Body Blows: Witter/Bradley & Froch/Rybacki

Junior Witter is a popular fighter…in England. With the fight taking place in the United Kingdom this ought to be a lively environment for two fights featuring hometown fighters. Witter will always be in Ricky Hatton’s shadow given that they are not only from the same country but in the same weight class. Witter lacks the charisma that Hatton brings but he is still a crowd favorite. With Joe Calzaghe moving on to fighting in the United States, Carl Froch looks to step into the super middleweight void left by his countryman in the co-main event tonight.

Junior Witter vs. Timothy Bradley (WBC Light Welterweight Title)

Witter used his jab effectively in the early rounds but certainly wasn’t dominating with it. Bradley seems to be letting Witter establish his jab. He has the younger legs and should be pushing the pace against the older champion. Witter starts doing some showboating in round 4 a la Roy Jones Jr. Witter is a slow-pace fighter and Bradley really needs to think about pressing the action if he wants to win the title. Right now Bradley is fighting Witter’s fight.

Witter is leaving his lead hand out to start the 6th. Lennox Lewis always used to be really annoying with that. Bradley lands a nice counter left. Witter keeps that lazy hand out there and Bradley connects with an overhand right that puts Witter to the floor. Witter gets up but also gets besmirched by his corner for being lackadaisical. Bradley is now pushing the pace in the 7th round. ‘Atta boy. It’s an odd clash of styles now as Witter is trying to fight from the outside while Bradley is hoping to close the distance and fight on the inside. Looks like a classic example of the fighter that imposes his will wins the fight.

Witter is throwing one punch at a time, usually a jab. Bradley is moving around more but still not putting his punches together. Bradley continues to stalk in the 9th and has the momentum going into the championship rounds. Witter’s fight is quieting a usually engaging British audience. Honestly, Witter should lose his title before the 12th round begins for being an absolute waste in the ring. Witter shows no desire to hang onto his title in the final round. I knew I should have made other plans instead of watching this fight. The scores come in and they are read as follows: 115-112 Witter, 115-113 Bradley, and 114-113 Bradley. That score was way too close but at least the right man won. Bradley came away with his first world title and is only 24 years old.

Carl Froch vs. Albert Rybacki

No world titles are on the line here but a win by Froch should put him in line for a super middleweight title shot. Both men are undefeated but Rybacki is taking this fight on three days notice. Rybacki must not care about his undefeated record. Three days notice?! I won’t help people move without one week’s notice, let alone take a fight. Froch is a strong puncher so this one shouldn’t last too long.

Both men are patient to start. Froch should push the action. Rybacki is older, fighting on three days notice, and is used to fighting 6-round fights. The first round is uneventful. As is the second. What the hell? This was supposed to be quick and painless…for me. Froch steps it up in the third with some body work. That leads to effective head combinations later in the round and Rybacki is in trouble. To his credit, Rybacki is fighting back and electing not to clinch. Perhaps he just wants this fight to be over. Froch corners Rybacki and unloads with punches that put Rybacki on the run. Rybacki is still willing to exchange. A right hand followed by a left uppercut from Froch froces the referee to stop the fight. Rybacki was doing enough to keep the fight going but he wasn’t showing enough to prove he could win the fight. Referee Jon Keane made the call to save Rybacki.

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