Just how impressive was Lacy? | NevadaAppeal.com

Just how impressive was Lacy?

MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Boxing Columnist

My fight coverage of Saturday’s Showtime-televised card was devoid of quotes and some other things you ought to know. Here they are:

LACY-PEMBERTON

Just how impressive was IBF super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy in defending his belt Saturday against Scott Pemberton? Nigel Collins, editor-in-chief of The Ring magazine, supplied this brief, graphic summation in an e-mail Monday: “Lacy looked like he was clubbing a baby seal.”

If you don’t know by now Lacy, 21-0 with 17 knockouts and one no-contest, was on a mission against Pemberton. In successfully defending his crown for the fourth time the 28-year-old Lacy, of St. Petersburg, Fla., looked more lethal than he ever has.

Even though the 6-foot-2 Pemberton, of New Bedford, Mass., now 29-4-1 with 24 KO’s, tried to stay on the outside and box more than usual, the 38-year-old known as “The Sandman” was the one put to sleep courtesy of a piledriving right hand from “Left Hook” Lacy at 2 minutes, 59 seconds of round two.

“Everyone looks for the left hook,” said Lacy after the fight, “so I have to go back in the gym and work on something more devastating.”

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It’s hard to imagine the 5-foot-9 Lacy being more devastating than he was against Pemberton, who offered the understatement of the night: “(Lacy’s) one of the hardest punchers I’ve faced.”

What’s next for the crowd-pleasing slugger? If all works out Lacy could face undefeated WBO super middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe in a unification match. If not, Lacy said he has someone else in mind.

“If Calzaghe doesn’t step up, I’ll fight (world light heavyweight champion) Antonio Tarver,” Lacy said before glaring into the Showtime camera and challenging Calzaghe and Tarver with the same words Tarver had for Roy Jones before icing him in their second fight. “Do any of you have any excuses?”

It should be noted that neither would-be opponent was available for comment but promoter Gary Shaw, who can filibuster a post-fight press conference every bit as good as Don King (and he did Saturday), supplied plenty of excuses for them not to fight Lacy.

Shaw said he thought Tarver would instead choose to be a “movie star” rather that fight Lacy. Tarver reportedly will be Rocky Balboa’s new foil, playing the part of heavyweight champion Mason Dixon, in “Rocky VI,” which begins filming early next year.

As for Calzaghe, 39-0 with 31 knockouts, Shaw said there was no way the Welshman’s promoter, Frank Warren, would allow his fighter to come to America, but that the fight could be made, was “a no-brainer to make over (in Wales),” and that they could meet the first Saturday in February or early-March.

MARQUEZ-MABUZA

In successfully defending his IBF bantamweight title for the sixth consecutive time Rafael Marquez proved he is the man to beat in the 118-pound division.

Marquez, now 35-3, with 31 KO’s, stopped rugged challenger Silence Mabuza, of Johannesburg, South Africa, at 2:08 of round four. Heeding the advice of ringside physician Steven Brown referee Norm Budden called it off because of a deep gash over Mabuza’s right eye over the protests of “African Spice.”

In a post-fight press conference Mabuza, now 18-1 with 15 KO’s, said the fight-ending cut was caused by a headbutt and thus should’ve been ruled a no-contest because the bout was stopped before four rounds were completed.

A Marquez left hook dropped Mabuza in the first round and although there were heated exchanges throughout the bout, Mabuza also was cut below the left eye, lumped up badly and had absorbed several vicious body shots from the heavy-handed Marquez.

“The knockdown was the first I’ve suffered as an amateur or a professional,” the 29-year-old Mabuza said after the fight. “I got caught, but I came back strong. I need to fight this guy. I want a rematch. I want this boy. I’ll go to Mexico and fight him if I have to.”

It’s unlikely the other bantamweight strapholders – Hozumi Hasegawa (WBC), Wladimir Sidorenko (WBA) or Ratanachai Vorapin (WBO) – will meet Marquez in unification bouts, so a rematch with the aggressive, and fearless, Mabuza wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

“I felt I won every round,” said Marquez, who indeed swept the rounds on all three official scorecards. “It was easier than I thought. He was a very strong fighter, but I hit him perfectly from the start. Losers make excuses.”

Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Marc Ratner said Monday there was no controversy. Ratner said there was a headbutt, but that the fight-ending cut was initially caused by a punch and therefore was the cause of the stoppage.

Although Marquez, who still is without a promoter since he left Top Rank, said all options were open. If that’s the case a step up in weight to challenge IBF junior featherweight titlist Oscar Larios looks like the most entertaining fight out there for him.

GILBERT-NORTH

Returning to action for the first time in 13 months, Reno’s Joey Gilbert showed tremendous conditioning, a strong chin, an improved jab and defense, and an unparalleled desire to win in a super middleweight war with James North, of Weston, W. Va.

The former three-time national champion for the University of Nevada, now 10-1 with 7 knockouts, and unheralded North unquestionably supplied the fight of the night. The pair engaged in furious exchanges throughout, but Gilbert threw an unanswered 20-punch combination in the sixth round.

North, now 7-8-1 with 2 KO’s, answered with a solid left, but Gilbert piled on another seven-punch combo. It is also a testament to Gilbert that most, if not all, of the 1,569 fans who crowded the 1,300-seating capacity of the Circus Maximus remained to watch his walk-out bout which, unfortunately, wasn’t televised.

The entertaining Gilbert, who swept all six rounds on the judges’ scorecards, provided some equally colorful quotes and will be the subject of an article later this week.

n Contact Mike Houser at houser9502@aol.com