Kickett Defeats St. Clair
By Chris Williams: In a battle of age vs. youth, up and coming undefeated Australian lightweight prospect William Kickett (11-0, 5 KOs) defeated former IBF super featherweight champion Gairy St. Clair (40-7-2, 17 KOs) by a 10-round unanimous decision at the Vodafone Arena, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on Tuesday night. Kickett, only 21, was making a huge step up in class, going from C level fighters to a good B class fighter in facing the 33 year-old former champion St. Clair. After a rough start in which St. Clair appeared to cause Kickett a lot of problems, winning two of the first three rounds, Kickett took over the fight in the 4th and controlled the bout the rest of the way with a combination of movement, a good jab and big power. The final judges’ scores were 97-93, 98-92 and 98-92, all for Kickett.
Kickett, who slightly resembles fellow Australian Anthony Mundine in looks and a little in fighting style, was moved up in a big way in having to face St. Clair on Tuesday night. Perhaps Kickett’s Management felt that due to the fact that St. Clair had lost three out of his last five fights, including a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Amir Khan in February, it meant that he was soft enough for Kickett to beat him. If that was their thinking, then yes, St. Clair wasn’t in the same class as Kickett, for after the 3rd round, the fight belonged totally to Kickett.
Before then, however, St. Clair, a volume puncher with little power and known for pressuring his opponents, stayed on top of Kickett forcing him to fight backwards much of the time. Kickett, having been used to being the pressure fighters in most of his bouts, found himself in an odd position of having to defend either against the ropes or going backwards. When he would stop and trade with St. Clair for any amount of time, he would find himself unable to match him punch for punch, getting hit with a blur of fast shots and unable to keep up with St. Clair’s frenetic pace.
Kickett was easily the harder puncher, yet his punches weren’t hard enough to cause St. Clair to back away, at least not at this early time of the fight. Kickett stayed in constant motion, circling the ring, firing off constant jabs and stopping occasionally to fight off the ropes. During those occasions, he often got the better of St. Clair, hitting him with monstrous shots to the head and body. However, more of than not, St. Clair would just keep punching and looking a lot like a miniature Antonio Margarito as he seemed to never stop throwing shots. In the last 30 seconds of the 3rd round, St. Clair landed well and hit Kickett with a number of shots to the head, cutting him on the side of his left eye.
Round four was perhaps the round of the year, as far as I can tell, for both fighters stood toe-to-toe for the entire round trading huge shots. With his big power punches, Kickett appeared to win the round, but none of the punches ever bothered St. Clair in the slightest, as he never backed up and inch or stopped for a second his constant punching.
Kickett was cut for a second time, this time just above his left eye in the 5th round, and like in the earlier rounds, he had problems with St. Clair’s constant pressure. He moved a lot, circling the ring and firing off jabs, but St. Clair stayed with him for the most part, cutting off the ring or waiting for him to stop moving in order to land shots. It didn’t look good, Kickett the younger stronger fighter, running constantly from St. Clair. In fairness to him, though, he didn’t seem to know how to handle the pressure given the huge jump up in competition.
After the 5th round, however, Kickett completely took over the fight, boxing masterfully, landing huge power shots and staying on the move for much of the time. He landed some huge right hands in all of the rounds, especially the 7th and 8th rounds, and bloodied St. Clair’s nose and swelled up both of his eyes. In the 9th round, Kickett gave St. Clair a tremendous beating, hitting him repeatedly with clubbing right hands and making him look like a beaten fighter. In the 10th round, Kickett backed off and spent the round mostly moving, letting St. Clair follow him around and eat constant jabs.