Terrible Tim, Larry the Legend, Thunder from Down Under, and a Byrd (B.A.D. night on HBO)

by Thomas Gerbasi

In what may go down in history as one of boxing's greatest doubleheaders, Larry Donald and Chris Byrd emerged victorious after two knockdown, drag 'em out brawls against Tim Witherspoon and James Thunder, respectively...just kidding.

Even poetic license cannot allow me to lie to you like that. In reality, Donald took a unanimous 12 round snoozer against the ancient (in boxing years) Witherspoon, and Byrd was just as boring, though impressive, against Thunder, who did his best impersonation of a punching bag with arms.

Worse things first. Donald, whose main claim to fame had been being smacked around by Riddick Bowe at a press conference a few years back, was actually very effective in breezing to a win, defending his "WBC Continental Americas Title" (chuckle, chuckle). He eluded enough of Witherspoon's overhand rights to the back of the head, and landed his jab with ease, frustrating the suddenly old "Terrible Tim". Witherspoon, whose only fight in the last year had been a one round blowout of Levi Billups, plodded aimlessly after Donald, barely putting together any effective flurries.

In fact, Timmy's best punch came after the bell in round two. Referee Frank Cappuccino admonished Witherspoon for the infraction, and actually looked to have more fire than either of the two combatants. How B.A.D. (sorry for the acronym pun) was this fight? All the good action took place between rounds.

Between Witherspoon bent over in his corner having his therapist massage his shoulder, Donald's trainer and manager (Tommy Brooks and Robert Mittleman) arguing, and Tim's mysterious cut on his leg, this is one Boxing After Dark fight that should have been labeled Boxing After the TV's Off. And all this means that we'll have to watch Donald again, especially since the only loss on his record is to Bowe. Arrrrggghh! As for Witherspoon, we will see him again, but we really shouldn't.

Unfortunately, Witherspoon's only periodic flashes of greatness will relegate him to the scrap heap of heavyweight history, when he should have been given the chance earlier in his career to be King-free and one of the best in the business. Hang em up, Timmy, don't become an "opponent".

As advertised, undefeated young heavyweight Chris Byrd will never be confused with an Evander Holyfield or Arturo Gatti, in terms of action. But to be honest, this was my first glimpse of Byrd in the ring, and I was actually impressed with his skills. He has great speed and sleight of hand, his accuracy is top notch, and he puts his punches together well, even punching to the body (shock, shock).

Then again, HBO could not have given him a better showcase opponent than James Thunder "from Down Under". Thunder earned this HBO appearance by being knocked out by ..500 opponent, Maurice Harris (who was robbed of a decision against Larry Holmes).

Jimmy is in no way ready for prime time, and his prehistoric caveman lunges after Byrd were comical. Thunder's first lunge ended up with Byrd scoring a flash knockdown in opening round. And while this action was encouraging, it was all downhill from there.

Byrd plays the matador role perfectly, and he seemed to be toying with Thunder throughout the fight. Finally, in the ninth round, a brilliant show of pinpoint accuracy forced referee Steve Smoger to call a halt to the bout at the 1:07 mark. Watching Byrd, who seemed to be bored in the ring, breaks my heart. If you could inject this guy with some killer instinct or a punch, we could be seeing one of the greats.

And who knows about his chin or his heart, since neither has been tested. Anyway, now that Byrd has made his HBO debut, hopefully we'll see him in there with a fighter who can give him a fight, or at the very least, make HIM fight. But don't expect the contenders to be lining up for a chance to clip Byrd's wings. This guy will make a fighter look bad, which may put Byrd in the same situation which plagued Tim Witherspoon throughout his career. Hopefully not with the same ending. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


by Pusboil

Chris Byrd improved his record last night to 23-0 (13) with a 9th round TKO of Jimmy Thunder. Thunder (32-9) was his usual statuesque self and adding in Byrdís speed, the outcome was quite predictable.

Hate to say this but I canít stand Chris Byrd. People keep saying he canít be beat. Well theyíre right if he keeps fighting fodder like the Blunder from Down Under. Thunder offered opposition in the first round only. He came out punching like a tornado. But as anyone who has seen Thunder knows, he ran out of gas pretty quick.

Byrd just picked him clean until the referee Steve Smoger stopped it in the ninth. Byrd did score a first round knockdown of Thunder, but donít you worry folks, he has not gained any punching power. Thunder was off balance ( now stretch your imagination to see that) and Byrd caught him..

The fight was stopped when Byrd landed about 30 straight punches and Thunder didnít return fire at all. A good stoppage. Most of the time when that many punches are landed the referee will stop the fight. He does this to make sure the "hurt" fighter doesnít take any unnecessary punishment. Well in this fight I think Smoger was just plain tired of seeing Thunderís face get hit. He sure as hell wasnít hurt.

During the main event last night in which Larry Donald outpointed what seemed to be an old Tim Witherspoon, Byrd was reported to have fainted somewhere in the arena. Rumor has it, (well itís a rumor Iím starting) that Byrd was told he would have to fight someone who was able to move faster than Thunder and Frankie Swindell, Byrdís last opponent. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


by BoxngRules

Last night was not a good night for the heavy punchers, who were beat by the fighters who were called slick and swift.

In the first main event, Chris Byrd, who was regarded by many as the most unwatchful new boxer who is up and coming, came in and knocked down James Thunder in the first round. Thunder was going for the knockout and Byrd caught him with an overhand right. Byrd completely controlled the bout, and with an exception of the sixth round, won every round.

Then came the ninth, the round I had predicted Byrd to KO Thunder. Thunder, who now had a small cut over his left eye, was once again going for the knockout. Byrd came on and landed a barrage of punches that left Thunder helpless, Steve Smoger stopped the fight. It was officially at 1:07 of the ninth round, and Byrd had won by technical knockout.

Byrd's record improved to 23-0, with only his 13th knockout. Thunder dropped to 32-9. Byrd fainted of dehydration in his dressing room about 30 minutes later, he was later revived but sent to a nearby hospital.

In the last bout, former 2-time Heavyweight Champion "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon was risking alot in fighting a Ĺ month substitute Larry "The Legend" Donald. Donald was a replacement for the original opponent John Ruiz.

The opening round was spent with the two fighters feeling each other out. Witherspoon hung on to take the second. Donald controlled most of the bout from that point on. I only gave Witherspoon 4 rounds throughout the 12 rounds. Witherspoon was there to fight, but didn't do too well. Donald won a unanimous decision and his record improved to 30-1-1. Witherspoon may have faced one of his last chances and saw his record slide to 46-6.


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