Australian Kali Meehan showed true grit and determination to out-box and out-punch WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster over twelve spirited rounds only to lose his title challenge by a dubious majority decision at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on a Don King promoted card on Saturday night.
After a slow opening two rounds, the former sparring partners started to pick up the pace in the third, with Meehan establishing his jab and Brewster looking to hook over the top. Meehan controlled the action from the outside for the first two minutes of the round before Brewster landed a sweeping left hook that spun the 34-year-old Australian around and had him covering up on the ropes from a two-handed Brewster barrage. After being separated from a clinch by referee Jay Nady, Meehan backed Brewster onto the ropes where the two traded punches on the inside until the bell.
In the fourth Meehan, who was breathing heavily through his mouth, stayed on the outside to use his superior handspeed and reach to dominate the action. A counter left hook from Meehan caught Brewster right on the button and staggered 31-year-old, while a number of follow-up right hands kept the Klitschko-killer at bay for the remainder of the round.
The pace slowed considerably in the fifth, but in the sixth Meehan came out hard, jolting Brewster’s head back with a series of stiff jabs and forcing the champion back onto the ropes with a series of chopping right hands. While both men appeared fatigued, they showed tremendous heart as they traded bombs on the ropes, looking for an early night. Despite referee Jay Nady separating the fighters with a minute to go in the round, they quickly found their way back to the ropes where they resumed their toe-to-toe battle.
The seventh round saw Meehan box effectively from the outside, while Brewster struggled to find a way to close the gap and launch his vaunted left hook.
The eighth round started slowly but by the middle stages the complexion of the fight changed dramatically. Meehan stung Brewster with a pair of right hands that landed high on the champion's head and sent him reeling towards the ropes. Sensing he had his man hurt, Meehan unleashed a vicious two-handed assault that saw Brewster barely able to stand, let alone fight back, for the remainder of the round. Brewster was lucky that referee Nady, standing close by and watching attentively, didn't stop the fight in that round.
Brewster showed remarkable recuperative powers to start strongly in the ninth, but Meehan's jackhammer jab and accurate right hand held him at bay. In the tenth and eleventh rounds Brewster managed to outwork Meehan with his looping power punches and coming into the twelfth it looked like the champion maybe able to salvage a draw to retain his belt.
But Meehan showed his championship heart to close the show strongly, engaging the brawling Brewster in close and outworking him on the inside. Despite a desperate flurry from the reigning champion in the final thirty seconds of the round, it appeared to all and sundry that the 5-1 underdog had done the unthinkable and pulled off the upset.
In a disappointing verdict, judge Adelaide Byrd scored the bout 114-113 in favour of Meehan, while judge Dave Moretti scored it 114-113 and judge
Nelson Vasquez had it 115-113 both in favour of Brewster.
With the loss Meehan's record falls to 29-2 (23), while Brewster ups his ledger to 31-2 (27).
In the only bout on the undercard Cory Spinks retained his undisputed welterweight title by outboxing former WBC lightweight champion Miguel Angle Gonzalez over twelve rounds. Gonzalez was able to land some solid right hands in the early going, but Spinks' movement and southpaw style prevent the Mexican veteran from mounting any sort of sustained attack. At the conclusion judges Duane Ford, Carol Castellano and Jerry Roth all had it 118-109 in favour of Spinks.
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The result of the Meehan-Brewster bout capped off a bad weekend for Australian boxing. Vic Darchinyan's title fight against IBF flyweight champion Irene Pacheco, scheduled to take place in Hollywood, Florida as the headline bout on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights, was scrapped due to Hurricane Frances. Nader Hamden, 36-2 (17), was stopped in the twelve and final round of his WBA International middleweight title fight against Arthur Abraham, 13-0 (13).
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