Jamie McDonnell vs Liborio Solis & Martin Murray vs Nuhu Lawal
BY KID HERSH
Live on Sky Sports from Monaco came a card chalked full of interesting matchups. Eddie Hearn is trying to go international and this is another step in that direction from the millionaires playground. I would absolutely go to a fight in Monaco some time.
First up was Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16KO's) vs Nuhu Lawal (23-0, 13KO's) . Lawal is a very late replacement and complete unknown. About all I know about him is he is an undefeated, he is African, and he is a natural middleweight that came up for this opportunity. Lawal showed some good boxing skills in the first round and also showed that he is not afraid of Murray. He stood in the pocket and threw a variety of punches while showing good balance about him. Murray was cautious until he started unloading more in the second round. He was hitting Lawal with right hands and catching Lawal in between his shots. Lawal's legs appeared to buckle a couple of times but overall he held it together in a rough round. It was more of the same in the third round with a check left hook in particular buckling Lawal's legs in the final minute of the round. This continued until Lawal seemed to get a bit of a second wind in the sixth round. He was not very textbook as he stepped forward and lunged with right hands that were very easy to see coming. The fight was a bit ugly, with neither man landing flush punches. Perhaps Murray was taking a round off in the sixth however, because he took control back over in the seventh round by pressuring Lawal and nailing him with right hands and hooks. Murray can buzz Lawal when he hits him flush but he still cannot seem to hurt him bad enough to put him down. The fight then promptly got ugly again with plenty of head clashes rough, dirty inside fighting. The ninth round was a good one because some clean punching actually broke out! Lawal was hurt in the final minute of the round, with all of the damage accumulating, but he managed to stay on his feet and make it through the round right when it looked like he was spent. Lawal dug deep and went to that place that only very mentally determined and tough fighters go when he came out in the tenth round and despite being physically spent put together a "commendable" performance, as the Sky Sports announcers called it. In the championship rounds it was more Martin Murray success as Murray got frustrated with Lawal's head hitting his - however intended or unintended. Murray hit Lawal behind the back and referee Russell Mora gave him a point deduction for it in the final round. It mattered not though, as the cards came in a UD win for Murray. Lawal did not hurt his stock in this one despite clearly losing.
Next up was Liborio Solis (25-4-1, 11KO's) vs Jamie McDonnell (28-2-1, 13KO's) for McDonnell's WBA title. The first round was a barn burner, with Solis showing that he knows what he has to do in order to win this fight as he backed up McDonnell into the ropes for the second half of the round and would not let him get out of his wheelhouse. It was more of the same in the coming rounds as McDonnell looked uncomfortable and Solis was implementing his game plan but it was not perfect execution per se. In the fifth round McDonnell was bleeding form the nose from flush shots of the ever aggressive Solis but he was also landing a good jab early in the round. It was a bit hard to score some of these rounds due to both men having success in spurts. The fifth round did look like a bit of a turning point though, as Solis came out in the sixth and was actually outboxing the much bigger and longer man for the first time in the fight. He was beating him at his own game! Solis circled McDonnell and hit him with both body and head shots and even seemed to buzz him with a flush overhand right about two minutes into the sixth. McDonnells nose appeared to be broken in the seventh round due to him breathing through his mouth and the general area looking swollen and bleeding. Despite that, McDonnell put together his best round in quite a while as he moved around the ring and kept Solis from landing the effective punches he was previously. Solis took back over in the eighth round when he landed a right hand early on that hurt the champion. Solis continued boxing, as he has been since about the fifth round. Solis has made it clear that he wanted to get McDonnells respect and hurt him early in the fight but the very aggressive pressure he applied. Then he resorted to boxing his man when he realized that he could do just that despite the serious size disadvantage. The ninth round was hotly contested as McDonnell was landing right hands flush and really upped his work rate, likely knowing that the fight may be slipping away from him and the title along with it. Solis pressed hard in return but was getting the worse end of the action and getting nailed flush more often than in previous rounds - in particular a left hook he took at the very end of the round that snapped his head violently and wobbled his legs. McDonnell carried the momentum through the tenth round and into the eleventh by sticking and moving effectively on Solis, who seemed to lose a little bit of steam until the end of the eleventh. At the end of the eleventh round Solis was able to press himself on the champion and land some good shots but it may have been too little too late in the round to take it on the cards. The twelfth and final round was a hard fought one in a very good and hard fought fight overall. Solis pressured nonstop but really was not landing too many flush shots, in my opinion, compared to McDonnell. The cards came in a UD for the winner and still WBA champion Jamie McDonnell. This will be a highly controversial fight. I had Solis winning but it was a closish fight because Solis was aggressive and the ring general at times but yet despite him being in McDonnells chest he was not landing very many flush shots for large periods of times throughout.