Gerald Washington, a towering former football player with serious power, faced the stiffest test of his career in 43-year-old badass Amir Mansour this evening. While he looked to have the physical goods, this was Washington's chance to prove he's a heavyweight worth considering among the elite.
He did not do so.
After four solid rounds of working behind a stiff jab, moving well, and landing some heavy counters (including a gorgeous uppercut in the third round), Washington's output flatlined, allowing a frantic Mansour to hurl haymakers with impunity. While he didn't land terribly clean, save for some nasty body shots, it's hard to give Washington more than maybe the last round after the fourth; he didn't bloody do anything.
Alas, the judges disagreed, awarding a split draw on scores of 95-95, 96-94 Mansour (my score), and 97-93 Washington (Adelaide Byrd is an idiot).
Both men were adamant they had won the fight afterwards, Mansour called out our old friend Al Haymon and Washington dismissed the notion of a rematch due to the judges "do[ing] [him] like that."
Self-awareness is such a rare trait in this sport.
In any case, the notion of Washington being the next great American heavyweight seems dead in the water. He completely ran out of steam despite controlling the pace of the fight early on and let the much smaller Mansour fling some BKB-quality haymakers with no retribution.
Guess we've gotta keep looking.
The swing bout featured previous "Toe-to-Toe Tuesday" competitor Ahmed Elbiali in action once again, facing Dominican-born and Spain-based Mariano Hilario. Last time, Elbiali scored a first-round knockout; this time, he went eight rounds for the first time and had some rather glaring flaws exposed.
Elbiali (13-0, 11 KO) landed well to the body throughout, but walked into numerous counters from the unheralded Hilario (12-4, 5 KO) and showed no signs of a jab, leading with power shots with limited success. In short, he seemed to have run into the classic puncher's folly of "only need one."
Still, he deserves credit for his conditioning (he threw 496 punches in eight rounds with few signs of slowing, a respectable clip for a light heavyweight) and focus on the body when he struggled to land head shots. Perhaps because of those body shots, Hilario seemed to flag about four rounds in and resorted to excessive holding, for which he was docked a point.
Overall, not a great performance by Elbiali, but he's young and staying busy. This was a learning experience, hopefully.
In the opening bout, 2012 U.S. Olympian Michael Hunter improved to 10-0 (7 KO) against Canadian tough guy Jason Douglas (11-6, 4 KO) in a cruiserweight clash, but didn't exactly look good doing so. Hunter showed some decent power, but constantly overextended with his power punches and looked flat-out awkward when he tried to throw more than two shots in a row.
Douglas spent the first couple of rounds content to wear earmuffs and throw out the occasional jab until a 1-2 behind the ear put him down at the end of the second. Once he actually started throwing, he landed some quality shots on Hunter despite some frankly ugly punching technique and seemed to have taken control until what looked like a slip on his part was ruled a knockdown. Hunter went on to legitimately knock him down twice in the fourth, at which point Douglas' corner made the decision to stop it.
I would never have pegged Hunter as a former Olympian had I not been explicitly told; he looked awkward and struggled with defense against a clearly overmatched opponent. He's still relatively young at 27 and in the early stages of his career, but I'm not holding my breath.