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Joey Gilbert Stops Jimmy Lange

By Michael Amakor - February 18, 2006                                                      

Proving that his first victory was no fluke, Joey Gilbert from Reno Nevada scored a brutal 3rd round TKO over hometown favorite Jimmy Lange of Great Falls Virginia to become the new WBO NABO Middleweight Champion of the world in a bout titled “Clash of the Contenders”.

These two rivals first met on NBC’S reality boxing TV series "The Contender" in a five rounder that saw Joey Gilbert squeak out a controversial decision. For this rematch it was the opinion of Lange’s legion of fans that if they both squared off in a twelve rounder, Lange's overall experience and boxing skills would wear Joey Gilbert out down the stretch. However in results that surprised me before the fight, 63% out of 27 polled visitors to FightKings.Com believed that Joey would win the rematch, what nobody could have predicted in their wildest dreams was that it would happen in the third round.

As was the case in his last fight, Jimmy Lange entered the ring like a movie star to the invigorating sounds of “Metallica” and a standing ovation from the packed crowd in the Patriot Center, George Mason University. He appeared out of a cloud of smoke and was ably escorted into the ring by Jackie Callen, Chuck Zito of the Oz TV series fame, Johnny (manager/dad), legendary trainer Buddy Mcgirt, and cutman Jimmy Glenn. The crowd made no mistake about who it wanted to win and actually booed Gilbert during the pre-fight introductions.

The fight started out slowly with both guys seemingly cold as the circled each other trying to feel themselves out, and then suddenly the fight was on. Jimmy scored first blood by landing the first couple of shots with his seemingly more accurate jabs and straight rights as a tense Joey tried to time and counter his offense. All of a sudden Joey launched a blistering flurry followed by an overhand right that saw Jimmy Lange go down in what was generally considered to be a flash knockdown. Lange got back up only to be saved by the bell as Joey battered him against the ropes to win the round.

Lange seemed to regain his composure in the second round, but it was Joey who landed the first couple of shots that snapped Lange’s head back sending clouds of sweat ringside. The power of Joey shots pushes Lange into reverse as he circles around and away so as not to eat any more of Joey's power shots, but he wins the jabbing contest by landing some furious jabs and body shots to slow down the offensive minded Joey.

Jimmy Lange won the round on my score card, but by then all ringside observers including myself got the sense that if the visibly more powerful Joey ever caught Lange cleanly the fight would be over.

Buoyed by the effect of his heavy handed power shots on Jimmy Lange as he would later claim during the post fight press conference, Joey immediately went into offense, firing off some shots that shook Lange often times sending him spinning and hurtling off the ropes. Lange jabs and tries to stay off the ropes as Joey moves in to cut him off in the 16 foot ring. The end came suddenly when a violent  right cross staggered Lange against the ropes, and then in a fashion reminiscent of Oscar de la Hoya’s destruction of Fernando Vargas, Joey unleashed a barrage of punches against the dazed and discombobulated Lange who appeared to be out on his feet and unable to defend himself from my view of the fight, Joey must have landed more than 10 unanswered power shots to his head before the referee stepped in and waved off the contest at the 2.52nd mark of third round.

During the friendly and free flowing post fight press conference a victorious Joey said that he had trained for a 15 round fight and that some great sparring definitely helped prep him for this fight. When asked about his performance, he summarized that Lange was serious and prepared but he took too much time to think about his adjustments during the fight.

When asked about his improved defense, they credit and questions were directed and focused on his proud trainer Dan Birmingham.(2004 Trainer of the year who also trains body tight ear muff defensive specialist Winky Wright).

Jimmy Lange attended the conference after Joey had left the room and claimed not to have been hurt but remarked that the referee was right in stopping the fight when he did. He still feels strong and confident about his decision to fight at 154 pounds and he will go back to the drawing board to decide on his next move.

A sober Jimmy also acknowledged his defensive lapse of laying against the ropes in this fight, but vowed that we had not seen the end of him.

Boxing celebrities at the event featured fellow Contender stars Anthony Bonsante, Tarick, and Jeff who all curiously seemed to be in Jimmy Lange’s Camp.  




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