Enzo Maccarinelli won the British cruiserweight title tonight on BoxNation from Shane McPhilbin; however, any plans the former WBO cruiserweight titlist had of pursuing Nathan Cleverly must surely now be scrapped after a performance the Welshman himself lambasted as the worst of his career.
In the first round, Maccarinelli was dropped hard by the reigning champion. With his legs an absolute mess and McPhilbin preparing for the kill, the bell inexplicably sounded with 47 seconds left to go in the round - a farcical moment later derided by Jim Rosenthal and the Box Nation team. Sensing that his man was out on his feet, Dean Powell - standing in for Enzo Calzaghe in the corner, who earlier had his license revoked by the BBBofC - quickly sat Maccarinelli down and set to clearing his charge's head.
Over the next two rounds, Maccarinelli continued to flop around the ring as he tried to recover his legs. Knocked down once again in the third, the Welshman was saved by clinging to McPhilbin whenever he could, before his agricultural opponent began to tire visibly by the fourth round. Urged by Powell to concentrate on keeping his chin down and boxing with the jab, Maccarinelli carried the action for the remainder of the fight, dropping McPhilbin late on and out-working the defending champion. In a bout that featured just about every foul imaginable, Maccarinelli's better fundamentals enabled him to squeak out a unanimous decision victory.
This win, however, was little cause for celebration. Having previously shared the ring with the likes of David Haye, Wayne Braithwaite and other excellent fighters such as Denis Lebedev and Ola Afolabi, it was sad to watch Maccarinelli struggle with an opponent one would have expected to him dispatch in brutal fashion not long ago. Indeed, were it not for the incompetence of the ringside official and McPhilbin's atrocious fitness levels, this win could easily have been a loss.
Both fighters suggested that a rematch could beckon in the future. In the short term, the BBBofC will surely look at the timer's inexplicable call. However, this bout can only have raised further questions over Enzo Maccarinelli's immediate future in the game. After four serious knockouts already, this was very close to a fifth against a laughably inferior opponent. Having already provided British and global fans with some excellent fights over the years, one can only hope that Enzo thinks very seriously about his career and livelihood after this close call.