CLEVELAND (Sept. 4, 2005) – In a pair of evenly matched, competitive, hard-fought fights, underdogs Guillermo Jones and Ray Austin staved off elimination in their respective weight classes and kept their chances for world title shots alive by registering upset victories in Cleveland Saturday night.
In a cruiserweight elimination bout, Jones defeated Braithwaite on a controversial fourth-round TKO. Austin upended Beck on a 12-round decision in a heavyweight eliminator. Jones (33-3-2, 26 KOs), of Colon, Panama, started quickly and controlled the first round. The 6-foot-4 one-time welterweight out-punched the former World Boxing Council (WBC) cruiserweight champion Braithwaite 10-1 with right hands. Jones, who was coming off a seventh-round TKO over former International Boxing Federation (IBF) cruiser kingpin Kelvin Davis on May 21, withstood an early barrage by Braithwaite in the fourth before recapturing the momentum. He backed Braithwaite into the ropes and starting unloading more right hands. Braithwaite did not answer back and the referee stepped in and stopped the bout at 2:26. The victory upped the streaking Jones’ record in his last 12 starts to 10-1-1.
At the end of the bout, Jones said, “I need to go and get a world a world title now. I want unified world champion Jean-Marc Mormeck or O’Neil Bell.”
Braithwaite (21-2, 17 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., by way of Georgetown, Guyana, suffered his second consecutive defeat. In his last outing, the switch-hitting boxer-puncher lost his WBC belt to World Boxing Association (WBA) cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck in a world title unification bout on April 2. Braithwaite did not complain after the loss to Mormeck, but he vehemently protested the ref’s actions in this one and challenged Jones to a rematch.
“I cannot believe that the referee stopped the fight,” Braithwaite said. “All I was doing was waiting to counter. Jones has no power. He never hurt me once. This was very disappointing … I hope I get a rematch. I know I deserve one.”
Austin (23-3-3, 15 KOs), of Cleveland, triumphed by the scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 113-115. The local favorite, a late substitute for Sergei Liakhovich, ran his unbeaten streak to 11 (8-0-3) with the impressive victory. Austin finished strong, winning the last six rounds on one of the scorecards, the last four on another and the last three on the third. There were no knockdowns, but Austin outfought Beck on the outside and inside for most of the fight. He had “What the Heck” Beck out on his feet in the closing seconds of round eleven.
Austin said, after his big win, “I want to thank all my fans in Cleveland, especially the kids at my school, Shaw High School, who gave me a pep rally this week that truly inspired my performance tonight.” When asked what he thought of his opponent, he replied, “Nothing. Beck didn’t hit that hard. He didn’t hit like a heavyweight.” Then he added, “I also want to give special thanks to heavyweight Samuel Peter for the great sparring sessions that prepared me for this fight.”
Beck (24-2, 18 KOs), of Nashville, Tenn. by way of Kingstown, Jamaica, was making his first start since suffering his first defeat to the more experienced Monte Barrett last Feb. 5 on SHOWTIME. Beck fought hard but could never take away the play from the bigger, taller Austin.
“I am really disappointed right now to come in as a favorite and lose a fight like this,” Beck insisted. “I really don’t know what to say. I feel I deserved the decision tonight.”
An excellent, world-class tripleheader will highlight the next SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9:15 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). In the heavyweight co-features, Chris Byrd (38-2-1, 20 KOs) will make the fourth defense of his IBF title against DaVarryl “Touch Of Sleep’’ Williamson (22-3, 18 KOs) and James “Lights Out’’ Toney (68-4-2, 43 KOs) will make his eagerly awaited return to the ring when he defends his International Boxing Association (IBA) crown against Dominick “The Southern Disaster’’ Guinn (25-2-1, 18 KOs). In a terrific matchup and second world title fight from the Reno Events Center, hard-hitting IBF bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez (34-3, 30 KOs) will defend his belt for the sixth time when he takes on International Boxing Organization (IBO) 118-pound champion/IBF No. 1 contender Silence “African Spice” Mabuza (18-0, 15 KOs).