My two penny’s worth
By: Johnston Brown – March 3, 2017
I have been a boxing fan since the early nineties and was lucky enough to have witnessed some epic battles. Most notably the two Chris Eubank vs Neil Benn fights. In fact it was the first encounter between these two on November 18, 1990 that sticks in the memory the most. My late brother was so excited about the fight and the possibility of Eubank losing his ‘O’ that he filled me in with all the details beforehand. It was a week before my eighth Birthday so I remember trying to retain as much info as I possibly could. As I watched the fight, I remember going through all the emotions that you can only get when watching boxing while my brother and I cheered on Benn to beat the cocky but classy Eubank. When Benn was stopped in the ninth round I remember having that awful gut wrenching feeling of disappointment. Like the one I had, when I saw England lose their World Cup Semi-Final to Germany on penalties in the summer of that year. It didn’t matter that Benn lost because the fight was great entertainment and the public demanded a rematch albeit three years later. I learned as an eight year old that you can lose in sport and still come away a hero, like Benn and England in 1990.
Somewhere along the line boxing has lost the losing hero. A guy that loses today loses more than just a fight; he loses his creditability and is deemed a failure. He can no longer be considered better than the other guy who is undefeated. Therefore the modern fighter does not want to put their undefeated records on the line so they fight weaker opposition.
The trouble is a lot of the younger generation are buying into it which causes confusion. I feel sorry for the young fan that is watching boxing, as I did all those years ago and never experiencing or understanding defeat. If you think of all the Mayweather fans that grew up watching him through their childhood and into adulthood, they will think he is the best fighter that ever lived because he remained undefeated. Irrespective of whom he fought towards the back end of his career and how carefully he cherry picked his opponents. He is the sweet science in their eyes and nothing will change that.
But there is hope in 2017! We have already been treated to two cracking unification fights this year with another one this Saturday night between Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Then we have Golovkin vs Jacobs at the end of the month and Joshua vs Klitchsko in April. Plus, Brook vs Spence and Khan vs Pacquiao coming up before the summer. That would be six super fights within only five months which is completely unheard of in modern day boxing.
Maybe the retirement of Mayweather has improved the sport and opened a new chapter in boxing. I hope that in 8 years’ time from now I can get my son as excited about a big fight as I my brother did in 1990.
In memory of my late brother Jason Brown: 08/10/1974 – 25/11/2015 RIP
Results From England
By: Johnston Brown – February 25, 2017
Gavin McDonnell vs Rey Vargas
On Saturday night at the Ice Arena in Hull, Gavin McDonnell who was trying to make British Boxing history when he challenged Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC Super-Bantamweight title. Gavin in his first World title fight was hoping to join twin brother and WBA Bantamweight champion Jamie as a World champion, which would make them the first British twins to achieve such a remarkable feat.
In his way was a young Mexican fighter that had only ever fought away from home twice, on both occasions in California. So on a cold and dreary night in the Ice Arena in Hull, England maybe Gavin McDonnell could upset the odds by taking Vargas out of his comfort zone.
Gavin is a pressure fighter that shows pure grit in every fight and has an incredible gas tank but it was the classy Vargas that started the better. As expected Gavin tried to take the fight to the 26 year old Mexican but his clever movement and slick combinations made it difficult for the Yorkshireman to get in close and upset the Vargas rhythm.
The first half of the fight was dominated by Vargas who slipped out of trouble with his quick footwork and landed heavy blows continuously to the head and body using his hand speed. Although McDonnell stood his ground better in rounds two and three with some good punches he could not stop Vargas from taking a substantial lead in the opening rounds.
In the fifth round of the fight McDonnell upped the pressure and tried to get inside and ruff up Vargas. But frustration and over eagerness started to creep in, as he grabbed Vargas by the back of the head and pushed him down to the canvas. Fortunately for McDonnell the referee was in a lenient mood and instead gave Vargas a warning for a low blow.
Vargas threw a terrific uppercut in the seventh which bloodied McDonnell’s nose and was probably the most one sided round by the Mexican. McDonnell struck back in the eighth but by this point he needed a small miracle.
McDonnell’s seconds called for one last push when they told him he needed the knock out if he was to win the title. It definitely made a difference as he fought the closing stages of the fight like his life depended on it. The looping right hand connected a few times on Vargas’s chin to the delight of the home fans but none of them put Vargas in any significant danger.
So it went to the judges scorecards which read 114-114, 117-111, 116-112 in favour of the excellent Vargas. I think the crowd must have effected Ian John-Lewis decision to score the fight a draw, as Vargas was the deserved victor.
I also scored the fight 116-112 and was very impressed with Rey Vargas. To travel overseas and take on an undefeated fighter on his home turf and perform the way he did shows real character. I’m disappointed for Gavin McDonnell who is a great guy that wears his heart on his sleeve but just came up short against a better fighter.
Also on the card was Luke Campbell who looked in good shape and produced wonderful knockout with a left hand uppercut. Campbell now goes 16-1 and is now eyeing a rematch with Yvan Mendy in an attempt to avenge the only defeat on his record. Tommy Coyle who is always great to watch won by a third round knockout against Rakeem Noble in an eventful fight from start to finish and goes 23-4
Jay Harris vs Thomas Essomba – York Hall
On Friday night, Jay Harris made it a perfect 10 as he won the Commonwealth flyweight title by beating Thomas Essomba at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
The Swansea campaigner took a unanimous points decision to end the reign of the former African Games gold medallist. It took Harris’s unbeaten record as a professional into double figures, but it was the manner of his victory that was most impressive against Essomba.
The Cameroonian who now lives in Sunderland had world-title aspirations last year and was seen as a dangerous customer who could trouble the best.
But Harris boxed superbly throughout, showing durability and enough class to impress the judges. It was never easy and Essomba did unleash a number of stinging punches, but Harris replied with every shot and there was no doubt about the winner of a fight of serious quality. The scores were 117-112, 116-113, 115-114 in the Welsh fighter’s favour.