Undersized Proksa badly exposed by Kerry Hope
By William Mackay: Previously unbeaten now former EBU middleweight champion Grzegorz Proksa (26-1, 19 KO’s) was beaten by 30-year-old little known challenger Kerry Hope (17-3, 1 KO’s) by a 12 round majority decision last Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The final judges’ scores were 115-112 and 114-113 for Hope, and 114-114 even. The 27-year-old Proksa from Poland sustained a cut above his left eye in the 2nd round from a clash of heads in the last seconds of the round.
Although many of the 5’8″ Proksa’s loyal fans think he was robbed by the judges by not getting the decisions, I think that’s the furthest from the truth. What I saw the fight coming down to was a couple of things: One, Proksa, #4 WBO, #4 WBA, #6 WBC, #7 IBF, didn’t have the size to overpower the 5’10” Hope, who looked like a super middleweight fighting a small middleweight. Proksa is really tiny for a middleweight and it was bound to happen where he would have a decent sized middleweight that would simply have too much raw strength and weight for him to run over like he’d been doing against most of his overmatched opposition. The thing is Hope isn’t even close to being as good as a lot of the middleweight contenders in the division and yet he was able to expose Proksa badly in beating him. Hope showed that Proksa’s inflated rankings by the sanctioning bodies is badly in need of adjustment because he’s clearly not worthy of being ranked in the 10 from the way he fought. The second thing that Hope exposed about Proksa was he doesn’t have good stamina at all. Proksa was tiring by the 4th round of the fight, and big part of that could be due to the high percentage of early knockouts that Proksa has on his record. Proksa has been stopping fighters for the most part in the first six rounds. On the rare occasions that his opponents have been able to last nine rounds or later, Proksa wasn’t being pressured and was able to fight at a lingering pace to get the win. Hope wasn’t doing that last Saturday night and really forced Proksa to fight harder than he really wanted to and was able to.
The southpaw Proksa controlled the first two rounds with his pot shot power punches. However, Hope showed even then that he could take Proksa’s punches and keep coming forward. While Hope, who also is a southpaw, was fighting very relaxed the whole time, Proksa was clearly fighting all out and using everything he could to get a quick stoppage. He just didn’t have the size to really hurt the bigger Hope. That was a really big part of the loss. Hope isn’t a knockout puncher by any means, but due to his bigger frame, he was able to land with heavy shots every time he did land. Late in the 2nd round, Hopke and Proksa collided heads with Proksa emerging with a bad cut over his left eye.
In the 3rd round, Proksa seemed to up the pace by fighting almost frantically trying to get a stoppage due to the amount of blood that was leaking from his cut into his left eye. He may have been thinking the fight was going to be stopped and he wanted to make sure he got a stoppage before then. Whatever the case, his fast pace seemed to work against him by tiring him out even quicker. Hope stayed relaxed and calmly took Proksa’s shots and answered back with punches of his own. I had Hope winning the the third round.
Proksa came back in the 4th and landed some tremendous shots but Hope wasn’t bothered by them in the least. Proksa did enough to win this round.
In the 5th and 6th rounds, a tired Proksa retreated to the corner and was really worked over by Hope while Proksa stood with his back against the ropes in an amateurish move. Although at times Proksa seemed to be able to fight reasonably well while backed up against the ropes, for the most part he took a lot of punishment each time he would do this. Hope really batted Proksa in both of these rounds when he had him on the ropes.
Hope controlled the action in rounds seven through ten with his heavy pressure and relaxed fighting style. Proksa looked more and more tired and was only able to offer up pot shots instead of a steady work rate. At the end of the 8th, Hope and Proksa stood with heads touching both looking angrily at each other. Hope then took this occasion to butt Proksa. The referee then later took a point away for Hope for this at the start of the 9th round.
Proksa had a rare good round in the 11th round, as he landed a lot of heavy shots trying to get Hope out of there. It didn’t work, as he kept on firing back but Proksa looked good enough to finally win a round after a long dry spell where he was getting dominated by Hope. In the 12th, Proksa fought well in the first minute of the round, but was then dominated in the last two-thirds of the round by Hope’s high work rate.
All in all, a poor performance from Proksa, but he did the best he could with his limited height and size compared to the larger Hope. Proksa could have done some things better like not staying on the ropes, throwing more punches, not loading up as much, keeping his guard up and fighting in a more relaxed rate. I just think those problems likely won’t be fixed in the future, as Proksa is what he is. He’s an flawed smaller fighter with little defense due to his low guard, no head movement and limited size and reach. I expect him to lose a lot more once he starts facing top 15 class opposition.
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