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Waseem Digs Deep to Upend Barrera on a Dubai Card Rife with Mismatches

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  • Waseem Digs Deep to Upend Barrera on a Dubai Card Rife with Mismatches

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    By Arne K. Lang

    There was a boxing event today in the United Arab Emirates, a show inside a facility in Dubai that was both a luxury car showroom and an entertainment complex. Of the four major bouts, only one was competitive. This was foreseeable as it was a grungy show even before 11th-hour visa problems necessitated major alterations in the bill of fare.

    The competitive match was the 12-round flyweight contest between Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem and Colombia’s Rober Barrera. Waseem was the aggressor and landed more punches, but Barrera was well-conditioned and closed the gap late in the fight when Waseem’s engine began to sputter. But the Pakistani, who fought from round one on with a serious cut over his left eye, got a second wind and gutted out a unanimous decision, prevailing on scores of 115-113, 115-114, and 117-111.

    The 34-year-old Waseem, one of Pakistan’s most prominent athletes, was the subject of a 2018 profile in these pages. This was his fourth outing since coming up short in a bid for Moruti Mthalane’s IBF flyweight title and he improved his ledger to 12-1 (7). Barrera, (23-4) had previously fought exclusively in Latin America.

    The biggest name on the card was Badou Jack. A former world title-holder at 168 and 175, Jack is now a full-fledged cruiserweight.

    Jack, now 38 years old, has taken full control of his career and at this juncture has no interest in fighting other than pushovers until a big-money fight materializes. His opponent, 34-year-old Maryland campaigner Samuel Crossed, subbing for South African journeyman Johnny Muller, brought an 11-1-1 record but only one of his previous fights had been slated for more than six rounds and in common with Jack’s last two opponents, no-hopers Blake McKernan and Dervin Colima, he had no business in the same ring with Badou Jack, a veteran of eight world title fights.

    Jack had Crossed on the canvas three times in the second round until the referee waived it off.

    Other Bouts

    Rocky Fielding, a former British 168-pound title-holder, returned to the ring after a two-year absence and needed only two rounds to dismiss late addition Emmanuel Danso in a light heavyweight affair slated for “10.”

    Fielding, who now resides part-time in Dubai, brought a 28-2 (16) record, but is best remembered for both of his losses. Callum Smith knocked him out in the opening round in an all-Liverpool affair and Canelo Alvarez blasted him out in three one-sided frames at Madison Square Garden.

    Fielding put Danso down with a big left hook in the second stanza. Danso barely beat the count and didn’t come out for the next round. A 34-year-old Ghanian, Danso (32-7) was stopped for the fifth time.

    England’s Ohara Davies, a 29-year-old junior welterweight, won a lopsided 10-round decision over Kenya’s milquetoast Nicholas Mwangi (10-4-1). Davies was supposed to fight Venezuela’s Ismael Barroso in a 12-round match for a WBA gold title, but Mwangi was brought in when Barroso had visa problems.

    Davies improved to 23-2 (16). His only defeats came at the hands of WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO belt-holder Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall who challenges Taylor in Glasgow on Feb. 26.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    I know one guy who absolutely wants to fight Badou Jack.

    Of course I speak of Hartford’s Richard “Popeye” Rivera.