Whilst we do tend to focus on the smaller weights we need to admit we love the Cruiserweight division which has given us some of the best fights over the last few years. One of those great fights, albeit one that left us with a feeling of anger, was last year's sensational contest between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev (26-2, 20). That bout saw Jones defeating the Russian fighter though failing a post-fight drugs tests that saw Lebedev continue to have a loss on his record though get reinstated as the WBA world champion.
More than 16 months after the Jones/Lebedev fight we finally got to see Lebedev, the WBA Cruiserweight champion, back in action as he took on the previously unbeaten Polish challenger Pawel Kolodziej (33-1, 18).
The fight started slowly with Kolodziej using height and reach to keep Lebedev on the outside. It was a tactic that worked in some ways though slowed the bout to a near standstill at times. Unfortunately for the challenger it was also a tactic that wasn't going to work for long unless he had something extra in the tank. He didn't.
Part way through round 2 Lebedev connected cleanly, for the first time, and Kolodziej seemed stunned as if he was surprised by Lebedev's power. From then out it seemed to be a case of waiting for the follow up shot which came only moments later flooring the challenger hard.
Kolodziej, to his credit, managed to get up from the knockdown though had no idea where he was or what his body was doing and referee Guillermo Perez Pineda did the right thing stopping the bout with the Pole in no fit state to continue. Had he allowed the bout to go on the Pole would have been down almost immediately with Lebedev's power being too much.
Whilst this was a welcome return to the ring from the Russian fighter we do still wonder about the damage done in the Jones fight. Lebedev never got out of first gear, he didn't need to, and he never took any sort of a shot. We do wonder what happens when he does take a shot and when he does need to fight through adversity again. Hopefully he'll be the fighter he once was, but this bout told us next to nothing about what Lebedev has left.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
It's not often that the Cruiserweight division managed to get the attention of the boxing world but that's exactly what happened recently thanks to Russian toughman Denis Lebedev (25-2, 19) and Panamanian Guillermo Jones (39-3-2, 31) who put on a true FOTY candidate. The clash, for the WBA Cruiserweight really had everything a fight fan could want to see in a fight including action, heart, bombs from both sides and genuine guts.
The fight started at a solid pace with Lebedev using his sharp, accurate right jab to connect on his taller opponent, though it was the powerful right hands of Jones that really looked like the bigger shots. Although Lebedev had clearly outworked Jones in the opening round his face was already looking a bit of a mess.
As the fight went on Lebedev's face went from bad, to awful, to worse and finally a total mess as the brave Russian fought through massive swelling to land his own monster shots on Jones. Despite the Panamanian being forced to take massive hooks and uppercuts he seemed completely unfazed by the shots whilst managing to land his own crisp uppercuts, sharp right hands and hurtful body shots that all took their tall on the much shorter Lebedev.
Although Lebedev's face was a genuine mess going through the middle rounds the Russian was doing well despite no help, at all, from his corner team (including Kostya Tszyu), the ringside doctor or the referee who acted as if a swollen face was the norm for a fight. Worryingly South African referee Stanley Christodoulou seemed almost oblivious to the fact Lebedev had too swollen shut eyes and was fighting on fumes for several rounds.
In round 11 a visibly exhausted Lebedev was knocked down and he stayed down before the referee waved off the bout, it was obvious that he was completely spent and although some may want to say "he quit" the fact that he had put on a true battle with a disfigured face really should silence those doubters.
The future for neither man looks great. We'd be shocked if Lebedev was ever the same fighter and whilst Jones may have won, the fact he is now 41 and took a number of massive shots may see him a diminished fighter in the future.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.