A night of upsets, nonstick tape, foot cramps and oh yeah, Ray Austin would like to thank HBO for this Showtime presentation!
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (September 4, 2005)  
Photo © David Martin Warr
What a night of fights! What a night of upsets! And let’s not forget about the nonstick tape, the paralyzing foot cramps and misrepresentation of the major networks, oh how we love the drama of the ‘sweet science’.

After dropping his first loss seven months ago at the hands of Monte Barrett, heavy favorite Owen Beck 24-2 (18) looked to bounce back Saturday night against hometown hero Ray Austin 23-3-3 (15). Learning a lot from his last outing the twenty-nine year old Jamaican who now resides in Tennessee felt this match-up would shed new light on his career and give it the kick-start he needed to the top, but Austin had other plans.

The two faced off throwing jabs to start off the fight feeling one another out but Beck who is accustomed to dropping his guard low swallowed a rocking right hand from Austin and was bounced around the ring but was able to survive the punishment all the way to the bell. Round two began and Beck came out working up some bodywork and out boxed Austin for the next two rounds. The fight was back and fourth with Austin landing long shots and smothering Beck on the ropes. Six, seven and eight belonged to Beck who began to out work Austin on the inside and outside landing popping shots to the body of the weary and worn Austin, but tape issues and coming out without a mouthpiece hindered the bout but had no ill effect on the ending.

Austin, who had his dirty moments by hitting after the bell without repercussion, seemed to be tiring out as he has done on occasion but Beck couldn’t capitalize on the exertion and from out of nowhere was shocked rocked and just about finished up in the eleventh round via left hook from Austin. The last round begun and a wobbled Beck made his way out to the center of the ring and continued on absorbing one-two combinations from Austin but was able to come back with his very own right hand to make this bout entertaining, but it wasn’t enough to convince the judges and he now drops his second bout in a row and moves to the back of the bus of heavyweight division.

Austin becomes the #2 guy in the IBF by scores of 115-113, 117-111 and 113-115 making the fight a split decision victory. Beck simply stated that he was disappointed and he has bad habits due to dropping his hands, and after the well deserved W Austin stated that Beck was a warrior and that he loved being the underdog. And oh yes, he also went on to thank HBO for giving him this chance to showcase his talents, Showtime thanked him for his gratitude.

Former WBC cruiserweight champion Wayne Braithwaite 21-2 (17) said he didn’t like the taste of losing after his defeat to Mormeck but once again the respected opponent had other plans. In a highly entertaining yet controversial bout Guillermo Jones 33-3-2 (25) came out swinging and literally punished Braithwaite with repeated right hands in the first round, but Wayne was able to hold on and survive the onslaught Jones offered up.

Braithwaite came back in round number two fighting back but for the most part missed numerous shots still eating his share of right hands while switching back and fourth from orthodox to southpaw. Wayne seemed to come back strong landing heavy body shots and was on a roll until Jones stunned Braithwaite and began a series of right hands that backed Braithwaite onto the ropes. Braithwaite was stunned and wasn’t firing back but was slipping shots from Jones who missed the last two shots. However referee Jim Villers, who stated that he would have ended the fight once again if given the chance under the same circumstances, jumped in a called a halt to the bout at 2:26 in the fourth round giving Jones the stunning and quite controversial TKO victory.

But even more entertaining was the foot cramp that seemingly paralyzed Jones, dropping the victor to the canvas after the bout was stopped. Braithwaite in disgust went on a verbal assault saying in his words, “I don’t know where they got the referee from, the ref’s immature.” But the war of words wasn’t quite over when Villers fired back, “I’d stop it again!”

Regardless if you agreed with the stoppage or not, what was seen of the bout was highly entertaining and in my opinion – which I usually don’t like to give – the rematch would be a great one. But for now O’Neil Bell appears to be Jones’s next target.

Boxing is a sport that entertains millions all year around, whether it is your championship match-ups, a fight that could put a fighter into serious contention or just your average throw down, for the hour or so the fights last it takes away the daily troubles that clouds our minds. As tonight, I was caught up in the bouts and had a heck of a time doing so, but after it all reality set in and the thought of all the victims who are homeless, jobless, hungry and to put it bluntly without a pot to piss in made me think, oh how blessed we can be. So I am calling on all boxing fans, let’s make a difference; let’s help those in need; we give numerous amounts of money yearly for PPV. Some worth it and some not so worth it, but this time this is a fight for life, and we can help. If you can, please call 1-800-Help-Now, or visit www.redcross.org that is the Red Cross Hurricane Relief. Let’s help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and show that damned hurricane you may knock us down, but you can never KO the human spirit.
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