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
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
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.