Ovill McKenzie produced the best performance of his career away in Argentina last night to secure a draw against IBF Cruiserweight champion Victor Ramirez.
“The Upsetter”, as he’s fondly known in boxing circles, had just 11 days to prepare for the biggest night of his career. McKenzie, however, boxed excellently and fought to draw; a fair result, certainly on my card.
McKenzie was the busier of the fighters in the opening two rounds. The best combo came in the first round when McKenzie threw a sharp right hand, left hook sequence which momentarily stopped the momentum of Ramirez. The Argentine was constantly on the front foot but was struggling to land any powerful shots of note.
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Rounds three and four were more difficult to score, however, I gave both to the Buenos Aires-born champion. Ramirez landed a big left hook which stunned McKenzie, who, to his credit, kept fighting back and moving quite well.
The relentless Ramirez, though, wouldn’t stop applying pressure and in the fourth he landed a big right hand over the top which caught McKenzie flush. "The Upsetter", though, stayed up and didn’t look in too much danger.
McKenzie fought back well and took the fifth round; he was jabbing well and throwing punches from difficult angles. Ramirez kept pressing forward but didn’t land any powerful punches on the Jamaican-born Brit.
The fight kept up its unpredictable scoring nature in the sixth, with Ramirez taking the round after he landed a big left hand which had McKenzie holding on. McKenzie recuperated well, though, and made the round competitive. After six rounds, I scored the bout 3-3.
Ramirez, as he had done previously, kept coming forward in the seventh round, but he barely landed any telling blows. McKenzie, however, jabbed well and showcased the more eye-catching work to take the round quite comfortably.
Eighth round assault
In the eighth round, the rugged champion, Ramirez, produced his best work of the fight. Ramirez worked McKenzie’s body well and also landed a number of goof left hooks and right hands. McKenzie, though, was brave and fought back at every opportunity.
Ramirez continued his impressive work into the ninth round, where he landed a number of good left uppercuts; his best punch. It seemed as though McKenzie, after his brilliant effort up to this stage, was starting to feel the pace.
Feeling the pace? How wrong I was. In the first half of the tenth round, McKenzie gave Ramirez a boxing lesson. He jabbed efficiently, moved well, stayed out of reach, and landed some nice combos. Ramirez, though, seemingly granite chinned, wasn’t hurt by McKenzie’s work.
The champion fought back tirelessly in the eleventh round and was walking through McKenzie’s shots. Ramirez wasn’t landing any huge blows, but as the fight went into the final round, you had a feeling that McKenzie may need to produce a stunning KO to take the win.
McKenzie, warrior-like, came out and totally out-boxed Ramirez in the final round. He landed a number of big left hooks, right-hand combos, and Ramirez, rather prematurely, was already showboating in the middle of the ring as if he had won the fight.
The three judges at ringside scored the bout 115-113, 113-115 and 114-114. This, for me, was a fair result and I can only hope that “The Upsetter” gets a chance at a rematch on British soil.
Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114.
My score: 114-114.