by Drew "King" James - 06/14/2005
This weekend in boxing didn't offer much for action but it certainly offered a lead story for the national news networks. Defying all odds, Irish heavyweight Kevin McBride, forced the once proclaimed "Baddest Man on the Planet" Mike Tyson, to quit on his stool after six rounds of boxing from the MCI Center in Washington, DC. The only thing most fans knew about Kevin McBride was that he's a mountain of a man at 6'6 and 271 lbs, but with size comes the fact that he punches and moves as slow as molasses. I knew Tyson's career was coming to an end but I could have never anticipated a loss to a third-tier heavyweight like Kevin McBride. I remember watching one of McBride's previous fights on ESPN and hearing boxing commentator Joe Tesitore ask, "Teddy, is it just me or do McBride's hands look like they are moving in slow motion?".
Nobody gave Kevin McBride any chance to win this fight, it was more just a question of how long before Tyson would knock him out. Even the Irish bookmakers didn't appear to give their native son much of a chance, with odds ranging from +475 to +600 for a straight win. I knew Tyson didn't have much left in him anymore, but to lose to a fighter like McBride is just plain embarrassing!
Tyson would try to intimidate his opponent the entire week leading up to the fight with no success. In fact, Kevin McBride was taunting Tyson from across the ring before the start of the first round. The fight would begin with Tyson coming out of his corner bobbing and weaving, looking to get to the body of McBride. It would take Tyson thirty seconds before he landed his first punch, a solid left hook to the body. McBride worked behind his long jab, keeping Tyson outside, forcing him to throw wild punches from a distance that would continually fall inches short of their target. Surprisingly, Tyson would lose the first round to the busier Kevin McBride. The last time Mike Tyson lost the first round to anyone, was nearly ten years ago to Evander Holyfield.
After seeing more of the same in rounds two and three, Tyson would come out in the fourth looking to close the show, landing bombs to the head and body of Kevin McBride. After throwing everything he had for the first two minutes with little to no success, Tyson would begin to show fatigue and frustration, landing a head butt and repeated low blows. This was probably the last round we will ever see Tyson win inside the boxing ring. God only knows what he'll venture into next.
The official end of "Iron Mike" would come in round six as he looked angry and began to unload everything he had, both clean and dirty. The round began with both fighters exchanging punches in the middle of the ring, Tyson loading up and throwing his punches with nasty intentions behind them. Surprisingly, Kevin McBride would walk through the blaze from Tyson and begin to land his own punches inside! After repeated holding, Tyson would attempt on two occasions to snap the arm of McBride while they were tied up inside. It wasn't until a blatantly intentional head butt opened a nasty cut over the left eye of McBride, that referee Joe Cortez would finally step in and deduct two points from Tyson. With ten seconds remaining in the round, a fatigued Tyson would fall to the ground after a push from McBride, and it looked like he was hoping for a ten count. Unfortunately for Tyson, the bell would sound to end the round, and he would slowly walk to the corner with his head hanging down.
Between rounds, it was the corner of Tyson that would throw in the towel to stop the fight. Just one week removed from Ricky Hatton's upset of pound-for-pound king, Kostya Tszyu, another fighter that was once considered unbeatable would quit on his stool.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Tyson show up somewhere in Japan to try to lure fan favorite, Bob "The Beast" Sapp into a mixed martial arts super fight. Unless he becomes a trainer or promoter somewhere down the line, it's highly unlikely that we'll ever see Mike Tyson inside the boxing ring again. He talked about joining a missionary and traveling around the world to help the needy. I'd like to see the odds of that ever happening!
On the same night as the Tyson-McBride PPV, HBO broadcast their popular series, Boxing After Dark. Just 250 miles away from Washington DC, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a crowd in excess of 10,000 turned out to see WBO Jr. Welterweight Champion, Miguel Cotto make the third defense of his title against 2000 Olympic gold medallist Mohamad Abdulaev. After embarrassing losses by Tito Trinidad and Kermit Cintron, it's the young Cotto who had to step up and fight for the honor of his native Puerto Rico.
Neither fighter was ever seriously hurt throughout the scheduled 12 round fight, but there was good action and little holding going on inside. It were unexpectedly close halfway though the fight, as I had the fight scored even after six.
It wouldn't be close for long, as rounds 7, 8 and 9, were dominated by the much bigger Cotto. It was Cotto's left hook that did most the damage, as he continuously landed on the rapidly closing right eye of Abdulaev. Just a minute into round 9, Abdulaev signaled to the referee to stop the fight, because he could no longer see out of his right eye.
In defending his title for the third time, the rising 24-year-old Puerto Rican improved his undefeated record to 24-0 and avenged his defeat at the hands of the Uzbek in the first round of the 139-pound division at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Up next for Cotto could be either a unification bout with IBF belt holder, Ricky Hatton or a possible move up in weight for a big money fight with Oscar De La Hoya or Shane Mosley.
HBO keeps the title fights coming this Saturday, when they'll broadcast the highly anticipated rematch between IBO Light Heavyweight champion Glen Johnson and former IBF Light Heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. The first meeting was an action packed brawl in which Johnson won a controversial but crowd-pleasing split decision. Both men were coming off of knockout wins over one of boxing's all time, pound-for-pound greats, Roy Jones Jr.
Despite out landing Johnson by eighty in both power punches and overall punches thrown, and clearly winning the final rounds, Tarver took certain rounds off to rest and it ended up costing him the fight. Tarver threw 100 punches in the 11th and 83 in the 12th, but only 26 in the first, 36 in the fifth and 38 in the 10th Johnson pressured Tarver throughout the entire fight and the crowd was behind him from the opening bell. I believe the crowd had a large part to do with Johnson winning, hit or miss, they would roar whenever he threw a flurry or winding punch. Most of his punches were slipped, or blocked by Tarver's guard, but it's hard to notice with thousands of fans on their feet cheering the man on.
Doc's boxing crew has sat down, reviewed the tapes, and studied up on this fight like no other! Jeremy Bjornberg has discovered the undisputed value bet, the best since Erik Morales upset of Manny Pacquiao earlier this year.
Click the link for boxing picks.