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Hernandez Defeats Simms

hernandez563456.jpgBy Aaron Klein: Cruiserweight contender Yoan Pablo Hernandez (17-1, 10 KOs) survived a 7th round scare in which he was knocked down by his opponent, American journeyman Michael Simms (20-10-1, 13 KOs), but ultimately did enough to win an eight-round majority decision on Saturday night at the Weser-Ems-Halle, in Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany. Hernandez, 23, a former Cuban amateur star who now fights out of Germany, controlled most of the fight excluding the 7th round. He did, however, have problems with Simms’ big power shots that he would land sporadically throughout the fight, nailing Hernandez ever once in a while. In between those rare offensive flashes from Simms, Hernandez was busy building up a lead, landing hooks to the body and head and keeping Simms under a steady rain of punches.

Hernandez’s stamina problems once again seemed to resurface, as he began to tire by the 3rd round, sweating profusely, looking tired and worried. Simms was totally calm, and not wasting any energy whatsoever as he slowly walked Hernandez down. Whenever Hernandez would let up on his own shots for a second, Simms would wind up and hit with him with some tremendous shots to the head and body. After getting a good taste of a number of left hands from Simms, Hernandez seemed to think it was a good idea to try and continue throwing punches as much as possible to keep Simms on the defense.

As he often does, Hernandez looked good in the first two round, throwing hooks to the body and head, and showing excellent form with his offense. He covered up much more than he had in the past, no doubt a product of him previously being stopped in the third round by Wayne Braithwaite in March, and also being wobbled in his last fight against Santiago De Paula in August. Hernandez did a good job covering up in the second until he dropped his guard in the last seconds of the round and was hit with a huge left hand from Simms.

Surprisingly, Hernandez didn’t go down or stagger from the shot, because the punch looked every bit as hard as the one that Braithwaite took him out with in their fight. In the third and fourth round, Hernandez dominated the action, landing well to the body and head of Simms, who just kept walking forward looking to throw bombs. During these rounds, Simms wasn’t throwing hardly anything and appeared to be saving his energy for brief attacks. However, he had no problems taking Hernandez’s shots, which had no effect on him.

Normally, Hernandez is a good puncher, but in trying to stay busy to keep Simms off of him, he was throwing more punches than he usually does and was punching himself out in the process. Hernandez continued fighting well in the fifth round, throwing a lot of punches and working really hard. He was wearing down, though, losing power on his shots, and looking worried for his inability to slow Simms’ forward progress.

In the 6th round, Simms began landing some hard left hands to the head of Hernandez and at one point knocked him off balance with a big shot. The punches really bothered Hernandez, who appeared to be stressing out almost in the same way that heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko often does when being hit hard by opponents. At the end of the round, Hernandez desperately unloaded with a flurry of shots, all of them seeming to be thrown with the hope that he could somehow stop the tank-like Simms from attacking him. It didn’t work.

In the 7th round, Simms landed a huge left hand that crashed off the head of Hernandez and then followed it immediately with a right that dropped Hernandez. The right probably wasn’t needed because Hernandez looked like he was on his way down from the left. Hernandez immediately got up off the canvas, and begin fighting back fiercely, trying to prevent from getting knocked out again. Simms looked only marginally interested in going for the knockout and only offered up a handful of punches. Hernandez survived the round, and continued fighting well in the 8th and final round, though he was nailed a few more times by big shots from Simms during this round.

Now, to be fair, Hernandez did end up winning the fight by the judges’ scores of 77-76, 77-74 and 76-76, but at this point I’m having doubts that he has the potential to be a future champion. Offensively speaking, he’s better than any of the top cruiserweight champions, but unfortunately he doesn’t appear to have the chin or the stamina to make it to the top in my estimation. Who knows? Maybe his trainers can teach him how to protect his fragile china chin, but I kind of doubt it.

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