Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bell rings in New Year with undisputed crown

NEW YORK -- O’Neil Bell captured the undisputed cruiserweight championship with an unexpected, but convincing, 10th round knockout of the division’s premier campaigner Jean Marc Mormeck Saturday in New York.

More importantly, he gained a place in the money sweepstakes with potential conflicts with light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, or one of the numerous heavyweight titlists.

The self-proclaimed “Supernova” lifted not only the crown from the Frenchman, he removed the ugly cloud that has hovered since the travesty of a decision over Canadian Dale Brown that originally gave him the IBF belt. In that bout Bell, now 26-1-1 (24 KOs), 199 ½, looked like anything but a superstar, benefiting from a judgment that easily ranked with the worst of 2005.

His opponent, whose new nickname “Marksman” was voted on by Showtime viewers prior to the fight, was on the other hand considered a solid performer – a shining light in an otherwise drab division. Mormeck moved well, punched with authority, and had a chin that, until this night in Madison Square Garden, never failed him.

Always noted for his power, Bell was determined to prove himself the “matador” to Mormeck’s bull-like tactics. What many observers noted before the bout, however, is that nothing in his history indicated that he possessed the requisite skills for such tactics.

Indeed, it did not play out that way in the unification bout. Mormeck, 31-3 (21 KOs), 197 ¾, was indeed the bull, but artistry did not defeat him; power and resilience did.

Mormeck started well, landing a variety of crisp punches from the 1st through the 4th including several combinations punctuated by left hooks that tested Bell’s mettle.

In round 5, Bell began to the turn the tide, landing hard right hands and keeping Mormeck at a distance with a more than adequate jab. Mormeck aided in the effort, appearing winded and more than willing to stand against the ropes for extended periods.

Bell continued to keep the tempo high, apparently sensing Mormeck’s weakening. On occasions Mormeck mustered enough energy to land hard in return. Mormeck appeared to have a last hurrah in round 8, throwing enough punches off the ropes to eke out the round. It would be his last.

Round 9 was the beginning of the end for Mormeck. Bell dominated the round and hurt the now-immobile WBC and WBA titlist from several angles.

Bell completed his work in round 10 blistering his foe with hard right hands. Backing Mormeck into a corner, he raked him with both hands. Mormeck crumpled to the canvas and a count was not necessary. Mormeck had never been down before but it was clear he would not rise from his first visit.

If once an unlikely superstar, Bell now has numerous opportunities to explore. With the division’s new 200-pound limit in place, the cruiserweight king is oh-so-close to the real money of the heavyweight class. Consider one fact that is likely not lost on Bell and his team: Leon Spinks in beating Muhammad Ali for the title in 1978 was a full two pounds lighter than Bell was against Mormeck.

Of course Antonio Tarver is once again on the hunt for a fight with a star. Bell may now fulfill that requirement and with his undisputed title in hand he has a glittering crown for Tarver to covet.
O’Neil Bell, the current citizen of Atlanta by way of Jamaica, has lots of decisions to make. We should all have such problems.

5 Comments:

Anonymous The Cruiserweight said...

This one surprised me a bit as well JE.I had picked Mormeck and by stoppage nonetheless.Bell-although he can whack-has shown a tendency to let his technique just get so dreadfully 'sloppy' at times.It was terrible.I mean,it would just south and to absolut hell.And his chin had shown evidence of being a bit shaky.Needless to say--he had a much more even perfomance last week,and also showed a bit of resilency.That was BY FAR the most impressive Bell I have ever seen.As for Mormeck--he just didn't seem to look like himself at times.He was impressive in spurts,but that was about it.(Did the long layoff effect him? One thing is probably for certain;it didn't help him.)

11:20 PM  
Anonymous The Cruiserweight said...

P.S-

Where is the top-25 hvy's for January,huh?

11:22 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I'd like to see Bell give Dale Brown another crack considering the horrible decision in their first meeting.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous The Cruiserweight said...

I totally agree JE.(I had Brown winning 8-4 I believe)Guilermo Jones is another deserving guy,and like you say--I would like to see a Mormeck rematch as well.Brown-incidentally-has a very tough fight coming up against Felix Cora.

*Sidenote-Look out for young brit David Haye.

4:07 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

I think a little tournament is due for the Cruisers. Cora and Brown are meeting in a IBF eliminator. Maybe a Cunningham/Jones fight. And a Mormeck/Haye battle. Winner of Brown/Cora and Jones/Cunningham face off. With the WInner of Mormeck?Haye take on Nelson. Now Bell would face the first little tournament winner: either Brown, Bora, Cunningham, or Jones. And then another super-unification fight between Bell's titles and whoever Mormeck or Haye that takes Nelson's title away. They fight for all 4 Cruiserweight title. It's a little confusing I know. Trust me it's much clearer in my head. Regardless of your or my ability to follow my plans, the fights are exciting period. It's lovely to have all these options in the Cruiserweight division.

12:20 PM  

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