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Botha Defeats Hoffmann

botha11By Erik Schmidt: Looking old, slow and fat, former heavyweight contender Francois Botha (47-4-2, 28 KOs) defeated 6’7″ German heavyweight Timo Hoffmann (38-7-1, 22 KOs) by a 12-round split decision on Friday night to defend his little known World Boxing Foundation heavyweight title at the Bordelandhalle, in Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. The final judges’ scores were 117-110 and 114-113 for Botha and 114-113 for Hoffmann.

The bout was painful to watch, as both fighters clinched often, missing many of their shots and looking as if they were dancing rather than fighting. Botha, 6’2″ 252 pounds, once a fairly trim fighter 10 years ago in his prime, looked to be at least thirty pounds overweight.

However, as fat as Botha looked, he was still better than the lumbering Hoffmann, who had no defense for Botha’s slow right hands. As bad as Botha telegraphed his right hands, you’d think that Hoffmann would have had plenty time to get out of the way of them each time Botha would try to throw one.

Much of the time, Botha was too slow to land, but he was still able to land more than enough to get the decision. In the 11th round, Botha knocked a very tired Hoffmann off balance with a right hand. Then with Hoffmann still off balance, Botha landed four consecutive right hands around his guard, knocking the big German to the canvas.

The round ended shortly after that. However, in the 12th round, Botha caught Hoffmann with a big right hand early in the round and then threw roughly Hoffmann to the canvas, and walked away as if he had won. Botha’s corner jumped in the ring and began to celebrate prematurely despite the referee never having signaled that it was a knockdown.

It wasn’t, and anyone could see that Botha had shoved Hoffmann to the canvas. It’s unclear why Botha wasn’t disqualified for his corner person entering the ring at this point, because that was the logical thing that should have been done in this case. The action then resumed after the referee escorted Botha’s corner person out of the ring.

Seconds later, Botha landed a big looping right hand that further hurt Hoffman. For the remainder of the round, Botha would occasionally land right hands as Hoffman would come charging at him. Like in the other rounds, they clinched often and looked totally exhausted.

The decision seemed like a fair one, because Hoffmann looked wild and uncoordinated through much of the fight and not in the league of the 40-year-old Botha. However, I still think that Botha should have been disqualified for his corner person jumping into the ring prematurely.

Botha doesn’t look like a top tier heavyweight despite getting the win over Hoffman, and I can’t imagine what Botha’s ultimate goal is with his two-fight comeback. The way he looked last night, Botha would have been destroyed in the 1st round by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, and I can’t see Botha being able to last long against Ruslan Chagaev or Nikolay Valuev either. Perhaps if Botha loses thirty pounds, he might look a little better, but I tend to doubt it.

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