Lacy crumples Pemberton-Challenges Calzaghe & Tarver;
Marquez thumps Mabuza
By Alex Pierpaoli
originally published 11/11/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com
Everyone likes punchers and this past Saturday night Showtime featured two IBF title-holders that rarely disappoint when it comes to knocking guys out. IBF Bantamweight Champion Rafael Marquez took on undefeated challenger Silence Mabuza while IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jeff “Left-Hook” Lacy battled Scott Pemberton. Both Marquez and Lacy got their work done quickly, sent everyone home early and certainly left fans wondering when they could see both men in action again.
Jeff Lacy, whose chiseled physique was enough to scare off his would-be first professional opponent, made quick work of Rhode Island’s Scott Pemberton, stopping him at 2:59 of round number two. The Sandman Pemberton’s effort was valiant and determined but as he often gets stunned early in many fights, against Lacy that weakness was a harbinger of certain doom.
Pemberton went right to work in the first round with his jab and long right hand and wisely tied Lacy up when he got too close. But Lacy was able to cover up and deflect many of Pemberton’s jabs using his wrists, gloves and forearms to slough off the punches. Pemberton kept firing, one-two, one-two and moving. It wasn’t enough to keep Lacy at bay and the aggressive twenty-eight year old banged at Pemberton’s body and rattled him with hooks and overhand rights.
In the second a big right hand early in the round dropped Pemberton for the first time. Rising, Pemberton kept fighting but Lacy knew his man was hurt and he kept applying pressure. With Pemberton retreating Lacy landed an overhand right high on the Sandman’s head and sent him face first to the canvas. Referee Vic Drakulich, who clearly isn’t as bloodthirsty as Transylvanians with similar surnames, waved the fight off without a count giving Lacy his twenty-first victory in as many fights.
The future looks very bright for Jeff Lacy, a super middleweight with power like Tyson but poise and ring savvy like Holyfield. After the fight Lacy spoke with Showtime’s Jim Gray and the St. Petersburg native sounded like he clearly has been having fun knocking guys out whether it’s with his right hand or his trademark left hook.
“I don’t use the left hook unless they’re taking the right hand,” Lacy giggled.
Next Lacy hopes to meet WBO champ, Joe Calzaghe in February and if that fight can’t be made Lacy will jump to 175 to pursue Antonio Tarver. And of course if neither of those guys are interested in meeting the upstart puncher, there’s no harm in Jeff Lacy defending the title a couple more times to really mop the decks of the 168 division.
Rafael Marquez is one of the best fighters in the world that no one has ever heard of and it’s a shame. His opponent, African Spice, Silence Mabuza, was a bit of an unknown quantity for U.S. fans going into the fight, Saturday and this match-up was exciting while it lasted.
The first started slowly with both men throwing jabs at each other to gauge a reaction. Halfway through it was Marquez digging to the belly of Mabuza. A few seconds later Marquez stung the South African with 2 rights and then a well timed left hook to the chin that froze Mabuza for a moment before he sagged to his knees. After an eight count, Referee Norm Budden let the fight continue and Mabuza only survived because time ran out on Marquez. As the bell sounded Mabuza regained his balance along the ropes where Marquez was looking to end things.
In the second, Mabuza fired back, landing a double left hook-right cross, but it wasn’t enough and by the end of the round it was Rafael Marquez hurting Mabuza again with double right hands and left hooks. As is typical from either Rafael, or featherweight brother Juan Manuel Marquez, there is an eerie calm with which both siblings go about the business of breaking down an opponent. By the end of round two it was clear already that the younger and lighter Marquez was softening up his foe with well-placed power punches.
At the end of three Mabuza was cut and bleeding from a gash over the right eye and another under the left. The cuts were ruled as caused by punches which meant that should the fight be stopped it would end as a TKO win for Marquez.
In the fourth, Referee Norm Budden asked the ringside physician to look at the damage to Mabuza’s face twice and the second time was enough for Dr. Stephen Brown to recommend a halt to the fight. Interestingly, Mabuza had just switched to the southpaw stance as if grasping for options that might work versus Marquez; it didn’t.
With the win, Rafael Marquez handed Silence Mabuza his first defeat in nineteen fights. For Marquez the TKO is his fourth stoppage victory in six defenses of the IBF Bantamweight title he’s held since stopping Tim Austin in February of 2003.
Send comments or questions to Alex Pierpaoli at: KOFantasyBoxing@gmail.com