By Robert Aaron Contreras
Posted: March 8, 2016
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
There were big things in the Heavyweight division last weekend.
And I mean, BIG. I’m talking about the gigantic trunks Tony Thompson and Ruslan Chagaev were seen wearing.
As for the actual fights they were in, they perfectly encapsulated why the Heavyweight division is both terrible and why fans will never give up on it. The action was dull. But the finishing knockouts were satisfying.
Saturday at Washington, D.C.
Luis Ortiz KO6 Tony Thompson
— ZombieProphet (@ZProphet_MMA) March 6, 2016
“King Kong” Ortiz, of Cuba, was the only elite Heavyweight in action last weekend. He crushed Tony Thompson with basically two punches.
Thompson, if you were wondering, is 44 years old. His only wins since 2011 were over Odlanier Solis (who literally collapsed from his own weight in their last fight) and the lumbering David Price who was going to be exposed eventually.
In Round 1, Ortiz shot a right hand and followed it up with a chopping left that floored Thompson. The ensuing five rounds were a sluggish game of cat and mouse. The American continually backtracked to avoid more punishment.
Ortiz wasn’t eager to engage either. At one point in the fourth round, Ortiz extended a right hand to Thompson’s face and didn’t even bother to follow up with any additional offense, almost freezing in time. The American, sensing zero danger, actually put his arms down to his side and smiled. That’s the joke that this fight was. That’s the current state of boxing’s Heavyweight division.
Thankfully, things came to an end in Round 6. Thompson threw a lazy body jab and Ortiz went over the top with a cracking left hand, sending Thompson flailing to his back for the referee’s 10 count.
Saturday at Grozny, Russia
Lucas Browne TKO10 Ruslan Chagaev
The WBA Heavyweight tournament got off the ground Saturday with Browne’s upset knockout victory over WBA titlist Chagaev.
Chagaev, though, struck first. In Round 6 he smashed a right hand into his opponent’s body and immediately went upstairs with a left hook to the dome that sent Browne to the canvas. Four rounds later, it was “Big Daddy” Browne doing the clobbering.
Zombie Prophet, a must-follow on Twitter, provided the violence:
— ZombieProphet (@ZProphet_MMA) March 5, 2016
A right hand from Browne sent the hefty Chagaev tumbling over in Round 10. The Uzbek made it to his feet and the challenger pounced on him like a wild man.
Seven consecutive right hands careened into an overwhelmed Ruslan. He tried to escape but Browne followed him along the ropes and laid into him until the referee stopped the fight.
Big Daddy became Australia’s first ever world Heavyweight champion. But champion by name only.
Saturday at West Midlands, United Kingdom
Bradley Skeete UD12 Sam Eggington
Skeete went into Eggington’s hometown of West Midlands to school his domestic rival with ease, flashing a picturesque jab for the British and Commonwealth Welterweight belts.
Eggington, brave beyond his 22 years, staged a late charge but Skeete early lead was too much to overcome.
It was a great performance from Skeete. His jab was prettier than ever and his right hand couldn’t miss, catching Eggington off-guard over and over again.
Skeete should be undefeated 24 fights into his career. He outboxed Frankie Gavin in 2014 but the judges didn’t appreciate his methodical brand of science.
Now proven at the domestic and European level, a top-15 opponent is in order.
Saturday at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Julian Williams TKO7 Marcello Matano
“J-Rock” Williams is a walking contradiction.
Williams and his team have constantly bashed other fighters on social media for careful matchmaking. Yet, all he had to do for a crack at Jermall Charlo, the IBF light Middleweight champion, was knock out a nobody like Matano.
In January he tried saying Felix Verdejo needed to take a step up in competition without considering the young Puerto Rican was struggling with a broken hand for a year and is nearly three years his junior.
The 25-year-old Williams also likes to say Saul “Canelo” Alvarez avoided him and other talented black fighters despite gladly picking off Canelo’s leftovers like Luciano Cuello who the Mexican beat over half a decade ago.
Williams will remain the unproven one until he trades fists with fighters of the caliber of Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto.
Friday at Sosnowiec, Poland
Krzysztof Wlodarczyk TKO2 Valery Brudov
“Diablo” Wlodarczyk was in a car accident a mere two days before he made his return to the ring following a 17-month layoff.
It was successful in the form of an early TKO of Brudov, a former interim WBA Cruiserweight champion.
The first three minutes were a tame affair.
A thudding double jab in Round 2, though, sent Brudov to the mat and his corner quickly urged referee Dariusz Zwolinski to end the bout.
The13thRound posted the final sequence:
— the13thround.com (@the13thround) March 4, 2016
Wlodarczyk has long been one of the fiercest punchers in the world and helps make up the most exciting division in boxing.
He was set to make his US network debut (and an easy win) last December against Beibut Shumenov, until Shumenov pulled out with an eye injury.
Another former PBC feature is Marco Huck who fought just last week. A matchup between the two would pit together the two most proven Cruiserweights in the world, outside of Denis Lebedev and Grigory Drozd.
Boxing fans are used to the idea of dream matches falling wayside. But in the 200-pound weight class, the best (who fight primarily out of Eurasia) don’t get caught up in politics, and always fight the best.