By Paul Upham: It wasn’t the return to knockout form that Kermit Cintron would have been hoping for, but it was an important twelve round points win over fellow former world champion Lovemore Ndou on Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee, USA in the main support to Jermain Taylor-Jeff Lacy.
29 year-old Cintron 30-2 (27) from Puerto Rico, was returning to the ring for the first time since his knockout loss to Antonio Margarito on April 12. The former world champion earned himself another shot at the IBF world title in an arm wrestle of a fight that was fought mainly on the inside.
37 year-old Ndou 46-11-1 (31) used his fast hands and footwork in round 1 to surprise Cintron. The “Black Panther”, originally from South Africa and now a citizen of Australia, took every opportunity to close the distance and make the fight inside.
Former IBF junior welterweight champion Ndou, 145lbs was hurt early in round 2 by a Cintron, 146lbs right hand and learnt his lesson, ensuring that he did not give the Puerto Rican punching room in future rounds. In round 3, Cintron’s right eye began to swell from a mixture of left hooks and head clashes, which referee Bill Clancy warned Ndou about.
In round 4, Ndou was letting his hands go and throwing fluent combinations that were his best in recent years. Cintron recognised he was in a tough battle and flurried hard in round 5. His eye pleasing combinations from the outside were easy to see.
Ndou’s best work was on the inside when he could turn it into a wrestling match. His left hook was especially damaging, but it was work that only a keen boxing eye would score. Cintron found some space in round 7 and landed well, Ndou not exactly hurt, but slipping to the canvas at one stage when he threw himself off his feet attempting a left hook.
In round 8, referee Clancy had seen enough of Ndou’s head clashing with Cintron’s head and ruled it was not accidental but intentional and deducted one point for the infraction. It was never a case of obvious head butt’s, but Clancy made his ruling firm.
Ndou seemed to tire slightly in round 9, fighting with his back on the ropes, but still Cintron was not able to land cleanly. The South African was actually able to win the majority of exchanges by tying up Cintron and working the body.
Starting fast in round 10, Cintron attempted to punctuate the infighting with some long range right hands. Cintron looked tired at the beginning of round 11, but Ndou was unable to impress any advantage with a better workrate. The final round saw little inside fighting. Cintron used his legs to keep Ndou at bay and boxed well until the final bell.