The boxer identified in a picture in Sunday's editions as Dwight Braxton was actually Odell Leonard. The Washington Post regrets the error.
Few people believed Dwight Braxton this week when he promised to retain his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title by knocking out Matthew Saad Muhammad in Muhammad's hometown no later than the sixth round.
Braxton, however, was brutally accurate tonight. From the opening bell he hit Muhammad, the former champion, with overhand rights and left hooks until he knocked him senseless 1 minute 23 seconds into the sixth round.
Referee Carlos Padilla stopped the mismatch, enabling Braxton to successfully defend his WBC title before 6,781 in the Spectrum. Muhammad landed a few left jabs during the fight, but was knocked down and bloodied in the third.
In a preliminary bout, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, former World Boxing Association light heavyweight champion, won a unanimous 10-round decision over Pablo Ramos.
Judges Tony Perez, Tony Costellani and Dick Young had awarded Braxton all five rounds before the sixth. Muhammad was so thoroughly beaten that he admitted, "I was taking some unnecessary punishment tonight. I guess the referee did the best thing in stopping it. Braxton showed he was the better man."
Braxton took the 175-pound title away from Muhammad Dec. 19, on a technical knockout in the 10th round. But that fight was close. "Saad showed me more in the first fight than he did tonight," Braxton said. "This was easier."
Muhammad found out in that first fight that he couldn't trade heavy punches with Braxton. So Muhammad and his new trainer Steve Traitz had devised a strategy that would have Muhammad on his toes more, jabbing and uppercutting more, and taking fewer punches.
Muhammad still took most of the punches with his face, which was a bloody mass from the third round.
Muhammad was upset that he hadn't listened to Traitz. "He told me to lead with my (left jab) and to follow with uppercuts and left hooks," Muhammad said. "But no, I wanted to be cocky and fight him."
Braxton, who calls himself "The Camden (N.J.) Buzzsaw," improved his record to 18-1-1 with 11 knockouts, and said he wants a shot at World Boxing Association champion Michael Spinks, so the light heavyweight title can be unified.
Muhammad, who grew up in Philadelphia and was the overwhelming crowd favorite, dropped to 32-5-2 and wavered on questions about his future. "I will have to consider retiring," Muhammad said at one point. "I'll be back," he said minutes later.
There is no doubt about Braxton's future. Some believe he is the best light heavyweight since Bob Foster.
Braxton showed just how overpowering he could be the entire fight. But the second, third and sixth rounds illustrated the point perfectly.
In the second, Braxton hit Muhammad with 20 straight blows--10 rights and 10 lefts. In the third, Braxton knocked Muhammad's mouthpiece out and bloodied his nose badly.
Muhammad's only punch in the third was a low blow. He stopped to ask Braxton whether he was all right. The champion's reply was an incredible left hook that sent Muhammad to the canvas. That was the only knockdown of the fight.
Finally, in the sixth, Braxton hit Muhammad with three straight overhand rights, the second of which bounced Muhammad off the ropes. Padilla, his green shirt splattered with Muhammad's blood, stepped in and stopped the fight.