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Quillin & Witherspoon Both Win In Impressive Fashion

quillin3246463.jpgBy Robert Cavender: Undefeated middleweight prospect Peter Quillin (18-0, 14 KOs) won a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision over three-time middleweight championship challenger Antwun Echols (31-8-4, 27 KOs) at the Hammerstein Ballrom, in New York City, New York, on Wednesday night. The final judges’ scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 98-91, all for Quillin. In an earlier bout, undefeated heavyweight prospect Chazz Witherspoon (23-0, 15 KOs), the 2nd cousin of former heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon, defeated journeyman fighter Domonic Jenkins (13-8-1, 6 KOs) by a 10-round unanimous decision.

Quillin, 24, used his superior power and size to dominate the smaller, less skilled Echols in the process of pounding out a 10-round decision. In fact, Quillin dominated Echols with ease, making him seem like a much smaller and weaker puncher in the process. It was unusual seeing Echols in with a fighter with more power than him, and the effect it had on him was to pretty much shut down his offense for most of the bout. Indeed, only in rare situations did Echols reveal his power and by even then it was late in the fight when he was well behind in the scoring.

At 6’1”, Quillin had a two inch height advantage over Echols but it might as well have been more because Echols had problems matching up with the size of the larger Quillin from the opening moments of the fight. Quillin quickly found a home for his powerful left hooks, catching Echols often in the first four rounds of the fight. Though Quillin, a right hand fighter by nature, it was his left hand that would do most of the damage in the fight, hurting Echols on a number of occasions.

Most of Echols’ opportunities to land his own shots came when Quillin would allow Echols to get in close, where Echols would hit him with short punches to the head and midsection. At close range, Echols, a fighter accustomed to fighting more at a distance, was smothering his own power and hence was unable to get the same kind of impact that he normally has with his shots.

This was a move made by Echols, who was getting battered whenever he would allow the taller and longer armed Quillin to fight at a distance. At least when the fighting was in close, Echols didn’t take nearly as much punishment than he did when Quillin was fighting at a distance. Showing his youth, Quillin allowed Echols to pretty much dictate the distance of the fight, although Quillin would start out each round fighting on the outside, but it would quickly turn into an inside fight when Echols would move in close. Used to knocking most of his opponents out in the first couple of rounds, Quillin began showing signs of slowing down by the 4th round. He didn’t necessarily look tired or anything but his punch output slowed down none the less.

In the 5th round, Echols was having a good round, landing much more than he had in the previous round. However, Quillin put on a late surge in the last minute of the round Echols with a series of hard left hooks that snapped his head from side to side and had the crowd getting into the fight. In the 6th round, Quillin hit Echols with some tremendous right and left hands, knocking him off balance and sending him to the ropes. At that time, Quillin looked like a super middleweight against a junior welterweight, due to both his size and power advantage over Echols. However, Echols took the shots well, showing no signs of being noticeably hurt from them, despite being knocked around physically.

Late in the 7th round, Quillin staggered Echols with a big left hook. Unfortunately the round ended before Quillin could follow up with any addition shots. In the 8th round, Echols made it a point to stay tight in close with Quillin, smothering his power and keeping him from landing any more bit shots like in the previous round.

Around the midpoint of the 9th round, Quillin hurt Echols with a powerful left hook to the head. Then, for the next minute and half, Quillin landed some excellent combinations to the head. For a second there, it looked as if the referee Arthur Mercante Jr. would step in and stop the fight but Echols finally started fighting back just when it looked as if it were going to be stopped. Quillin, who mostly loads up with single shots rather than punches in large combinations, also slowed down as if he had punched himself out in the process of going for a knockout.

Twice in the 10th round, Quillin hurt Echols with, the first time with a left hook to the head. Then a little later, Quillin landed a monstrous right hand after it appeared that Echols was making a short rally and trying to get back into the fight, at least as far as the round goes. The right hand from Quillin stopped Echols in his tracks and completely shut down his offense for the remainder of the round.

In the other fight on the card, undefeated heavyweight prospect Chazz Witherspoon overcame a slow start in which he appeared to lose the first three rounds of his 10-round bout with Domonic Jenkins, to come back strong and win the remaining seven rounds of the fight. During the opening three rounds, Witherspoon’s punch output was unusually low for him, but he remedied that after the 3rd, and began outworking Jenkins by a substantial margin, averaging between 50-90 punches per round.

Witherspoon, not a particularly fast or devastating puncher, made up for his lack of speed and overall power by constantly hitting Jenkins with jabs and uppercuts to the head. Jenkins, 35, was still landing some good shots in the 5th round, but he was beginning to be outworked by the younger 26 year-old Witherspoon. A round later, Jenkins’s punch output dropped off dramatically as was no longer punching much at all, only standing in front of Witherspoon and absorbing punishment.

The fight for all practical purposes stayed at this pace until the 10th round, when Jenkins came alive briefly and caught Witherspoon with several excellent right hands. However, the fight should have been stopped well before that, perhaps in the 9th round, because Witherspoon badly punished Jenkins with unyielding shots to the head. There was absolutely nothing being thrown back from Jenkins during the round and he hadn’t showed any inclination to throw any meaningful punches before that since the 5th round. Whatever the case, Jenkins made it through the fight without being knocked out but he sure did take a lot of punishment in the process.

It was a good win for Witherspoon, who needs to consider stepping up the level of his competition a notch of two. He’d give any of the top heavyweights a lot of problems due to his size, heavy hands and constant work rate. I wouldn’t be surprised if he beat a lot of the top fighters like Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Tony Thompson and Ruslan Chagaev, because he has the talent and size to make for a tough matchup for any of them.

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