The IBF No.1 rated Jo Jo was not of the class expected of a top contender. He was devoid of ideas, amateurish with his wide stance and style, and had very little idea of how to work his way in to distance. Instead he just launched himself forward, missed with what he threw, and grabbed hold of Kell to survive.
There were only two pluses that I could say about him. The first was he had a lot of guts after visiting the canvas on numerous occasions, and the other was to his corner for pulling him out of the torture he was having to endure. There is a lots of speculation about Brook fighting Amir Khan and of course Kell called him out after this near faultless performance but to be fair Jo Jo was not even sparring partner material, and we can’t gauge anything from it as a yardstick to his ability to beat Khan.
I had heard quite a lot about Adam Etches and looked forward to my first viewing of him. He was in with the very dangerous 40-year-old Sergey Khomitsky, and looked pretty sharp, but had a so-so defence, and although he was starting to take command, he was getting tagged. His decision to engage in a tear-up was not his finest, but he appeared to be withstanding punches until Khomitsky landed a goodnight Vienna in the fourth and referee Howard Foster rightly called a halt.
Sergey has been in with the best and turned some of them over. It’s not the end of the world for Etches, just a learning curve. Ask Frank Buglioni (himself rebuilding following a loss to Khomitsky) with the likes of Khan, Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno also proving a defeat does not spell the end.
Commentator Jim Watt was saying the referee stopped it too early when Nick Halling intervened to point out Etches was in a bad way. Ultimately they realised the call was right but too often their criticisms are unfair. The media are often too quick to judge the arbitrator in any sport, especially when they have the playback, a good old chinwag between themselves, and then a decision to crucify the referee. The referee has a split second to decide. Is he hurt? did he bang his head when he hit the canvas? Are you going to let it continue if he is okay and he beats the count? All this races through your mind in a mere seconds.
Anyone who read my blog last week might have guessed I was unhappy to see an American referee in charge of the Brook-Dan fight. Okay, one of the judges was British, but I wish our commission would demand fights of this magnitude to be refereed by a Brit. Don’t get me wrong, Earl Brown, the American referee, is good but so are the likes of our own Howard Foster, to name just one. Earl is from New York State and referees from outside that state are not permitted to work the fights in New York, so why should they be allowed to work here when they don’t take our officials?