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Appleby Gives Pickering a Boxing Lesson

By Nate Anderson: BBBofC British featherweight champion Paul Appleby (13-0, 8 KOs) dominated former BBBofC/EBU (European) super bantamweight champion Esham Pickering (33-8, 13 KOs) on Friday night, beating him by an easy 12-round unanimous decision at the Bellahouston Sports Centre, in Glasgow, Scotland. The final judges’ scores were 116-113, 117-112 and 117-111.

However, the scores didn’t really give a true indication of how badly Pickering was beaten in the fight. At best, Pickering appeared to have won only one round in the fight, the 9th, and looked to have lost all of the other rounds.

The problem was his game plan, which seemed to be one of him just trying to survive rather than actively looking to win the fight. Pickering, 32, ran constantly, avoiding Appleby as much as possible and making the fight painful to watch. Going into the late rounds, Pickering needed a knockout to win. However, he continued to run around the ring like track star and ended up losing badly.

Though Appleby easily beat Picking and made him look like an old man, he was far from satisfied with his own performance, saying “It wasn’t a good performance. I wasn’t very sharp tonight. I wasn’t throwing my jab hard enough.”

The pattern for the fight was set in the first round when Pickering came out looking cautious, backpedaling around the ring and using a lot of lateral movement to prevent Appleby from getting off his shots.

It seemed like a decent plan for the first round, but it was foolhardy to stick to it beyond that because it was a plan destined to fail miserably against the young, fast 21-year-old Appleby, who simply followed Pickering around, hitting him whenever he’d stop for a moment. All Pickering’s running really accomplished was tiring him out and preventing him from throwing any shots of his own.

In rounds two through three, Pickering continued racing around the ring, avoiding action and throwing an occasional pot shot. It looked like the worst of Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr., running out the clock instead of trying to engage. Appleby continued hammering the old warrior every time he’d corner him, pounding him with chopping shots to the head and hooks to the body.

In the 4th round, Pickering didn’t look quite as bad as he did in the previous three rounds, fighting well for the first half of the round. But in the 2nd half of the round, Pickering was caught on the ropes by Appleby and ended up getting hit with a flurry of punches to the head.

In rounds five though eight, Pickering continued with his scheme of trying to frustrate Appleby with movement, and like in the former rounds, it didn’t work in the slightest as he continued to get pelted with shots from Appleby. Pickering fought hard for the first half the 8th round, but then seemed to tire out and take punishment from Appleby in the last half.

In the 9th round, Pickering landed a sucker punch early on, knocking Appleby off balance. Thinking he had him hurt, Pickering continued to land hard shots. Appleby wasn’t hurt, though, and came on strong in the last 30 seconds of the round, once again drilling Pickering with shots to the head.

In rounds ten through twelve, Appleby easily controlled the action over the tiring Pickering, having to chase him around the ring due to Pickering’s movement and tag him. Pickering had his moments here and there, landing a few pot shots, but he didn’t have the energy to fight hard for more than a few seconds at a time. In the end, Pickering’s running probably factored in on his lack of energy, because it didn’t enable him to get much of a rest, causing him to tire out in the later rounds.

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