Boxing: ajose olusegun

Olusegun loses to Matthysse, via TKO

September, 8, 2012
Olusegun Ajose hoped that his slickness edge would bring him to a win against bomber Lucas Matthysse on Saturday night at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. But the Argentine was in seek-and-destroy mode from the first round, and the Nigerian-born NYC resident wasn't able to outbox the man with the heavier hands. With one second to go in the 10th round, the ref hopped in and saved Ajose from further punishment, giving Matthysse the W, via TKO.

Matthysse went 290-698, to 153-561 for the loser.

With the interim WBA 140-pound strap up for grabs, the 32-year-old Ajose looked to be deteriorating some under the pressure in the second and third rounds, but he regained his faculties and used his legs to get himself into safer zones later in the third. He ate lefts, up top and to the body, that made me cringe, and one thought maybe he'd decide to get on his bike and scoot. He didn't, not that often. Hey, it's easy to opine from the sideline; considering that Matthysse has pop with both hands, it's not easy to choose which direction to slide.

Ajose got buzzed in the fifth, but hung tough and looked to land sneaky counters. His energy didn't lag by the seventh, somewhat surprisingly, what with the bombs he had to endure. Matthysse proved he wasn't just a bomber; he slipped smartly, put on the earmuffs when he felt danger, but yeah, he mostly used the offense as his best defense. Ajose's power wasn't enough to dissuade, let alone buzz, the Argentine, making his job that much harder. A looping right discombobulated Ajose, with 1:06 to go in the tenth, but bless him, he stayed upright. Left hooks thudded on him, sounding like a baseball bat on a past-its-prime pumpkin. A clean right hurt him, and another clean right sent him down, for the first time in his career. The ref hopped in and stopped the bout with a second left in the 10th, though the loser was on his way to rising to his feet.

Let me amend that; "loser" is the wrong term, as all were left impressed with Ajose's heart and chin, and his stock didn't drop. In fact, his rep was bolstered because of his ballsy showing.

Matthysse, 29, went to 32-2, while Ajose, promoted by New Yorker Lou DiBella, slipped to 30-1.

DiBella: Olusegun 50-50 to beat Matthysse

September, 5, 2012
Lou DiBella co-promotes along with Gary Shaw one of the headliners who fights on Showtime this Saturday night, Ajose Olusegun.

Olusegun, a Londoner born in Nigeria, sports a 30-0 mark, with 14 KOs. He takes on Argentine bomber Lucas Matthysse (31-2 with 29 KOs) in Las Vegas. I asked DiBella to give viewers who haven't seen Olusegun a sense of what he brings to the table.

"He's a little unorthodox, a good defensive fighter, he's defensive-minded, a boxer-puncher who can hurt you with accumulated blows," the promoter said. "He's extremely skilled and very, very hungry. He's a little frustrated and angry at being avoided by so many guys."

Olusegun hoped to get a crack at Erik Morales, when the Mexican held the WBC 140 pound crown, but Morales instead took on Pablo Cano, though the Nigerian was the No. 1 contender. He earned that slot with a win over Ali Chebah, back in September of 2011.

After that, Morales veered away from Olusegun, and met Danny Garcia. Garcia won that scrap, so Olusegun set his sights on Garcia. Team Garcia averted their eyes, and offered some step-aside money so the Philly kid could meet Amir Khan. This sort of silliness is one of the main reasons the sport has lessened in popularity in recent decades, because the shenanigans of these sanctioning bodies too often takes precedence over common sense, and stands in the way of matches being made that fans want to see.

Now, I'm not saying there are thousands of fight fans out there who clamor to see Olusegun do his thing ... but what's right is right. If the guy is ranked No. 1, there shouldn't be an obstacle course of obstruction that keeps him from getting his due shot. For the record, the WBC relented somewhat to reason, and Olusegun and Matthysse will vie for the WBC interim junior welter title. We could assume that the winner will get a crack at the non-interim belt, which Garcia holds and will defend against Morales on Oct. 20, at Barclays. But assuming in this sport is never wise.

NYFightBlog asked DiBella if he thinks his guy is a big underdog. "It's a 50-50 fight in my view, though a lot of people think Matthysse is heavily favored," DiBella said. "I think the 50-50 odds are right."