Casamayor Gains Redemption with KO of Katsidis

Michael KatsidisBy Paul Strauss: It's tough to get a more exciting fight. The action started before the 1st bell even rang. Joel Casamayor played a little psyche or stare down game with Michael Katsidis. Although Joel supposedly cannot speak English, I get the feeling he knows a few choice words to get his opponent's blood boiling.

His strategy worked. He wanted Katsidis to be angry and reckless, which was the case. The wily veteran made him pay, knocking him down twice in the first round. At that point it appeared the fight might be a short one. Casamayor was moving beautifully side to side, and spinning Katsidis, and hooking him, all the while landing his counters, especially the left. Katsidis wasn't deterred though, and had his own plans. He re-grouped and gradually started to get back into the fight.

The referee seemed to be an intrusion for these guys, as the dirt started flying. Both fighters had to be warned for low blows, hitting on the break, head butts, and there was even a body throw. Katsidis eventually lost a point for low blows. Casamayor's violations were committed more from a slick or technical standpoint, while Katsidis appeared to want the referee to just get out of the way, so he could pulverize Casamayor.

By the end of the third round, Katsidis begin turning things around. Some of his body shots started having a telling affect on Casamayor. In the fourth Katsidis landed a nice short left hook, followed by a right that had Casamayor wobbling. At that point, Casamayor's punches seemed to flail, and he wasn't moving side to side as effectively as earlier.

In the fourth, Kasidis caught Casamayor with a great left uppercut to the solar plexus that seemed to wound him. The clever veteran that he is though, he weathered it. In the fifth, Katsidis swarmed all over him, driving him back against the ropes. Casamayor folded over in a defensive posture, and he fell (pushed and was punched) backwards through the ropes. He landed on the ring apron. The unofficial judge Harold Lederman explained the rules allow ten seconds for Casamayor to get back into the ring, adding that if Casamayor had fell off of the apron, then he would be entitled to a count of twenty;

Casamayor made the ten-count, and wisely held on until the rounded ended. For the next couple of rounds, it appeared Katsidis had the upper hand. He kept applying extreme pressure, and Casamayor's thirty-six year old legs appeared to be deserting him. Gradually Casamayor started moving side to side again, and he straightened out his punches.

Katsidis wasn't letting up a bit though, even if his face was a mess. He seemed to smell victory! In the tenth round, he flew out of his corner, intent on bringing an end to this old man's hold on his championship belts. He sprang at Casamayor with both hands down. Big mistake! Joel caught him flush on the chin with a left hook. Katsidis was able to beat the count, but he seemed very unsteady. The referee allowed the action to resume. A few moments later, after Casamayor landed several more punches, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. All this took about 30 seconds into round ten.

In the post-fight interview, Max Kellerman asked a leading question about the stoppage, hoping to get Katsidis to say it was a quick stoppage. Max wanted justification for his earlier comment, "If I was the referee, I wouldn't have stopped the fight." But, Katsidis wasn't taking the bait. He said he would have to review the film, adding the referee was just doing his job.

Kellerman also tried to get Casamayor (through an interpreter) to make a commitment to fight

Nate Campbell. But, again Kellerman was unsuccessful, as Casamayor stated he had already beat Campbell, and now was interested in fighting Manny Pacquiao.

Sometimes it's hard to be a fan of Joel Casamayor, but he is a great fighter, having only lost three fights in his long career (two split decisions and one UD), and he has never been stopped.

I'd say that's pretty impressive.

The under-card showcased Librado Andrade's toughness. He seemed to win just about every round, repeatedly landing uppercuts, and just about everything else he wanted to against his stationary opponent Robert Stieglitz. Poor Robert just didn't know how to move his head to the side, or get his glove under his chin. He valiantly tried to fight back, but he just didn't have the fire power to hurt the thick skulled Andrade. The action was halted in round eight. Andrade is now the #! mandatory challenger in the super middle-weight division. The problem is Kessler has already beat him convincingly, and Calzaghe beat Kessler. Hence, I don't think either one of those two will be interested in fighting Andrade. It's a tough spot for him.

Article posted on 23.03.2008

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