ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — We’ve settled in after dinner at the Boarwalk Hall ballroom, me and friends of the site like Andrew Fruman, Lee Payton and David P. Greisman. Great memories of this here spot; I saw Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez I in the ballroom.
Anyway, I won’t be giving you updates on the tape-delayed Mikkel Kessler bout from Denmark, but you can read the results here, or just wait for Showtime to broadcast it. What I’ll be doing is filling you in on the rest of the undercard from Atlantic City, which, while lackluster does feature a couple notable fighters and prospects. Keep checking back for running updates, which will be in chronological order. (Technical difficulties are, as usual, a risk.)
Light heavyweight prospect Badou Jack scored a 5th round stoppage over Hajro Sujak, whose corner tried to stop it before the refereee finally did. Sujak was competitive for a couple rounds, landing on Jack plenty, which isn’t maybe what you usually want to see out of a prospect but it was clear Jack didn’t have much regard for Sujak’s power. In the meantime, Jack was going to town, especially on the inside. He’s modestly fast and puts his punches together well, and he is very, very busy. By the 4th round, Sujak was blowing blood out of his nose and clearly not enjoying things, but he hung in there. Jack will want to work on his defense, which trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad can help him with, but he’s going to be a crowd-pleasing fighter either way. Plus he’s got a coook nickname: Badou Jack “The Ripper.”
Ivan Redkach, a wild junior welterweight prospect with a 1990s rap style haircut with selective portions shaved in lines, got a 6th round stoppage over Ablerto Amaro. He was ultra-aggressive and crazy swinging, Redkach, and it was working for him until the 3rd round, when Amaro started connecting at a high rate and bacing Redkach up. But Redkach re-took control in the 4th and dropped Amaro in the 5th, then a weirdly indecisive Steve Smoger did the right thing as a referee and halted the contest to save a wobbly Amaro. I’m not seeng Redkach as much of a prospect; Lou DiBella had said Friday that he hadn’t even seen Redkach prior to signing him, and that he “took a flyer” on the Ukrainian.
J’Leon Love, another prospect DiBella recently signed, got a more competitive fight from Lamar Harris than the 40-35 cards would suggest. The fight was a left hook fest between the two muscular middleweights, and I would’ve given Harris the 2nd round on the virtues of one big left hook he landed. But Love avenged the left hook shot with a left hook knockdown of his own in the 3rd. Love fights moving backward but commits to his shots, so he punches with some power. But like so many fighters, he punches pretty wide most of the time. Increasingly I notice that, with the exception of big power punchers who can get away with wide punches, the thing that separates the top notch guys from virtually everyone else is that their punches are short and crisp.
Zsolt Erdei is such a skilled fighter. For five rounds, every round looked the same as every other Erdei round ever — he was busier, faster, and better on defense than a shopworn Byron Mitchell. The light heavyweight is exactly the kind of crisp I was just talking about in the above paragraph. But then hey, look there: In the 6th, Erdei dropped Mitchell twice with combinations where the right hand did the most damage, then the referee waived it off after Mitchell had trouble walking forward following the second knockdown. Erdei hadn’t scored a KO since 2007. He’s always going to be popular with Hungarian fans, whom far and away make up the largest segment of the audience tonight. But a KO won’t hurt his chances of becoming an appealing opponent for one of the other top names in the 175-pound division, where Erdei could make some noise if he can finally get the fights he never took or never could take when he stuck to fighting out of Hungary.
Edison Miranda failed to impress at 182.5 pounds. Sure, his body was terrific — you’d think someone who was a middleweight not that long ago wouldn’t be so rock-solid in the physique department at such a weight. And granted, his opponent, Rayco Saunders, alternated between “tricky” and “kind of good” and “reluctant,” the last of those adjectives after Miranda rocked him all 3rd round long. But this box-y viersion of Miranda isn’t all that interesting, and if he isn’t knocking anyone out or getting knocked out, I’m not sure what the point of him is, because I don’t think he’s going to outbox anyone. Anyway, he landed more clean shots than Saunders, who won as many as three rounds en route to an 80-73, 79-74, 79-74 decision.
(tunefully) And that concludes your uuuuuuuuundercard repooooooooooort!