Russell knocks out Placide in Contender opener
Kemahl Russell, one of the Jamaican boxers vying for the Wray & Nephew Middleweight Contender 2015 title, gave his Green team a flying start last Wednesday night, when he knocked out the talkative Kevin Placide from Trinidad and Tobago at 2 minutes and 30 seconds of round three. The fight was held at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Old Hope Road, St Andrew.
The fight, which was expected to be a very competitive one, turned out to be lopsided, as Placide was never in it and was kept in a defensive mould throughout. Russell, who has been fighting as a professional since July 2013 and had three fights to his credit before Wednesday's encounter, was expected to be fully extended by the more experienced Placide, who had a 13-6-1 record.
That was not to be, however, as Placide's fighting skills did not match his prowess as a talker. He had promised to "knock out this young fighter early", and at the weigh-in, when he was offered "best wishes", his retort was, "save it for the other fighter; he will need it".
Within the first minute of the fight, it was obvious that Placide was not going to be much of an opponent for Russell. Apart from a few tentative jabs from his south-paw stance, he was quick to clinch, and a few crunching blows from Russell to his head quickly made him think twice about engaging in any further action at close range.
Russell was, however, too anxious to throw punches before setting up his man, so when he did land, they were not very effective. Despite this, he managed to back up Placide near the end of the round and floored him with a quick combination. Russell kept the pressure on Placide in the second round, but instead of trying to counter-attack, Placide resorted to holding. This elicited some boos from the crowd, but Russell turned these into cheers when he floored Placide two more times in the round.
The Trinidad and Tobago fighter was a spent force going into the third round, and it became obvious that it was only a matter of time before the end came. He seemed exhausted, could not find an answer to anything that Russell did, and tried some roughhouse tactics that failed. Russell kept piling the pressure on and floored him a fifth time. On this occasion, referee Eion Jardine reached the full count, and this marked the end for Placide.
Russell now has a place in the next round of competition, but his team must sharpen him up for his next encounter. His inexperience showed last Wednesday, and he will have to improve considerably if he is take any of the money prizes. The winner of the competition will take home $2-million, the second-place finisher $500, 000 third-place $250,000 and fourth-place $200,000.