With summer vacations now officially over, world championship boxing once again took centre stage this past weekend on both continents; and with it, two dominating performances.
First stop, Wroclaw, Poland as Vitali Klitschko continued his dominance of the heavyweight division with a vicious battering of leading contender Tomasz Adamek. Klitschko stopped the brave Pole in the 10th round of a brutal, one sided affair. Using a ramrod of a left jab, Klitschko kept the smaller Adamek at bay while finding an opening for his vaunted right hand. Time and time again, Klitschko's right hand found the mark in crushing fashion.
Quite incredibly, Adamek absorbed the Klitschko bombs and credit must be given to Adamek for his gutsy performance as he never once backed down from the more powerful champion.
Sadly however, as brave as Adamek was, his corner was even braver as they sat on their hands and allowed their charge to absorb the vicious onslaught. Inexplicably, and without reason, Roger Bloodworth - Adamek's trainer - allowed his fighter to absorb more punishment than any fighter should be allowed to absorb, especially a fighter who had not won a single round. Scratch that, Adamek - as brave as he was - had not won a single minute of a round. The courage a fighter shows in the ring is unlike any other sport. A fighter will never quit: that's his job, that's his trademark. A trainer however, has a different role: the role of the protector.
In 1975, in one of the greatest fights ever seen, legendary trainer Eddie Futch saved his fighter from further punishment by putting a halt to a highly competitive contest with only one round remaining. The images of him advising referee Carlos Padilla that Joe Frazier would not be coming out for the last round against Muhammad Ali in their third and final encounter are the ultimate in compassion from a caring and dedicated trainer.
Sadly, Roger Bloodworth failed his fighter badly.
With one dominating performance over, another was set to begin at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world was about to take centre stage against former world champion Daniel Ponce de Leon.
Yuriorkis Gamboa, El Ciclon de Guantanemo, is without a doubt one of the most exciting fighters in the game today, and he has been for a while now. A devastating puncher with blinding hand speed, Gamboa has become known for his thrilling contests and exciting KO victories. More than once he has come off the canvas to score impressive victories. A decorated amateur and Olympic Gold Medalist, Gamboa has injected excitement back into the featherweight division.
Once again, on Saturday he did not disappoint. Taking on former world champion and power punching Daniel Ponce de Leon, Gamboa wasted little time establishing his superior speed, power and skill. In a brilliant display of boxing, Gamboa controlled the fight from every aspect. Ponce de Leon was successful at keeping the openings to a minimum as he looked to land his own power shots and at times, he clearly shut down the explosive combinations of Gamboa. However, it would not be enough. As hard as Ponce de Leon tried and as game as he was, it would not be enough to match the simply superior skills of an extremely talented champion.
With round 8 halfway over, an unfortunate clash of heads opened a cut on Ponce de Leon. The bout was called and Gamboa was awarded a technical decision after they went to the scorecards.
Like Klitschko, Gamboa had pitched a shutout.
In fact, it was as close to perfection as one could hope for.