Sechew Powell saw himself as the most talented junior middleweight in the world, bar none. Better than champions Sergio Mora, Joachim Alcine, Sergeii Dzinziruk and Verno Phillips. He announced this fact, loud and proud, in pre-fight interview before he gloved up with Deandre Latimore in the main event of ESPN’s Wednesday Night Fights.
After Latimore showed off his impressive hand speed, solid defense and tip top conditioning, though, it was time for Powell to reassess, and redo his rankings.
By the time Latimore trapped him in a corner and fired blasts that forced the ref to halt the bout at 2:11 of the 7th round, Powell would be forced to line up behind all those beltholders, and the unknown Latimore, in the junior middleweight standings. Rather than announce the ranking reformulation, though, Powell could only walk around the ring, and mutter, “What happened?” over and over, as he mulled the painful loss.
The TKO shocker, and the rest of the card, took place at the Hard Rock Café, in Times Square.
The 29-year-old Brooklyn, NY native Powell (23-2, 14 KOs) weighed in at 152 ½ pounds, while the 22-year-old Missouri-born Nevadan Latimore (19-1, 16 KOs) weighed 153 ½ pounds. After a loss to Kassim Ouma (in 2006), and a lackluster win over Ishe Smith (in 2007), Powell has tried to refashion himself as more of a fan-friendly aggressor. Would he come out and try to take out the lightly regarded Latimore, who has been in soft, and lost in his sole step-up fight, against Ian Gardner (Jan. 2007), or revert to his old form?
The two lefties both wore black trunks with yellow trim. Powell, ranked No. 1 in the IBF, spent time sizing up Latimore in the first, but got caught with a long left on the chin that buzzed him. Did Team Powell accept a fight with an underrated spoiler?
Latimore showed slickness in the second, getting angles on Powell, and solid fundamentals, with his hands held eye to protect his melon. Powell tagged the melon in the last 1/3 of the round, but Latimore didn’t crumble. He ripped off a couple combos, and I do believe his hand speed surprised the New Yorker.
Latimore followed Powell, who waited for the right moment, and fired counters on the visitor in the fifth. Latimore was hurt in the middle of the round, when he ate a Powell left, but the peril did not persist. He actually scored with an uppercut with Powell’s back to the ropes toward the end of the round, and it was Powell who held on to catch his wits.
Latimore’s quick hands got to work in the sixth, and he looked pretty darn fresh physically. His left hand hit Powell regularly in the 6th.
Teddy Atlas had Latimore up 58-56 going in to the 7th. A viewer wondered if the ESPN2 curse would continue, and a week after Gabe Rosado upset James Moore, we’d see another surprise result. Indeed we would, as Powell again got caught against the ropes, and ate three shots that had ref Benji Estevez stepping in to stop the tussle. Was it a proper stop? Powell’s eyes were clear and he protested the decision, but he wasn’t answering Latimore’s launches and his head was wobbly as Latimore cranked away. I liked the stoppage myself.
Powell landed more, 158-155, and threw more, 464-419, but he didn’t block the ones that mattered most, and that was the dealbreaker for him.
So, instead of a title shot against Verno Phillips, Powell joins Mike Oliver, Andy Lee, Aaron Williams, and Moore in the sad club of ESPN2 upset victims.
Buddy McGirt worked Powell’s corner, and his bad luck streak continues. He was with Arturo Gatti, Lamon Brewster, Antonio Tarver, Eddie Chambers, Jason Litzau and Vernon Forrest during upsetting losses.
In the show opener, Peter Quillin (19-0, 14 KOs) met Dionsio Miranda (18-2-2, 17 KOs) in a middleweight-plus bout. Quillin took out vet Antwun Echols in April, and he looked to continue his momentum against Miranda—no relation to Edison by the way-- in a scheduled tenner. Quiilin showed patience and a degree of respect, wise since the Colombian showed up as an unknown in NY. Quillin dug some left hooks to the body moving into the middle rounds, while Miranda looked to give himself room to strike by stepping back, and then tossing.
He tagged Quillin’s chin in the 7th, and we went into the 8th wondering if Kid Chocolate Quillin, who had to hold on for dear life in the rough round, would regain his footing. He went mobile in the 8th, got his legs back under him, and Miranda didn’t press the issue as perhaps his corner might’ve liked.
Miranda was low on gas in the 9th, it looked like, understandable perhaps since he’d never gone past eight before. Quillin succeeded with some hooks in the 10th, and even unleashed a behind the back-backatcha round front combo that drew a warning from ref Mike Ortega. The judges spoke, and called Quillin the UD winner, 97-93, 97-92, 97-92. Quillin had the edges in punches landed137-120. Atlas saw Quillin the victor, 97-93.
The Times Square Jumbotron in Times Square ran the broadcast, giving non-fight fans from the world over a taste of the sweet science.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV