By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
A HBO doubleheader began with Thomas Dulorme, coming down from welterweight to junior welterweight, facing one of the best pound for pound fighters, Terence Crawford who was moving up from the lightweight division. Over the first six minutes, Dulorme threw the majority of punches and tried to push the action and Crawford worked at a relaxed pace while countering. Dulorme punches rarely got through the Crawford defenses and looked more like flash than really be effective.
Crawford relax style allowed Dulorme to press the action and Dulorme had a reputation of fading in the second half of fights; explaining Crawford’s strategy of allowing Dulorme to press the action and play defense. Harold Lederman had Dulorme in the lead three rounds to two but Dulorme’s activity could easily have influenced the judges to give all five rounds to the Puerto Rican fighter.
In round six, Crawford nailed Dulorme with big right followed by a left jab that sent Dulorme down for an eight count. Dulorme got up on shaky legs and Crawford went back to work as he forced Dulorme to the corner and landed three big rights that sent Dulorme down for a second time. Dulorme legs were gone and Crawford forced Dulorme to the ropes for a final time. Crawford landed two big body shots and landed some blows to Dulorme’s head who simply dropped to his knee and the referee stopped the fight.
Crawford won the WBO version of the junior welterweight and he showed that he is ready to take on the best in the division as he defeated a naturally big fighter, Dulorme, and showed that his power followed.
Lucas Matthysse faced Ruslan Provodnikov in a battle of knock out specialists. Provodnikov last bout was a close controversial loss to Chris Algieri and Matthysse had the fight of year with his victory over John Molina last year.
The opening round saw Matthysse moving and using the jab to set up combinations whereas Provodnikov came forward while taking many of Matthysse’s punches. Over the opening thirty seconds of the second round, a Matthysse right hand appeared to open up a cut over Provodnikov but it was ruled the cut was caused by accidental headbutt. Matthysse landed variety of punches including hooks to the body and right uppercuts along with straight rights as Provodnikov couldn’t seem to reach his Argentinian opponent until the end of the second round when he landed his first big punch of the fight; a left hook.
Matthysse punches landed effectively throughout the third round but Provodnikov landed some big body shots and managed to slow down Matthysse over the second half of the third round. The fourth round saw Provodnikov take control as his body shots appeared to wear Matthysee down even further than the third round. Provodnikov landed body shots which set up head shots that appeared to shake Matthysee’s up. Matthysee managed to land a big upper cut but this was countered by a Provodnikov’s right.
The fifth round proved to be a close round as Matthysee went back to jabbing and accurate punches while Provodnikov pounded the body and landing with his overhand right. Matthysse punches started to lose steam midway through the round but it was still a close round to score.
Matthysse return to the form in the sixth round he had in the first two rounds as he landed combinations at will while moving side to side. Provodnikov did not connect on many solid punches as Matthysse landed over four times as many punches. Harold Lederman had Matthysse up 58 to 56 but the fifth round was close and could have been scored either way.
Matthysse continued his mastery throughout the seventh round and most of the eighth round but near the end of the eighth round, Provodnikov landed some big shots that forced Matthysse to the rope. After eight rounds, Harold Lederman had it 5 rounds to 3 for Matthysse but the eighth round could easily been scored for Matthysse who landed solid combinations over the first two minutes while Provodnikov won the last minute
The ninth round saw Mattysse with solid combinations and maneuvered for the first two minutes and thirty seconds before Provodnikov landed big shots as the round ended. During the tenth round, Provodnikov landed the biggest punch of the round, a left hook with thirty second left in the round and punctuated the round with a big right. Halfway through the eleventh round Provodnikov nailed Matthysse with a massive left hook and this was followed by more big shots with two more big left hooks and two nasty rights.
Depending upon how some earlier rounds were scored, the twelfth round could be decisive as Provodnikov looked like the fresher fighter despite a bloody swollen face. Matthysse jabbed and moving to avoid a knock out as Matthysse’s corner assured him that he was ahead in the bout. Over last half of the round. Provodnikov landed some big punches while Matthysse did little. Harold Lederman had the fight a draw and I had the fight a close victory for Matthysse 115-113, but I had no problem with Lederman scorecard. The judges had it 114-114, 115-113, 115-113, a majority decision for Matthysse.
Matthysse landed more than 120 more punches and threw more 300 punches with a slightly higher accuracy. It is important to note that boxing is scored round by round and there were rounds that Matthysse won by big margins whereas there were rounds that Provodnikov won by landing the bigger shots even in rounds where Matthysse landed more punches. In the sixth round, the sixth, Matthysse landed over 30 more punches as one example of the disparity that Matthysse won some of his rounds.
In Southern California, Andrzej Fonfara stopped Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr in a surprise victory as he outbox Chavez with solid combinations in front of many rabid Chavez’s fans. The fight ended when Fonfara sent Chavez down with a left hook near the end of the ninth round. While Chavez got back up, there was no doubt that the end was near and Chavez’s corner wave the fight off after the ninth round.
Chavez was fighting in the light heavyweight division for the first time against a good light heavyweight and Chavez team will have to decide where the place their fighters since it is obvious that he is not a light heavyweight but should he go all the way back to Middleweight or become a Super Middleweight?