Epilogue from the Ballhaus Forum on Germany's 70th anniversary of professional boxing
Saturday afternoon Jab Hook arrived at the Infinity Hotel as the BDB/'German Association of Professional Boxers' 70thconference had just finished, so the lobby was full.
It was a “who's who” of German boxing celebs. The non-boxer names would not ring a bell for the normal boxing enthusiast, but maybe you've heard of some of these former pugilists: Sven Ottke, Arthur Abraham, or Wladimir Klitschko?
The undercard was starting soon, but most of the big-wigs and boxing fans took their time getting to their seats in the hall. By 9:30pm the main card was commencing and the place was crawling with boxing insiders and outsiders. Lots of regular boxing fans and plenty of interesting characters mingled at the bars and on the ViP floor. Enough tattoos to cover the crew of a Naval ship, long legs and very short skirts, muscle cult and trophy girls mixing silicon and steroids, boxing wanna-bees and bad guys from the wrong circles brought a typical German boxing event to life.
Sitting ringside with colleagues from DAZN and local media, Jab was writing observations and notes. Greeting and talking to some of the familiar faces, Axel Shultz, Sebastian Zbik, Jürgen Brähmer, and Darius Michalczewski were sitting in the 1st row.
But other faces seen earlier were missing now, as a big football game kicking off at Munich Allianz area was deemed more important. (C'mon, it was FC Bayer München vs Borussia Dortmund.) A shame that the BDB could not attract many of Germany's famous boxing figures to support this public event for the German fans, another sad sign of times for German boxing.
Tina Rupprecht vs Maricela Quintero
When the bell sounded for the WBC World Female Minimum-weight Title bout all eyes were on the ring. There was no boxing past, no boxing future, just this 2nd defense of the belt.
Too bad, but Tina Rupprecht did not fight her fight. She fought Maricela Quintero like a mirror image trapped in a Mexican Matrix. Where was her boxing? What happened to Tina's technical skills? How about the in & out footwork? And if an inside strategy was the plan, what happened to the adjustments required when things are going wrong?
“La Baby” was smiling and punching, Quintero was comfortable with the choices the champion was making in front of her. Both boxers were in great condition, but Tina appeared to be working hard for a similar result as the fight progressed. Many blocked or poorly placed punches were thrown by both boxers, while the cleaner shots were not a problem for either fighter to take.
After 10 rounds of 2 minutes the judges had it 95:95, 98:92 for Rupprecht, and 94:97 for Quintero resulting in a ”Split Draw.”
Which translates into both boxers lose because neither boxer won. The belt-holder keeps her WBC strap and goes back to Augsburg to regroup and recoup. “La Baby” surprised quite a few with her level, maybe even her rival noticed her sense of purpose. ESO!
Jab Hook had assumed that “Tiny” Tina Rupprecht would stay closer to her roots and box Quintero, incorrectly picking her to win by unanimous decision in a tough bout against a game Mexican.
Serge Michel vs Ryan Ford
In recent weeks Serge Michel had been struggling with his weight and as the fight approached things did not get much better. Still way over as fight week began, he had serious trouble making weight the day before the bout. Two rounds of sauna and a workout were needed to shed the excess kilos. Whether this was the only factor, or some other distraction was on his mind, Serge looked tentative as he strained to get going against a seemingly focused and intent Canadian journeyman.
Ryan Ford came out at the 1st bell and took ring center quickly. He marched toward Michel, swinging meanly, dipping away from the “Sniper's” swiping shots and trapped him in the corner. Nothing big landed, but he had managed to backed Michel up and forced him to clinch within 20 seconds.
That was the 1st in a series of psychological and pugilistic advantages the Ryan Ford wove into a well-implemented plan as he kept Serge in reverse for the entire round. Ford landed inside with hooks and a outside with 3 hard, overhand rights and beat Michel up in the opening round. Ford took the round strongly and Michel proved he's got a chin. But how many shots would it take until Serge could not resurge?
In the 2nd round the “Bavarian Sniper” tried to rally, but could not back Ford up consistently. As the round progressed Ford came on and landed the bigger shots. Somehow Serge was still neglecting to keep his left glove glued to his chin.
The first sign of desperation is the taunting opponent that just got hit hard. Michel egged Ford on for no reason that Jab could understand after he ate another big right handed shot from Ford.
Better boxing and accuracy from the “Sniper” in the 3rd, but he ruined it as he let his feelings rule his decisions. With Ryan crowding him on the ropes he threw an uppercut combo below Ford's belt-line. He collapsed to the canvas 1 minute into the round. The ref took a point, which was fair and meant that Serge had failed again to take the round.
After the low-blow break Ford was intent on revenge, and Michel was following Ryan into the back alley where he had no business going. Blow for blow, big swings, loading up, Ryan's world and no place for a boxer. The harder Serge Michel tried to gain Ryan Ford's respect, the more it encouraged the “Real ‘Mealticket' Deal” to simply walk him down and pound on him.
The “Sniper” was running out of ideas and slowing down. The rounds limped on and on, the hunter and the hunted. Ford would not be denied and Michel was fading. Then it happened, early in the 8th round Serge was throwing but not effectively. Ford tried a right over the top, dipped down and came up with a left hook that snapped Michel's chin into an orbit. Down like a tall tree with a branch hanging, and Serge was out cold. He stayed there too long for Jab's comfort and things went quiet inside.
After a few minutes Serge was sitting on a stool with the ring doctor attending. He seemed to be back to his senses, while Ryan Ford was ecstatic and out of his mind with joy. The end of a prospect, the beginning of an unlikely contender, is that what just happened?
Jab picked Serge to win and that turned out to be a mistake. The second wrong prediction for the night.
Petar Milas vs Denis Bakhtov
Petar Milas does not seem to be progressing or developing as a heavyweight boxer. He stands too tall, his jab is neglected, he loads up on his punches, his chin is too high, and he drops his hands. His opponent Denis Bakhtov was a sitting duck offering only limited risk to creative combinations. Despite that, round after round Milas failed to build momentum or impress his rival, or Jab, or the crowd. In the last five and a half years Bakhtov has been stopped 4 times, all of them faster than Milas' 6 round TKO. Jab is convinced that Ryan Ford would have done it faster, too.
Jab picked only this outcome correctly. 1 of 3 for this so sad weekend.
Jab Hook's 2019 predictions: 46 of 57 correct on April 8th = 80.7%
(2018: 92 of 112 correct = 82.1%, to date 138 of 169 correct = 81.7%)
“Jab Hook”, aka “Brooklyn” Joe Healy is a boxing writer, an expert commentator for DAZN.de, a professional cutman from the BOXWERK gym, and a licensed referee/judge in amateur boxing. A lifelong aficionado born in Brooklyn and living in Munich, “The Sweet Science” is his passion. Please feel free to contact him as Jab Hook on, FaceBook or https://www.linkedin.com/in/