Sharkie's Machine: Chris Henry TKO’s Shaun George in Six
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (July 11, 2009)  
There was a pretty decent fight on Friday Night Fights this week at “The Arena” in Philadelphia , where Light Heavyweight Chris Henry (24-2, 19 KO’s) took on Shaun George (18-3-2, 9 KO’s), who came in with a five fight winning streak. Henry had lost his last fight, a split decision to Yusaf Mack, who was able to dictate the action with his right hand in Henry’s face for the better part of the night. Though Henry is an aggressive fighter, he can be a bit sloppy and his defense remains questionable. The best attribute he possesses in the ring is his heart. He comes to fight and gives all his has.
What more can a fan ask for?

At the start, Shaun George appeared to be the superior boxer and had a nearly flawless first round, landing his right hand at will and rocking Henry a couple of times, while rarely being hit himself. The second round saw an undeterred Henry keep coming forward and taking shots from George, until late in the round when Henry landed a right that stunned George during a late exchange.

After the second round, Henry continued doing what he started since the first bell, pressing the action with punches. But George down shifted gears into turtle mode, where he got into his shell on defense and was allowing Henry to outwork him from the third round till the sixth, when after four rounds of nearly no offense by George, Henry landed a clean right followed by a small, inside left that saw George go down. George was stunned and took his time getting up at the count of eight. When action resumed, Henry went for the finish and landed another big right that floored George again. George was too wobbly to continue and referee Steve Smoger stopped the fight.

This was an interesting contest since George demonstrated at the start that he had the skills to win this fight—easily. He couldn’t miss with his right hand in the first round. But after getting clocked by Henry in the late second round, George lost his confidence and his interest in fighting. That was obvious from the way he let Henry dominate the action at every turn afterwards.

This was a good win for Henry, who is a gritty fighter with decent power. With a few improvements to his technique, he has lots of potential. I’d like to see him fight a rematch with Yusaf Mack and take a shot at redemption for his recent loss.

Shaun George’s claim to fame was a knockout win over a ‘past his prime’ Chris Byrd in May of last year. Byrd had gone down to cruiser weight in hopes of better fortunes as his career was winding down. George looked great against Byrd, who everyone knows is at the least, a very good boxer. The big difference between Byrd and Henry is that Henry punches with bad intentions, while Byrd only punches to score points and win rounds and has about as much power as a feather duster.

Henry was gracious during the post fight interview, crediting George for his exploits in the first round, where he confessed to being hit a few times with pretty hard shots. When asked about his tendency to get hit with right hands, Henry talked about how he tends to start his offense with his left hand and is open to right hands because of it. He also noted that he started keeping his left hand up higher after the second round. You live and you learn.

Shaun George has good skills but without the heart to go with it, he won’t go far in boxing. This wasn’t a matter of being badly hurt and giving into the pain. This was a matter of George letting the fear of being hit again set the tone for how he continued. His decision not to punch back for such long stretches made this loss inevitable. It was as though he’d given up. After seeing George knockout Byrd, I thought he showed good power and was a likely force on the rise. After Friday night, that notion seems to have faded. But who knows, he may bounce back from this and either come back strong or quietly disappear.

Congratulations to Chris Henry, who did what warrior’s do, even in the face of adversity; he ignored the pain and fought on with the intent to win.

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