Saturday, January 31, 2009

Urango Too Strong For Ngoudjo

By Michael Nelson

Juan Urango reaffirmed himself as a serious threat to anyone in the 140 pound division by winning the vacant IBF junior welterweight title with an impressive unanimous 12 round decision over Herman Ngoudjo in front of Ngoudjo's home crowd in Montreal. The scores were 118-108, 120-106, and 116-110 in Urango's favor.

In a closely contested opening stanza, Ngoudjo came out with clear intentions of taking advantage of Urango's slow feet by constantly moving while maintaining distance with a busy jab. He was successful for the first half of the round, before Urango started getting inside his jab and landing powerful blows to the body and clubbing shots to the head.

The second round began like the first round ended, with Urango pinning Herman to the ropes and tearing into his midsection. Ngoudjo tried to respond by throwing straight punches in between Urango's wider shots, but it was obvious who the much stronger man was. The meatier shots landed by Juan were making Ngoudjo visibly uncomfortable.

A long uppercut thrown by Urango in the opening minute of the third caught Ngoudjo as he was pulling back and put him on the canvas. Ngoudjo got up on shaky legs and Urango tore after him for the finish, delivering punches with nasty intentions but mostly missing. Ngoudjo, trying to clear the cobwebs, slid around the ring before finally getting caught with a combination that deposited him on his pants again. Showing tremendous resolve, Herman got back up and managed to make it out of the round.

Ngoudjo came out for the fourth with his balance still unsteady from the previous round's onslaught. But by the middle of the round, he had his feet under him and his head cleared, and started rallying with quick shots up the middle. He continued his progress in the fifth round, and found Urango fairly easily with jabs and straight right hands. But whenever he got pinned on the ropes and pounded with thudding body shots, it became evident that Ngoudjo was going to have to have to do more to deter the bull rush of Urango.

Rounds six through nine saw Urango increasingly exerting his superior strength on Ngoudjo, who only occasionally got nailed with a sweeping right hook or a straight left hand to the head, but was tormented with a consistent beating to his rib cage. Gamely, he fought back with his best punch being the uppercut. It was clear that the body work was taking effect though.

Round ten was one of the most bizarre rounds in recent memory. Herman Ngoudjo showed his true grit through three minutes by staying within close range of a tiring Urango and outworking him. For reasons that remain unexplained, however, the timekeeper did not ring the bell at the end of three minutes. Amazingly, the round went on for another two minutes and ten seconds, much of which Urango dominated after gaining a second wind. To the chagrin of Ngoudjo, the incompetent timekeeping may have very well cost him the round.

At the end, it was academic, as Urango had built an insurmountable lead. Both of the tired warriors had moments in the final two rounds, but again, it was Juan Urango's more powerful blows that ruled the day. Herman Ngoudjo showed plenty of heart and durability by lasting twelve (really, nearly thirteen) rounds after being dropped twice early. He simply didn't have enough force behind his blows to keep Urango off of him.

With the win, Urango improved to 21-1-1 with 16 KOs while Ngoudjo fell to 17-3 with 9 KOs. Put Juan Urango in the same ring with Richard Torres, Junior Witter, Tim Bradley, Kendall Holt, Andrily Kotelnik, Victor Ortiz, or Carlos Maidana and you're in for a fascinating fight. The junior welterweight division just got a bit more interesting.

e-mail Michael Nelson


Andy said...

I was rooting hard for Herman. I thought he deserved the belt last year against Malignaggi, and was hoping he'd get it last night.

He just couldn't give Urango anything to worry about, and wasn't quick enough on his feet to stay out of range. I was cringing at some of those body shots Urango was ripping in there.