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Showtime`s Saturday Night Results

Results from Saturday`s Raheem vs. Frietas bout.

Showtime`s Saturday Night Results

There have been several great fights lately, but I had been especially looking forward seeing Zahir Raheem fight Acelino Freitas on Showtime tonight. Their fight was the main event, and while it ended with some controversy, it was an entertaining fight.

I became a big believer in Zahir Raheem when he punished and humiliated Erik “El Terrible” Morales last year. Never mind how Raheem was “naturally” much bigger than Morales, boxing school was in session, and Raheem was the teacher. The fast-fisted Philly fighter has great technique, and confounds his opponents with a mixture of speed and precision. He is no knockout artist, but he has the ability to frustrate skilled fighters, and dominate the less skilled. His one loss was a disputed decision, and many have predicted that he is the lightweight to watch.

Acelino Freitas made his name, and earned the WBO title, as a brawler. Nobody disputes his ferocity, though his heart and head have their critics. He abandoned his usual style and tried to box against the more skilled Diego Corrales, and Corrales punished Freitas until he quit in the ring. Freitas had won his last two fights, but victories over lesser competition did little to redeem the tough reputation that he had sullied in surrender.

In the first round, it looked that this was indeed a good match-up. Despite a clash of heads that marked Freitas` forehead and opened a small cut over Raheem`s eye, the first round was quite enjoyable, as both fighters were aggressive and throwing power punches early. In the second round Freitas` definitely got the best of Raheem, and there was one questionable knockdown that the referee ruled a slip. I don`t dispute his call, though it could have went the other way. The second round also saw Raheem tackle Freitas. I scored both rounds 10-9 for Freitas, as he was landing more, and the punches he landed were more solid.

In the third round, Raheem started doubling up on his jab, and again tackled Freitas. Raheem began to take control of the fight, frustrating Freitas with his evasive moves, quick jabs, and tactical clenching. I scored the fourth round for Freitas, but gave the rest of three through six to Raheem, who was looking very slick, though he pulled a page from the cheap-shot manual when, after pounding Freitas into the ropes, he threw him to the mat. Raheem, immediately realizing that he could be disqualified, fell to his knees begging referee Steve Smoger to spare him. Smoger warned Raheem that the next such action would cost him a point, but let the men continue.

Round seven was a toss-up, but I thought that Freitas` blows were more significant than Raheem`s. Frames eight through ten were all Raheem, as he went back to jabbing, moving, and out-boxing the slowing, confounded Freitas. Raheem continued to clench whenever Freitas attempted to mount an attack, perhaps in fear of the Brazillian`s power. I think that, in two of the judges` eyes at least, this cost him the fight.

In the last two frames, Raheem was less aggressive, and while Freitas did not look particularly impressive, he did seem to dictate the action, earning him those rounds on my scorecard. I had scored the fight a draw at 114-114, but I thought that Raheem had put on the better showing overall, and I expected him to win the decision.

The Showtime commentators seemed to think as I did, and they were surprised when the announcer called out Freitas` name. I think that a rematch would not be out of order, but I seriously doubt that Freitas will agree to one. At this stage in his career, he`s likely preparing to make a last charge at glory, and preferably with big paychecks along the way. I`m betting that he`ll try to set up a bout with Diego Corrales, if Corrales defeats Jose Luis Castillo in their rubber match on June 3rd. If Castillo wins, he`s slated to face Miguel Cotto in November, and that fight will likely take precedence.

Prior to the main event, Showtime showed a bout between two undefeated middleweights, Andre Ward and Andy “Kaos” Kolle. Ward won light-heavyweight gold in the 2004 Olympics, while Andy Kolle is an untested college student with a respectable, but not outstanding, amateur record. Ward had yet to be tested as a pro, but no one was expecting a test for him tonight. Ward thoroughly outclassed and outboxed the game Kolle, who was aggressive, but totally ineffective in his offense. Ward looked great, landing all manner of punches to the head and body of the relatively immobile Kolle, whose right eye looked to be Ward`s favorite target. The fight was called after the sixth round, when an accidental clash of heads further injured Kolle`s already tenderized right eye. When Kolle tell his corner that he couldn`t see from that eye, referee John Callas wisely stopped the fight.

In heavyweight news that happened elsewhere, Luan Krasniqi won a 10-round unanimous decision over tough journeyman David Bostice.

Paul Clemmons, RN is a freelance writer who dreams of challenging George Foreman to a pizza eat-off. He is part of the team at Boxingfans.blogspot.com, and writes when he`s not gloating over his undefeated amateur record (1-0-1).

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