folded Monterrosa with a body shot, then downed him with the follow up and the Colombian couldn't beat the ten count. Monterrosa's record fell to 29-6 (23 KO), and this marks his third stoppage loss in his last six fights, which calls into question exactly how much longer he'll be useful on the fringe elite level. 

Cano might tighten up his technique and reign things in a bit, as he overexerts himself and over-commits to some punches, which leaves him open. But at only 22, Cano should have time to develop further and he seems to have a lot of upside. The loss to Morales has served him well thus far, and he has a type of grit and toughness that can't be taught. 

Sergio Thompson, the 23-2 (21 KO) lightweight that answered questions regarding Jorge Linares' chin in March, scored a 5th round TKO over Juan Solis in the co-feature, and picked up some sort of vacant WBC belt in the process. Solis came into the fight unbeaten since 2006, but against questionable opposition and only semi-active, and now his record drops to 17-6 (6 KO) and 1 No Contest. The leap up in class was proven when Solis was decked in rounds 1 and 4, then stopped with a barrage in round 5 when his corner tossed the towel into the ring. And there's not much to dislike about Thompson, who advances on his opponents come what may, throws hard and is active -- he fought six times in 2011, and twice so far this year. He should be deservedly ranked by the WBC by now, if he wasn't already, and it could get interesting. 

2008 Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder kept his undefeated record and perfect KO percentage intact with a 1st round blitzing of Jesse Oltmanns on the undercard. At 22-0 (22 KO) now, he's already drawing criticism for not facing better opposition, but despite being 6'7" and looking the part, the idea is to get him to develop. Up next on his schedule is Owen Beck in June, which is the type of fight that may actually give him rounds and force him to make adjustments, and that's what he needs. He's still throwing a bit too loosely and gets right hand happy, and his balance is wonky sometimes. At 26-years-old, it might not be something he fixes, but he's better off giving himself the best shot possible at succeeding. 


Following the terrible news on back-to-back days that New Mexico fighting staple Johnny Tapia had died, and that junior middleweight Paul Williams had been at least partially paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, please keep all involved in your thoughts. 


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