(Rich Graessle/Main Events)
Two awkward, ungainly boxers from far off lands wearing comedy clothing met on NBC Sports Saturday for the right to fight for the belt owned by Bernard Hopkins, and it was Nadjib Mohammedi’s awkwardness that ruled the day against Anatoliy Dudchenko. He won by 7th round stoppage.
Mohommedi’s comedy clothing of choice was a Batman logo on his belt line; his awkwardness was of the “funny angles, leaping, crouching” variety. The Frenchman had absolutely no trouble landing on Dudchenko with that style, whose awkwardness was of the “super tall, hands down, head straight up, wing punches from his waist” variety. (His comedy clothing of choice was a robe that made him look like some kind of Ukrainian porn star. Also, his reach was listed as a comical 62″ — an inch more than one of the featherweights, Gary Russell, Jr., fighting Saturday on Showtime, and Russell’s arms have been called short.)
Dudchenko didn’t really win a round and by the 5th he was getting dominated by punches he didn’t see coming and wouldn’t have blocked with his shitty defense anyway. By the 6th it was getting close to calling it a night. By the 7th, Mohammedi busted Dudchenko’s nose and the ref stepped in at the right moment to keep him from more punishment.
Mohammedi showed speed and unconventional offense but he wouldn’t contend with the winner between light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and Hopkins. Once more: Whatever the sanctioning belts do to help anyone deserving get a fight, they undo it in even measure by giving undeserving fighters a chance.
On the undercard, lightweight Karl Dargan made a statement with a sizzling combination that dropped Anthony Flores in the 5th and then finished him off with one more punch after he got up to make the ref call it off. Flores had landed the occasional quality punch, enough to make the rounds competitive — not close — at times. Dargan has been criticized for being boring, and his team said beforehand they’d aim to prove that he was more than blistering speed and intelligent counterpunching. That combination was a helluva start toward reversing his reputation.