U.S. fight fans got their first televised look at WBA heavyweight champ Nikolai Valuev
as the "Russian Giant" successfully retained his title with an eleventh round TKO over Monte Barrett. So what did we learn? On the plus side, Valuev is huge
, has a decent jab, a good chin and impressive stamina for a man his size. On the negative side, he's slow and mechanical and is more of a clubbing puncher than a sharp or heavy-handed slugger. For his part, Barrett demonstrated tremendous heart and continually tried - with some success - to land big shots to the gigantic head of the seven-foot, 328-pound champ. Valuev eventually wore Barrett down, scoring one knockdown in the eighth and two more in the eleventh before Barrett's trainer, James Basheer, mercifully entered the ring to save his fighter from any further punishment.
Diego Corrales lost his WBC lightweight title before even getting in the ring with Joel Casamayor. Corrales - taking a page out of Jose Luis Castillo's book - failed to make the 135-pound weight limit, thereby forfeiting his title. Nevertheless, after some negotiation (and a $240,000 fine against Corrales), the decision was made that the fight would still take place. In a competitive bout, Casamayor won a very close split decision to claim the vacant WBC belt. Both fighters felt they did enough to earn the decision but two of the three judges favored Casamayor (115-112, 116-111, 113-114). Perhaps Corrales and Castillo will finally meet for a third time after all ... but it will have to take place at either 140 or 147 pounds.