Saturday, November 15, 2008
Updated: November 18, 11:30 AM ET
Witherspoon stops 'Swamp Donkey'; Wilder a knockout in pro debut
By Dan Rafael
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chazz Witherspoon outlasted Adam "The Swamp Donkey" Richards for an eighth-round TKO in an action-packed heavyweight fight Saturday night.
The bout was part of the Jermain Taylor-Jeff Lacy undercard and had the crowd at Vanderbilt University's Memorial Gymnasium roaring throughout the slugfest.
Both men came out with guns blazing from the outset, slugging all the way. However, Witherspoon -- a cousin of former two-time heavyweight titleholder Tim Witherspoon -- finally stepped to the outside a little and started using his jab rather than brawl on the inside, which did the trick.
As Richards, a Tennessee native and crowd favorite, began to tire, Witherspoon took advantage in the eighth. He landed a series of flush blows, including a crunching uppercut. Richards wobbled into the ropes, but Witherspoon didn't let up his attack. Another right to the head had Richards out on his feet, and referee Bill Clancy waved off the match at 1:29.
It was a tremendous rebound effort for Witherspoon, who was fighting for the first time since suffering a third-round disqualification loss to Cristobal Arreola in June. Witherspoon, however, was badly hurt when he was disqualified after his corner entered the ring before the round had ended.
Witherspoon (24-1, 16 KOs) admitted he should have used his boxing ability sooner against Richards (21-2, 14 KOs).
"I was trading with him and I shouldn't have," Witherspoon said. "I'm a warrior at heart, and sometimes that is my problem. I need to think more and lay my pride down a little."
Cintron outpoints N'Dou
Former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs) got back on the winning track by pounding out a clear decision against Australia's Lovemore N'Dou (46-11-1, 31 KOs), a former junior welterweight beltholder moving up in weight.
The judges had the eliminator 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 for Cintron, who moved a step closer to a mandatory shot at titlist Joshua Clottey, who holds the belt Cintron once owned.
Cintron was fighting for the first time since Antonio Margarito took his belt via a sixth-round knockout in April. Cintron had a new promoter (Lou DiBella instead of Main Events) and a new trainer (Ronnie Shields instead of Emanuel Steward, who watched from ringside as part of HBO's broadcast crew), and the results were positive.
He was too big and strong for N'Dou, who absorbed countless hard shots but never came close to being knocked down in a tedious fight the crowd booed throughout. N'Dou has never been stopped despite 11 losses.
N'Dou already was way behind when referee Clancy docked him a point in the eighth round for head-butting, which he had been warned for several times.
Wilder wins pro debut
Heavyweight Deontay Wilder (1-0, 1 KO), a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist in Beijing and the only American to take home a boxing medal, made his professional debut with a second-round knockout of Ethen Cox (2-3-1, 1 KO).
After a cautious first round, Wilder, who is 6-foot-7 and stepped over the top rope to enter and exit the ring, turned it up in the second. He dropped Cox with a right hand, then forced the referee to give him a standing eight count. Moments later, he knocked Cox down again with a hard overhand right, forcing the fight to be called off without a count.
"I feel good, but I'm disappointed in a way because there are a lot of things I didn't take advantage of, all the openings he gave me," Wilder said. "He was throwing a slow jab and I need to work better against that. I expect the best from myself, so even though it was a good knockout, I know I could do better. I want to be a world champion, and to be that you have to take being good to being great."
Even though Wilder, a 23-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Ala., was a bit hard on himself, he beamed smile after the fight and said it was great "getting a taste of the water" as a professional.
"Everything was good. I just want to work on the little things," said Wilder, who weighed 207 pounds and is signed with Golden Boy Promotions and manager Shelly Finkel. "No head gear, smaller gloves and no [amateur] scoring system, it's everything I wanted."
Also on Wilder's team: co-manager and trainer Jay Deas and trainer Mark Breland, a former world champion and decorated amateur.
• Super middleweight contender Allan Green (27-1, 19 KOs), fighting as a light heavyweight, battered long-faded Carl Daniels (50-16-1, 32 KOs) until Daniels' corner threw in the towel at 2:42 of the seventh round.
Not much was happening when the corner asked for the fight to be stopped, but Daniels was taking a pounding and was not faring well in the fight. Daniels, 38, who held a junior middleweight title briefly in 1995, has lost 12 of 13.
Green, 29, who trained for only about 10 days after being added to the card, had been idle since January in a rocky year for him outside the ring. First, Green pulled out of a February ESPN2 fight at the last minute without offering a reason, and he was suspended indefinitely by Louisiana officials. Then, a proposed shot at middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik went down the drain when Green's adviser overpriced him. That led to a break with promoter Tony Holden and Green's signing with Lou DiBella, who put him back to work against Daniels.
• In the first fight of the night, middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero (11-0, 10 KOs) disposed of Gevonte Davis (3-2-1, 2 KOs) at 1:38 of the second round in an impressive performance. Guerrero, 22, a quality prospect from Salisbury, Md., was coming off his Oct. 3 television debut, when he won a shutout eight-round decision on "ShoBox" against previously undefeated Tyrone Watson. He didn't need nearly as long to take out Davis. Midway through the second, Guerrero knocked Davis out cold with a left-right combination that left him stretched on the mat face-first.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.