Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

“ShoBox” Fighter Audio Interviews: Sechew Powell, Andre Berto, and Jonathan Tubbs 

It is a time of reckoning for undefeated junior middleweight prospect Sechew Powell (18-0, 11 KOs). He survived a fifth-round knockdown against prospect-killer Grady Brewer on June 17, 2004, in Laughlin, NV, to take a controversial eight-round split decision. He has won his next five fights much more decisively, although on May 6, 2005, against then-undefeated fellow prospect Cornelius Bundrage, a national TV audience watching on “ShoBox” witnessed the rarity of a first-round double knockdown. Powell arose, the better off of the two, and closed the show just seconds later with a KO victory at 22 seconds.

Powell’s last two fights have seen him defeat veteran Santiago Samaniego by a third-round TKO on Aug. 25, 2005, in New York, and by a clear-cut unanimous ten-round decision over another highly-touted prospect, Archak TerMeliksetian, on Nov. 4, 2005, in Miami, OK.

Now Powell tries to rise up in the ranks yet one more step by facing his most experienced and arguably his most dangerous opponent yet, veteran Robert Frazier (31-6-4, 15 KOs). This fight headlines a card to be held this Friday night, Feb. 3, at the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, Washington, and also to be shown live in the U.S. on Showtime’s remarkable “ShoBox” series.

While Frazier has never held a major world title, he has competed against world champions in the past, and is 14-2-2 since 2000. His last two losses were both against title holders: in 2001 to Winky Wright for the IBF 154-pound belt, and in 2004 to Felix Sturm, who later became a WBO champ. Both were by decision. Frazier also was held to a controversial ten-round draw on April 9, 2005, against the unbeaten up-and-comer, Tarvis Simms, in Verona, NY. In addition, Frazier holds a ten-round decision win on March 3, 2000, again in Verona, NY, over Jose Antonio Rivera, later a WBA 154-pound champ.

What this means is that while Frazier may have become more or less a journeyman, he still has skills, has a wealth of experience, and can take advantage of any rookie mistakes an opponent may make. While Powell has a strong grasp of boxing fundamentals, and as an amateur was a national Golden Gloves champ, his fights with Brewer and Bundrage both show that he can be hit, and hit hard.

Powell, of course, believes that he has learned enough to begin to be taken seriously in the 154-pound title quest. If he gets by Frazier, and does so convincingly, he will become yet another “ShoBox” alumnus to graduate to the big time.

The televised co-feature on this card will be a showdown between two more unbeaten prospects, 2004 Olympian Andre Berto (9-0, 7 KOs) and Jonathan Tubbs (7-0-1, 3 K0s). While these two met as youth in the amateurs – Berto recalls it being when they were 12 or 13 – and Tubbs won, both men are going into this fight confident that they will prevail under pro rules.

We got a chance on a national media conference call to speak with Sechew Powell. Andre Berto, and Jonathan Tubbs about their fights this Friday night (Robert Frazier had left the call at the beginning of it). You can listen to how it went for free. All you need to be able to do is download an MP3 file, so please be patient if it takes a few moments.

To hear this discussion, just click here or here or here or here.

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