|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
| Jul 10, 2001|
Massacre in Montreal
by Barry Stephen Hanley
When a fighter dies or is seriously injured practicing the perilous pugilistic arts, an outcry is sure to follow. Despite the fact that Dale Earnhardt (R.I.P) died in the cockpit of his stock car there was no similar 'knee jerk' reaction from the media and the general public. This is perhaps due to the fact that a fighter isn't encased by a shell of steel. A fighters only protection are fast hands and sharp wits. Sometimes, unfortunately, these are not enough. One of the most awe inspiring 'tear ups' I have ever had the privilege of watching was the all out war betwixt Nigel Benn and Gerald McClellan. After a gallant effort McClellan took a knee and grimaced. The Referee called off the fight. Gerald McClellan now sits in a wheelchair, his brain and body irrevocably damaged. To all true fight fans this is a sickening feeling. Nevertheless these are the perils that all pugilists are doomed to face.
I digress. Tonight at the Molson Centre in Montreal a number of memorable fights took place. First off we had a super middleweight fight betwixt Alex Hilton (36 years old, 37-6-0) and Joe Gatti (34 years young, 27-6-0). Joe Gatti has the unenviable position of being the older sibling of one of the most exciting and ballsy fighters in the sport today, Arturo 'Thunder' Gatti. Brother Joe looks like a bigger version with less scar tissue and a nose that still looks like a nose.
The story behind this fight was that both fighters come from big boxing families and intensely dislike each other, a sort of Hatfield and McCoy dynamic thrown in by the promoters if you will.
Despite the apparent feud between the Gatti and Hilton clans, the fight that took place in the ring lacked any real malice. Gatti nonchalantly jabbed his way through the first three rounds and Hiltons unwillingness to engage in battle soon met with a resounding boo from the Canadian crowd. The fact that Hilton was given only three weeks notice before the fight may have been a factor.
In the fourth, Gatti continued to land effectively with the jab and little else. The fifth proved to be curtains for the listless Hilton. A solid right cross floored him and he was given a standing eight. This was soon followed by a three punch combo and the ref jumping in to call the bout to a halt. There were glimpses of potential in Gatti. A few years back, whilst under the wing of the Duvas, he was a highly touted prospect. Then he was scooped up by the king of shite talk, Don King. King threw him in against Terry Norris, a far superior fighter, and Gatti's confidence was shattered along with his undefeated record. He is quoted as calling the King defection as "the worst move I ever made in my life."
Next up we had a light heavyweight competition. Two Browns faced each other. Christopher Brown ( 12-1-0) versus Dale Brown (23-2-1). The latter had given Vasiily Jirov a good fight. This was a quick one. In 2:20 of the first round Chris Brown got hammered with a right hand that ended the fight.
Then, as a 'filler' ESPN showed a fight that had taken place 'earlier in the evening' involving an interesting young prospect from Australia, Anthony Mundine. He faced former super middleweight contender and over the hill, Kevin Pompey. Mundine excelled at another sport in his homeland. He was one of the most outstanding Australian rules football players in the land. 'Footie' is the number one sport in Australia.
Mundine proved to be a decent fighter too. He thoroughly outboxed Pompey, showing superior handspeed throughout. Pompey failed to get a glove on him and the referee called a halt to the affair in the third. Mundine's record now improves to 8-0.
The main event of the evening was a world championship fight. The vacant WBC supermiddleweight belt was at stake. Glenn Catley from Bristol, England stood on the apron prepared to be the only Brit to hold a world title. Since the defeat of Naz and Lennox Lewis, a Yemeni and a Canadian, the Brits are officially beltless.
Catley's opponent was a native son, Eric Lucas. The partisan crowd got behind Lucas ( 6 foot, 167 lbs 32-4-3) from the opening bell. I always admire a boxer willing to fight against a man on his home turf. Into the lion's den so to speak. Apparently, Catley ( 5 foot 9, 167 lbs 26-4-0 with 20 ko's) had hired a hypnotist for the occasion. A trick first employed by 'the Celtic Warrior; Steve Collins when he defeated Chris Eubanks for the same belt a few years ago. On that night, Eubanks fell for the voodoo and seemed out of sorts from the start. No such luck, for Catley. The French Canadian he faced seemed unfazed by such heady stuff. His commitment to sending Catley back to Bristol beltless was crystal clear and unwavering.
At the end of the first Lucas stunned Catley with a solid right cross that hurt. Lucas, fighting in an intelligent and poised fashion, had obviously been studying Catley's video tapes. One of the unfortunate flaws that Catley has is that he drops his left hand dangerously low after delivering a jab. In the second, Lucas continued to capitalize on this mistake in a dogged, ruthless and precise fashion, rocking Catley with the same right hand seemingly at will. In the third Catley connected with a left hook but dropped his hand again and was stung with yet another ramrod right.
In the fourth, Catley seemed to settle down and establish somewhat of a rhythm. Another right hand landed in the fifth though and Catley was truly rattled. In the sixth, the inevitable came to pass. Catley, having failed to raise his left, was decked by a right cross. Yes, the same punch that had haunted him all night. His chin could take no more. The crowd went crazy and began the disturbing baying for blood behavior that gives this humble scribe a pain in the posterior. Most of these loudmouths wouldn't beat their way out of a wet paper bag, never mind cross the Atlantic to fight for a world title. Anyway, ignorance must be bliss. Despite his precarious predicament, Catley rose and was saved by the bell that ended the 6th. The 7th round proved to be the end for the unfortunate Englishman. You guessed it, a pulverizing right hand knocked him to the ground in as spectacular a knockout as you're liable to see anywhere.
Catley's noggin bounced off the canvas and he lay very still for what seemed like a long time. Thankfully he rose and was none the worse for wear.
Eric Lucas raised the WBC Super-Middleweight Belt above his head much to the ecstatic approval of the thousands of Canadians in attendance.
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