The British junior middleweight championship fight between Sam Webb of Chislehurst and Prince Arron of Droylsden on Friday restated the duplicitous nature of the boxer. While these men claim logical ambitions about remaining unbeaten, of making their fortunes and then retiring in good health, there is an irrational streak inherent in all of them — a longing for war and for pandemonium, crisis to satisfy urges and reveal their true worth.
As the bell for round 5 rang out in Gillingham, Webb held the lead. The champion had been forced to work extremely hard for it, though, leaving him hot and bothered and complaining between rounds about the rising temperature inside the arena. Arron had dominated the centre of the ring throughout the bout’s opening third, which necessitated that Webb orbit him, moving constantly to avoid the challenger’s telescopic punches. A jittering ball of kinetic energy, his greater urgency and skilful harrying had waylaid young Arron who, nevertheless, remained poised — despite the fact he was hemorrhaging rounds.
Suddenly, Arron launched a screaming right hand which absolutely clattered the champion, a fight ending shot if ever there was one — only it wasn’t. Somehow, Webb managed to stagger his way upright and after a lingering examination referee Victor Loughlin beckoned the challenger forward to finish him off. An extended retelling of a key scene from the 1999 summit meeting between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield followed. Arron hemmed his helpless foe in against the ropes where he crashed long and measured right hands against his half-conscious skull, perhaps too green to empty his reserves and accelerate to the finishing line. Webb hung on grimly. He didn’t so much walk along the poeticised “street of dreams” of Archie Moore’s imagination, a phrase coined in the aftermath of his own death struggle against Canadian roughneck; Yvon Durelle, Webb unicycled across it on a tightrope while holding a box of eggs.
That he managed to stumble his way to the end of the session was nothing short of madness, but for him to fight back sufficiently to edge the following two rounds made a mockery of logical ambition. Arron refused to concede to desperation, however, and he showed commendable patience in biding his time, as though Webb were made of string and the challenger had positioned his boot over an unravelling trailing end.
Arron took control of proceedings, suddenly a master of distance. Occasionally, he would dip the champion in and out of the fog which threatened to engulf him with straight rights and uppercuts, and in round 9 he teleported Webb from one corner of the ring to the other with a flashing right which flung him over and onto his backside. Loughlin, perhaps still pondering whether his shift should have ended a few rounds back, fluffed the call. It would hardly matter, though.
Webb took a frightful hiding in rounds 10 and 11 — an uncomfortable passage for those well-versed in the tragedies which have befallen the pathologically determined, who push themselves onward even after their bodies have commanded they stop. Such men deserve an empathic corner team, or a referee whose concern for their health overrides any fear of castigation should they be deemed to have halted an argument too quickly. To make matters worse, the defiant Webb busted Arron’s nose right before the bell, a rally which may have cajoled trainer Alan Smith into allowing him out for the final round.
Arron, though, sought an exclamation point. He dropped Webb hard with a left uppercut before issuing a prolonged battering in a neutral corner with both the referee and the white towel arriving on the scene depressingly late, like a fire truck descending upon a pile of ash.
Webb wound up with an oxygen mask strapped to his face, and left the venue in the back of an ambulance. Arron was hoisted aloft by an overeager second and unceremoniously dropped onto his neck – a video viral coming to an inbox near you soon, no doubt. As victory celebrations go he deserved better, after treading the hardest of roads to this, the British championship.
Sam Webb — he deserved better, too. Men with his astonishing resolve are unlikely to submit in a fight. It is surely better for them to be left bemoaning prudence and conservatism than to receive a round of hardy slaps on the back prior to being carted off to the nearest emergency ward.
Heavyweight hopeful Tom Dallas accepted a ridiculous hometown decision on this Maloney Promotions undercard after having his lugs boxed off over eight rounds by Ohio journeyman Zack Page. Dallas looked slow, static and utterly clueless throughout and, although his right hand would no doubt make him king of the punching machine at a nearby funfair, he has very little else going for him besides. The referee in charge, Ian John-Lewis, would be advised to check in with an optician prior to his next assignment after scoring 78-76 for Dallas. The position of third man for the upcoming light heavyweight world championship feud in Montreal is not one for the hapless.