Friday, May 16, 2008

Requiem for a Light-Heavyweight


By JE Grant

Former heavyweight belt-wearer Chris Byrd found that at 37-years of age he couldn’t go home again --- home that is to the light-heavyweight division were he began his career in 1993.

Shaun George, 17-2-2 (8 KOs), Brooklyn, 175, found an early home for his right hand to the chin of Byrd, 40-5-1 (21 KOs), Las Vegas, 174, dropping him early in round one and pummeling him throughout their contest enroute to a 9th round stoppage win.

Byrd was flat from the opening bell. Fighting at his lightest weight since his second bout as a pro, none of his infrequent punches slowed George at any point. 

George hurt Byrd in the opener with a straight right and put him down with a quick follow-up. Despite rising quickly, it was clear Byrd was off balance and in trouble throughout the round.

Each succeeding round was merely a repeat of the first minus the knockdown. As George circled, landing sharp right hand counters, Byrd simply followed in almost a plodding way.

In the ninth, Byrd sported markings to his face --- something that was rare in his long heavyweight tenure. George sensed the opportunity to end the night and did so with strong combinations. 

A George right hand to the head caused Byrd to lose control of his back foot. He landed in an awkward manner on his left side as his left leg shot oddly to the right. It was apparent after the bout that he also injured his left shoulder in the fall.

Byrd made the count but was in no shape to continue. George pounced, raining blows as Byrd crumpled in a corner ending what is likely final moment in an otherwise remarkable boxing career. Time of the knockout was 2:45.

JEBoxing scored the bout 80-71for George through the eight rounds completed.

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