The IBO super featherweight title as well as the vacant IBF super flyweight title was up for grabs last night on ESPN’s “Wednesday Night Fights” as seasoned veteran Manuel Medina got it on with South Africa’s Cassius Baloyi.
The 35-year-old Medina spoke briefly before the fight about retirement, and how it may be around the corner. However, though he may have 15 losses on his record, he surely has nothing to be ashamed about.
This five time legit (WBC, IBF, WBO) and seven time alphabet world champion has seen many long, rough roads, being matched again the likes of Scott Harrison, Johnny Tapia, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Prince Naseem Hamed to name a few.
Medina has never ducked anybody, and is always up for a fight
He may be old, but the hunger to win another world title before retirement makes Medina a tremendously dangerous man.
Baloyi, 32-3 (16 KO’s), came into the bout as the reigning IBO champion. His last fight, however, ended in a loss as he moved up to lightweight to take on the red-hot, top ranked Isaac Hlatshwayo before moving back down to 130.
It was a classic battle of youth vs. experience.
For those of you who missed the action last night, let me break it down for you.
Round one opened with Medina sticking to his normal game plan, coming in and out like a jack rabbit, and keeping an extremely high work rate. Medina used his long arms to keep Baloyi off him for the first three minutes, slipping and landing combinations in the pocket.
Baloyi began landing some clean, hard counter shots in the second. This was not enough to stop Medina though, as he continued to move in and out, not afraid to get hit. Medina was extremely susceptible to being hit on the way in, yet Baloyi chose not to capitalize on those openings, punching far too late, and consequently missing.
It became apparent in the third that Medina had every intention of sticking to the same game plan which had won him 66 fights and five world titles, moving in… and out, landing awesome combinations in the process. However, Balyoi began to time Medina a bit better in this round, as he was able to land some clean shots to the head and body.
Medina is clearly hard to discourage, so in the fourth he continued to do what he’s done for 21 years, move in and out. This style is very predictable, yet highly effective when an opponent does not react to it, like Baloyi. Baloyi attempted to fight back but to no effect as he continued to throw too late, after Medina had landed his assault.
Medina continued to jump in the pocket and land at will in the fifth. Medina’s fight plan so far had not changed and Baloyi knew exactly what’s coming, but did nothing about it. Medina’s fast pace controlled yet another round.
In round six, Medina, the veteran of 80 pro fights, still kept a ridiculous work rate. Because of the constant movement by Medina, Baloyi was unable to land any hard shots; he could not get his feet set. Medina continued his attack like the Energizer Bunny.
Baloyi finally started catching Medina with some hard counter blows in the seventh. It now seemed as though every time Medina attempted to come in, a good right or a crisp hook was waiting for him. However, true heart and determination kept Medina in the round, as he kept throwing… and throwing… and throwing, over 100 punches per round.
Round eight was more of the same, more and more combinations by Medina as he began approaching the 1000 punch mark in the fight. Baloyi, on the other hand, kept a clear head and continued to counter Medina as often as possible, landing the cleaner, more solid shots.
The ninth approached and Medina jumped in – “POP-POP” on the chin on Baloyi – and he jumped out – “WHIFF-WHIFF” – as Baloyi’s shots were slipped by Medina. The 35-year-old continued to be relentless, regardless of getting countered from time to time as he had already thrown over 1000 punches in the bout.
In round ten, Baloyi finally initiated the action for once, coming on strong, landing some vicious right hands to the head and some crushing hooks and uppercuts to the body.
The eleventh opened with a right hand by Baloyi, flush on the chin of Medina. As he continued to come in, Medina got caught again and again with lead right hands by Baloyi. A blistering right to the chin sent Medina to the canvas.
Medina rose at the count of nine, only to be rocked again by a thunderous hook. Down again.
Medina brought himself to his feet one more time and did the only thing he could at this point, he held on for dear life. One more concrete right floored Medina yet again, as the official waved off the bout.
The Sweet Science had the bout 97-95 for Medina at the time of stoppage.
Medina has had a rollercoaster career winning five world titles, yet getting stopped seven times along the way. He is old… ancient when considering the wear and tear over 21 years, and it’s time for Medina to say goodbye.
Baloyi on the other hand showed the skill and determination to compete on a world-class level. I would love to see how he deals with other fighters with high punch outputs such as Barerra, Morales, or Pacquiao.