With just one professional boxing show under our belt – Philly Keith Sports got a call to the big time. Two floor press passes to cover an HBO / Top Rank boxing event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey!
The main event was a battle between Kiev, Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko and Nigeria’s Samuel “The Nightmare” Peter to see who would be named the #1 contender in the Heavyweight division. A big puncher against a guy with a tremendous boxing skill and a suspect chin. This one was bound to be interesting.
In the co-feature, Top Rank up-and-comer Miguel Cotto faced unknown WBO Jr. Welterweight champion Ricardo Torres of Columbia. Many say Cotto has the potential to be boxing’s next big Puerto Rican star. This fight certainly helped his cause as it turned out to be a classic.
Also on deck was North Jersey native Kendall Holt taking on Vladimir Khodokovski.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Samuel Peter
This was a make or break night for the career of Wladimir Klitschko. His glass jaw is well documented but his boxing skills are under estimated. His opponent Samuel Peter is a guy who is known strictly for his power, comes in with a record of 24 -0 and hopes of becoming king of the division.
Peter is widely considered one of the up and coming heavyweights in the circuit but lacks a big name to add to the list of taxi drivers and other unknowns on his resume. The steaks are high as the winner becomes the mandatory to fight Chris Byrd for the IBF Heavyweight Title.
Before both fighters are announced, Michael Buffer asks for a moment of silence and tolls the bell 10 times for fallen warrior and Atlantic City native Leavander Johnson, who tragically died after defending his IBF title last week.
Round 1 ended just as it started; with Wladimir feeding Peter a steady diet of left jabs which connect at a high percentage. Peter tries to get inside but is repeatedly kept at bay by the jabs of Klitschko. Wladimir, fighting smart and effective, keeps slipping the jabs and follows with an over hand right which rocks Peter towards the end of the round.
Round 2 Klitschko sticks with what is working, more jabs. Peter abandons the strategy of going inside and starts to throw the right handed bombs he is known for to no avail. Klitschko catches him with a big right then uses his footwork to avoid Peter. Peter seems to look out of gas already but lands a stiff body shot to end the round.
Peter starts round 3 the aggressor but still can’t find a way past Klitschko’s jab. Wladimir beings to the jobs followed with an overhand right which consistently find the target. Peter goes to the bully technique with some success and lands a big left hook to the ear of Klitschko. The rest of the round is spent holding and moving.
Round 4 sees Peter chase Klitschko around the ring but he hit with a right left combo. More holding and pushing from both men but Klitschko still is effectively landing the jab which gives him no need to take any risks.
The corner must have given Peter one hell of pep talk before round 5 because he came out looking for the kill. Throwing right handed bombs one after another, Klitschko is weary of the power and wisely tries to avoid. He ran but couldn’t hide because Peter scored the first knockdown of the fight with a hard overhand right to the head of Klitschko dropping him to 1 knee.
Wlad gets up but Peter meets him with another big right followed by a left uppercut, this time putting Klitschko on his back. Surprisingly, Klitschko gets up again but with those familiar wobbly legs and big dumb look on his face after taking a hard shot. He looks ripe for the picking but goes to the holding technique as Peter tries to polish him off but can’t connect with that last blow.
After big brother yells at him in the corner, Wlad goes back to the basics and repeatedly hits Peter with the jab. Peter is swinging for the fences but coming up with nothing but air. Klitschko consistently mixes left jabs followed by rights and dictates the pace of the entire round.
Klitschko bolts out of the corner with a new found energy and continues to jab away. Peter slips in a nice right to the mouth but Wlad stands strong and slips the jab followed by the sneaky right.
Klitschko does more of the same in round 9 hitting him with the 1,2 1,2 over and over again. Peter is taking a lot of pops and showing a very good chin. Peter tries to get physical again but eats more jabs.
Peter takes it to the streets in the 10th connecting with a big left and stays on the attacks. He looks winded for a second and Wlad hits him with a nice right to the chin, Peter counters with a left but can’t follow up. Peter wrestles him to the corner and beings to lay the wood on Wlad ending with a big right to the face sending Klitschko to the mat for the 3rd time in the fight. Wlad gets up again and soaks up some more punishment until the bell ends the round.
Klitschko comes out wobbly again and Peter stalks him around the ring, Wlad doesn’t want to mix it up at this point. Wlad uses the footwork to get Peter off balance and lands 3 consecutive 1-2 combos. Peter takes it and comes back for more and eats 2 more 1-2 combos in the middle of the ring. They trade a few more punches and Peter looks to be running out of gas.
Klitschko dominated most rounds but the 3 knockdowns are keeping it close and both men know they need to finish strong to get the win. Peter connects with a big left but Klitschko goes back to the basics again this time snapping the jab with authority. Peter connects with a big left hook which starts a mini beating of Wlad, but Klitschko comes back with a hard left which knocks Peter off balance but not off his feet. The bell rings and the fight goes to the cards
All 3 judges scored the fight 114-110 unanimous decision for Wladimir Klitschko.
Say what you will about Wladimir Klitschko but tonight he showed heart & boxing ability. His chin is still suspect but did manage to pull himself off the mat 3 times. He proved his opponent to be one dimensional and should be able to beat Chris Byrd when they square off in the near future.
I still don’t think he has what it takes to beat a big puncher who can box a some too. Time will tell but for now, Wladimir Klitschko is once again a major player in the Heavyweight division.
Miguel Cotto vs Ricardo Torres
The opening round started off fast as Cotto came out looking for the home run though not connecting and Torres counters with quick body shots. The 2 engaged in more fast paced action on the ropes and Cotto scores a knockdown with a quick left hook. Torres rises to his feet weary of Cotto’s speed and avoids more action until the bell sounds.
Torres comes out blazing in round 2 as Cotto looks to finish him off but receives a vicious body shot by Torres which sets up 45 seconds of Torres beating Cotto from turnbuckle to turnbuckle and finally scoring a knockdown after the flurry of shots to the head and body. Cotto beats the count and connects with a big right hook witch sparks off another battle along all four corners of the ring. Torres gets the best of the exchange connecting with left hooks and overhand rights which wobble Cotto but are not enough to make him sniff the canvas again.
The beginning of Round 3 resembles something of a traditional boxing match. Cotto connects with a stiff right to the ear but Torres counters with a nice left. Before long both men take it to the middle of the ring where more battling ensues but Cotto slips one below the belt and is deducted a point. After the short break Cotto goes back to work bullying Torres into a corner and administers a hellacious beating consisting of mostly uppercuts which leave Torres on rubber legs as the bell sounds.
Torres comes out noticeably feeling the effects of the beat down he received in the 3rd and Cotto waists no time going on the attack. Torres counters by holding and avoiding most of the round but Cotto lands a big right hand and a vicious body shot which leaves Torres on the mat once again. He rises to his feet but knows he needs to avoid Cotto. It looked like Torres was ready to be sent home for the night but once again the bell saves him.
Round 5 Cotto comes out firing and landing. Torres is in survival mode trying to run away but Cotto catches him on the ropes and puts a beating on Torres ribs. Torres somehow manages to overcome this and out of nowhere fires off a string of combinations followed by a big uppercut and an overhand right. The crowd goes wild as Torres lands a stiff right to Cotto’s chin as the bell rings to end the round.
It is obvious both men as feeling it in the 6th as the action slows down. Cotto concentrates on the body as Torres tries to avoid action. Lots of holding and moving around until Cotto lands a big overhand right at the bell which sends Torres back to the canvas.
Round 7 starts out like a street fight both men going toe to toe slugging it out. Cotto gets the best of it and keeps connects with rights and lefts to the head and body. Cotto hits with a big right hand to the ear followed by a left hook to the sternum which leaves Torres on his back and unable to continue at 1:52.
Tonight, Miguel Cotto proved he is the real deal. He fought a very tough customer and showed his chin is made of stone. His ability to go inside and outside, can box and brawl.
Ricardo Torres came to the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City relatively unknown even though he was the WBO 140 lb title holder. He left with a busted eye and no goal but earned the respect of fans after this 7 round war. Hopefully he will get more fight in the USA after the showing he put on tonight.
Kendall Holt vs Vladimir Kodokovski
This light welterweight contest showcased hometown Jersey boy Kendall Holt and Ukrainian southpaw Vladimir Khodokovski which set the tone for an exciting night of boxing at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Holt was fighting in his home state but Khodokovski was backed by a large Ukraine contingent who were often seen waiving the flags and cheering whether the action warranted it or not.
In the beginning it looked like Holt would make quick work of Khodokovski as he danced circles around his opponent and threw jabs that consistently found the target. Holt began to showboat but paid the price as Vladimir bulled him into the corner and went on the attack. Holt stands strong and counters the assault with a plethora of rights and lefts.
In the second, Khodokovski goes back to the bull rush technique with success and lands crisp shots to the head and body. Holt fires back again but Vlad stays on him connecting with long overhand rights. Vlad goes to the well one too many times and Holt counters an attempted right with a sharp left hook followed by a clean right which rocks his opponent and riles up the crowd. Holt smells victory and taunts Vlad in the closing seconds of the round.
Round three- Holt shows his ring general qualities as he slows the paces and lets Khodokovski bring the fight to him. Using a variety of jabs and combinations, Holt seems to frustrate Vlad more and more as the round nears at the end. Khodokovski lands a big right but can not follow up due to Holt’s defense.
Round 4 starts off fast as Holt lands the first big blow but Vlad begins to work the right and left to the body. Not much action after this, both men throw punches that miss and Vlad is throwing wild bombs at this point. The crowd is bored and lets the fighters know.
Round 5- More booing, more dancing, missed punches. Holt steals the round with 1 good body shot near the end of the round.
Round 6 – Vlad comes out with a head of steams and once again bullies Holt into the corner and fires off body shots one after another. The Ukrainian contingent in the crowd goes wild. Holt throws back which sparks an all out war in the corner and the Jersey crowd gets fired up. The place is rocking now. This leads to a big exchange in the middle of the ring which Khodokovski gets the best of.
Round 7- Holt tries to use his strength to no avail, Vlad is just too strong. So Holt tries to use his quickness but Vlad is showing plenty of heart at this point and chasing down his opponent. Throwing big lefts he is connecting at a decent pace then pushes Holt into the corner where he goes on the assault. Holt finally escapes and brings the fight back to the middle of the ring. Holt lands a few quick rights but Vlad is countering each one with sharp lefts that are landing with more authority. Holt seems to be respecting the power at this point and reluctant to mix it up any more.
Round 8- Vlad starts off strong again and works the mid section, both fighters take it to the ropes where Vlad gets the best of this exchange as well. The Ukraine flags are flying all over the arena. The Americans are also expressing their surprise at the toughness of the unknown. Khodokovski then lands his biggest left of the night flush on the chin of Holt but Holt remains on his feet. It looks like the fight is nearing an end. Like a bulldog Vlad stays on the attack. Holt stands strong and throws back but is taking much more than he gives. The bell finally rings which saves Holt from a sure knockdown.
Round 9- more of a lumping handed out by Khodokovski. In the middle, against the ropes Vlad is swinging for the fences. Another big left sends Holt whipping off the ropes. Holt smartly starts to hold. The pace slows down and goes back the middle. Holt lands a right, then another, then wisely avoids the oncoming Khodokovski until the end of the round.
Round 10- The fight is close and both fighters come out looking for a big round. Khodokovski rushes but eats the gloves of Holt. Vlad hits with a right hook and follows with a left that would have knocked Holts head off but misses by an inch. Toe to toe in the middle of the ring, both fighters fire off a number of rights and lefts landing at a high percentage. Holt ends up on the ropes and takes more of a beating. In the final minute Holt tries to avoid action but Vlad in right on him connecting with more overhand lefts. Knowing the end is near; Holt holds his opponent until the bell sounds.
Kendall Holt wins by unanimous decision 98-92, 97-93, 99-92
I am not sure which fight the officials were watching but it was much closer than scored. In fact I will go on record to say Khodokovski was jobbed out of a win. Holt was in command early but the middle rounds could have went either way. After the 6th it was all Khodokovski, he was clearly the aggressor and showed the heart fight fans around the world admire.
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