Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK, (DAZN):
Liam Smith had fun handling his former sparring partner Sam Eggington. Things played out as expected with the class and skill of “Beefy” Smith taming “The Savage”.
Round 1 was a chess match with cute inside work, bumps and hooks, body and head, turning and shooting. Smith got the best of it from the start and landed his left repeatedly, jab and hook. A cut in the scalp over Liam's left ear was likely from an accidental head butt.
The 2nd round followed the set pattern, with Eggington getting the worst of it. His right eye already damaged and swelling up fast, Smith went to work on him mixing in mid-range double-jabs and more hooks inside. It was too clear who was in charge and the referee Robert Williams was doing a great job of watching “Savage” Sam, whose chin and durability are his main strengths in the ring.
Round 3 saw Smith blocking most of Eggington's shots, while landing the bulk of his attacks and counter-punches. “Beefy” was breaking Sam down and backing him up the whole bout, and the accuracy and volume of the punches was far in favor of Liam Smith through the 4th round.
The end was near.
The final round was the 5th and as it commenced we all could see that “Beefy” was ready to conclude this affair. But Eggington was struggling to see anything, because his right eye was swollen nearly shut. More pressure, more punches, less resistance, as the round wore on and Sam wore down.
Past the mid-point of the 5th, while pushing his prey toward the ropes Liam Smith land a snapping left hook directly on right cheek bone, also impacting Eggington's grotesquely swollen eye. He stumbled and backed into the corner under the barrage from Liam, who kept it up until referee Robert Williams stepped in to hold Sam and wave it off. Ref Williams did a great job the entire bout and gave Eggington every possible chance to find his way into the fight. Alas, to no avail!
Jab picked “Beefy“ Smith to stop “Savage“ Sam Eggington, but not that soon.
Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK (DAZN): Kash Ali has no business in the ring if he thinks it's acceptable to bite an opponent, or tackle him like an NFL linebacker. Suspend his boxing liscense for a year, fine him! At least he lost by disqualification and made a fool of himself in the most important bout of his career in front of millions.
David Price acquitted himself admirably, winning all four rounds as he ignored Ali's shenanigans. He boxed long and he used head movement and distance to avoid the swinging shots from Kashuf. But a poor man's Tyson needs more than a couple of dental impressions on his rivals chest to be a real danger.
Though Kash Ali started alright with jabs to the body and some movement, he hardly troubled Price. David was defending well and even took a shot or two that had Jab Hook holding his breath. Would a lucky punch ruin Price's reappearance in the city on the shores of the Mersey, where his streets and his shops and his people and his home invite him to be a hero again? It was a bit nerve-racking for anyone afraid for David's health.
Kashuf was penalized a point for repeatedly pushing down David's head in the 3rd round. Soon after “Pricey” mentioned to his corner that he'd been bitten by Ali in the clinch on the ropes. By the 5th Ali was exhausted and desperate. Right as Price landed a shot or two, Kash suddenly pulled a double-leg takedown falling full weight onto David's chest. For good measure Kash Ali then bit David again below his left pectoral muscle, and refused to lay off him as the ref tried to intervene.
Disqualifications are intended for exactly such scenarios. Referee Mark Lyson did a lovely job censuring Mr Ali and stopping a boxing match that was devolving into a backstreet brawl. Speaking of which, the “scousers” in the audience were less gentlemanly than Mr Price. They showered Ali and his security team with debris and beer. It could have gotten even more ugly, but they managed to exit the Arena room safely. As for David Price, Jab wishes him good health and thanks him for all the entertaining bouts. Price got out of this one with only a bite, tetanus shot anyone?
Jab picked Price to win, but had assumed it would be a KO in the 4th round.
2300 Arena, Philadelphia, USA (ESPN): Oleksandr Gvozdyk opened the bout by taking ring center and working a reliable jab, answering Ngumbu's attempts at offense with quick right-handed counter-punches, he looked good. But he did eat one right from the Frenchman as the round ended, which he took well.
Oleksandr was patient and did not get frustrated with the awkward and slick Doudou Ngumbu. “The Nail” listened intently to Teddy Atlas as he cautioned his ward about the game French boxer. In the 2nd to 3rd rounds Doudou Ngumbu showed very good movement and an awkward, hard-to-hit style. He displayed the veteran moves that Jab had hoped for, like fast clinching every time Gvozdyk closed the gap, and wild, impulsive combinations.
With the 4th following along, Doudou used jumping in to disrupt the distance game of Gvozdyk. But “The Nail” was landing, and bit by bit, he upped the pressure like a general in the jungle chasing the guerrillas. As the break was ending before the 5th round, Teddy Atlas growled at Oleksandr, “Time him! You're giving him a free ride!” Intent upon following instructions, third gear powering up, he stalked a courageous Ngumbu.
Suddenly a weird step as the French boxer was retreating, he grabs his right calf and limps to the corner. After this and that, it was finally accepted that Ngumbu had kicked a goal for the opposition. TKOing himself saved him a few brain cells and an emergency room visit.
Jab picked the TKO win for Oleksandr Gvozdyk, albeit somewhat later in the game.
2300 Arena, Philadelphia, USA (ESPN): Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. Ray Robinson was not what Jab had predicted. In fact Jab was way off with his over-estimation of “The Mean Machine” and under-estimation of “The New” Ray. Slick as ever, Robinson played the spoiler to a “T”. Kavaliauskas has had a previous draw and certainly had an off night, something that contenders cannot afford to do.
“The … Machine” took it's time warming up, but the “Mean” function was missing from the program. The stick and move, slick and slip of Robinson made the Lithuanian look tentative. Which is what his performance turned into. Where was the hunger and focus? Why did Kavaliauskas fail to close the distance and do damage?
Yes, it got better over the rounds and this or that punch by Kavaliauskas landed nicely. But where were the crushing combinations to the body and head? He failed to mount any strategic offense, the plan seemed to be, wait and see. Ray Robinson almost took his “0”, so Egidijus Kavaliauskas should be happy with a draw. But Jab was not happy, and neither were the fans as they witnessed a faltering contender. Time for some regrouping in the Lithuanian camp.
Jab Hook made a foolish pick thinking a stoppage by the “Machine” would derail Robinson. A majority draw has never been on Jab's prediction page. He is certainly not clever enough to pick such an outcome…yet.
2300 Arena, Philadelphia, USA (ESPN): In another dud of a fight, Kudratillo Abdukakhorov was not able to dominate Keita Obara and live up to his reputation. The Uzbek was better, but sometimes better is worse, especially when your comparator is any of those high-flying welterweight gods of Spence et al.
The fight had its moments and with time Abdukakhorov might develop and improve, but nobody can call his US debut a big splash. Unanimous decisions are nice, but “Punishers” don't decide, they punish. OK, we could call him Kudratillo “THE Decisioner!”…how ominous!
Jab Picked the winner correctly, but thought he'd live up to his handle.
Hook picked 4 of 5 this weekend.
Jab Hook's 2019 predictions: 45 of 54 correct on March 31st = 83.3%
(2018: 92 of 112 correct = 82.1%, to date 137 of 166 correct = 82.5%)
Check back on NY Fights.com this week for more from Jab Hook.
“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/