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18 NOVEMBER 2018


Grant, Casamayor Win in Vegas

Casamayor  won a split decision
Casamayor won a split decision

By: Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: While it took a ton of effort and ten full rounds for Joel Casamayor to have his hand raised in victory, it took Michael Grant just one punch. Casamayor had to use virtually every tool in his arsenal to squeak past late replacement Manuel Leyva to win a dubious split decision victory. On the other hand, Grant picked his spot and unloaded a furious straight right hand that flattened crowd favorite Tye Fields early in the third round.

Grant was reluctant at first in his battle with fellow giant heavyweight Fields. The main event of a card plagued with scratched bouts and late replacements ended in spectacular fashion once the former world heavyweight title challenger let his hands go. It took a few minutes for Grant to figure out the mammoth Fields’ size and reach, but once he did, it was all over.

Grant wobbled his hulking opponent in the second round with a short right hand. Grant followed that up with a left, but Fields showed great resolve and recovered. Fields actually closed the round with Grant on his bicycle, but still, the fight had already swung in Grant’s favor. Grant had barely missed that right hand of his a few times when he mistimed Fields’ sometimes lazy left hand and it seemed like he was about to end the fight at any moment.

That moment came almost a minute into the third round when, during a brief exchange, Fields dropped his left hand just a few inches. The Las Vegas-based Canadian backed away with his chin up ever so slightly and Grant’s instincts kicked in. He unloaded a perfect straight right hand directly onto Field’s chin and that was it; Fields fell flat onto his back. He rolled over onto his gloves and knees and tried getting up, but he was so badly rocked that he fell onto his face again. Referee Joe Cortez had finally counted him out by the time Fields was able to climb back to his feet (sort of); Grant ran across the ring and leaped into the air with some sort of attempt at the splits.

The official time of the knockout came at just the 1:06 spot of the third; it marked the first solid win in years and it allowed Grant, now 47-4 (35) to quickly rebound from the loss to Tomasz Adamek last August. Fields fell to 45-3 (41).

Casamayor had his hands full with late replacement Leyva, a rugged contender from Mexico. Casamayor was supposed to fight Mike Anchondo but he withdrew due to injury and it’s always a tough go when taking on an unknown tough guy from Mexico. Like all of Casamayor’s fights, the Cuban legend took his time and was very cautious for the first few rounds. However, once “El Cepillo” figured out the timing of his opponent’s attacks, it was almost vintage Casamayor.

Casamayor used all of his ring guile and cunning to set traps for Leyva and they worked most of the time. Leyva was patient and tried to box the Cuban, but somebody with the experience and talent the likes of Casamayor, even though depleted due to age, was going to be too much. Casamayor started landing sneaky right uppercuts from odd angles on the outside and stiff straight lefts, leaving Leyva to reset his attacks. Leyva landed his fair share of shots on the inside, but Casamayor busted him up with pesky shots to the body and choppy right hands up top as well.

Casamayor outboxed Leyva down the stretch and though he never hurt his opponent, it was clear that he landed more punches – both powerful and clean – and did enough to win. Two of the ringside judges saw it in his favor by scores of 97-92 and 96-93 (as did SecondsOut), but judge Lisa Giampa inexplicably favored Leyva 95-94. Still, Casamayor got the win and now stands at 38-5-1 (22) while Leyva dips to 20-2 (12).

Aaron Williams made quick work of Shane Steele in a featured cruiserweight bout as he stopped him just 2:27 into the fight. The duel was competitive and lively from the start, but a perfect short right hand on the inside from Williams sealed Steele’s fate. Steele sagged against the ropes and then onto his knees seconds after the punch landed. The Kentucky native climbed back up but he was visibly in no shape to continue. Cortez looked hard at the wounded fighter and cautiously allowed him to continue, but immediately stopped it once Williams, from Cleveland, swarmed him. Williams bolstered his pro ledger to 21-3-1 (14) with the win while Steele fell to 7-4 (5).

And in the opening bout, 2008 Romanian Olympian Razvan Cojanu was upset by last-minute replacement Alvaro Morales. The towering and chiseled Cojanu was expected to steamroll the 5’9” 294-pound Morales in his pro debut, but the robust Vegas kid outworked him for four straight rounds, easily winning the fight. Two judges saw it 39-37 (as did SecondsOut) while another saw it even at 38-38. Morales, with the somewhat shocking win, improves to 6-9-5.

The four other scheduled bouts on the card had been scrapped for myriad reasons.

Mike Sloan can be contacted at

March 10, 2011

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