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Murat Gassiev vs. Denis Lebedev – Results

Denis Lebedev

By Jeff Aranow: The big punching unbeaten #2 IBF Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) used his superior punching power, pressure, size and youth to pound out a 12 round split decision win over IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-3, 22 KOs) on Saturday night at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. The 23-year-old Gassiev knocked Lebedev down in the 5th round from a powerful left to the body. Lebedev was in trouble the remainder of the 5th. Lebedev was very lucky to have made it out of the round, because he was taking body shots over and over again from Gassiev until the round ended. You can argue that whatever chance Lebedev had of winning the fight went out the window after the 5th, because his whole approach to the fight changed. Lebedev started running from Gassiev, and the fight resembled a cat and mouse type of affair.

The judges scored the fight 116-112, 116-111 for Gassiev, and 114-113 for Lebedev. Boxing News 24 had Gassiev winning 8 rounds to 4. The knockdown in the 5th made it even more one-sided for Gassiev.

Lebedev, 37, faded badly in the last half of the fight due to the pressure that was being put on him by Gassiev. Lebedev wouldn’t stand his ground, as he was on his bike constantly. The constant movement that the southpaw Lebedev used in the fight appeared to tire himself out, as he was out of breath and not able to sit down on his punches the way he needed to for him to turn back the threat of Gassiev.

By the end of the fight, both of Lebedev’s eyes were badly marked up from Gassiev’s heavy shots, especially his right eye. Lebedev’s right eye was badly bruised.

After Lebedev was dropped in the 5th, his trainer Freddie Roach told him to throw a lot of jabs to keep Gassiev off of him. That worked well, as Lebedev was able to use his jabs to keep Gassiev from sitting down on his shots the way he needed to. Lebedev also used a lot of movement in the 6th to keep Gassiev from being able to hit a stationary target.

Lebedev is normally the stronger puncher in his fights, but not tonight. Gassiev was clearly the MUCH more powerful puncher. Gassiev wasn’t used to hitting a moving target, because Lebedev rarely stood still for any length of time.

In rounds 7 through 12, Lebedev focused on throwing weak combinations to try and outwork Gassiev. Lebedev did accomplish that goal. He was the busier fighter during most of the last six rounds of the fight, but he didn’t have the power on his shots. Gassiev was walking through Lebedev’s punches as if they were jabs. The reason for that was because Lebedev was exhausted from the pressure that the 6’3″ Gassiev was putting on him. Also, the movement that Lebedev was using drained his own gas tank quickly. You could see how tired Lebedev was in between rounds. He was gasping for breath. In comparison, Gassiev looked fresh and not nearly as tired. Lebedev’s face also was starting to swell badly from all the heavy shots that he was getting hit by.

Lebedev and his trainer Roach only have themselves to blame for losing the fight to Gassiev. If Lebedev and stood and fought Gassiev, he might have had a better chance of winning. Lebedev’s punches were weakened because he was moving too much, and tiring out. At 37, Lebedev was too old to adopt a style of nonstop movement, because he’d never fought like that in the past. Lebedev has always been a pressure fighter before tonight. Instead of him staying with that style, he was on his bike for the entire fight. That was a mistake on Lebedev’s part to use that approach. Look, Lebedev was probably going to lose the fight anyway to the younger, stronger and bigger Gassiev no matter what he did. But at least if Lebedev had stood his ground and fought Gassiev, he might have been able to use his power to get a knockout. Lebedev is still a good puncher when he’s standing flat-footed and not running around the ring like he was doing tonight. If Roach is the one who told Lebedev to adopt a plan of continuous movement, then that was his mistake. Lebedev should have tuned Roach out after the 6th, when it was clear that he wasn’t going to be able to win by just moving.

the fight appeared close after 6 rounds. Gassiev’s trainer Abel Sanchez told him, ‘What are you waiting for? Go after Lebedev.’ Gassiev followed Sanchez’s advice well, as he started to put even more pressure on Lebedev starting in the 7th round. Gassiev landed some bvig lefts to the head and the body of Lebedev in that round. By the end of round 7, both of Lebedev’s eyes were marking up badly from the heavy punches from Gassiev. Lebedev was on the move for the entire round, but he still couldn’t keep from getting hit by Lebedev. The body language of Lebedev was that of a very tired fighter, as he was getting pursued and getting tagged by the younger and stronger Gassiev. It had to have been very hard for Lebedev to stay on the move. It’s harder to be evasive than it is to pursue an opponent.

In rounds eight and nine, Gassiev continued to stalk Lebedev around the ring, hitting him with hard lefts to the body and right hands to the head. Every once in a while, Gassiev would rip a big left hook to the head of Lebedev. Most of Gassiev’s attempts to hit Lebedev with his left hooks to the head narrowly missed, but the ones that did land snapped his head to the side in a violent manner, In the 8th, Gassiev hit Lebedev with a tremendous left hook to the head that knocked him off balance causing him to stumble backwards several steps before he regained his footing. That was the kind of shot that would knockout most fighters, but Lebedev took it more or less. Lebedev looked like he was wilting in the round from the shots from Gasssiev.

Round 9 was all Gassiev, as Lebedev ran too much to land anything of note. Lebedev’s trainer Raoch should have told him to slow down with his movement, because he was giving away any chance he had to win the fight by standing and fighting. It looked like Lebedev was running, and it looked bad. Gassiev was the only one trying to make a fight of it. Roach might have thought that the judges would be impressed with the movement, but evidently they weren’t. Lebedev didn’t have the power on his shots to do anything when he would stop moving and throw some weak shots.

Lebedev started the 10th round by throwing a flurry of punches to the head of Gassiev. Most of the punches were picked off on the gloves of Gassiev, however. The activity from Lebedev tired him out by the 2nd half of the round, as Gassiev came on to land some tremendous shots to the head and body of Lebedev. In the last minute of the round, Lebedev was clinching and putting Gassiev in head-locks to keep him from getting his shots off. It was obvious that Lebedev was tired from exerting himself earlier in the round, and he couldn’t stand and fight Gassiev. Lebedev was falling apart from the pressure that was being put on him.

In the 11th, Lebedev gave it a last ditch effort in throwing a massive amount of jabs and power shots to edge the round,. It was a lasst stand for Lebedev. He appeared to empty his fuel tanks completely in the 11th by throwing everything that he had in an attempt to score a knockout or win the round. Lebedev’s weak punches never came close to hurting Gassiev, but they did help him win the round – barely. Gassiev did finish the 11th round strong with some hard right hands to the head of Lebedev.

Lebedev stood and fought Gassiev in the 12th round, and he took some big shots from the younger fighter. Like in the previous round, Lebedev threw a lot of punches, but he was hit a lot by the much stronger Gassiev. It was an obvious round for Gassiev due to the power he had on his punches.


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