BY PHILIP H. ANSELMO
Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius stopped Sergei “The White Wolf” Liakhovich in the 9th round of a scheduled 12-rounder.
After 7-very-tough-to-score rounds, the 6-6” Helenius (16-0, 11 KO’s) threw caution to the wind and unloaded on a bloody-faced Liakhovich (25-4, 16 KO’s), landing a hammer right hand, a sweeping left-hook and then punctuated things with a beautifully-timed uppercut that sent a shaken Sergei to the canvas. Liakhovich beat the count at the bell and stumbled back to his corner.
This was the first time it was obvious that either fighter was hurt. Up to this point, the fight was up for grabs. Something had to give. I had scored 3-rounds even, and I hate to do that. But it was damn-near impossible to give an objective nod to either guy up to this point.
In the 9th, Liakhovich came out with a sense of urgency and landed a brief combination, but his success was halted like a blind man sprinting into a brick wall. “The Nordic” one answered with a multiple-punch combo, starting with a massive left uppercut, followed with a series of left hooks and clubbing right hands. Sergei dropped lack a sack of burnt rocks. The ref didn’t bother to count, and waved the fight off as Liakhovich’s corner threw in the towel in serendipitous fashion.
Once again, Helenius took his time about his work a la his go-‘round with the reposed Sam Peter. He boxed patiently, almost to a fault, deep into the middle rounds. I could not understand what Robert’s trainer screamed into his face between rounds 7-and-8, but whatever he said was translated perfectly shortly thereafter. Helenius showed that he could fight at different gears. He stepped-up the pace when it was needed, and that said a lot about what kind of bottle Helenius has inside his guts.
To his credit, Sergei came into this fight in the best shape I’ve seen in a long time. I thought he showed the better handspeed, especially early. Sergei also had better footwork, and he was finding a home for his double jabs, sneaky overhand right counters and whipping left-hooks to the body. And although his nose was bloodied from the 2nd-round on, I didn’t see that he was hurt all that much, until the 8th of course.
Helenius beat a guy in Liakhovich that came to fight. Sergei was no pushover, and it’s possible that he could have beaten several other highly rated fighters on this night. But Robert just had the heavier arsenal. Helenius’ punching power is FOR REAL, and he proved once again why he’s considered the heir apparent (one day) to the throne, AFTER Wladimir (and Vitali) step down.
And I just want to remind all you crazed wolves of boxing lore that I picked Helenius to stop Sergei in the 10th. One round off!!!!! Uuuuuugh…
ALSO- With this fight in the books, I can’t help but think about what huge, undefeated Tyson Fury said to me on the phone several months ago. “I beat Helenius arse” (in sparring). I think it’s a mental thing or something…” said the Furious one to yours truly. Wow…
Well, all I can say is that I hope to see these two behemoths actually scrap for real in the future.
Now THAT would be an action packed battle!
Be cool all, and lets send good vibes to our fellow boxing insiders out there effected by Hurricane Irene.