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George Stops Byrd In 9th Round!

By Aaron Klein: Former WBO/IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd (40-5-1, 21 KOs) experienced one of his most humiliating losses in his career tonight when he was stopped by light heavyweight Shaun George (17-2-2, 8 KOs) in the 9th round of a scheduled 10-round bout at the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Byrd, coming off of a 11th round TKO in his last fight against Alexander Povetkin in October 2007, made what in hindsight appears to be a hasty move by losing close to 50 lbs and moving down to the light heavyweight division. Though he said he felt fine, Byrd looked anything but fine against George tonight, appearing badly weak in the legs and gaunt in appearance.

As it turned out, Byrd had kept none of his power from the heavyweight division, and was dominated by the normally weak-punching George, who dropped Byrd in the 1st round, and two more times in the 9th before the fight was ultimately stopped. Along the way, Byrd was hurt often by George, never able to fight competitively with him for a second of the fight. With this loss, it’s unclear what Byrd will do now. George isn’t a top fighter in the light heavyweight division by stretch of the imagination, and it would be scary to see what would have happened to Byrd if he had fought an excellent light heavyweight.

Clearly, Byrd may have to give up his dream of fighting for a title in the light heavyweight division, because as bad as he looked tonight, I see nothing but a never ending string of losses ahead of him if he continues to fight on in the division. Byrd may have to either consider retiring or trying to move back up, perhaps the cruiserweight division with a limit of 200 lbs. That seemed like the more logical choice to begin with for Byrd, but for some strange reason he decided to skip over the division completely and instead opt for the 175 lb light heavyweight division.

At 37, Byrd will have his work cut out for him it’s needless to say. He’s taken a lot of punishment over the years, with his two fights with Wladimir Klitschko, his fight with Vitali and most recently his fight with Alexander Povetkin. The fights with Wladimir and Povetkin, in particular, were fights that Byrd took an extraordinary amount of punishment.

That being said, Byrd just looked badly weight drained tonight, like someone who had been on a crash weight diet and who had no business fighting competitively. His skin looked gaunt, he had no sweat on his body, and his eyes bulged out of his head like a human skeleton. In a word, he looked terrible.


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