Monday, August 18, 2014

BKB 3: “From Bare-Knuckle To Big Knockout”

On August 16th the concept/sport known as BKB: “Big Knockout Boxing” emerged on one of Boxing’s marquee stages as it presented BKB 3 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since BKB 2 last December the concept underwent a slight revamp that accompanied a name change from a modern form of bare-knuckle Boxing. The specially designed bare-knuckle Boxing gloves that were implemented in the first two cards in the brief history of BKB were replaced by traditional Boxing gloves that weighed between eight and ten ounces depending on the weight class in which a fight is taking place.

There was also another slight change from the original concept for BKB 3 in that the use of open scoring was not used during this card. Prior to BKB 3 I discussed how the benefits that the slight revamp of the original concept will probably benefit BKB going forward. Although I was not aware prior to this card that open scoring would not be used, I did not find it surprising.

In traditional Boxing after all the concept of open scoring is not universally used and along with the potential for BKB to be licensed in more states due to adapting the use of traditional Boxing gloves, something that will also possibly benefit BKB is adapting to a non-open scoring format. Although it has undergone a revamp, it did not change the concept or the intention behind BKB. That is to provide entertaining, action-packed bouts.

Nine fights were presented on this card ranging from Jr. Welterweight division to the Heavyweight division. As was the case in the first two BKB cards, the fights taking place inside of the BKB pit instead of a traditional 20 x 20 Boxing ring and two minute rounds ensured for a quick pace for all of the bouts that took place. As I have stated in my previous coverage of the first two cards under the BKB format, the pit, which measures seventeen feet in diameter and 227 square feet is tailor-made for fighters who like to fight on the inside. Even though the pit does ensure a quick pace and less of a feeling out process, there is certainly Boxing skill involved and this format does not necessarily strictly benefit fighters who are brawlers.

The night’s action got underway with a Heavyweight bout between Julian Pollard and Boban Simic. Pollard’s longer reach, jab, and combination punching were the story of this fight as he was able to keep Simic, who was unable to get on the inside at distance. The accumulation of punishment gradually broke down Simic and forced a stoppage of the fight in round three. This fight was a great example of how Boxing skill is still needed in a unique format such as BKB.

In an exciting Middleweight bout where both fighters suffered knockdowns Lekan Byfield scored a five round unanimous decision over Don Mouton. Byfield’s ability to be first with his punches and outbox Mouton led him to victory. Mouton however, did have his moments throughout and it would not surprise me to see the two meet again at a future BKB card.
In the Jr. Welterweight division a rematch of a fight that took place in April of this year in a traditional Boxing ring, Herbert Acevedo avenged his six round split decision loss to Raul Tovar. Acevedo dropped Tovar twice in the second round and finished him off with a right hook to the body in round three. Also, in the Jr. Welterweight division, Gabe Deluc overcame a knockdown where his glove touched the floor in round four to score a five round majority decision over Kendo Castaneda.  Excluding the knockdown in the fourth round, I felt Deluc outworked Castaneda throughout much of this fight and won the fight convincingly. Castaneda however, was quite “Game” and nearly got himself back into position to win the fight by scoring the knockdown.

In a Jr. Middleweight bout, Khurshid Abdullaev implemented a steady attack to the body and head of Ricardo Pinell to score a five round unanimous decision. Pinell was knocked down in the fifth round from accumulated punishment, but did survive the round.

In the first rematch in BKB history David Estrada won a hard-fought seven round unanimous decision over Eddie Caminero to win the BKB Jr. Middleweight championship. Much like the first encounter at BKB 2 last December, Estrada and Caminero engaged in a toe to toe battle. Unlike the first fight however, it was Estrada who was victorious in the rematch dropping Caminero in round six and scoring two knockdowns of Caminero in round seven to secure the win.

Much as I felt following BKB 2, the fight between Estrada and Caminero was the fight of the night. It was a grueling back and forth battle between two extremely “Game” fighters that was close for a good majority of the fight. Following BKB 3 I commented on Twitter that I would not be shocked to see a third fight between the two at BKB 4 coming up in the fall. With each fighter holding a victory over the other in this format and with the excitement and competitiveness that took place in those two fights, a third fight seems logical. It would also not shock me if a third bout between the two were to headline the next BKB card if the fight can be made.

In a fight for the BKB Welterweight championship Javier Garcia overcame a bad cut he suffered as a result of an accidental clash of heads in round three to knockout Darnell Jiles in round five. Despite suffering the cut, Garcia was the aggressor during this fight and brought the fight to Jiles.  The end came when Garcia dropped Jiles with a straight left hand. Although he got up from the knockdown, the fight was stopped as Jiles was not able to continue.

In a fight for the BKB Cruiserweight championship Anthony Johnson scored a seven round split decision over Dimar Ortuz. Johnson was penalized a point in the first round for hitting Ortuz while he was down on the floor of the pit as a result of a slip. Johnson however, scored a knockdown of Ortuz in round three and was the effective aggressor throughout. Although I felt that Johnson won this fight clearly and did not see it as closely as the official judges did, they had the right fighter winning this fight. 

The main event of this card was a fight for the BKB Middleweight championship between top contenders Bryan Vera and Gabriel Rosado. This fight brought together two fighters who I feel are perfect from a stylistic standpoint for the BKB format. Both fighters have aggressive styles and throw punches at a high volume. This was a fight that had action written all over it when it was announced and it did not disappoint.

The fight began with both fighters being more than willing to engage each other. I felt that Vera had a slight edge in what was a close first round due to his combination punching. Rosado however, was able to come on strong at the end of the round.

Both fighters scored knockdowns of each other in round three. As the fight progressed however, Rosado began to find a home for his right hand on Vera and was able to land the right hand almost at will while Boxing effectively from the outside. Although Vera remained aggressive, he did not have an answer for Rosado’s right hand.

It would be a right hand that would end Vera’s night in round six as Rosado landed flush on the face of Vera sending him face down on the floor of the pit. Vera gamely made it to his feet, but was not steady on his feet and the fight was promptly stopped.

The Jr. Middleweight bout between Carson Jones and Said El Harrak that was scheduled to take place on this card was cancelled. Jones, who did weigh-in for the fight the day prior to the card announced his retirement prior to the card taking place.

I came away from BKB 3 feeling that the concept is indeed growing and that it should be considered a win for all involved. Although there is still some confusion as to whether or not fights that are fought under the BKB rules and format will eventually be recognized as official professional fights by Boxing record keepers or if BKB is establishing itself as a league of the sport that is a separate entity, one thing is clear.

BKB is growing and now having been presented to it’s biggest pay-per-view audience and taking center stage in Las Vegas in front of a crowd of nearly 3000 spectators at the Mandalay Bay’s Events Center, the future is looking bright. With BKB 4 being planned for sometime in the fall, I eagerly await the next chapter in this evolving concept.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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