Boxing


Assault in Argentina: Matthysse Stops Corley in 8, Tapia Blitzes Barboza

by Craig Dowd: MENDOZA, ARGENTINA - DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley (37-16-1, 22 KO's) came into the ring Friday night carrying twin tomahawks on his back. With a blood red balaclava obscuring his chiseled features, he presented to the Argentinean crowd a crossed-arms 'X' as a priest would a Bible to a congregation, holding it out in front of his chest as if to deflect the imminent blows of unsavory spirits. The Washington D.C. native looked more like a poorly drawn comic book character than a menacing executioner, and the crowd at the Polideportivo Vicente Polimeni in Mendoza was not shy in expressing their disdain for Corley's theatrics.

None of this, however, spared Corley from the buzz saw attack of knockout artist Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KO's), who patiently punished him for eight rounds, repeatedly dropping him to his knees with kidney shots, before the referee had seen enough and called the junior welterweight bout to a halt after an absurd eight knockdowns, six of which occurred in the seventh and eighth rounds.

Though Corley proved game and thoroughly stubborn - he beat every count easily - he was never in the fight. Each round was an intensified duplication of the round that preceded it: Matthyse's punches grew sharper the more he threw them, his body attack more savage and acute, Corley's thirty-six years more palpable.

"Chop Chop" did his best work on the outside, finding mild success, as southpaws often do, snapping right hooks over lazy jabs. Unlike the Judah fight, Matthysse got off to a good start, beating Corley to the punch with thudding right hand leads then cutting off Corley's movement and pummeling his torso with double and triple left hooks. Matthysse, however, never seemed to let go, either. None of the eight knockdowns he dished out were dramatic. He fought economically and with a restrained power, like a wave of patient intensity growing exponentially until it consumed Corley in the eighth round, and enough was enough.

For his efforts the twenty-eight year old Matthysse, a resident of Buenos Aires, picked up the vacant WBO Inter-Continental junior welterweight belt and successfully put himself back in the mix at 140 pounds, rebounding from a split decision loss to Zab Judah in November on HBO at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

***

Friday night's co-feature, which kicked off the televised portion of Telefutura's impressive "Solo Boxeo" series, saw light-punching veteran Claudio "El Tigre" Tapia (19-10-4, 6 KO's) overcome a barrage of low blows to hand the hard-swinging Pablo Barboza (13-1, 7 KO's) the first loss of his career, stopping him dramatically late in the fourth round of their junior-lightweight bout.

The scheduled six round brawl between Barboza, who celebrated his twenty-sixth birthday just a week ago, and the thirty year old Tapia, who has fought for an alphabet title an astonishing seven times and never escaped with a win, was a classic case of deception through misleading records. Barboza's previously unblemished resume was built upon the backs of fighters with losing records: before facing Tapia, Barboza had fought only one fighter with a winning record, and never outside of his native Argentina. Conversely, Tapia has faced solid if not impressive competition throughout his decade-long career, fighting in Brazil and Italy and challenging for minor belts at both featherweight and super bantamweight.

Barboza, a southpaw, came out firing in the first round like a lefty Ricardo Mayorga. Never removing his heavy foot from the gas pedal, Barboza rushed forward with his head down and torso nearly parallel with the canvas, throwing lead left hands chased by looping right hooks, most of which Tapia blocked with his gloves. Barboza was able to repeatedly bully Tapia into corners, where he banged away to the body and eventually received his first warning for low blows.

Towards the end of the opening round, after having barely thrown a substantial punch, Tapia stepped back from Barboza's lazy right jab and unfurled a straight right hand down the pipe that landed flush on Barboza's chin, which he then followed with a left hook to the top of Barboza's skull. Barboza was visibly shaken, and for a second Tapia seemed almost as stunned by what had happened as Barboza was momentarily paralyzed. Tapia, however, neglected to take advantage of the opportunity and by the end of the round Barboza was back to throwing haymakers.

The second round saw more of the same from Barboza: big, wide punches to the guard of an unresponsive Tapia. After literally chasing Tapia around the ring for some time, Barboza nudged him into the ropes and unleashed a huge, and incredibly low, left uppercut into Tapia's cup just as the bell sounded, for which no deduction was made.

On two separate occasions in round three Barboza dropped Tapia to one knee with low blows. This time, however, points were deducted for both, and Tapia regained the points he had lost to the busier Barboza in the opening rounds and moved into the lead. Barboza, ironically, seemed unfazed by the deduction, grinning in response to the crowd's jeers as Tapia limped around the ring, trying to find his wind.

Tapia employed side-to-side movement in the fourth round and landed a few glancing blows to the head of the relentless Barboza, who continued to rush inside with a blatant disregard of potential calamity. In the middle of the round Tapia, at last, took notice of Barboza's defensive flaws and fired off a one-two that hammered through the southpaw's lazy guard, then followed the combination with two successive right hand leads that dazed his younger opponent. Barboza, looking as though he may drown in his own confusion, attached himself to Tapia's life raft of a left arm. Tapia responded in earnest: four sharp right uppercuts in a row, all of which landed flush on Barboza's jaw. Barboza backpedaled to the center of the ring, where Tapia clipped him with a straight right hand that sent him onto his back.

Barboza beat the count and came out swinging as only wounded fighters do, but was still too hurt to land anything substantial. Stumbling forward, as though he were tripping over his own feet, Barboza ate a few of Tapia's uppercuts and then caught a right hand that sent him down once again. It appeared as though he would beat the count once more, but the image of Barboza's corner draping a towel over the middle rope emerged and by then the fight was over and the referee was waving it off.

For Tapia it was a good, if not peculiar, win, and should ensure another television spot in the future. Barboza, however, must now return to the drawing board and correct his bevy of technical flaws. As a former title challenger with ten losses who has fought primarily at 126 pounds, and occasionally at 122 pounds, Tapia, I'm sure, seemed to Barboza's team a modest yet safe step up in class for their young charge. And it seemed like a smart play, as Barboza controlled nearly the entire fight with an endless storm of wide punches, to which Tapia rarely responded. That is, until he awoke from his slumber in the fourth round and decided to floor Barboza twice in en route to a knockout win - his third in a row.

***

In a non-title flyweight bout, reigning WBA light flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco (26-1, 15 KOs) grinded out a ten round unanimous decision over Miguel Tellez (19-14-1, 6 KOs). Scores were 100-89 on all three cards.

Article posted on 23.01.2011



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