Zhilei Zhang puts in a dreary 10 rounds with Jerry Forrest
Chinese heavyweight contender Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang (22-0-1, 17 KO’s) chose the Alvarez v Yildirim undercard to lose a whole mess of credibility. Over ten muddy rounds, Zhang plodded, clinched and breathed heavily against “Slugger” Jerry Jones (26-4-1, 20 KO’s). Zhang, 37, professed to having ambitions of becoming an international boxing superstar. By his logic, so long as he continues his winning ways, he will harness the awesome Chinese population to propel his career forward.
With the strength of his nation supporting him, Big Bang believes that he can land a fight with WBA, WBO, and IBF World Heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua. This ambition is not all that far-fetched. Zhang was already on a short list to face Joshua. Instead of going in the Big Bang’s direction however, Team Joshua opted to face Jarrell Miller. After this performance against Forrest though, he can probably go ahead and forget about a showdown with Joshua!
HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT OR RED LIGHT DANCE PARTY?
Forrest actually opened the bout fairly successfully. Even though it was Zhang coming forward, Slugger consistently kept him at bay with a quick, straight jab. Whether the shot landed or not, it marooned Big Bang on the perimeter. Zhang was landing the harder punches but they were few and far in between. After blasting his Chinese foe with a number of effective left hooks, Jones was abruptly dropped with a short left hook. The incident took place in the closing moments of the first round.
The second round began largely like the first, only Zhang connected with a left and right hook on Slugger’s chin much earlier. Later in the second, Big Bang floored Forrest for the second time in the fight. Slugger hit the deck for a third time in the opening moments of the third period. To his credit though, each time that he hit the dirt, Forrest rose and handled himself competently. In fact, by the conclusion of the third round he was enjoying notable success.
The fourth period was by far the best round of the night for Forrest. Once again he was the more active fighter, landed the most punches and appeared to be getting comfortable. Zhang landed his sporadic punches but chose to clinch and hug more than in any other period. The fifth and sixth were a clinched-filled marathon of the mediocre. Forrest would throw one or two floppy punches while falling in, leading to an immediate clinch. This generic sequence repeated for six straight minutes.
The seventh opened with more purposeful punches from Forest. For the first minute, Slugger never seriously buzzed Zhang, but he snapped his head around with great frequency. In the eighth, Big Bang suffered a vertical gash in the middle of his right eyebrow. Even though Zhang had spent the better part of the last four rounds laying on Forrest, he looked like the more spent competitor. Trying to capitalize on his withering energy, Slugger dedicated himself to a nasty body attack. In the conclusion of the ninth, Zhang was deducted a point for holding. Feeling the fight hung in the balance, Forrest aggressively went after Big Bang in the tenth and final round.
His offense was rewarded with numerous head swiveling blows to the chin. Without question, Zhang was exhausted and defended himself poorly. Despite being docked a point, his favorite tactic did not deviate from grabbing then belly rubbing with Forrest until the ref broke them. Had Slugger not been so tired he probably could have put Big Bang away, yet it was not meant to be.
When the scorecards were read, the fight was ruled a three way draw.
By: Bakari Simpson