- #36 Kevin Johnson (26-1-1)
- #55 Tom Little (3-0-0)
- #114 Tor Hamer (15-1-0)
- #170 Albert Sosnowski (46-4-2)
- #196 Tom Dallas (15-2-0)
- #198 Maurice Harris (25-16-2)
- #251 Marcelo Luis Nascimento (16-3-0)
- NR Noureddine Meddoune (4-1-0)
Harris vs. Sosnowski
Johnson vs. Meddoune
Hamer vs. Nascimento
Dallas vs. Little
Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson is appropriately a fairly heavy favorite, but he's a slow starter and will need to turn it on sooner than later. Albert Sosnowski, like Johnson, lost to Vitali Klitchko, but since then he's been less than stellar, drawing with to Hastings Rasani. American Tor Hamer was making waves before his disappointing loss to Kelvin Price two years ago; Tom Dallas looks to rebound from losses that slowed his upward climb; as does big Brazilian Marcelo Nascimento. Maurice Harris is the journeyman of the field. Relative newcomer Tom Little jumped into our rankings after beating Rasani (after he'd drawn with Sosnowski) but will likely see his ranking come back to reality before the night is over. Noureddine Meddoune is our only unranked fighter; he lost his very first bout but has 4 KOs since then.
Fight #1: Harris vs. Sosnowksi
First round both fighters come out strong, Sosnowski scores early but Harris rocks him at the minute mark. Sosnowski unsteady for the next minute or so before he comes back and may have stolen the round from being busier. Harris had the much bigger punches though.
Second round Sosnowski stays busy, Harris isn't connecting like he did in the first round. It's easy to see why Harris doesn't get decisions. Sosnowski lets his guard down after the ref separated them and gets whacked by a strong left from Harris. But the round probably goes to Sosnowski and the fight is very close if not tied.
Third round: Harris is strangely retreating to start the round instead of showing any urgency. Lots of tie ups this round. In the final minute Harris starts to come alive, throwing more than he did all fight but not as effectively as in the first round. A pretty bland fight overall, Sosnowski could win on work rate alone. But it's up in the air.
Decision: Split decision for Sosnowski, which seems about right. Harris will again complain about the judging in his fights, but his work rate is a problem.
Fight #2: Johnson vs. Meddoune
Round One: Johnson starting slow and carefully as Meddoune takes his shots at landing a big one. Meddoune is missing all his hooks so far while Johnson gives the occasional jab. Johnson starts mixing it up a bit more midway thru the round. Big right from Johnson following the jab. Another right and Meddoune is down for the 8 count. Huge right from Johnson send Meddoune sprawling into the ropes, and the fight is stopped when Johnson follows up.
Result: Johnson TKO Meddoune with 1 second left in the first round.
Fight #3: Hamer vs. Nascimento
Round One: Not much action early as Hamer adjusts to Nascimento's height. He gets going a bit after the first minute; Nascimento whiffs on a huge windmill left. Hamer lands his best punch at the minute mark but neither fighter has been hurt. Now Hamer whiffs with a haymaker. Hamer takes the round.
Round Two: Hamer controls the action for most of the round, as Nascimento whiffs twice on huge punches while Hamer pecks him apart. Both fighters trade giant whiffing punches in the last minute, but Hamer connected during the round while Nascimento hardly did.
Round Three: Nascimento needs a KO, and is punching for the stars. Hamer connects with a counter and attacks, pushing Nascimento to the canvas, and it's ruled a knockdown. Nascimento windmilling over and over again, Hamer avoiding them, occasionally countering. Hamer clearly won, probably winning all 3 rounds plus the "knockdown."
Decision: Unanimous decision for Tor Hamer, though one judge had it just 29-28.
Fight #4: Dallas vs. Little
Round One: Both Toms mixing it up heavy early. Both are around 6' 6". Little is brawling while Dallas is boxing, but the results in the first half of the round are inconclusive as Little keeps coming and getting in some wild combos. Dallas countering well to keep things from getting out of hand. Little still the agressor despite Dallas' strong response. Little appears to be tiring at the end of the round. A close round; Dallas showed better boxing skill but might have been outworked.
Round Two: Both trying to take the upper hand against the ropes. Little's brawling style still troubling Dallas. After resting, Little comes alive again, connecting with a strong right. Another combo with a minute left rocks Dallas. Both fighters are exhausted for the last minute. Little might have won the round but will he have anything left for the third?
Round Three: Dallas gets Little on the ropes, then in mid-round Dallas' combos put Little on the canvas, more due to exhaustion than anything. When he gets up, it isn't long before the ref stops the fight, Little is nearly collapsing on his feet. Dallas will advance but he had a really rough, tiring fight compared to what Hamer had.
Result: Dallas TKO round 3 Little
SportsRatings Heavyweight Rankings update:
- #36 Kevin Johnson (27-1-1) even at #36
- #196 Tom Dallas (16-2-0) up to #91
- #114 Tor Hamer (16-1-0) up to #112
- #55 Tom Little (3-1-0) down to #114
- #170 Albert Sosnowski (47-4-2) up to #148
- #198 Maurice Harris (25-17-2) down to #235
- #251 Marcelo Luis Nascimento (16-4-0) down to #271
- NR Noureddine Meddoune (4-2-0) still unranked
Semifinal #1: Johnson vs. Sosnowski
Round One: A clash of styles with the calm Johnson against the frenetic Sosnowski. First minute is all Sosnowski's workrate and a few jabs from Johnson. Sosnowski tags Johnson a few times, no harm done but Johnson still biding his time. Final minute, neither fighter doing much. Round probably to Sosnowski due to workrate. Remember it took Vitali Klitchko 6 rounds to figure out Sosnowski; Johnson might have to think fast.
Round Two: Johnson not looking very concerned for a 3-round fight, not throwing much at all. Johnson lands a few left hooks, a good stiff jab later. Sosnowski has slowed down a lot in this round. Johnson's jab is getting through. He's staying out of Sosnowski's range too, until a late right connects. Johnson takes the round, and it's probably down to round 3.
Round Three: First minute relatively quiet like the 2nd round. Johnson not showing any fire or intensity, or workrate at all. With a minute left he pushes Sosnowski through the ropes. Final seconds not terribly energetic. Johnson may have won the round and the fight but if he doesn't, he has no one to blame but himself.
Decision: Split decision for Kevin Johnson, with one judge scoring it 30-27 for Johnson.
Semifinal #2: Hamer vs. Dallas
Round One: Both fighters come out swinging, with Hamer looking to take advantage of Dallas' last bout. Dallas defends well for a while before Hamer lands a huge right that leaves Dallas out on his feet against the ropes, and the fight is stopped after about 30 seconds.
Result: Hamer TKO 1 Dallas
SportsRatings Heavyweight Rankings update:
- #36 Kevin Johnson (28-1-1) even at #36 then up to #28
- #114 Tor Hamer (17-1-0) up to #112, then up to #64
- #196 Tom Dallas (16-4-0) up to #91, then down to #145
- #170 Albert Sosnowski (47-5-2) up to #148, then down to #196
Final: #28 Kevin Johnson vs. #64 Tor Hamer
Round One: Johnson working the jab early, Johnson blocking a lot of Hamer's flurries. Kingpin walking down Hamer. Hamer rushes in and clinches, showing more respect by far than he did in the last fight. Hamer trying to use his speed to be elusive, but Johnson gets in a jab and uppercut, Hamer responds with a hard combo. Hamer hits to the back of the head in the last few seconds. Johnson probably won the round on jabs, but Hamer gained a lot of confidence.
Round Two: Johnson comes out the agressor with the jab again. Hamer giving Johnson trouble the way Sosnowski did, through speed and elusiveness, but Hamer connecting more than Sosnowski did. Hamer picking away from the outside, and may have taken the round.
Round Three: Johnson trying to get the jab going again early. Hamer full of confidence though. Johnson looks too relaxed and indeed, dull. Hamer definitely looks like the livelier fighter. With a minute left both fighters are in danger of losing but neither is acting like this is the last round. Johnson might have won that round...or lost it, since Hamer looked busier than the plodding Johnson. Could go either way, though.
Decision: Unanimous decision for Tor Hamer.
Kevin Johnson takes the 2nd loss of his career. The 3-round format was not good for Kingpin. The win will boost Hamer to around #26, and Johnson falls to #89.