A fight where intelligent pressure just proved to be the deciding factor in the end.
Championship boxing on a Sunday (lovely stuff)
Sunday evening: a time for boxers to pop a few pain-soothing paracetamol and either toast, or lament their in-ring endeavours the previous evening.
A time for fans to dissect performances, pass off analysts’ opinions as their own and laugh at Carl Froch. It would seem though that Al Haymon has no respect for the boxing sabbath and this past Sunday we were treated to a break from routine live from the American Bank Centre, Corpus Christi in the Lone Star State of Texas.
In the main event was the super middleweight match-up between recently dethroned titlist Anthony Dirrell and Marco Antonio Rubio.
It was however the co-main event which grabbed virtual headlines last night with Twitter lighting up over the again-controversial second match-up between WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (27-2-1, 12 KOs) and Tomoki Kameda (31-2, 19 KOs).
For those who missed their initial encounter in July, the pair fought in a tense meeting with McDonnell winning by a miniscule margin on the judges’ cards (114-3 on all three).
A rematch was scheduled with refreshing rapidity, Kameda eager to avenge his only professional loss and the champion eager to reassure the boxing fraternity that his greatest weapon last time out was not a doting judging panel.
It was the Japanese fighter who started with gusto, taking the first round while showcasing fast hands and some nifty combinations.
McDonnell responded in the manner of any worthy champion showing great ring intelligence by immediately adjusting and setting up a rangy jab.
It was this jab that from the second round on that consistently frustrated Kameda, acting effectively as both an offensive weapon and a defensive tool.
In a performance that underlined the importance of fundamentals, McDonnell added to his lecture on boxing 101 – a punishing front-foot pressure, constantly stalking Kameda down and controlling the ring for large periods of time.
Not underestimating his opponent, McDonnell didn’t blindly walk Kameda down eating retaliatory punches but rather showed silky, astute head movement when attacking, often making his counterpart miss the target.
The combination of the rapid-fire stiff jab thrown very frequently, constant head movement and domineering forward pressure meant that Kameda had no time or space to breathe, suffocated by a pointed tactical display.
Here’s the full fight video, if you want to take a look at some of the rounds:
Scorecard and reaction
It is at this point that I should offer a trigger warning, of sorts.
Never have I seen a fight or decision so hotly contested, particularly on social media. Adam Booth labelling Dan Rafael’s analysis as “BS” and Nick Halling deeming Virgil Hunter’s reading of the fight and of fights in general to be sub-standard.
You may well read an account of the fight that differs greatly from this one, with many Stateside (Rafael and Hunter included) feeling that Kameda was robbed, with McDonnell winning 116-11, 115-112 and 117-110 on the judges’ cards.
Admittedly, the fight was closer than the cards suggest but grand larceny was not on show last night, no indeed.
In the early rounds it seemed flashy, fast-handed combos from the challenger were almost irresistible to boxing magpies, despite the fact many found only gloves and forearms.
Kameda may also have served up the more eye-catching single shots throughout the fight, bouncing McDonnell’s head backwards on a few occasions and catching him flush on the chin more than once.
The Japanese former champ did stage something of a comeback in the second half of the fight, taking three rounds through stepping briefly into the pocket and unleashing multi-punch combinations, before stepping out again.
Two or three punch combinations and a handful of chin-finding hooks were not enough however to overshadow Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell unrelenting pressure and jab and it was clear at the final bell, who felt they had done enough to claim the grand prize.
The right man won in the end, in a very close fight
McDonnell jubilant in celebration, Kameda offering only a lacklustre fist-pump.
Kameda had perhaps been unlucky to have a suffered a slip that was helped along by the fist of McDonnell that was judged a knockdown in the final round, but overall a decision in McDonnell’s was the only fair result.
McDonnell’s victory will invite calls for a domestic bruiser with Scott Quigg, a welcome development with McDonnell likely to move up to super-bantamweight for his next fight, relinquishing his WBA title.
Quigg may have his mind on another domestic match-up however…
Regardless of divided opinion on the result, it was a fine development to see some live boxing on, other than reruns that grace our screens elsewhere on a Sunday evening, particularly a fight of this calibre.
(Image credit: Sportinglife.com)
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