February 15, 2000
Deep in the woods, on the banks of the Thomas River in Uncasville,
Connecticut lies a beautiful 600,000 square foot gaming and entertainment
facility. It's a place where people can find out what kind of luck they
have. The extravagant Native-American interior design befits the tone set by
the casino's owners, the Mohegan Tribal Nation. Some would believe that the
exquisite structures bring different forms of luck. Last night in a Showtime
televised event at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino, boxers took their chances
within the confines of a bingo room, where the sounds would not be emanating
from a geriatric convention (no pun intended Bucket) but the screaming 1,400
As fate would have it, two of the challengers in last night's Showtime
double header didn't have enough luck in opposing the most feared jr.
welterweights in the world. Headlining the card would be Kostya Tszyu
(24-1-1, 19 KO's) of Sydney, Australia via Russia. Making his first defense
of the WBC crown he had so convincingly won last summer against Miguel Angel
Gonzalez, Tszyu would be challenged by the ever-resilient Ahmed Santos of Los
Mochis, Mexico. To say the least, the #7 rated WBC challenger gave
everything he had in his failed; yet inspiring attempt at a world title.
Entering the ring to the Mexican National Anthem, Ahmed Santos (23-3-4,
13 KO's) would later unleash a severe beating to the defending champion's
hands. After the sound of the bell beginning round one, Tszyu immediately
established his overwhelming presence by pressuring the Mexican into a fight.
Santos' troubles began when he would lunge in with looping shots only to
remain in front of the Russian 'thunda from down unda' for the receipt.
Tszyu took full advantage of Santos' tactical blunder as Santos and Tszyu's
hands systematical beating began.
Tszyu's ferocious right hands resounded off of Santos' Tex Cobb-like head
round after painstaking round. Tszyu's only scare came in the second round
when an accidental head butt incurred a good-sized laceration above his
forehead on the hairline. The butt went unnoticed by the aged Frank
Cappuccino, who was the appointed referee for the championship bout.
After three rounds, the crowd, which had its share of supporters on each
side, sensed the horrific end of Santos' gallant attempt. It took up to :36
seconds of the 8th round however, for that end to arrive. At the sound of
the bell for the 8th round, Tszyu tore into Santos and dropped him with a
pulverizing right to the face. The end culminated with another four-punch
barrage that staggered the challenger face forward. Another chopping shot to
the back of his head dropped him once again. The second knockdown was enough
for Cappuccino to finally call a halt to the bout.
"He's got a great chin," said the impressed champion. "I hit flush on
the chin many times and could see his pain but somehow, he would just ignore
One thing Tszyu cannot ignore is his mandatory defense against the former
four-time champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, who despite losing at welterweight to
Willy Wise, retained his number 1 status with the WBC. Thus, Chavez will be
the third Mexican in a row that Tszyu will pulverize.
Many were on hand to witness Brooklyn's Zab Judah win his first world
title over South African, Jan (pronounced Yan) Bergman. The IBF had
proclaimed their 140 pound title vacant when Terron Millett became unable to
defend due to his broken hand.
Judah's appearance brought out not only his Brooklyn buddies, but also
the boxing connoisseurs who appreciate the sport at its highest level of
talent. From world-renowned trainer, Don Turner to ESPN's Max Kellerman, no
one, including this columnist misses the opportunity to see Judah, a future
Hall-of-Famer in live action.
Bergman, 29 is himself a capable boxer who has been a professional of the
sport for just shy of ten years. One of his blemishes occurred at the stone
hands of Kostya Tszyu while Tszyu was the defending his IBF championship.
Despite his vast experience, many did not expect the challenger to last the
six rounds that Tszyu needed to stop him four years earlier.
With the anticipation of what seemed to be a fairly easy win for Judah,
he almost playfully stalked Bergman during the first round and gave glimpses
of what was to soon come. After landing a crushing right hook from his
southpaw stance, Judah forced a stumbling Bergman to fall on the seat of his
pants for the first of the bout's four knockdowns. Though he arose quickly,
Judah could sense an imminent finale.
Bergman successfully kept out of harm's way when suddenly he absorbed a
lightning quick left cross to the right side of the head near the round's
end. Again he was felled but managed to stand up and survive the
It was obvious during the second stanza that Bergman was in superb
condition and that he didn't travel to the Mohegan Sun to listen to the 3,000
singing slot machines. He created a distance in the center of the ring with
long shots, some of which were landing on the 22-year old. At the same time,
it appeared that Judah was fighting as if the knockout and the title would be
handed to him. Instead Judah was dealt his first knockdown as a professional
when he was dumped by a left hook/uppercut while turning in with his own
right uppercut from the outside.
Judah, immediately sprung to his feet embarrassed from what had just
unexpectedly transpired. "He hit me with a little left and I laughed at
him," said Judah of the knockdown. "I was a little over-anxious. As soon as
I calmed down and got my composure, I did what I did."
What Judah did was finally corner Bergman in the 4th round with a massive
flurry of lightning quick combinations. Bergman, overwhelmed and unable to
defend himself, slumped to the canvas. Referee Steve "Double S" Smoger
reached the count of "Ten!" while Bergman seemed to contemplate the idea of
returning to his feet. It would not be Bergman's day.
Next up for the new champion will be Terron Millet who could not meet
Judah due to his broken hand ailment. "He doesn't really want (to fight)
me," said Judah of Millet. "He's probably going to go out and break his
Like Kostya Tszyu, Judah has aspirations to unify the division's title
and move up for more lucrative paydays. "I think Kostya will walk right
through Chavez and I wish him luck so we can get it on," said Judah. "They
let me in the door with the big boys (by being granted a title shot) and I
feel great about it. Once I unify the titles, I'm gone (to move up to
welterweight). Salty Shane Mosley, I'm coming for you.
In the opening bout, Anthony "Candyman" Chase of Providence, RI found an
equal adversary in terms of records in Michael Warrick of Washington, DC.
Both unbeaten jr. welterweights had won all of their 9 fights coming in.
Unfortunately for Chase, the judges at ringside based running as significant
criteria for officiating fights. Though Warrick boxed effectively at times,
he spent most of the 6 round bout running and was repeatedly warned for
excessive holding. One of the three inept judges, John Lawson awarded Chase
only one of the six rounds. Look for Lawson to be an official at this year's
In a four round light-heavyweight bout, Zab's brother Daniel, who is also
a southpaw, ran his record to 3-0 by unanimously out-pointing Kevin Russell
of Lakewood, NJ. Though not blessed with his brother's explosive power,
Daniel showed flashes of Judah-ism landing effective combinations to defeat
Russell who was making his pro debut.
Taking a page out of Ahmed Santos' school of punishment, Dale Brown of
Quebec, Canada, absorbed a bloody beating at the hands of Wayne Braithwaite
188, New York via Guyana. Defending his WBC Intercontinental and NABF
Cruiserweight titles, Braithwaite (11-0) bloodied and punished Brown's face
until Referee Victor "Dracula" Drakulich decided to halt the bout at 1:44 of
the 8th round. Brown 187 (170 after the fight) who had unsuccessfully
challenged Vasily Jirov for the IBF Cruiserweight title on the
Lewis-Holyfield II undercard was game throughout but never seemed to faze or
discourage Braithwaite who continued to Picasso his face. The loss drops
Brown to 19-2-1.
Promoter: Main Events with Dillon Productions