JANUARY 9, 2007

Travis Simms wins in dominating performance - Seminole Hard Rock Arena, Hollywood, FL, USA
By Brian Kennedy  
Photo Gallery - Simms vs. Rivera
In what has to be considered the comeback story of the year, Travis Simms reclaimed his WBA Light Middleweight Title in "Tremendous" fashion on the undercard of the Showtime televised Sam Peter/James Toney Rematch. Giving the performance of his career and coming off a two and a half year layoff, Simms looked like one of the best fighters in the world, pound for pound.
From the opening bell, Simms dominated Champion Jose Antonio Rivera, bloodying his nose in the early rounds and hurting him with straight lefts and hooks. Rivera kept pressing the fight but continued to get pummeled by perfectly placed hard shots by the young 35 year old Simms.
Simms' energy level and conditioning were amazing, with only a slight let down in rounds five and six. Just when it looked like Rivera might get something going, Travis Simms picked up the pace again and continued raking the champion with punishing shots from his southpaw stance.
Simms fought the perfect fight behind jabs to the body of the stationary Rivera, followed by vicious straight left hands. Jose Antonio Rivera was lucky to make it out of round two as Simms put a quick beating on him, scoring a knockdown when the referee determined that the ropes saved him from going down.
The fight came to an abrupt halt in round nine after a stunning barrage of lefts dropped a weakened Rivera. As Rivera was slow in getting back to his feet, referee Frank Santore decided that the bloodshed was enough and stopped the fight giving Simms the technical knockout.
Travis Simms is now 25-0 with 19 knockouts, and has returned to his rightful place amongst the elite fighters of the sport. With the support of big time promoter Don King, Simms should now be able to position himself in line for the big money fights that he has been working towards in his career.
Simms showed excellent footwork, timing and defense in completely shutting down the aggressive Rivera whose record now drops to 38-5-1 with 24 knockouts.
It is hard to tell if Jose Antonio Rivera will be able to rebound from this disappointing performance, but he has returned from adversity before to regain the world title. We won't count him out just yet and he should be proud of his many accomplishments in boxing to date. Rivera is one of the good guys in boxing along with his excellent trainer John Scully.
Palmetto Boxing and Fitness and White Rock Boxing Gym in South Carolina can also take some credit in this victory by providing Travis Simms with great hospitality and an excellent training camp. Number one welterweight contender Paul Williams also trains at these two top-notch facilities, among other pros and amateurs. 
On a side note, it is always hard when we lose a member of the boxing fraternity. Enrique Palau, who was one of the main sparring partners for Jose Antonio Rivera, died in a tragic automobile accident leading up to this fight. Our condolences go out to the family of Enrique Palau and the entire Rivera camp for their great loss.




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