By Derek Bonnett: How much punishment is too much? Like so many other aspects of the sport of boxing, there is no accurate way to truly answer this question because, in this regard, factors like genetics, durability, and recuperative powers just can’t be measured. Some fighters we like to give the benefit of the doubt because they have proven their durability while others get pulled by their corners willingly or against their wills. Sometimes we complain about an abrupt intervention and sometimes we recognize that retiring a fighter in his corner or throwing in the towel mid-round was the smart choice. This weekend we witnessed two very different bouts between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev and Devon Alexander and Lee Purdy. The first, a Fight of the Year frontrunner, saw torrid back and forth action between Jones and Lebedev. Throughout the contest Lebedev’s right eye began to swell into a horrific mass reminiscent of Hasim Rahman’s forehead injury against Evander Holyfield many years ago. However, Lebedev’s corner showed little interest in keeping their fighter on his stool as he continued to fight well enough to be leading on the scorecards at the time he was eventually stopped. Throughout the entire fight, the ringside physician was only asked to take a close examination once. Surprisingly, he had no qualm with allowing Lebedev to continue even though there appeared to be some serious orbital damage. Jones had to end matters on his own in this one as the referee, doctor, and corner seemed to believe Lebedev was fit enough to continue. On the flip side, Lee Purdy’s corner waved off his challenge of Alexander after seven rounds of relatively spirited action. Alexander was in control, but he had never hurt Purdy or had him close to the canvas. Purdy was bleeding from the nose, but it was hardly a matter in need of dire attention. Mostly importantly, Purdy wanted to continue and even compromised asking for just one more round.
Had I been an authority in either contest, I would have stopped Lebedev from further damage in either the ninth or tenth round. Additionally, I would have allowed Purdy to fight on for one more round to prove himself at the very least. He seemed poised to last the distance even if it were only to lose lopsidedly on the cards. Yet, I respect a corner’s decision to act as they see fit. After all, it is they who should truly know their fighter and read certain signs outsiders miss. My only hope is that they truly know their fighters as well as they think they do. I rarely choose to argue with cautious decisions, but find it harder to comprehend less careful choices when a fighter’s health is on the line.
On Friday, May 17, at Crocus City Hall, Moscow, Russia, Denis Lebedev was stopped by Guillermo Jones in eleven rounds of a WBA cruiserweight title bout. Lebedev hit the canvas in the eleventh in a grueling fight was called to a stop at the 1:54 mark. Lebedev suffered severe swelling around the right eye. Jones ended a lengthy layoff yet again to score a big victory in a strong candidate for Fight of the Year. The champion in recess moved his record to 39-3-2 (31) in making his third title defense. Lebedev dipped to 25-2 (19).
Jones, previously removed for inactivity, claimed the SecondsOut number three position at cruiserweight. Lebedev, who was leading on all three scorecards, fell from third to fourth.
Also on the card, Alexander Povetkin defeated Andrzej Wawrzyk by third round TKO in a WBA heavyweight title bout. The stoppage came at the 2:23 mark. Povetkin defended his title for the fourth time and raised his dossier to 26-0 (18). Wawrzyk fell to 27-1 (13).
Povetkin remained SecondsOut’s third best heavyweight and looks to be headed for a bout with Wladimir Klitschko for the third time in his career. Hopefully this one comes to fruition.
On Saturday, May 18, at Grand Oasis Resort, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Sergio Thompson stopped late substitute Gustavo Sandoval in four rounds of a super featherweight bout. The end came at the 1:47 mark after Sandoval went down from a barrage of punches. Thompson enhanced his ledger to 27-2 (25). Sandoval fell to 13-5-1 (11).
Thompson fought for the second time in 2013 and remained SecondsOut’s number four super featherweight.
At Plaza del Toros Eloy Cavazos, Zitacuaro, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico, Edgar Sosa won a unanimous decision over Giovanni Segura in a twelve round flyweight bout. Sosa prevailed by scores of 116-112, 115-112, and 114-113. Segura was penalized for a low blow in round nine. Sosa raised his record to 49-7 (29). Segura dropped to 29-3-1 (25).
Sosa climbed from sixth to fourth among SecondsOut’s top flyweight contenders. Segura dropped from ninth to tenth. Milan Melindo was pushed from fourth to fifth. Hernandez Marquez fell from fifth to sixth. Toshiyuki Igarashi was bumped from tenth to ninth.
At Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA, Devon Alexander stopped Lee Purdy in seven rounds of a IBF welterweight title bout. Purdy’s corner surrendered following a sustained beating in what was truthfully a spirited contest. Alexander fought with an injured left hand and defended his title for the first time. He raised his numbers to 25-1 (14). Purdy fell to 20-4-1 (13).
Alexander continued his string of impressive performances and jumped from sixth to fifth among SecondsOut’s top welterweights. Robert Guerrero fell from fifth to sixth.