Ever wonder what it would be like if two boxers laced up and instead of fighting in a normal arena, they got busy in a sauna?
Well, it happened on Saturday evening in Las Vegas, when heavyweight hopefuls Calvin Brock and Timor Ibragimov braved the 100-plus degree heat at the Caesars Palace outdoor amphitheater.
The workrate was about what one would expect from two athletes slugging it out in conditions best suited for fire ants, but in the end it was Brock who showed more to the judges ringside, who tabbed him a unanimous decision winner over his Uzbek opponent over 12 rounds of moderately paced action.
New York fight guru Johnny Bos astutely told our Blog Squad readers that Ibragimov was a “survivor” which is not a designation one might think would be affixed to a fighter with a 21-0 record.
But Ibragimov did indeed show a tendency to fight in a safety-first manner, and didn't initiate much offense, as he looked to clinch when getting in tight and rarely put together more than three punches at a time.
Trainer Miguel Diaz did what he could do to light a fire under his butt, telling him that he was letting down his nation and relatives who came to see him in action, but the pep talk was for naught.
Brock, age 31, didn't light the world on fire and demand US fight fans anoint him the no-brainer choice to challenge Wladimir Klitschko. He showed flashes of dangerous intent, but was most often in the mode of the methodical, mechanical professional. Trainer Tom Yankello implored Brock (29-0) to pile the jabs up, so his right hand could find a home, but perhaps the heat was the culprit, because Brock averaged fewer than 30 punches thrown per round. For that matter, so did the 31-year-old Ibragimov (21-1).
The search for the next great heavyweight, for the baddest man on the planet, will continue. Actually, HBO’s turn-back-the-clock snatch of Ike Ibeabuchi against David Tua had me drifting off, daydreaming about Ike's ludicrous physique, psychotic punch output, dark fury and impressive technique…
Another unbeaten boxer tasted defeat as a professional for the first time, as Colombian phenom Joel Julio got outworked by Puerto Rican Carlos Quintana (23-0). The sauna scenario didn't put off Quintana, age 29, from showing judges that he just plain wanted it more. Julio, age 21, learned quickly that his vaunted power wasn't going to overpower Quintana, not unless he was going to catch the vet with a punch that he didn't see coming. The southpaw postured when he got caught by Julio, but in this case, the clowning really did show that he was affected by the contact. Instead, he shrugged it off, and in the second half of the 12-round eliminator (to fight the Hatton-Urkal winner), he acted as the pursuer, and had Julio in retreat.
Main Events exec Carl Moretti told the Blog Squad readers two days ago that this one was 50-50 coming in, and he wasn't fibbing. Quintana was the real deal at 147, showing impressive desire, ample skills and a tough beard to HBO viewers. Julio (27-1) looked like a kid, somewhat, like someone who just didn't want, or need, to win like his foe did.
He didn't stink out the joint, but maybe the heat sapped him. It was a great learning experience; he met a lefty, didn't get smacked around and will presumably comprehend what it will take for him to move from phenom to contender.