By Phil Doherty at ringside
Photos: Reynaldo Sanchez / Acquinity Sports
“Khabib Allakhverdiev.” Pronounced “HA-BEEB AY-YAK-VER-DIEV” A formidable name for a formidable fighter. Fight fans need to start practicing the pronunciation since the twenty-nine year old Russian’s coming-out party last night in the main event of Acquinity Sports’ “Beatdown 2012” card from the BB&T Center in Sunrise FL. Allakhverdiev scored an eighth-round technical split decision win against Dominican Joan “Little Tyson” Guzman (33-1-1, 20 KOs) to pick up the vacant WBA World light welterweight championship, which he adds to his IBO World title.
Khabib’s trainer John David Jackson promised earlier this week his man would relentlessly press the action to the body against the thirty-six year old Guzman, and the Russian stuck to the plan while adding telling shots to Guzman’s face.
“The Hawk” started the action with deceptive speed, working his southpaw jab and straight left to put Guzman on the canvas just a minute into the first round, although referee Luis Pabon ruled it a slip.
Guzman laid back looking for time and space to counter the aggressive Russian, landing hooks to Khabib’s body and right uppercuts upstairs. Action moved to the center of the ring where Guzman scored a left hook and sizzling straight right hand that compelled Allakhverdiev to clinch briefly. Guzman managed to keep Allakhverdiev off him during the first half of the second round using constant movement and straight rights to the Russian’s body and head.
Yet Khabib kept coming forward–walking through “Little Tyson’s” power shots.
Guzman’s counterpunching strategy seemed ineffective against Allakhverdiev’s incessant attack so he adapted to the role of aggressor, scoring well with lead rights and left hooks. However, Khabib put him to the canvas a second time in the third following a right hook/chopping right hand combination that referee Pabon acknowledged as a legal blow. Guzman took the standing-eight count as he looked to his corner for direction.
For Allakhverdiev there was only one direction and he came forward again to work Guzman to the ropes with ill-intentioned hooks.
Guzman started the fourth with a solid right hook that got Allakhverdiev’s attention and the Russian refocused to score a pounding straight left of his own. Guzman’s shots to the body continued to score but also continued not to slow Allakhverdiev from his pursuit. The referee appeared to miss a second knockdown in the fifth following a scoring right hook and straight left from Allakhverdiev that put Guzman on his butt.
Pabon called it a push this time around but it was clear the heavier shots were being landed by the Russian. Guzman rose with blood pouring from a cut on the bridge of his nose and weathered more damaging flurries until Pabon called time out for the ringside physician to examine the cut.
Khabib’s lead right hooks started the sixth round and caused a legitimate Guzman slip as he attempted to quickly spin away from one. Guzman got on his bicycle and began effectively boxing Khabib from distance and seemed to win the remainder of the sixth round.
Pabon strenuously warned Khabib for elbows to begin the seventh round. Guzman continued to circle away and potshot Allakhverdiev but Khabib continued to cut off the ring and walk down the dancing Dominican.
In the eighth round Khabib pulled down the off-balance Guzman who fell awkwardly and seemingly injured his left leg. Referee Pabon once again called time and allowed Guzman to recuperate until he confirmed he would continue. Allakhverdiev smelled an opportunity and pummeled Guzman along the ropes with combination shots to the head. Guzman clinched and Khabib continued the assault with a scoring straight left and another push.
This time Guzman fell to the canvas and was helped up by Pabon, who stopped the action for the third time.
Guzman could not carry on with the injury, which was later confirmed to be a fractured tibia by promoter Acquinity Sports and the fight went to the scorecards. Judges Michael Pernick and Mark Streisand had it 76-75 for Allakhverdiev. Judge Nelson Vazquez saw it differently, scoring 76-75 for Guzman.
Both camps immediately mentioned the possibility of a rematch although Allakhverdiev’s team insisted the bout would be held in Russia-home of the new champion.
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Welterweight Ed “The Lion” Paredes (32-3-1, 21 KOs) beat back a determined charge by Mexican veteran Hector Munoz (20-9-1, 13 KOs) to earn himself a unanimous decision victory in front of his cheering local fan base. Judges scored the bout 100-89 and 99-90 (twice).
Junior middleweight Domonique “3D” Dolton (13-0, 7 KOs) earned a hard-fought unanimous decision against rugged Colombian puncher Richard “La Lamina” Gutierrez (26-11-1, 16 KOs) in their 10-round co-main event. Dolton leveraged superior footwork and combination-punching to pull ahead in what became a very chippy affair when Gutierrez started to mix head and shoulders into his aresenal. “3D” earned himself the regional WBA Fedelatin belt and will surely start to move up in the WBA rankings under promoter Acquinity Sports’ gameplan for him.
Cruiserweight Isiah Thomas (12-0, 6 KOs) earned a 10-round unanimous decision against former world champion Richard “The Destroyer” Hall (30-11, 28 KOs). Thomas, formerly of Detroit’s famous Kronk Gym, clobbered Hall with stiff jabs to the body and quick right hooks, forcing Hall’s glove to touch the canvas in the third. Despite losing a point in the fifth and sixth rounds for holding, Thomas cruised to victory on judge’s cards of 98-89, 97-90 and 96-91
Dominican bantamweight Juan Carlos “Baby Pacquiao” Payano (12-0, 6 KOs) scored a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Mexican Jose Luis “Tapitas” Araiza (29-7-1, 20 KOs). The southpaw Payano survived a late-rounds surge by the spunky Mexican, dropping Araiza with a left hook just seconds before the final bell. Araiza beat the count, but not the judges’ cards, which read 97-92 and 98-91 (twice) for Payano.
Dominican featherweight phenomenon Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero (14-0, 11 KOs) gave Mauricio “Cry Baby” Martinez (36-14-1, 24 KOs) a lot to cry about, knocking the Mexican down twice in the first round en route to a TKO stoppage at 1:36 in the fourth. Marrero picked his shots and picked off Martinez at will, convincing referee Sam Burgos to step in early to halt the action.
In a battle of lumbering big men, Cuban light heavyweight Humberto “El Don” Savigne (10-1, 7 KOs) notched a unanimous decision victory over Dhafir “No Fear” Smith (26-23-7, 4 KOs) of Pennsylvania. Despite flooring Savigne with a counter left hook in the third round, Smith didn’t win over the judges and lost on scorecards of 98-91 and 96-93 (twice).