Sunday, June 22, 2014
Nadjib Mohammedi VS Anatoliy Dudchenko: Dudchenko Takes A Beating!
France's Nadjib Mohammedi was the former Light Heavyweight champion of France and the former Light Heavyweight champion of Europe, as well as, to no blame of his own, the champion of a joke world title that no one unaffiliated supports and I won't bother naming. He is 29 and has not lost since 2011. Anatoliy Dudchenko is 35. He had two back-to-back losses in 2007/2008 and has not lost since. The Ukrainian has fought almost exclusively in America, uniquely. Both fighters have a win column composed almost of unheralded opponents. Mohammedi, having fought almost exclusively in France (note the pattern), takes two of his three losses when he's traveled. Neither fighter has a background that makes them a strong hopeful for major world title hopes coming into this match. However, both have strung together double-digit win streaks coming in tonight. They may not be strong hopefuls but they are legitimate fighters. On paper, a good choice by NBC Sports, and a title eliminator.
In the beginning, the first three rounds, Dudchenko started out well enough. It was a competition. Dudchenko's style reminds me of a much lower level Vitali Klitschko. Mohammedi has a bit of trouble with Dudchenko's ranginess and jab. By the end of the second it's starting to turn very awkward, Dudchenko being spun stumbling headfirst into the ropes, grappling, some shoving, some leaning. Mohammedi does find his range once in the middle of the round and sets up a combination leaping left hook and right cross over top of Dudchenko's guard, left hook missing, right cracking flush. That was pretty nice but it's still mostly a struggle to get inside enough to land flush for the shorter man, that one right the exception.
Mohammedi keeps stalking and probing and they get tied up when he rushes in. Mohammedi is really trying to work out Dudchenko's leaning back from punches and keep-away jabs. Mohammedi is starting to land some more where he fires two, falls short with the first, reaches in with the second and connects. It's not a feint first, then a punch. It looks like both shots are meant for landing. They both follow through. He's making it work a bit through round three. A few times he gets Dudchenko backed to the ropes and does a fair job of taking advantage of having him stuck. Dudchenko clearly doesn't like it in close. Jesse Reid Senior warns Dudchenko in the corner not to let Mohammedi wrestle with him.
In round four, the competition ends. The beginning was some feeling out from both men but in the fourth Mohammadi is starting to plaster Dudchenko without concern. He's got Dudchenko timed and Dudchenko has nothing when Mohammedi is up on him. It's a beating now, not a fight. Mohammedi has adjusted and taken everything away from Dudchenko. Round five, Dudchenko still cannot find a way to land flush on Mohamedi and he has no defense to challenge him from getting in. He cannot fight on the back foot against this guy. He's getting swamped. The body language for Dudchenko looks awful. He turns away from Mohammedi once, stumbles helplessly back to the ropes as the smaller man rushes in; he's looking awful now, taking massive overhand bombs.
Dudchenko's not capable of planting his feet and catching Mohammedi coming in. No uppercuts, no check hooks, not even keep-away jabs now; he's got nothing to make Mohammedi respect him. This is getting bad. In the corner after the fifth, Jesse Reid says "This is your life. You've got to let your hands go. Look at me. Let your hands go!" but Mohammadi has him baffled and beaten. Dudchenko tries, he really does, lands a few flush shots in round six but it doesn't look like he has any power in them anymore. None that the crazily active Mohammedi is worried about, for sure. Another beating of a round suffered in six. Mohammedi pins Dudchenko to the ropes again in the beginning of round seven and batters him from both sides, smelling blood for rounds now and acting on it like a fighter should, up and down with hooks and uppercuts. The referee calls it. It's a GOOD CALL from referee Shawn Clark, who's done a good job in this match. Dudchenko just had no ability to defend himself from this. It was not in his arsenal to win this fight tonight. Dudchenko is marked up, bloodied, cut on the bridge of the nose, dominated. There was no point in letting it go, even considering Dudchenko didn't get taken off of his fight.
As Mohammedi struggles to pull a glove off, the commentator, Kenny Rice, gets off a good line, remarking that's the toughest thing he's had to do all night.
Summary and meaning:
Dudchenko, at 35, never having won at a particularly high level, has pretty much had the last nail in the coffin of his championship hopes hammered in by Nadjib Mohammedi. Mohammedi made it very clear he wants the shot he earned against titlist Bernard Hopkins. Even at near fifty, and even with Mohammedi's clearly gutsy style, high stamina and youth, I think Hopkins is still too crafty for Mohammedi. Hopkins may yet be the smartest boxer on the face of the planet. Granted, you can never tell when a man is that age and Mohammedi is one hungry fighter with an ego to feed. But the difference in their levels of competition alone is as far apart as any could be with a title on the line, that I can think. Mohammedi did make a statement though, with the performance of a warrior, on NBC Sports. He got a big opportunity and shined. That cannot be denied. Mohammedi says he's the best and that's what a contender should believe or they've got no business bothering. Good for him. Congratulations on everything, Nadjib.
Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing