Along with all the festivities on Saint Patrick’s Day; the Irish soda bread, the Blarney Castle cheese, and the copious amounts of Bushmills there was a fight card from Madison Square Garden that had everything a boxing fan could ask for; including a fight featuring an Irish Featherweight prospect.
You could smell the clover.
On the undercard was a bout for the interim WBC Light Heavyweight title.
Undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KO’s) mixed it up with Mehdi Amar (34-6-2, 16 KO’s) for 12 full rounds.
Three challengers withdrew from this bout…and after seeing what Gvozdyk did to Amar, they did the smart thing.
Amar had six weeks to train, came to the ring in excellent shape, and brought a jaw of iron.
Both men are highly skilled, with good boxing sense.
Amar’s repeated jabs swelled Gvozdyk’s right peeper early on. But round after round, Gvozdyk threw more, landed more and punched harder.
He had Amar in trouble early in the 4th, and late in the 7th Gvozdyk landed a stiff left that popped Amar’s mouthpiece out.
It was one-sided, but very entertaining.
Going to the scorecards Gvozdyk was awarded a unanimous decision, by a wide margin.
The main event was a fight for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight title between Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KO’s) and Amir Imam (21-2, 18 KO’s).
This was another fan-friendly bout featuring two elite talents.
The worst part was the adjudicating. We’ll circle back.
Imam may have won the opening frame by landing with more authority.
He attempted to establish his jab early. Unfortunately he has a bad habit of keeping his lead-hand low, which throws off his distance and timing.
With Imam telegraphing his intentions Ramirez had time to back away, block or fire off counterpunches…which he did, to great effect.
Ramirez ramped it up in Round 2, putting Imam against the ropes and unloading to the body.
Imam’s notable hand-speed kept him competitive but Ramirez was throwing and landing more, and at a higher percentage.
Ramirez never took his foot off the accelerator. He continually pressed forward, pushed Imam into the corners, and unloaded in combinations from hip to head.
Round 8 might have belonged to Imam for some toe-to-toe trading in the middle of the ring. But Ramirez roared back. His hooks to the head left Imam with a bloody lip and severe swelling to his right eye.
Their exchanges in the last four rounds alone were worth the price of a ticket.
The scorecards should have reflected Ramirez’s dominance throughout. Instead they ranged from “correct” to “corrupt.”
115-112: Get the tar and feathers ready.
Fortunately the unanimous decision (and title) correctly went to Jose Ramirez.
In the featured event, undefeated Michael “Irish Mick” Conlan laced them up against hard-hitting Hungarian David Berna (15-3, 14 KO’s).
Berna is back on-track with two knockout victories after suffering two consecutive losses.
Conlan began his pro career exactly one year ago. He’s fought once every two months, winning all but one by KO.
The ring-walks and introductions lasted twice as long as the bout.
Southpaw Conlan dropped Berna on a body-shot at the end of the opening frame.
Berna beat the count and survived till the bell.
In Round 2 Conlan sent him south a second time. But Berna is made of tough stuff.
He got up and fought on…for ten seconds.
Berna was eating too much leather. The referee saw enough, and called a halt to the contest.
Good call, ref.
Michael Conlan improves his record to 6-0, with 5 wins coming by way of knockout.
We are not offended that St. Paddy’s is labeled a “drinking holiday.”
We’re not hurt by the Lucky Charms leprechaun or “The Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame.
We laugh at the dumb shamrock sunglasses and the stupid, big green hats…we don’t care.
It’s the amateur drinkers that bother us.
Mark Mc/Felicetti is only half-Irish. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.