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Latimore Stops Powell

By Michael Lieberman: In a shocking upset, number #1 ranked IBF junior middleweight Sechew Powell (23-2, 14 KOs) was stopped in the 7th round of a scheduled 10-round bout by Deandre Latimore (19-1, 16 KOs) on Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Times Square, in New York City, New York. Powell, 29, appeared to underestimate the quality and tenacity of his opponent, the 22 year-old Latimore, who fought him hard from the first round, making Powell fight much harder than perhaps he expected.

Both fighters took turns winning rounds up until the 6th, when Powell seemed to ease up as if he was tiring out a little. Latimore, however, continued to fight hard and put a lot of pressure on Powell, hitting him often with big shots. In the 7th round, Latimore seemed to step up his pace a notch, hitting Powell harder and attacking him much more frequently. Finally, Latimore drove Powell to the ropes where he unloaded with a flurry of shots, one of which snapped Powell’s head back, while he futilely attempted to cover up.

Seeing that Powell was virtually defenseless in the corner, the referee Benjy Esteves Jr. moved in and stopped the bout at 2:11 of the 7th round. The loss, bad enough for Powell whose ranked #1 in the IBF light middleweight division was poised for a title shot against IBF champion Verno Phillips, was made much worse in that it was shown nationwide in the U.S. on ESPN cable television.

Things didn’t look good for Powell in the 1st round, when the southpaw Latimore showed off his impressive speed, ripping combinations to the head and body of the slower, more stationary Powell. Though Powell would answer back later in the round with his own combinations, none of them were a match for Latimore’s earlier good work.

In the second and third rounds, Powell came back using his long jab quite frequently, mixing in an occasional big left hand. Latimore wouldn’t go away, however, and he fought Powell very closely in both rounds, hitting him almost as much as he was being hit. Powell’s shots were a little harder, however, which is why I saw him winning the rounds by a narrow margin.

In the 4th and 5th rounds, Latimore continued applying a lot of pressure to Powell, forcing him to fight off the ropes quite often. It wasn’t as if Powell had to retreat to the ropes, but he seemed to give up ground on his own, perhaps thinking that it would enable him to sneak a short break on occasion for his weary-looking 29 year-old legs. Both rounds were very close. I had Latimore winning the 4th because of his constant pressure, even though Powell looked good in the 2nd half of the round. Latimore was the one making the fight, the one forcing the action and the fighter who stayed busy without letting up.

In the 5th round, both fighters were hurt in the round, starting with Latimore who was stunned by a big left hand early in the round. Powell attempted to finish him off, but only succeeded in punching himself out in the process. Latimore, looking determined, fought back hard as the crowd seemed to energize him and he came back at the end of the round to hurt Powell with a big left hand of his own, then showering him with punches until the end of the round.

In the 6th round, Powell looked like a fraction of his former self, now tired and fighting almost entirely off the ropes. He was stalked constantly like a wounded animal, and took a lot of punishment from Latimore in the round. Like in the previous rounds, Powell had his moments as he was still dangerous despite being badly fatigued at this point. However, none of his shots were going to take Latimore out, and it was clear that was really his only chance at winning, because Latimore was just plain outworking him at this stage.

In the closing moments of the round, Powell landed a couple of hard left hands that got Latimore’s attention. Not to be outdone, Latimore began adding power to his own shots, focusing more on power than on speed now. This seemed to have a withering effect on Powell, who looked noticeably uncomfortable with Latimore’s power shots that were raining in on him now.

In the 7th round, Latimore continued throwing very hard punches at the very start of the round, and immediately had Powell leaning against the ropes trying to fight off Latimore the best that he could. Latimore just continued throwing one shot after another, until finally it became apparent that Powell was suddenly losing it, becoming unraveled as he tried to fight back but discovered that he couldn’t any longer. Powell then retreated to the corner for one last stand.

Latimore came forward and ripped into him like a shark attacking his prey, and tagged him with a flurry of shots, snapping Powell’s head back in a gruesome manner while he attempted, with little success, to block the incoming fire. At this point, the referee Benjy Esteves Jr. had little choice but to step in and halt what had turned into a slaughter. The fight was officially stopped at 1:55 of the 7th round.

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