Maxim Prodan falls victim to Florian Marku
IBF international welterweight champion Maxim Prodan (19-1-1, 15 KO’s) staged an unsuccessful second defense of his belt. The Ukrainian was unable to thwart Florian Marku’s (9-0-1, 6 KO’s) theft of the secondary title by way of split decision win. The fight was an ambitious move on the part of Marku’s team, who were seeking to move him aggressively through levels of competition. It would appear that, in this instance, he was able to keep pace.
In the build up to the fight, the two men displayed a fair amount of bad blood. At one of the media events, Marku took the time to shove Prodan, with a promise of more pain later. Luckily Marku, 28, is still early in his professional career which gives the Albanian ample time to try to continue improving his skills. As for Prodan, 28, he will no doubt continue to press for a prizefight that holds a full world title in the sway.
TROUBLE ON THE HORIZON
The first round was a fast-paced feel-out period. Marku near constantly circled the ring, moving to his left, with Prodan in pursuit. Marku got off to a good start with a sharp jab but, by the end of the period, Prodan had Marku missing a number of shots. In the second round, the Albanian was not so fleet of foot. As he began fighting in a more stationary fashion, Prodan was able to let his offense shine. Both men landed good shots in the round but the Ukrainian’s offense appeared to have the greater weight.
By the third round, Marku looked to be out of answers. Now fighting with listless energy, the Albanian had an anemic punch selection to offer other than his jab, and most of the time he missed with it. Prodan was constantly hot on his heels. He continued to connect with the more damaging punches and he was able to slip an impressive number of blows. Unlike Marku ,who went reeling in retreat most of the time, he evaded punches.
DOWN THE STRETCH
During the fifth round, Prodan suffered a serious dip in energy and now was moving visibly slower. With the more plodding version of the Ukrainian in front of him, Marku was able to once again strafe him with jabs throughout the period. Marku continued to command the action until midway through the seventh when he ate a thudding left hook. While he was not knocked senseless, or seriously hurt, he did begin moving in reverse a great deal more.
By the ninth round, both men were fighting as if they could use a case of Red Bull. Nothing of special note landed for anyone and the crowd at hand was increasingly voicing their displeasure. In the tenth round, Marku did next to nothing outside of retreat, get jabbed in the face and wipe blood from his nose. When the scorecards were read, Florian Marku was awarded a generous split decision win.
By: Bakari Simpson