A return to the ring and a ‘baby-daddy

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“Ring Rust,” adjective: (of a boxer) out of practice; especially after a long absence from professional boxing.

Twenty-two months ago undefeated Keith Thurman took the WBC belt away from Danny Garcia in a Welterweight unification match.

It was an entertaining bout that went the distance.

Thurman dominated in every respect. He threw more, landed more and his punches had more pepper. Thurman was in command and control.

However, one judge was blinded by ignorance…or inducement and scored it 115-113, in favor of Garcia.

Fortunately (and correctly) the other two judges gave it to Thurman, in a split decision win.

That big baby is going to be a daddy!

Since that time Thurman has been sidelined by injuries and surgeries on both wings. He states one of his toughest fights has been with depression. He had attained his highest achievement, and then out of the sport ever since.

Last Friday Thurman put his title on the line against Josesito Lopez (36-8, 19 KO’s). Lopez has only fought once a year since 2014, and his last outing was a one-sided routing of Miguel Cruz.

When the bell rang Thurman showed no signs of “box-idation.”

His timing and distance were on point, he used his jab to get close or create space, and he sat down on his punches.

Thurman moved with ease and caused Lopez to swing and miss like he was facing Nolan Ryan.

At the end of Round 2 Thurman countered with a crisp left hook that sent Lopez to his knees for a moment.

Lopez had little success in the first half of the bout as Thurman just slipped out to the sides and counterpunched.

But in the 7th Thurman leaned into a left hook, and things unraveled quickly. He was in deep trouble and barely made it out of the round.

Lopez won Rounds 8 and 9; 10 was pretty even.

Although Lopez remained more aggressive he kept missing, while Thurman landed more than twice as many punches at a higher percentage.

Scores of 117-109 and 115-111 for Thurman fell within reason. But seeing it a draw (113-133) is cause for concern…and possibly suspension.

Thurman improved his record to 29-wins against 0-losses, with 22-victories coming by way of knockout.

He hasn’t had a true K.O. victory in five years, regardless of the layoff.

Thurman needs to go to the gym, hit the weights and get power back into his punches.

***

Big boys were in the co-featured bout.

Heavyweight Adam “Baby Face” Kownacki is not short at 6’3.” But he is very wide at 260 pounds-plus.

He admitted to having “three or four meals before the bout” and the blubbery physique could expand his moniker to “Baby Body”.

Taking up a large space in the opposite corner was Gerald Washington (6’6”, 250 lbs.) who looked svelte by comparison.

But the lean muscle mass didn’t help one bit.

He was rocked three times in the first 10-seconds of the fight.

Washington should have used his height and reach to keep the baby at bay. Instead he tried to tough it out and went toe-to-toe with Kownacki.

Not smart.

A boxer should never trade punches with a guy who can give-and-take like Kownacki. Washington got scuffed up and badly battered in the last 30-seconds of the opening frame.

He came on strong with a flurry at the top of the 2nd, but he was still standing too close.

The distance made the difference.

The dome-on-dome action allowed Kownacki to land a 3-punch combination.

As Washington staggered back Kownacki connected with two, consecutive straight rights.

Washington dropped like a sack of potatoes…but he beat the count.

The referee allowed Washington to continue. But Kownacki followed a pawing jab with a solid right and the ref immediately stepped in to call a halt to the contest.

Good call, ref.

Kownacki (19-0, 15 KO’s) remains undefeated and proudly announced that he and his wife are expecting.

That big baby is going to be a daddy!

God Bless and GO RAMS!

Mark Felicetti takes full credit for creating “box-idation” as a synonym for “ring rust.” Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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