Last Saturday’s World Boxing Organisation’s (WBO) bantamweight championship was a walkover for champion John Riel Casimero. Duke Micah didn’t come close.
It was as if Micah was put into the ring to be bullied by Casimero. Watching the bout, I was disturbed with the way my compatriot was fighting considering the magnitude of the bout.
After he was stopped in the third round, I told myself, “This is not the Micah that I know when he was boxing here in Ghana”. I find it difficult to believe that after two rounds, Micah’s legs were gone.
So many questions came to mind after the shambolic performance. Did the fight come too early for him, especially when he just returned to the ring having gone inactive for over a year?
Did he not prepare adequately for the fight? What happened to the improvements he said he had made since teaming up with new trainer André Rozier?
Honestly, I didn’t see any improvement in Micah’s fight last Saturday night. What I saw was rather a poorer performance by him and I felt bad for him.
This was his time to take on the world. It was a perfect opportunity for him to achieve something great in his career but everything ended so fast in just three rounds.
Micah had only one good round but even that Casimero won. In the second and third round, he was a pale shadow of himself and I kept wondering whether he was psychologically fit for the bout.
Lost from the corner
I am tempted to blame trainer Rozier for Micah’s defeat. The Ghanaian has teamed up with him to prepare him for memorable nights like this but he failed.
Micah’s long-time trainer, Carl Lokko, was dropped in favour of Rozier because the team felt he needed an experienced coach in his camp to prepare him for world championship bouts.
But what did we witness? A below average performance on a significant night which should have been a memorable one in his career.
I don’t think this was what Micah bargained for when he decided to swap trainers. Rozier has been a successful boxing trainer and I respect him for that but I had issues with their approach to this bout.
My problem has to do with the decision to trade punches with a power puncher. Casimero is a known hard-hitting fighter with so much ring experience so why stand toe to toe with him?
Micah could have utilised his jabs and avoid trading with a dangerous puncher like Casimero. This is where I blame trainer Rozier for the wrong approach to a very important bout in Micah’s career.
For Referee Steve Willis to warn Micah at the start of the third round that he needed to be competitive or he would stop the fight tells how bad the situation was. I think Micah could have done better with his performance than he did and must quickly learn from it.
Come back stronger
Micah must show something great in his next fight to remain relevant in the division or risk losing his credibility. This is just his first professional defeat and must not weigh him down.
He can emulate the legendary Azumah Nelson who lost to Salvador Sanchez in his maiden world title attempt but came back stronger to become a two-time champion.
Micah’s good friend, Richard Commey, went through a similar fate in 2016 when he lost to Robert Easter Jnr but three years later, he came back stronger to become champion.
He can do it. He needs to assess his wrongs in the fight to be able to correct them in subsequent bouts. After all, that is what sports is about.
The ball is in his court to achieve something great in boxing. I trust him to come back a better fighter in his next world championship bout.