BOXING

Roman Stops McDonnell; Big Baby Miller Clobbers Old Man Adamek

Miguel Roman TKOs Gavin McDonnel in Third World Title Defense

Gavin McDonnell did his best to hang with Daniel Roman for as long as he could — until he just couldn’t any longer. Roman scored a 10th-round technical knockout over the game McDonnell, outworking him and outlanding him en route to taking him out.

Roman, the defending junior featherweight titleholder, was the shorter man by several inches. He made up for that with pressure and activity, letting his hands go to help him get in range, then letting his hands go some more. McDonnell — a competent, competitive 122-pound contender who had fallen short in his one previous title shot — was willing to exchange with Roman. Roman tended to get the better of those exchanges.

It was no surprise, then, that McDonnell began to box more in the third round, using foot movement and upper body movement to limit his exposure and dodge what was coming his way. Roman still found his way inside. He might miss the head on occasion, but his combinations would then venture to the body.

Soon those combinations began to land with more visual effect. Roman caught McDonnell particularly flush with one combo toward the end of the sixth. By the end of the round, blood could be seen from McDonnell’s nose. Roman struck well with a left hand at the tail end of a combination in the seventh, and cracked McDonnell with a big overhand right at another point in the round.

McDonnell took those shots fine. While Roman was clearly winning, the fight didn’t seem like it was heading toward a stoppage. McDonnell was still in there, still landing on occasion, not winning but not getting badly hurt either.

But then came Round 10, and a right hand from Roman that buckled McDonnell’s knees with about 50 seconds left. That took Roman’s activity to another level. He followed up with a barrage, and McDonnell finally went down. He popped up by the count of four, then squatted back down for a few seconds to try to help himself recover. The referee asked McDonnell to walk forward. He didn’t like what he saw from the fighter, however, and decided to call it off.

Roman is now 26-2-1 with 10 knockouts. Both of those defeats came early in his career — in his fourth fight and his 11th fight. He’s matured and improved considerably since then. Last year, Roman traveled to Japan and captured a title belt from Shun Kubo, then returned to Japan earlier this year to defend it against Ryo Matsumoto. He outpointed contender Moises Flores this past June and has now added McDonnell’s name to his résumé as defense number three.

Roman called for a unification bout afterward with his fellow titleholders: Rey Vargas, TJ Doheny and Isaac Dogboe. All of those fights would be enjoyable matches.

McDonnell is now 20-2-2 with 5 KOs. His other loss came against Vargas in early 2017. This defeat ended a four-fight winning streak.

 

Jarrell Miller Finishes Tomasz Adamek in Just Four Minutes

One thing that can be said about the fight between heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller and his opponent, Tomasz Adamek, is that it was mercifully short.

Miller scored the stoppage a minute into the second round, ending a night that was already going badly for Adamek and would’ve otherwise gotten even worse.

Miller has a fitting nickname — “Big Baby.” He is 6-foot-4 and came in for this bout at a career-high 317 pounds, though he’s in better shape than what those numbers might have you imagining. Adamek was outweighed by an incredible 90 pounds. But, frankly, Adamek’s best years were when he was at light heavyweight (with a 175-pound limit) and then at cruiserweight (200 pounds). While Adamek has competed at heavyweight for the past nine years, his best wins were some time ago, against Chris Arreola in 2010 and Eddie Chambers in 2012.

All of which leads to some of the other things that can be said about Miller-Adamek:

Adamek is nearly 42, more than a decade older than Miller. He was too small, and too far past his prime to do much to make up for that size disadvantage. Adamek was never going to have the power to make Miller respect him, and after years of grueling battles and just plain aging, he wasn’t going to have enough left in his legs to box well enough to win.

This was a drubbing that was bound to happen, and then it did.

Adamek knew what he needed to do to have a chance. He had to hit and then move and then do the same thing again and again. Sometimes he was able to throw a couple of shots and get away without taking any in return. Other times, Miller just walked through Adamek’s offense and fired away.

You could see how it was going to go pretty much from the get-go.

About 25 seconds in, Adamek tried going to Miller’s body. Miller quickly responded with Adamek in range, landing a short left hook to the head, followed by a right upstairs and then a left to the body.

By the end of the first minute, Miller was already clubbing away. A left hook to the body bent Adamek in half a little later, and Adamek, while tough and gritty, was essentially in survival mode. All the cheers from the faithful Polish fans in Chicago weren’t going to be enough to propel him to victory.

Nevertheless, Adamek tried again in the second round, attempting to box with in-and-out movement. It didn’t take long until Miller was once again steamrolling forward, unleashing a barrage that included a big right uppercut that wobbled Adamek. Miller followed up with a right hand and a left, both missing as Adamek ducked, and so Miller wisely returned to the right uppercut.

It landed. Adamek dropped.

He steadied himself with the ropes, rising as the referee was finishing his count. He was done, and thankfully he knew it.

Miller is now 22-0-1 with 19 knockouts. There’s not significant substance on that record, though there are wins over Gerald Washington (who was knocked out in a title shot against Deontay Wilder), Mariusz Wach (who has a title loss to Wladimir Klitschko and a defeat against Alexander Povetkin) and Johann Duhaupas (who has lost to Wilder and Povetkin).

Miller wants a title shot at unified heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua. He may have to wait, given the build-up toward a match between Joshua and the winner of December’s big fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. It’s more likely that Joshua would stay busy against a second or third tier of opponent in the interim.

“I’ve earned a shot at Anthony Joshua, but when it comes to boxing, there’s always politics and trying to maneuver,” Miller said in a post-fight interview. “I think the AJ fight’s going to come sooner or later.”

Adamek is now 53-6 with 31 KOs. The former 175-pound titleholder and cruiserweight champion has gone 4-4 over his past eight fights in the past four and a half years. Each of those defeats has come when he’s stepped up, even against fringe contenders and also-rans. He doesn’t need to take any more punishment. If he’s going to fight on, then his team needs to choose opponents more wisely.

That’ll come with far less money, but at a certain point the money just isn’t worth it any longer.

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