Weekend scorecard: Guinn gets 'must win'

Dominick Guinn's lackluster victory over Audley Harrison on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" keeps Guinn in the heavyweight game while Harrison is all but done, Dan Rafael writes.

Originally Published: April 17, 2006
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of last week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Friday at Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Heavyweight
Dominick Guinn W10 Audley Harrison
Scores: 98-92, 97-93 (twice)
Records: Guinn, 26-3-1; Harrison, 19-2
Rafael's remark: Guinn and Harrison have been so utterly disappointing in recent fights that this was as much a "must win" for both men as there has been in a long time. It was essentially a "loser go home" sort of fight. The winner of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" main event would still have a chance -- very little chance, but a chance nonetheless -- to make some noise. The loser would be tossed on the scrap heap.

Guinn, coming off a near-shutout decision loss to James Toney last fall, didn't change his passive ways too much, and even though he didn't impress at all, at least he won, and won big. At least when Guinn threw punches, he had a tendency to land them, and he did go forward more often than Harrison. So while Guinn, who was once hailed as the future of the division, is absolutely not the future, at least he's still in the game after entering the fight on a 1-3-1 skid following his emergence as a contender in 2003 with wins against Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari.

Harrison, on the other hand, is done. Stick a fork in the big Brit. He has been a disappointment since Day One and now officially has lived up to the derisive nickname hung on him by members of the British press: "Fraudley." At age 34, he's not about to change his ways now. What a shame, too, because the 2000 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist from England has such awesome athleticism and personality, not to mention a dynamite left hand, that he could have been a star. But he simply won't throw punches. He's as passive as a sleeping pet pussycat. On top of that, it doesn't appear that he can take a decent shot at all.

The few times Harrison has been hit with a clean shot, like by Guinn in the 10th round, he has been wobbled. Perhaps that is the reason why he refuses to let his hands go. Harrison, who was essentially banished from the British airwaves after his horrific performance in losing to Danny Williams in December, has now lost two in a row. He vows to fight on, but who cares?

Junior middleweight
Andre Berto TKO3 Horatio Garcia
Records: Berto 11-0, 9 KOs; Garcia, 14-7-1
Rafael's remark: Berto, who grew up in the American amateur system but represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, continues to show championship potential in the pros. He's got a dynamic, fan-friendly style and knows how to fight. He rolled over Garcia, forcing him to quit on the stool after the third round. Berto hasn't had the hype of some of the other 2004 Olympians, but he may prove to be the best of the bunch. What can't he do?
Heavyweight
Jason Gavern W6 Rafael Butler
Scores: 60-54 (twice), 59-55
Records: Gavern, 9-1-2; Butler, 17-3
Rafael's remark: Neither of these fighters is headed to the heavyweight championship, but both put on a great show. Gavern beat the late substitute because he was busier and more accurate with his shots. Butler had his moments early in the fight, but Gavern took the blows, kept his composure and kept his hands moving to win.

Friday at Reims, France
Super middleweight
Mger Mkrtchian KO11 Jackson Chanet
Wins European super middleweight title.
Records: Mkrtchian, 23-2, 17 KOs; Chanet, 26-1
Rafael's remark: Mkrtchian, a Russian-based Armenian, pulled off the upset of the week with this surprising knockout of heavily hyped French prospect Chanet, who was making his second defense of the European crown. With his earnings, perhaps Mkrtchian might want to buy a vowel for his name? Chanet was fairly untested, and Mkrtchian had at least faced an elite opponent. He lost a world title challenge via seventh-round TKO to Joe Calzaghe in 2004. Mkrtchian has now won five in a row since that loss. Chanet was the mandatory challenger for world title holder Mikkel Kessler but can now kiss that fight adieu.
Welterweight
Frederic Klose W12 Antonio Lauri
Wins vacant European welterweight title.
Scores: 117-111, 116-114, 114-112
Records: Klose, 37-5; Lauri, 27-4-2
Rafael's remark: In this battle of former European welterweight champions, Klose, of France, reclaimed the vacant belt against Lauri. Klose rebounded from losing the title on a decision to Oktay Urkal 11 months ago. When Urkal vacated, it gave Klose the opportunity to win the vacant crown against Lauri, an Italian who had won eight in a row since losing the belt in October 2003.

Wednesday at Lemoore, Calif.
Welterweight
Paul Williams KO2 Sergio Rios
Records: Williams, 29-0, 21 KOs; Rios, 18-3
Rafael's remark: Headlining on ESPN2's "Wednesday Night Fights," Williams, just 24, took care of business in style with an impressive knockout of the overmatched Rios, who was coming off a second-round TKO loss to former champ Vernon Forrest last summer. Williams did exactly what he was supposed to do -- look fast, strong and impressive in tuning up for his May 27 assignment on HBO's "Boxing After Dark," when he will face power-punching Walter Matthysse of Argentina (25-0, 24 KOs) in a superb matchup of rising contenders.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

ALSO SEE