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Ahunanya Defeats Butler

LatestBy Scott Gilfoid: Heavyweight prospect Alonzo Butler (26-1, 19 KOs) lost a 10-round unanimous decision to veteran Friday Ahunanya (24-5-3, 13 KOs) on Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada. After dominating the first three rounds of the fight, Butler, 28, got careless and was nailed by a big right hand from the Nigerian Ahunanya, who quickly followed up with a flurry of big shots, knocking Butler to the canvas.

When he got up, his left eye, the eye that had been previously operated on for a detached retinue, began to swell up and would eventually close completely. From that point on, the fight mostly belonged to Ahunanya, as he landed the far bigger shots and would cause Butler problems in the subsequent rounds. The final judges scores – 95-94, 96-93 and 95-94 – were much closer than what the actual fight looked to be because Ahunanya appeared to win by a significant margin, much more so than the close scores that were eventually given by the judges.

Butler looked good in rounds one through three, albeit slow and rather stationary. He used a lot of jabs and a decent amount of slow, ponderous combinations to Control Ahunanya. It looked as if it would be an easy fight for Butler going into the 4th round. Not sure what happened in the round, other than he made the mistake of standing directly in front of Ahunanya and got nailed with a big right hand, the punch driving Butler backwards towards the ropes. Ahunanya, sensing knockout, went after him and landed a series of big shots to plant Butler on the canvas. Upon getting up, Butler’s left eye was looking bad, well on it’s way to closing for the night.

Butler came back in round five, fighting well using jabs, hooks and combinations to control Ahunanya and keep him from getting his own shots in. However, Ahunanya came back late in the next round and nailed Butler with some big shots in the last thirty seconds of the round to steal it. In the 7th round, Ahunanya stunned Butler again with a big right hand, then chased after him as Butler attempted to flee. The fight might have ended there, but the referee stopped the action, giving Butler a needed break, and took him over to have his eye examined by the ringside doctor.

In rounds eight and ten, Ahunanya did most of the good work on the inside with powerful right hands and good left hooks to the body. He looked somewhat like fellow Nigerian Samuel Peter, only that Ahunanya’s punches never strayed to the back of Butler’s head during the fight.

Going into the bout, the 6’3″ 265 lb Butler had an excellent record. Indeed, he had no losses and had easily beaten most of his opponents. However, if you were to look closely at his record, you’d have noticed that he had fought almost entirely C-class fighters, none of them well known and many of them with losing records. For this part, Ahunanya, 36, had fought much better opposition, fighting top heavyweights such as Sultan Ibragimov, Alexander Povetkin, Dominick Guinn, Serguei Lyakhovich and Lance Whitaker. Any one of those fighters were much better than the opponents that Butler had faced, and I imagine they, too, would be undefeated if they had faced the competition as Butler had his entire eight year career.

With Butler’s eye problems, he’s got to ask himself a big question – does he feel it’s worth it to continue considering the huge potential risks involved with his previously operated on eye. He’s a good heavyweight, but from the looks of him on Friday night, he looks a million miles away from every being a top tier heavyweight. His speed and power are average, and at 28, you’d think that those qualities are set in place already and won’t be changing all that much no matter how much training he does.

His weight, a soft 260 lbs, is also a problem. However, even if he were to strip it off, he looks essentially like a slow plodder, not particularly nimble on his feet in other words. He’ll continue to have problems when or if he ever moves up against a high power heavyweight in the class of Wladimir Klitschko, who would blast him out fairly quickly in my estimation due to Butler’s lack of movement, power and hand speed.

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