Holyfield stops Botha
Ringside by Andreas Hale
Photos by Mary Ann Owen / BoxinginLasVegas.com
Forty-seven-year-old former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield looked as if he had no business in a boxing ring for five-and-a-half rounds against South African Frans Botha.
Then, all of a sudden, the “Real Deal” found the fountain of youth and tore into the “White Buffalo” to earn the World Boxing Federation title with a crowd-pleasing eighth round TKO victory in front of just over 3,000 fans at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas.
Behind on two of the three judges’ scorecards, the former four-time champion dropped the 41-year-old Botha with a chopping right hand in the eighth round. Even though Botha was able to rise, Holyfield battered the South African until referee Russell Mora called a halt to the bout at :55.
Fighting for the first time since dropping a majority decision to Nikolay Valuev, Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KOs) looked extremely rusty and slow against Botha in the early rounds. Botha would land a left jab, right cross combination with ease in the early going and clinch before Holyfield was able to get a shot off. Botha – who fell to 47-5-3 - was warned for illegally hitting Holyfield on the ears with both gloves three times in the first frame.
Botha’s approach would repeat for the first five rounds before the “Real Deal” finally found his rhythm and began to connect in the sixth round. With a clearly pro-Holyfield crowd behind him, the former champion stunned Botha with a lunging left hook to open the sixth frame and the pendulum of momentum swiftly shifted in his favor.
He would dominate the sixth landing a number of power shots to Botha’s body and head. With the tide fully turned, Holyfield would have another dominant round in the seventh before entering the eighth looking for the kill. With the “White Buffalo” tenderized and ready to go, Holyfield launched an overhand right that nailed Botha squarely on the chin and dropped him to the canvas. After barely beating Mora’s count on wobbly legs, Botha found himself on the wrong end of Holyfield power shots before the bout was waived off.
With the victory, Holyfield fulfilled his promise to win another world title and doesn’t appear to be ready to retire anytime soon.
Namauu Stops Johnson
The evening’s co-main event saw Las Vegan Henry Namauu earn a hard fought 7th round TKO victory against Rayford Johnson in a scheduled 10 round cruiserweight matchup.
In a fight that didn’t showcase much defensively, Namauu pleased the crowd at the Thomas & Mack by picking off a majority of Johnson’s advances with multiple combinations. In the seventh round, Johnson (5-5) came forward and attempted to throw the kitchen sink at Namauu.
Although he would connect with several shots, Namauu (6-3, 4 KOs) weathered the storm and assaulted the punched out Johnson with his own barrage of shots. A left hook stunned Johnson and Namauu immediately went in for the kill as he leveled his opponent until referee Tony Weeks saved Johnson from further damage at 2:43.
Former Champ Upends Young Upstart
Forty-five-year-old former cruiserweight champion Arthur Williams used a strong jab and occasional right hand to hand Valente Tinajero his first loss as a professional.
Rather than be cannon fodder for a young upstart, Williams – who has been in the ring with the likes of David Haye, O’Neil Bell and Chris Byrd – used experience to neutralize the aggression of Tinajero. Outside of a wild right hand that hurt Williams in the 5th, Tinajero (8-1) would never muster up enough offense to impress the judges. Williams (47-16-1, 30 KOs) kept Tinajero off balance with the jab and earned scores of 59-55 across the board.
Santomauro Cruises To Easy Victory
To kick off the pay-per-view, Las Vegan Rocco Santomauro pleased the hometown crown as he outboxed the gutsy Karl Hammer en route to a unanimous decision victory. Hammer (1-3) gave a gutsy performance as he never backed down from the So Cal Kid’s sharper punching but simply didn’t possess the boxing pedigree Santomauro (4-0) displayed. After an exciting 3rd round that saw crowd pleasing two way action, Hammer looked tired entering the final frame. Try as he may, Santomauro couldn’t put him away. Regardless, Santomauro walked away with 40-36 score on all three judges’ scorecards and earned the decision to remain undefeated.
Han Earns First Victory
In female four round Super Featherweight action, Jennifer Han earned her first professional victory as she utilized crisp punching and aggression to upend Crystal Hoy via unanimous decision. Han (1-1-1) displayed quick hands and was able to get off her punches as she scored early with combinations. Having been out of action for over two years Hoy (3-2-2, 2 KOs) seemed to be a bit apprehensive to engage in the early rounds due to ring rust. By the time she got going, it was too late and Han was well on her way to the decision victory. All three judges scored the bout 40-36.
Hughes Beats Alcolea In Uneventful Bout
In a relatively uneventful bout, Lawrence Hughes remained unbeaten as he collected his fourth professional win in as many bouts as he defeated Lawrence Hughes by unanimous decision in lightweight action. Hughes (4-0, 3 KOs) searched for his 4th KO by launching haymakers but Alcolea steered clear of Hughes power and the clashing of styles turned into a rather slow contest. In the end, Hughes’ aggression and ability to score earned him the victory with scores of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37.
Santiago Remains Unbeaten
In the first bout of the evening, Alexis Santiago worked his way to an easy unanimous decision victory over Brice Yeniki in four round Super Bantamweight action. Scores were 40-36 across the board for Santiago (3-0-1, 1 KOs) while Yeniki (0-5, 1) is still searching for his first professional victory.