Ringside Report: WBC #1 Heiland Dismantles Veron in a Corker

QUILMES, BUENOS AIRES, ARG. — It is difficult to expect something new when two fighters have faced each other in five previous opportunities, but that’s exactly what Jorge Sebastian Heiland and Mateo Damian Veron gave us on Friday, April 21st in the town of Quilmes, in a back-and-forth, intense bout capped by a spectacular stoppage that puts Heiland back in the game for bigger challenges in the immediate future.

Heiland ( 28-4-2, 15 KOs), 30, currently ranked at No. 1 in the WBC middleweight rankings, had the sole mission of picking a mildly challenging opponent that could allow him to show his current form after a few difficult years plagued by postponements, legal wranglings and other distractions that put his career in jeopardy. Instead, the “Little Gaucho” displayed once again his customary take-on-all-comers approach by picking apart the 27-year old Veron (26-18-3, 8 KOs), an old acquaintance against whom he had compiled a 2-1-1 record in a series of exciting and terrific fights.

The fifth episode of the rivalry was no exception. Showing some of the ring rust that everyone expected, Heiland looked disoriented in the early going against a foe that was coming off one of his finest days in his victory against another world-class fighter in Javier Maciel, whom he upset with a hard-fought points win that ruined Maciel’s immediate plans. Seeking to repeat the dose, Veron, a young veteran with far too many wars under his belt and a decidedly misleading record, was in the fight right from the beginning and took the first three rounds by storm, with an intelligent and very active approach.

The fourth round marked the first time in which Heiland seemed on his way to regaining control, but the fifth threatened to become one of Veron’s best until a left cross by the southpaw Heiland turned his luck around in demolishing fashion. Suffering from a cut and finding himself in the middle of a hail of punches, punctuated by Veron’s solid uppercuts throughout the proceedings, Heiland connected the miraculous short cross that sent Veron to the canvas towards the end of the round, something that he would be able to replicate in the following round after a more dominant performance capped by a right hook that deposited Veron on the canvas seconds before the final bell.

The back-to-back saves did not have the desired effect on Veron, who failed to heed the warnings and never seized the momentum to make the adjustments he needed to make. Heiland dominated the seventh round with ease and moved in for the kill in the eighth, controlling the action and pushing Veron around throughout the ring to set him up for the final blow, which came as a furious left cross that landed on Veron’s right eye. He fell face-first to the canvas only to emerge wobbly and badly cut, bleeding profusely. Referee Mario Gonzalez stopped the carnage to give Heiland the victory, the relief and the acknowledgment of a few years of hard work both in and out of the ring.

“The WBC has already said that I have a mandatory elimination bout, but we’ll have to see if this is true,” said Heiland after his victory, in reference to the bout that awaits him against Jermall Charlo for the chance to dispute the belt held now by Gennady Golovkin.  “They had already said I was going to fight Cotto, Golovkin and others, but that never materialized. I think that this time they’ll have to do it because people are demanding it. This time will be for real”.

Heiland only had words of admiration towards his opponent and the now legendary rivalry that has united them.

“Veron is a tough guy, he always comes forward and knows how to deal with the pain”, said Heiland. “He hasn’t been the toughest fighter in my career but he has complicated me enough. He’s an awkward fighter, he uses the distances very well, has a weird and particular style, and this can be confusing.”

Even though the signals sent by his victory were mixed, having shown a lot of vulnerabilities in the early going and several defensive shortcomings throughout the bout, it is undeniable that Heiland’s huge heart, his ability to recover and absorb punishment, and his power to turn a fight around or to score a stoppage are a clear message to his future opponents, who will see equal portions of encouraging and warning signs. Heiland wishes they have seen a complete package to seduce top level opponents into fighting him, and to give him his long-awaited title chance.

“They’ll have a tough rival, a tough cookie to bite,” said Heiland, when asked about the perception he’d like his future foes to have of him after this fight. “I never go down, I never want anything just handed out to me, and when I fight abroad I loosen up more. When I fight in Argentina, I have more pressure, but abroad I relax much more. I want them to know they’ll have a great opponent, a foe worthy of a terrific fight in the near future.”

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