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Hide Defeats Ehikhamenor

Herbie HideBy Chris Williams: Former two-time WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide (43-4-41 KOs) won an easy 12-round unanimous decision over Ehinomen Ehikhamenor (12-3, 7 KOs) last night at the Pabellon Lasearrem Baracaldo, in Pais Vasco, to retain his WBC International cruiserweight title. Hide, 36, dropped Ehikhamenor with a big right hand in the 4th round, but was unable to finish him off as the round ticked to an end shortly after Ehikhamenor was administered a standing eight count by Adrio Zannoni. Hide tired out badly after at the 5th round, and seemed to be content with mostly jabbing and mixing in an occasional big right hand for the rest of the way. The final judges’ scores were 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110.

Hide now fights and lives out of Hamburg, Germany, and his once blazing fast hand speed is now all but gone, leaving only his still impressive power in his right hand. His punches, though, are now very predictable as he telegraphs them badly by constantly measuring his opponents with his left hand. This was something he did constantly against Ehikhamenor on Friday night, who mostly had an easy time making Hide miss many of his shots. Unfortunately for Ehikhamenor he had no offense of his own to speak of, reminding me a lot of both Monte Barrett and Chris Byrd. I mean that somewhat as a compliment, for Ehikhamenor has excellent defensive skills, moving his head and shoulders constantly, showing angles and moving well with his feet.

Alas, Ehikhamenor, 28, seemed unable to let his hands go other than throwing a few meaningless shots in most of the rounds. He did, however, start off well in the first two rounds, hitting Hide with a lot of jabs. I gave him both the 1st and 2nd rounds, but only because Hide’s accuracy was for the most part terrible, as he missed often with his big shots. Hide doesn’t seem to believe in mixing up the power in his shots, instead focusing almost exclusively on putting everything he’s got into every shot. This made him as easy target for Ehikhamenor, who often countered him when he’d miss badly, and find himself out of position.

In the 3rd and 4th round, Hide finally began to land more, though he often had to hold and hit in order to connect with any kind of precision. Often, Hide would run up on Ehikhamenor and land one shot, if he was lucky, before almost falling over him as Ehikhamenor would duck.

In the 4th round, Hide finally caught Ehikhamenor with a good shot, a right hand to the side of his head, causing him to back up. Hide then quickly ran up and stood over him, with Ehikhamenor ducking, and landed another right hand to the head, at which point Ehikhamenor took a knee to avoid getting hit again. He didn’t seem hurt, just wanting to avoid getting hit when he was out of position. After receiving a standing eight count, Ehikhamenor was able to escape the round without taking any more punishment as the round ended seconds later.

Hide continued to land hard shots in the 5th round, but Ehikhamenor wasn’t bothered by the punches, and merely continued ducking, making Hide miss and look bad. After the 5th round, Hide seemed to give up on the idea of scoring a knockout, and focused on boxing for the rest of the way. Some of that, however, seemed to be because Hide’s stamina, never good even in his prime, was becoming a problem by this time and he couldn’t fight hard even if he wanted to. Ehikhamenor, however, didn’t have the offensive skills to turn the fight around in the second half of the bout. In the final seven rounds of the bout, Hide jabbed, held and hit, and used other assorted roughhouse tactics. As usual, it was an ugly fight by Hide, but given Ehikhamenor’s terrible offense, it was another easy fight for Hide.

Hide’s timing, along with his speed, seems badly out of tune. Whereas before, in his early years, Hide could hit a moving target without any problem whatsoever. Now, however, he has problems hitting even a stationary target unless he’s standing right on top of it and holding his opponent down with one hand. This, regrettably, was what Hide did against Ehikhamenor on a number of occasions in their bout on Friday night, and it seemed to be a strategy done more out of necessity than by any real plan. It remains unclear what Hide is trying to accomplish in boxing at this stage of his career. He’s fighting mostly C-level opponents, and this fight – his eighth since mounting his comeback in September 2006 – was no exception.

At 36, Hide can ill afford to pamper himself with such soft opposition, that is, if he’s at all serious about contending for a major cruiserweight title. I personally don’t like his chances, and feel that he’d get knocked out by any of the top 15 contenders in the division, as well as quite a few below them.

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