Enzo Maccaranelli (38-7) is one tough guy, but toughness doesn’t always equate to a win. WBA light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (43-2, 32 KO) stopped the rugged veteran from Swansea, Wales, to successfully defend his title on Saturday in Germany.
The fight was stopped at the beginning of the sixth round due to massive swelling in Maccaranelli's right eye. How bad was it? ESPN’s Dan Rafael adds the details:
Enzo Mac's left eye is as bad as I have ever seen an eye in my life. REALLY BAD and the fight is still going on in the third. #boxing— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) April 5, 2014
During a post-fight interview, Maccaranelli said this, per Box Nation:
A hard left at the close of the first round did the damage and forced Maccaranelli to fight the rest of the bout with one eye. Despite not being able to see, Maccaranelli made a good account of himself and showed bravery.
He was in fabulous shape and even had a few good moments.
In the third round, Maccarinelli landed a hard right hand that forced Braehmer to take a step back. Still, Maccaranelli couldn’t amount enough offense to prevent his corner man Gary Lockett from stopping the fight.
Box Bet expressed sentiments that a few fight fans may have shared as the events of the bout transpired:
20-18 Brähmer. I would love to have seen what would have happened had Enzo had a chance to go for the body, but alas it's not to be.— BoxBet (@Box_Bet) April 5, 2014
Box Bet also captured this regretful post-fight quote from Maccaranelli:
.@theRealEnzoMac: "I'd love an opportunity with two eyes."— BoxBet (@Box_Bet) April 5, 2014
While Maccaranelli’s effort was noteworthy, Braehmer deserves credit for his performance. After all, it was a punch from the champion that closed the challenger’s eye.
Despite giving up five inches in height, Braehmer’s speed and technical boxing acumen set the pace. He got off first on almost every exchange. Braehmer also effectively tied up Maccaranelli inside to keep the challenger from unleashing power shots and doing body work.
Braehmer could look to take on one of the other light heavyweight title holders—if he's up for a challenge. WBA super world light heavyweight Beibut Shumenov is set to take on IBF champion Bernard Hopkins on April 19 in Washington, D.C.
Should Enzo Maccaranelli retire?
WBC champion Adonis Stevenson will face Andrzej Fonfara in May.
WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev just stopped Cedric Agnew on March 30. With all of the champions fighting within 60 days of each other, it’s possible Braehmer could look at a unification bout with one of them in his next fight.
Those types of plans are always subject to the willingness of the fighters and their promotional teams to cut a deal.
As for Maccaranelli, the end could be near.
He is 33 years old, and he’s been in his fair share of wars. He reinvented himself at light heavyweight after winning a world title as a cruiserweight in 2006. The eye injury will take some time to heel, and there’s no guarantee he’ll maintain enough skill to compete at a high level when—and if—he's able to return to the ring.
If this was his last hurrah, he went out showing great heart and determination.
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