Juergen Braehmer retained his WBA "regular" light heavyweight title today in Rostock, Germany, pummeling the right eye of Enzo Maccarinelli until the challenger's trainer pulled him out of the fight following the fifth round. The official verdict was a sixth round TKO, as Maccarinelli did not answer the bell for the start of that round.
Braehmer (43-2, 32 KO) and Maccarinelli (38-7, 30 KO) had an interesting first round that saw Braehmer cut from a punch over his right eye, but the southpaw closed the round with a brutal left hand down the pipe that instantly swelled Maccarinelli's eye to a point that there was really no way he could see, and the fight could even have been stopped there.
Maccarinelli couldn't see left hands coming, but Braehmer chose not to press the issue much, seemingly fighting with the idea that the fight would inevitably be called off sooner rather than later, so Braehmer was content to throw a couple of punches, hold, and reset, playing keepaway but scoring with enough shots that he wasn't giving away rounds. Most importantly, he was staying away from the Welshman's still dangerous power.
Trainer Gary Lockett kept giving Maccarinelli "one more round," as the beating wasn't really intensifying, but after five, he'd seen enough. Though Maccarinelli said he could carry on, and surely would have liked to have done so, Lockett told him, "Your face is a fuckin' mess. I can't let you go on."
With that, Lockett pulled the gloves off of Maccarinelli, whose dream of becoming a two-division world titlist was over before it could really start.
"I think getting such an injury in the first round was just sheer bad luck," Lockett said in the ring after the fight. "I wanted to give Enzo every chance I could. He wanted to carry on, and I didn't want to stop it too soon. He could still see out of the eye. After a couple more rounds, his face was just so swollen that I had to stop it."
He added, "I couldn't let him go on with this fight with his face like that. He was a mask of swelling. If it wasn't for the eye, he was doing really good. He was losing the fight, obviously, but he was getting through with some meaty shots. I think he got Juergen's respect."
When asked if he'd tell Maccarinelli to hang up the gloves, Lockett was non-committal, but sounded like that would be his suggestion later on, saying he'd sit down with Enzo and not make any decisions right away.
"That's what Gary's there for, to look out for my safety," Maccarinelli told BoxNation's Steve Lillis. "He knows I wouldn't quit. I couldn't see when [Braehmer] was moving, I couldn't see where the punches were coming from. As soon as I felt one, I'd just go backward. That's boxing. It happened. I do believe I'd have done a lot better with two eyes. I just couldn't see."
Maccarinelli's tone in the post-fight interview seemed to suggest he plans to fight on. Should he? Maybe, maybe not. But he appeared on good spirits, all things considered.
Kubrat Pulev (20-0, 11 KO) forced Ivica Perkovic to retire from the fight after three lopsided, predictable rounds. Pulev is still a likely challenger for Wladimir Klitschko later this year. ... Tunisia's Soufiene Ouerghi (7-3, 4 KO) upset Dominik Britsch (28-2-1, 9 KO) via eight-round majority decision. ... Jack Culcay (17-1, 10 KO) scored a decision win over Salim Larbi (19-5-2, 7 KO) on unanimous tallies of 117-111. ... Enrico Koelling (13-0, 4 KO) stayed unbeaten with a decision win over Mirzet Bajrektarevic (8-2, 4 KO). ... Super middleweight prospect Tyron Zeuge (13-0, 7 KO) stopped Gheorghe Sabau (10-1, 6 KO) in the ninth round. ... Lewis Rees (9-0-1, 5 KO) went to a draw over eight rounds with Renald Garrido (11-7-1, 2 KO). ... And Liam Williams (9-0-1, 4 KO) stopped Yuri Pompilio (5-9-2, 1 KO) at 0:53 of round eight.