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Pennington's bold move backfires

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 5:00 AMLeroy Brown
Devon 'Concrete' Moncriffe

Courtney Pennington's bold strategy to select 2013 'Wray and Nephew Contender' Middleweight champion Devon Moncriffe as his opponent for Wednesday night's encounter backfired on him as he dropped a close, hard-fought majority decision in the last fight of the preliminary round.

The decision, which was disputed by the Pennington camp and a small but vocal group of local supporters, saw the fight ending in a draw. As there must be a winner to move on in this competition however, the judges were asked to vote for a winner based on the criteria of ring generalship, effective aggression, and clean punching. Judge Eion Jardine who had voted for Pennington 58-56, sided with Pennington again, judge Clifford Brown, who voted 60-54 for Moncriffe also did not change his mind, but the other judge Lindell Allen who scored the fight 57-57, voted for Moncriffe, making it a 2-1 majority decision.

The fight was very competitive, and Pennington looked good in the early stages as he moved around the ring throwing jabs and the occasional hook, as Moncriffe stalked him.

closed in on

his opponent

Moncriffe, who took some time to find his range, closed in on his opponent in the second round and threw jabs and hooks, some of which landed, while others missed. Pennington felt Moncriffe's power in this round, as he was caught twice. A stiff left jab, jarred him, and a follow-up left hook had a warning signal written all over it.

The tempo increased in the third, with Moncriffe doing the chasing. There were a few occasions when Pennington stood his ground, however, and two jabs and a right hook made Moncriffe back off. As the fourth stanza started, the crowd started to chant M-O-N-C-R-I-F-F-E, MONCRIFFE and this fired him up. He started throwing sizzling right hand punches, including his signature overhand right, some of which landed on the mark. This was the round with the most action, and which Moncriffe dominated.

Pennington then did a lot of back-pedalling and holding, as Moncriffe, who was now in full flight, chased him in round five. Pennington fought back well in the final stanza however, to keep it close and take the fight to the scorecards and the drama- filled result.

The field is now down to the final eight boxers. The seeded boxers are, No.1 Moncriffe, No. 2 Tsetsi Davis, No. 3 Richard Holmes and No. 4 Kemahl Russell. They then selected their opponents, and the week in which they will fight. First up next week will be Tsetsi Davis going up against Ricardo Planter, as the real hunt for prize money takes place.

The winner takes home $2-million, runner-up $500,000, third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000.