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McDonnell Cruises Past Kameda; Dirrell Wins Shut-Out Over Rubio


McDonnell Moved to 2-0 Against Kameda
McDonnell Moved to 2-0 Agains

By Derek Bonnett


The first time Jamie McDonnell and Tomoki Kameda squared off four months ago, the two produced a frontrunner for 2015 Fight of the Year. Part of me hoped Kameda would take the second contest, just to forced a trilogy and the development of a meaningful rivalry at 118 pounds. Apparently, the Premiere Boxing Champion commentary team hoped for the thing. The team of Paulie Malignaggi, Virgil Hunter, and two fledgling "insiders" not worth naming did their best to accentuate every punch Kameda threw, almost threw, or forgot to throw in an effort to undermine the far superior work of the champion.


The twelve round contest, nowhere near as heated as the first, but still competitive throughout, was determined by the jab of McDonnell. The taller and longer champion pumped his jab round to round and controlled the distance from the first round on. McDonnell was the busier of the two and landed more shots. Kameda landed a beauty of a left hook in the first minute, but he appeared less aggressive than he had in the first meeting and allowed McDonnell to set the pace and lead. Kameda found a home for the left hook again in the second, but the champion showed some solid whiskers as he absorbed everything Mexican-based Japanese fighter could land on him. McDonnell kept up with his long game while Kameda attempted to set up a body attack. McDonnell ended the second frame with a nice left hook. Kameda started putting his punches together in combination better in round three. McDonnell boxed wisely and did little to adjust his plan as things had worked pretty well thus far. The simple truth of the matter is that the two bantamweights were very evenly matched. The third round looked even, but the champion put more behind his jab in round four to build a 2-1-1 lead on the unofficial SecondsOut scorecard.


Kameda jolted the champion with a right hand early in the fifth. McDonnell responded with triple jabs, which went unacknowledged by the PBC team. Kameda pressured back and landed a tight uppercut on the British fighter. Kameda moved well and forced McDonnell to chase him down. The tactic worked to help Kameda take the round, but not before McDonnell paid him back with an overhand right that rocked Kameda on his heels. The champion landed the same shot again early in the sixth and continued to assert himself over his challenger by upping his pressure. The left hook again landed well for Kameda, but it left him open for an uppercut from the champion for some continued give and take action a few decibels below their first encounter. A left hook again stopped McDonnell in his tracks for a second in the seventh, but the champion landed a hook in return. The round was the closest thing to a breather thus far in the title fight, but it just because they saved some energy for a big round eight. Both men traded evenly for much of the three minutes. Kameda’s legs again became a useful weapon, but the champion still found time to separate his work from his challenger’s with an effective right hand throughout the frame. After eight rounds, SecondsOut had the fight even 77-77.


For the remainder of the fight, McDonnell showed the boxing world the stuff champions are made of and did not lose a round unofficially for the remainder of the contest. The jab of the champion still set the groundwork for each round he put in the bag. The left hook always remained dangerous for Kameda, but McDonnell found myriad ways to counter it with one-twos, lefts hooks, or overhand rights. The remained interesting and the rampant Kameda cheerleading from the PBC staff made one wonder if the judges would be fair and call it the way it happened. A double jab stung Kameda in the tenth. The Japanese former champion never backed down though and landed a strong right hand and two more left hooks to close the round. McDonnell dictated the action of the eleventh with the jab as Kameda finally appeared to slow down and look for solitary power-shots. The right hand of the champion landed again with consistency. The final round was a shocker as McDonnell dropped Kameda with a well-timed right hand as the challenger turned his body. An equal measure of power and balance landed Kameda on the canvas. The knockdown sucked some life out of Kameda as he allowed McDonnell to outwork him in the final minutes. Unofficially, McDonnell retained his title with a score of 117-112 from SecondsOut. The official judges did a fine job of scoring the bout for the champion as well by margins of 117-110, 116-111, and 115-112.


McDonnell, now arguably the best bantamweight in the world, elevated his record to 27-2-1 (12) and made the third defense of his title. Kameda, still a top bantamweight, dipped to 31-2-0 (19). A unification bout between McDonnell and SecondsOut number one Shinsuke Yamanaka would be the best outcome boxing fans could hope for in the division at this moment.


Also on the card, Anthony Dirrell rebounded from his title fight loss to Badou Jack to win a unanimous decision over faded veteran Marco Antonio Rubio. Rubio fighting up in weight appeared listless and waiting on Dirrell to dictate the action. The speedier former super middleweight titlist pounded the body well and controlled the action with an arsenal of punches. His defense was porous though and the former middleweight from Mexico managed to raise swelling over both Dirrell’s eyes. All three judges and SecondsOut scored the contest 100-90.


Dirrell lifted his ledger to 29-1-1 (22). Rubio’s dossier fell to 59-8-1 (51). Dirrell’s future will likely be determined by the upcoming result of the Badou Jack versus George Groves contest.


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