In my boxing world, the UBC is the preeminent sanctioning organization worldwide. There are other alphabet organizations, but they are effectively regional or continental, making the UBC the legitimate gate-keeper of world titles. They can mandate matches for any fighter ranked in their top ten and promoters are compelled to comply or be left off of the world stage. The UBC recognizes the classic eight weight divisions, but they have added a super-heavyweight class for fighters over 230 pounds.
With the 2019 release of LOB and all-new fighter ratings, I decided to get back into UBC and see where it takes me... First order of business: Establish Heavyweight Rankings. This is an 8-man tournament called the Challenger Tournament featuring fighters from Expansion Set #1. Match-ups will be via random draw. 10-rounders until the championship match. 1-point must system.
Mike Weaver vs Joe Bugner
R1: Bugner came out fast and strafed Weaver in the first minute, but Weaver battled back and began to repeatedly tag Bugner as he (Bugner) tried to wade in with pressure. It seems Bugner's strategy backfired a bit here.
R2-4: Bugner began peppering Weaver from the outside. Weaver seemed to have a hard to letting his hands go. A big straight punch snapped Weaver's head back in the middle of round 2. Bugner seemed to be building a lead.
R5-6: Weaver seemed to find his range and had a solid edge in these two rounds. A clean cross stunned Bugner at the end of round 5.
R7-8: Bugner obliged in making this a chess match. These two rounds were close and low-scoring - a challenge for the judges.
R9: Weaver was ready to wage war again, but Bugner kept him at bay until the closing seconds of the round. A wicked combination, buckled Bugner momentarily!
R10: Both fighters made a statement early, landing big hooks! Surprisingly, they both absorbed the punishment well. Down the stretch, Weaver worked harder and may have gotten the edge...
Close fight! The Scores: 5-5 even, 6-5 for Weaver, 8-4 for Mike Weaver!
Remaining Quarterfinal Draws: Golota-Bobick Douglas-Besmanoff Coetzee-Morrison (Wow! This should be a good one...)
Andrew Golota vs Duane Bobick
R1: These men immediately started banging hard shots to the body! But about 1 minute in, Golota rocked Bobick with combination! Golota just flailed harmlessly in his attempt to finish, however, and Bobick recovered. Bobick landed some solid overhand rights in the final minute and may have stolen the round!
R2: Golota missed with a slo-mo hook and Bobick stung him with a counter-cross. But Golota's big hooks began to find the mark, drawing blood from Bobick's nose. Bobick began to retreat. Another big hook stunned Bobick and it was all Golota in the final minute! Bobick did not answer the bell for Round 3. TKO for Golota!
Buster Douglas vs. Willi Besmanoff
R1-2: Slow start to this one as both men tested the water and mostly kept their distance. Douglas landed a solid combination in round 1, but otherwise, they traded grazing shots. Besmanoff had the edge in the second round.
R3: Douglas had seen enough. He unleashed a combination that sent Besmanoff reeling and followed with a ruthless finishing flurry. A clean cross put Besmanoff down for the count! KO: 1:08!
Tommy Morrison vs. Gerrie Coetzee
R1: Coetzee showed some skill in evading the oncoming Morrison and landing the cleaner shots.
R2: A more composed Morrison was able to measure his hook, landing it solid for the first time near the 1-minute mark. About a minute later, he blasted Coetzee to the canvas with the same punch! Coetzee survived the finishing attempt only to be hammered with another hook that forced the stoppage! TKO 2:49
- Buster Douglas vs. Tommy Morrison
- Mike Weaver vs. Andrew Golota
Both of these fights have some very interesting potential! Weaver-Golota could be a real grind, but who caves-in first? Meanwhile, if Douglas can nullify Morrison's power for a few rounds, then he has the skill to win the decision, maybe even take Morrison out__.
Mike Weaver vs Andrew Golota
R1: Weaver walked into a big hook and was staggered immediately! Another hook followed, but Golota couldn't put him down. Weaver began to recover with a combination of his own. Then... Golota winged another big hook, but missed, and Weaver nailed him flush with a counter-hook! Down goes Golota! He got up, but Weaver had time... Two big combinations from Weaver kept Golota on the defensive. A clean body shot buckled Golota and the referee stepped in! Oh my! TKO 2:56.
NOTE: I considered letting Golota continue (making an exception to the rule), because he also had Weaver in trouble in that round. But by the book, Weaver scored 14 points, translating to 3 TKO points, which is half of Golota's TKO rating. I think those sorts of fringe judgement calls are fine sometimes. Probably the toughest call for referees is when to stop a fight, because circumstances vary so much.
Buster Douglas vs. Tommy Morrison
R1-4: Surprisingly tactical match through the first four rounds. Morrison was staggered by a clean combination in the 2nd round. Otherwise, the scoring was tight, but Morrison was busier, giving him an edge in two rounds.
R5: Morrison's vaunted hook finally found the mark and had Douglas in trouble. Douglas absorbed a stunning combo as well, but he slowly found his legs and scored a nice counter-cross.
R6-7: Douglas used his jab to control the gap and pace of the action. Occasionally, he'd unleash a quick combination. Not dominant, but clearly the better boxer in those stanzas.
R8: Perhaps sensing that the fight was getting away, Morrison stepped up the aggression. His imposing tactics earned him a couple of warnings from the ref, but it was probably worth it to land a solid left hook in a very close round.
R9: Morrison kept the pressure on and about 1-minute in, he landed a combination that set up the big hook! Douglas collapsed on the ropes! Amazingly (modified WIL 2 rating) he beat the count. Morrison's barrage couldn't drop him again, but the ref was keeping a close eye on Douglas. In the final 40 seconds, Douglas began to fight back effectively, which saved him.
R10: [both men in Pressure mode to close the show!]. Douglas set the tone with a good combination. Morrison answered back with a clean straight punch. They continued to swap heavy leather, but Morrison had the edge until another Douglas combo wobbled him in the final minute! Wow! Great conclusion... but we go to the score cards...
A unanimous decision: 7-4, 7-5, and 8-4 for Tommy Morrison!
Challenger Tournament Final: Mike Weaver vs. Tommy Morrison
R1-2: Morrison took a conservative approach and easily out-boxed Weaver. In the process, he landed a couple of sharp rights that stunned Weaver momentarily.
R3: Weaver woke up. He suddenly began to land with a combination and jabs in the first minute. Late in the round, Morrison was rocked by an uppercut! Big round for Weaver.
R4: They battled evenly at a high action pace. Weaver was getting the upper hand when Morrison finally connected with his amazing hook! Weaver was stunned, but the follow-up hook was not as clean. Then Weaver responded in an even exchange. Just before the bell they clashed heads and both men had swelling around the right eye as a result.
R5: A slow round after the pitch battle of the previous stanza. Morrison's jab probably gave him the edge here.
R6: Morrison seemed determined to close the show here. He dominated the action and landed his best punches - uppercuts, hooks, and combinations. Weaver absorbed it all and aside from some new swelling around the left eye, he seemed steady. But it was a big round for Morrison.
R7: Weaver's turn. He suddenly sprang to life and dominated this round, much as Morrison did the previous one! After a tight exchange, Weaver caught Morrison flush with a hook! Morrison was staggered! Weaver pursued and continued to rain down combinations! That's it! The referee saved Morrison at 2:43! TKO for Weaver!
Next: The 4-man International Contender Series featuring: George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Teofilo Stevenson, and Oscar Bonavena! Schedule:
- Cooper (F)-Chuvalo (London, Cooper gets the Favored tag "F")
- Stevenson (F)-Bonavena (in Cuba)
- Chuvalo (F) vs Stevenson (in Toronto)
- Bonavena (F) vs Cooper (in Buenos Aires)
They will be ranked on those performances and the top two will meet in the Contender Series Final for the right to face Mike Weaver (winner of the Challenger Tournament).