Friday, May 20, 2005

Bell captures IBF cruiserweight title in horrendous decision

By JE Grant

In what can be described as a direct assualt on the fabric of boxing, O'Neill Bell, (24-1-1, 22 KOs) garnered the IBF's version of the "world" cruiserweight championship with a horribly scored 12-round decision over Dale Brown, (33-4-1, 21 KOs).

Brown, a capable and sturdy boxer, repeatedly beat the home-run seeking Bell to the punch throughout the fight. What's more, the relatively light-hitting Brown was able to out-maneuver Bell and dictate the pace of the fight. It can even be said that he landed the bigger punches – Bell never came close to hurting Brown.

With the fighters splitting the opening rounds, Brown scored sharp counters to the head of the forward charging Bell with ringing regularity in the third. Bell's legs wobbled and his punches dropped off considerably.

From that point on, Dale Brown slowly gained control of the action. He continually pulled the one-dimensional O'Neill Bell out of position with clever slides and well-placed, if too infrequent jabs. Bell hustled enough to win rounds 2, 4, 5, and 10, but never convincingly dominated the action. I scored the bout 116-112 (8-4 in rounds) in favor of Brown.

Brown's clear lack of the explosive punch prevented him from becoming the IBF champion . He outboxed, outfoxed, and actually out-punched the favored and harder-hitting Bell.

Not since Lennox Lewis - Evander Holyfield I, in which Lewis easily outfought Holyfield only to see the bout scored a draw, has there been such a convincingly terrible decision rendered by supposedly professional judges at ringside.

Although it won't draw that kind of attention, this is not something boxing people should overlook or let pass without closer examination.

Whatever thoughts the judges in Florida had racing through their minds as they scored in Bell's favor after seeing him slapped silly round-after-round is up for conjecture. It should also be up to some stern public questioning.

Neither Brown or Bell demonstrated skills that will make anyone think that either represent a real threat to Mormeck. That does not, however, diminish the fact that Bell will now likely go on to realize a big payday while getting beaten down by Mormeck in a unification bout --- and Brown will be watching from ringside.

I picked Bell to win this bout by a KO in 7. That prediction did not come close to coming true. Most of us watching a boxing match, even if we are openly rooting for one fighter to win, hate to see the true victor robbed of his hard-earned victory. Such was the case tonight.



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