Postol Stuns Matthysse, Fans With Knockout Win
Viktor Postol was not known anywhere near as well as Lucas Matthysse, but those who had heard of the undefeated 140-pound contender from Ukraine knew he could be a very tough opponent even for the hardest-hitting fighter in the junior welterweight division.
It was nonetheless stunning, however, to see Postol score a 10th-round knockout over Matthysse, ending the bout with a single blow that left Matthysse on one knee, unwilling to rise and continue.
Matthysse had been beaten before. Never like this. He had a pair of split decision losses, both debatable, to Zab Judah in 2010 and Devon Alexander in 2011, and he dropped a competitive unanimous decision to Danny Garcia in 2013. He was still seen as one of the best at 140. Postol had never faced anyone on Matthysse’s level. His biggest victory came last year when he out-boxed Selcuk Aydin before putting him away with a beautiful combination in the 11th round of that fight.
Once again, Postol emphasized boxing in the early going. Once again, a fighter with relatively few knockouts on his record won suddenly late in the bout.
Postol appeared to be wisely wary of Matthysse’s power in the opening rounds, moving around to stay away, holding inside when he couldn’t. Matthysse sought opportunities to land and began to find more of them in the sixth. He wobbled Postol with a right hand early in the seventh. But shortly afterward the fighters’ heads collided, and soon Postol was returning fire and regaining Matthysse’s respect. They continued to exchange before the round ended.
The momentum had shifted. Matthysse did far too little in the eighth and ninth, while Postol would throw a few, step away, and start over again. Postol’s volume and movement were bothering Matthysse. But there were still a few rounds to go. “We need these next rounds big,” said Freddie Roach, the Hall of Fame trainer working in Postol’s corner, before the 10th round began.
Roach got what he asked for. Postol brought more of the same, and as the 10th was coming to a close he feinted with his jab to draw Matthysse in, suckering him into the path of a right cross that landed just underneath Matthysse’s left eye. Matthysse dropped down, covering his eye with his glove and listening as the referee counted to 10. Matthysse said afterward that he felt a “pop” around his eye and wanted to protect himself.
It was a surprising ending. Matthysse had lasted through wars to win against John Molina in 2014 and Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year. Perhaps those fights had taken something out of him. Maybe they made the fighter known as “The Machine” feel more human. That’s no knock on Matthysse. Other famed warriors have chosen to protect themselves by calling it a night and then returned to battle valiantly and victoriously another day. This will still be a setback for his career, at least until we see who he faces once he comes back.
Postol won a vacant world title. More importantly, he earned more respect and recognition. It will be interesting to see where this takes him. His style is not the most entertaining for fans. It’s also difficult for his foes. That high risk/low reward equation has held some boxers back in the past. Two fights that very well could be in his future, though, are a unification bout with Terence Crawford or a defense against mandatory challenger Amir Imam. And those writing off Imam for not having faced anyone on Postol’s level should just remember that the same could’ve been said on Postol before this past Saturday.
Broner Stops Allakhverdiev, Picks Up Fourth World Title
Adrien Broner looked better against Khabib Allakhverdiev than he had in quite some time. While his doubters still didn’t see enough to change their minds, Broner’s performance meant he left the arena in his hometown of Cincinnati with a world title in a fourth weight class.
This title, which had been vacant, came in the 140-pound division, adding to the belts he picked up at 130, 135 and 147. There still were several times in the fight when it felt as if a fighter who had shown flashes of brilliance in the past could do more than he was doing against Allakhverdiev — who was game but was clearly on a lower level, was coming off a controversial loss and had been out of the ring for a year and a half.
That meant Allakhverdiev was hungry to make the most of this opportunity. And that, in turn, meant Broner took some shots but also used Allakhverdiev’s aggression against him, landing good, short leads and counters from in close. Allakhverdiev too often threw one or two punches without following up further, cautious of what was coming back at him even though others used an extended attack to give Broner problems in the past.
Broner began to open up more himself. He was landing cleaner, flusher and more often. CompuBox credited him with landing about half of his power shots on the night. Allakhverdiev seemed to handle them fine, though his trainer said after the seventh round that he didn’t want his fighter taking too many punches. And when Broner opened up with a barrage with about 45 seconds left to go in the fight, the referee decided for some reason that he had seen enough. The victory would’ve come soon enough anyway; Broner was well ahead on the scorecards.
Broner had been humbled twice in the past two years, first when he lost to Marcos Maidana in 2013, and again when he put forth a lackluster performance against Shawn Porter this past June. In between were victories versus overmatched opponents Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor and John Molina. He came into this fight with Allakhverdiev saying that he knew he needed to do better, focus more, and make fewer mistakes both in and out of the ring.
He looked better this time around, but it’s hard to tell how that will translate to the next time out. Broner won clearly against Allakhverdiev, but the win wasn’t against one of the best fighters at 140. He’s also not blowing his opponents away the way he did when he was fighting at lightweight and lower.
And if Broner’s next fight comes against the opponent he called out after beating Allakhverdiev — Ashley Theophane, who is managed by Floyd Mayweather Jr., is 35 years old, 39-6-1 and has never beaten a single notable junior welterweight — then we won’t find out much more then either.