Exciting Edouard stops Gibbs in four
By Victor Garcia (August 30, 2004) 
Daniel Edouard
Photo © Brendon Pierpoali
In what must certainly be a candidate for fight of the year, the up and coming Daniel 'The Haitian Sensation' Edouard knocked out Philadelphia prospect Willie 'The Gladiator' Gibbs at the Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights to win the vacant USBA middleweight championship. The match-up was intriguing on paper as both fighters walked into the ring never having tasted defeat and with hopes of advancing their respective careers. Gibbs, who is Bernard Hopkins’ cousin by marriage, may have entered into the contest as the presumptive favorite. His resume included 14 knockouts over 17 previous opponents, while Edouard was coming in after having suffered the only blemishes on his professional record when he earned two uninspiring draws against the rugged Dorian Beaupierre in his last two bouts. This night, however, would be very different for the Haitian Sensation.

From the beginning, Edouard pressed the action with his aggression and looked to be the stronger fighter. He was fighting like a man who had something to prove. Much to the delight of the audience in attendance, both combatants threw caution to the wind and chose to mix it up. There was no feeling out period for either. While each combatant was able to land heavy shots on the other, it was Edouard who appeared to be getting the better of the exchanges early in the opening round. His looping power shots backed Gibbs against the ropes where Edouard proceeded to punish the body and head of his very game opponent.

Edouard was seemingly controlling the round with his power punch output when Gibbs landed a left to head of his more assertive foe. The crushing left uppercut wobbled the legs of a suddenly backpedaling Edouard as the crowd jumped to its feet in jubilation. Stumbling around the ring discombobulated, Edouard eventually managed to stave off the newly ignited attack of Gibbs by holding. For this, Edouard was thrown to the ring floor in an incident that was correctly not ruled a knockdown. If not for the bell, Edouard may not have made it out of the first round.

The second stanza began where the first left off, as both fighters came out aggressive. After having visibly hurt Edouard in the first, Gibbs looked to finish him off in the second. Unfortunately for the Philadelphian, Edouard recovered enough between rounds to return fire, and just as the fight appeared to level off in action, Edouard landed a combination of punches that turned the tables on Gibbs. The power shots sent Gibbs reeling backward with The Haitian Sensation following him with his fists. It was now the previously hurt fighter who was stirred to action. Edouard landed a barrage of punches on the shaky Gibbs. The referee seemingly intervened in what appeared to be a stoppage just as Gibbs was floored. To the surprise of many, instead of waving off the fight, the referee proceeded to give the fallen fighter a count. To his credit Gibbs bravely rose to his feet before the count of ten. Shortly after the referee allowed the fight to continue, the bell sounded and Gibbs was saved.

The opening of the third was delayed when the ringside physician called time as he examined Gibbs. The fans in attendance roared to life when the fight was allowed to resume and the round did not disappoint. Again, both fighters came out swinging. Gibbs and Edouard traded leather with neither wanting to give ground. Things would tip in favor of Edouard when he managed to land a hard right that wobbled an already unstable Gibbs. The Hopkins in-law inexplicably managed to remain on his feet, however. Trying to defend himself, Gibbs managed to get caught with a heavy shot again. This time Gibbs looked like a man attempting to replicate a mime pretending to sit. Still he managed to remain standing.

With 45 seconds remaining in the round, a tired Edouard left himself open and was caught with a lead right uppercut that stunned him. The newly awakened Gibbs mustered all he could in a vain attempt to finish Edouard. As the bell sounded to mark the end of the round, both fighters were barely standing.

The fourth and final round saw a still unsteady Gibbs take an overhand right that momentarily paralyzed him while he landed face first on the canvas. Though he beat the count, the referee called a halt to the action when Gibbs was hardly able to walk forward. This caused a triumphant Edouard to celebrate by running around the ring with a huge smile on his face. As the camera panned back to the corner of the fallen boxer, it managed to capture a downtrodden Gibbs weeping.

Shortly after the end of the bout, Edouard, a devoted minister, collapsed in his corner as the doctor rushed to assist him. Apparently, he was suffering from severe dehydration and concussions. Both fighters were eventually taken to the hospital where they reportedly spent the night.

The win increases Daniel Edouard’s record to 16-0-2 (9), while Willie Gibbs falls to 17-1 (14).

On the undercard another Philadelphia fighter was upset in only his second loss as a professional. 'Untouchable' Rasheem Brown lost a split decision to the aging Jose Spearman. Coming into this fight, Spearman had commented that losing this bout would mean the end of his career.

A tentative Spearman allowed Brown to control the two opening frames. However, after being slapped in the face by his trainer between the second and third rounds, Spearman came out more aggressive in the third.

The fifth round brought the fans in attendance to life when Spearman was able to land a left hook near the end of the frame that noticeably hurt the man known as 'Untouchable'. This punch seemed to signify a significant change in the way the fight was progressing. As the sixth ensued, it became obvious that Brown was looking to land one good shot while Spearman was putting his punches together, throwing combinations. During an exchange, the heads of the two competitors clashed, and it appeared as if Spearman was floored by the headbutt. Though it was not ruled a knockdown, a temporary halt followed when referee Richard Flaherty called the ringside physician in to examine a cut above Brown’s right eye that was caused by the accidental butt.

The only official knockdown of the fight came in the seventh round when a lunging Brown tripped over Spearman’s foot just as a blow was landed. The referee, seeing that Brown went down at the end of punch, ruled it a knockdown as an incredulous Rasheem looked on in disgust.

The scores were 76-75 twice for Spearman and 77-74 for Brown. The split decision victory brings Jose Spearman, who had lost three of his last four fights, to 21-8-2 (8). The loss leaves Rasheem Brown with a record of 14-2 (12).

In the only other televised bout, an overmatched John Battle was stopped in three rounds of a four round bout by Ehinomen Ehikhamenor. Ehikhamenor was clearly the more powerful man in the ring, snapping Battle’s head back in the final round. The referee chose to stop the bout when Battle covered up while taking punches in the third round without returning any.

John Battle’s resume suffers another loss and falls to 10-10-1 (6) and the Nigerian prospect from New York improves to 7-0 (4).
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