By Alexey Sukachev
Stadthalle, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany - There are fights which everyone knows are going to last the distance long before the opening bell. There are fights where everyone knows they won't go past the midway point. And then there are those which are expected to end early only to go all way to the final bell. For a while it looked like the WBA light heavyweight showdown between "regular" champion Juergen Braehmer and his famed opponent Enzo Maccarinelli would be of that kind, but it ended prematurely before the mid-point due to the completely shut right eye of the challenger.
As a result, Braehmer got another TKO win in the fifth round and is now 43-2, with 32 KOs, while the Welshman falls down to 38-7, 30 KOs, with all of his losses coming by way of stoppage.
WBA #7 Maccarinelli, once the WBO cruiserweight champion, has been on a roller-coaster ever since his crushing defeat to David Haye six years ago. Back-to-back TKO losses to Ola Afolabi and Denis Lebedev came soon, signalizing the virtual end of Enzo Mac's career. Yet he came back with three first-round KOs over mediocre opposition to lose with a scary, career-ending knockout to Alexander Frenkel. In a strange twist of fate, that KO was indeed career-ending - but for the injury-prone German KO artist Frenkel. Meanwhile, the Welshman's career wasn't over even after the second-round TKO to Ovill McKenzie in late 2012. Enzo Mac resurrected himself once again with a strong showing in 2013, which included a sweet revenge TKO on McKenzie.
Braehmer is familiar with comebacks too, though they had more to do with his out-of-the-ring problems than actual losses. The German talent was out of action for three years between 2002 and 2005, then lost the period between 2010 and 2012 too. In his latest fight, he outscored Marcus Oliveira from the States to acquire a vacant WBA belt, after its previous owner Beibut Shumenov was declared a super champion by the World Boxing Association for whatever it means.
The bout started as hotly as was predicted. Braehmer was in attack mode using hard blows to acknowledge to Maccarinelli that he was well into the fight. The Welshman answered to this challenger with an attack of his own - first with his head, which forced a cut over Braehmer's right eye in the midst of the first. The German showed character by going straight back and hurting the challenger right before the bell with a powerful combo at the ropes.
Braehmer's cut was repaired in between the opening rounds, while Maccarinelli suddenly had his right eye in big trouble. Early into the second that trouble became clearly seen as his eye was almost completely shut. Sensing that his opponent was in trouble, Braehmer began to land accurately to the right side of Enzo Mac's face. He also connected with a major left hand to check the Welshman's guts.
Enzo Maccarinelli was checked carefully by his corner after the end of round three, while well-known boxing traveller (cutman, coach, manager and promoter) Philippe Fondu did his best to fix Enzo's eye. It didn't help him much but the Welshman stormed out of his corner with a clear intention to knock his foe out or, figuratively, die trying. He had some success, hurting Braehmer with a major right hand. The German suddenly felt weak and began to seek salvation in clinches. That continued to be a trend in the fourth, which was clearly for the Welsh, although judges could think otherwise.
In the fifth, Maccarinelli continued to look for a dramatic equalizer but found none. He was also examined by a ringside physician and was allowed to go. Not for long though, as his head coach Gary Lockett chose to untie his pupil's gloves, halting the action after the fifth round.
Braehmer makes the first defense of his title, despite looking ineffective in rounds three-to-five, while Enzo Mac's career could be over after this last major defeat.