Bika Beats Manfredo Jr.!
“The Contender” Season Three Champion Stings Providence “Pride!”
By: Scott Ploof at ringside
Photography by Emily Harney
Both Sakio “The Scorpion” Bika and his opponent, “The Pride of Providence” Peter Manfredo Jr. entered into an important and intriguing super middleweight crossroads fight on Manfredo Jr.'s home turf at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI on Thursday night . The fight card was promoted by the Tournament of Contenders in partnership with Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment and Sports and televised live to a national television audience on the Versus network.
Entering the match-up, both fighters had the experience of losing a world title fight to the undefeated Joe Calzaghe, both had experience fighting on the reality television series, “The Contender,” and most importantly the winner would not only capture the IBO title but also look towards getting another opportunity to fight for another world title while the loser would be left to contemplate their career.
Could Sakio Bika, who defeated Jaidon Codrington in his last fight at the nearby T.D. BankNorth Garden in Boston, MA last year to win of the third season of “The Contender,” travel half-way around the world once again from his home in Sydney, Australia and be victorious in Manfredo Jr.'s back yard?
Would the season one runner-up of “The Contender,” Peter Manfredo Jr. use this opportunity to his advantage and win his first world title in his own hometown, or would the pressure of fighting in front of family, friends, and his community be too much for the man known as “The Pride of Providence?” Granted Manfredo Jr. was (3-0, 3 KOs) in his last three bouts, but that was against limited opposition, since his disappointing loss to super middleweight contender Jeff Lacy (24-1, 17 KOs).
Unfortunately for Manfredo Jr., the outcome was both brief and brutal as “The Scorpion” Sakio Bika stung not only “The Pride of Providence” but shocked the over 3,000 fans at the Dunkin Donuts Center as he stopped Manfredo Jr. at 1:50 of the third round after an unanswered barrage of punches. Referee Ricky Gonzalez made the appropriate stoppage as Manfredo Jr. appeared out on his feet as he staggered into the ropes and was clearly not defending himself from Bika's powerful left and right hooks.
From the onset of the fight it was Bika acting as the aggressor as he fired punches at Manfredo Jr. in the first round. Bika was successful in landing his jab and using it to setup his right hook. Manfredo Jr. seemed timid in the first round, not willing to throw too many punches and kept mostly defensive.
Bika continued to throw and land punches to the body and head of Manfredo Jr. in the second round. Bika connected but was also countered by a Manfredo Jr. right hook. As “The Scorpion” Sakio Bika missed a right hand attempt, Manfredo Jr. connected with a left hand but at the same time seemed to cause Bika to slip and both ended up falling to the canvas. Although it seemed to be more of a push than an actual knockdown, referee Ricky Gonzalez administered a standing eight count to Bika.
After the occurrence of the knockdown, two things happened at that point in the fight in the second round. For one thing, this energized the crowd at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, who up until that point in the fight had been relatively quiet, and gave Manfredo Jr. the round on the scorecards. The other thing this seemed to accomplish was to make Bika frustrated and angry because once the fight resumed, he was able to land a couple of powerful left and right hook combinations to the body and head of his opponent that left him going to his corner hurting at the end of the round.
With the crowd on the edge of their seat after the knockdown and exchange in round two, Bika fired and landed a couple of big hooks on Manfredo Jr. and then proceeded to push him to the canvas. This seemed to frustrate Manfredo Jr., who was guilty of the same thing a round earlier. Bika continued to land power shots on a stunned Manfredo Jr. and you could hear a pin drop inside of the arena.
A shocked crowd watched as the 2000 Olympian, Sakio Bika pounded their hometown hero with bombs until Manfredo Jr. began to slump into the ropes and referee Ricky Gonzalez stepped in halfway through the third.
As the fight came to a close, it was Sakio Bika who was successful in hostile territory as the unhappy fight fans in Providence voiced their displeasure in the decision with loud boos and some even began to throw objects into the ring. Security was able to regain order quickly as Bika with the victory celebrated in the middle of the ring with his new IBO title belt. With the victory, Sakio Bika remains in the super middleweight title mix at (27-3-2, 17 KOs), while Peter Manfredo Jr. falls to (31-6, 16 KOs).
After the fight, a jubilant Sakio Bika stated to the media, “I feel very happy. Thank God I got this opportunity to fight for the IBO world super middleweight title. This was for my wife and two children back home. This belt will be an early Christmas present for them. Next year is going to be good for me. Next, I want Bernard Hopkins.”
Meanwhile a disheartened Peter Manfredo Jr. said, “He’s so strong. He throws wide but everything he throws is strong. I tried to roll and catch him in between but I couldn’t. I’m okay. I’m going to enjoy Christmas with my family. I have a lot of talent and I’m only 27. I’m have to think about what I’m going to do.”
Brewer Decisions Bundrage!
In a bout that should have been featured on "Dancing With The Stars" instead of "The Contender," the winner of the second season of "The Contender," Grady Brewer (24-11, 13 KOs) won a very narrow split decision victory over Cornelius "K9" Bundrage (28-4, 16 KOs) in a twelve round light middleweight bout. Scores of the bout were 94-91 and 93-92 for Brewer, while Bundrage got a 95-90 nod from judge Clark Sammartino.
Brewer was deducted a point for holding in the fifth, while Bundrage was deducted for the same penalty in the sixth. Both fighters ironically were deducted again in the final round. Brewer landed the better punches and hooks throughout when there wasn't holding to be broken up by referee Ricky Gonzalez.
The first few rounds, both fighters were content to throw and occasionally land a jab on their opponent as there was a certain feeling out process occurring between the two combatants. In the third round Brewer landed a right hand but at the same time seemed to trip up Bundrage causing him to appear to slip to the canvas. Referee Ricky Gonzalez ruled it as a knockdown and administered a standing eight count to Bundrage as he rose to his feet to continue the fight.
Brewer began landing his jab with more frequency in the fourth round, however he also began holding and hitting Bundrage at the same time as well. He was finally deducted a point by referee Gonzalez in the fifth, however Bundrage really did not do much offensively up to this point in the bout.
More holding continued to plague the fight in round six when Bundrage then got deducted a point from the referee. The Providence crowd voiced their displeasure due to the lack of action in the contest.
Brewer began to find a rhythm in the seventh round as he started moving in and out with his offensive attack so that he was able to move in, land a combination to the head of Bundrage and then back away just as his opponent was about to counter. Both fighters as the round came to a close engaged each other a little more with Brewer getting the better of the exchange.
Bundrage seemed to come alive for one round in the eighth where he immediately came out and landed a right hook that had Brewer stunned and backed against the ropes. He continued to charge at him and then more holding occurred. “K9” then landed to the body and again hurt Brewer. He then landed a big right hook that had Brewer reeling just as the eighth round came to a close, possibly saving him from a knockdown.
Brewer took back control of the fight in the ninth and never looked back. He was able to continue to land hooks to the body and head of Bundrage in between the clinches. Brewer won the final round and sealed the decision after landing more punches than his opponent, even though both were deducted one point at the same time for what appeared as hitting after the referee called for a break.
Afterwards Brewer said to the media, "He’s a tough guy. I wasn’t able to hit him with shots that I should have. I respect his power. I fought his fight, kind of wild, but I got the win.”
Codrington Finishes Off Gill!
In the opening bout of the evening, Jaidon "The Don" Codrington (19-2, 15 KOs) put on a clinic against battle tested veteran William Gill, and in the end stopped him with just three seconds left in the final round. Time of the stoppage by referee Ricky Gonzalez was 2:57 of round eight.
Codrington worked the body of Gill all night and punished his rib cage with several hooks to the body. When the opening presented itself, Codrington would come up and land hooks at will without much defense from Gill.
The journeyman Gill (8-21, 7 KOs) put on a very competitive fight as he was willing to trade with Codrington right until the very end. Gill during several rounds was often willing to trade with Codrington but usually ended up on the losing end of the brawl. Gill tried to apply pressure throughout the contest but was usually met with effective counter-punching, and punishing combinations from Codrington.
Codrington was deducted a point for holding on to the ropes by referee Gonzalez in the fourth and landed a low blow to Gill in the fifth.
Regardless, Codrington's hooks to the body and head of his opponent were decisively stronger and broke down Gill ultimately causing the stoppage.
Remillard Decisively Decisions Pastrana!
WBC World Youth and USNBC featherweight title holder, Matt "The Sharp Shooter" Remillard (16-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated as he scored a six round unanimous decision over veteran Mauricio Pastrana (34-10-2, 22 KOs) Remillard received scores of 60-54 twice and 59-55. "The Sharp Shooter" was just that as he was successful in out landing and wearing down his older and more veteran opponent.
Remillard fired and worked his jab early then was able to beat Pastrana to the punch by landing with effective hooks to the body. Pastrana kept pace with Remillard early but as the fight progressed, the stamina of “The Sharp Shooter” began to show its difference. While Remillard continued firing punches with the same power and velocity in the final round as he did in the first, Pastrana speed and movement began to fade as the fight wore on.
In the end it was Remillard that pounded out a shutout decision on two of the three judges scorecards, with the third judge giving just one round, round two to Pastrana.
Periera Stops Pressley!
Diego Periera (2-0, 2 KOs) was successful in his second professional fight at light welterweight as he stopped Jerry Pressley (0-1) in his first professional debut with body shots. Referee Ricky Gonzalez stops the bout at 1:43 of the first round.
Caro Downs Velazquez!
Jesus Caro (3-0, 3 KOs) kept his record perfect in tact after landing a vicious right hand to the jaw of Jose Velazquez (1-6, 1 KO) at the end of the second round. Velazquez was down and out on the canvas as referee Ricky Gonzalez reached the count of ten at the 3:00 mark.
Beauchamp and Marquez Battle to Draw!
Lowell, MA native Isander "Peachy" Beauchamp (5-0-1, 2 KOs) and Ernie Marquez (7-5-1, 3 KOs) battled to a four round draw. Scores of the bout were 39-37 for Beauchamp, 39-37 for Marquez, and 38-38 draw.