Trevor Bryan & Ilunga Makabu Both Retain Their Titles On The Don King PPV Card
Don King held a fight card in 2022 in Warren, Ohio, at the W.D. Packard Music Hall, and after a long night of whatever this was, I'm still not sure if I watched a fight card on Fite. Tv PPV or a strange funeral procession of the 90-year-old promoter.
Seriously, after watching over 5 hours of whatever the hell this was, I don't know. This fight card had 3 ten bell salutes, an award given to King from the Mayor of Maple Heights, a fight replay from 2000 involving Felix Trinidad (spoiler, he still won against Mamadou Trimm), and five fights with straps on the line of varying quality and relevance.
The opening bout kicked off with a ring malfunction and a NABA bout that was one-way traffic between Tre'Shon Wiggins and Cody Wilson.
After a nothing burger first round between the two, Wiggins caught Wilson late in the second round with a straight that sent him down as the ropes held him up. He survived the second round, but Wiggins kept the onslaught in the third with punches to the body.
Halfway thru the third round, Wilson was sent down with another shot, and it was a matter of time this one would be over. After Wilson beat the referee's Wally Scott ten count, he was pounced on again, and this one was finally over.
1:33 of the third round is the stoppage time, and Tre'Seanon Wiggins is the proud owner of a NABA regional welterweight title. This fight was all Wiggins from the opening bell to close.
After a ten-bell salute to former congressmen Bob Dole and a half-hour intermission, the second fight for the NABA Heavyweight title (Pretty sure this is the 1st one of those) between Ahmed Hefny took on the visibly 276 pounded Dacarree Scott. Hefmy was giving up 60 pounds at the weigh-in and looked more when the opening bell sounded.
Little action two rounds in, but Scott tried to use his size to cut the ring off. The left eye of Hefmy was busted open by a head clash, which forced the ringside doc to check on it. Scott looked to pounce when the fight was allowed to continue, but Hefmy eluded it, and this fight continued.
Before the start of the fifth round, Referee Harvey Dock had the doc check on the eye of Hefmy, which was fine, and another round of boxing sort of happened. The highlighted replay package to wrap up the round had shown Hefney moving away in the distance.
There was a whole lot of nothing going on here in this fight. Both guys weren't doing much in the ring outside of Scott following Hefmy at all 276 plus of him around the ring.
Some action did happen in the seventh round as Scott caught Hefny in the seventh with a shot that stunned him, and his body language wasn't great halfway through the match. After ten sluggish rounds, Scott wins by split decision with scorecards of 96-94 for Hefny and 96-94 and 97-93 in favor of Scott.
The third bout in the marathon of “title fights” involves the NABA cruiserweight strap and impressive showing for southpaw fighter Johnnie Langston.
Johnnie Langston landed a body shot in the 4th round, and Nick Kisner fell to a knee. Kisner got up, only to be sent back down two more times to end this one-sided affair.
1:40 of the fourth round was the time of the stoppage.
This co-main involved Trevor Bryan was defending his WBA “Regular” title, taking on little-known Jonathan Guidry. Guidry came in as a huge underdog and looked even smaller in the ring as Bryan did not look substantial standing toe to toe with Guidry.
Guidry started to succeed in the second round, but Bryan could land a counter left hook, which backed Guidry off. They both continued to stand, and fight face up, which woke up the faithful in attendance, who at this point was quiet due to the lack of anything to watch or the inclement weather freezing them to silence.
This fight warmed up, and so did the crowd as both men were willing to trade. Guidry could land such good shots in spurts on Bryan, but as the night grew on, Bryan slowly walked Guidry down and tired him out. Another issue for Guidry was that while he landed a few shots early, he didn't have the power to keep Bryan at bay; Instead, he had to resort to throwing jabs early and exclusively. Halfway through the fight, Bryan slowed down and looked for an opening.
That opening seemed to have come in the contest's ninth round. Guidry was rocked early in the round, but Bryan couldn't capitalize. That seemed to be the story of the fight in the second half as Bryan couldn't close the show. With a knockdown, Bryan did close the last 10 seconds of the contest, but Guidry could beat the refs ten count, and the battle was over.
The final scorecards were all over as 118-109, Bryan, 115-112 Guidry, 116-111 Bryan gets Bryan the split decision win. With the win for Bryan, he's more than likely set up for a fight against Daniel Dubois whenever the WBA does what the WBA does.
The main event was a grudge match for the WBC cruiserweight title between Ilunga Makabu and Thabiso Mchunu. The scuttle and conversation were the winners of this fight, landing the all-boxer request against Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez didn't make the trip to Warren, Ohio, much to the shock of no one.
This fight started slow, but Mchunu was boxing and moving a lot better in this contest in the early going. Makabu got caught with a left from Mchunu that froze him, but both recovered. This fight played out exactly like their first encounter for the first half of the title fight.
Makabu was taking some big-time power shots in the seventh as Mchunu was able early in the round to keep Makabu from pressuring. A very high-level tactical contest, albeit not much crowd noise throughout the fight. I joked online all night is this a fight card or a funeral, and based on the main event crowd, I send thoughts and prayers.
As the fight got into the championship rounds, the body language and footwork of Makabu were sluggish and couldn't do much outside of pressure Mchunu and land sporadically. Mchunu landed early in the fight an overhand right that caught Makabu's attention and tried to set that up again to end the show. Defensively, this was the best performance all night by anyone who stepped in the ring at the WD Packard Hall. That and superior conditioning seemed to have Mchunu well ahead in this tactical match.
Then they read the scorecards.
Mchunu won 115-113 but was overruled by 115-113 and 116-112 in favor of Makabu. Not a fan of the scorecards, but Carlos Toro, who was ringside for the event, hinted at the pressure that Makabu was winning him rounds, which was the case here and wasn't visible at all from the broadcast. After the fight, Makabu called out “Saul Alvarez,” as expected. We'll see if he responds following this very shake-close decision win for Makabu.