Boxing: Maccarinelli stays cool to repulse Abdoul's assault

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The Independent Online

Enzo Maccarinelli, after four chaotic world title fights, has finally been involved in a boring encounter. The Welshman's last four fights have contained 12 knock-downs and enough blood and guts to keep any boxing fan happy. But in Newport on Saturday a Belgian called Ismail Abdoul survived 12 seriously repetitive rounds.

It is not unusual for limited punchers like Maccarinelli to find themselves exposed in early learning fights and there is something to be said for the calm way that the 23-year-old from Swansea conducted himself.

Maccarinelli retained his World Boxing Union cruiserweight title with a simple unanimous decision but, in an odd way, the 12 dire rounds will help him in the future if he finally meets a credible opponent.

One option could be a fight later this year against Sheffield's Johnny Nelson, who holds the World Boxing Organisation version of the title.

Nelson's reputation as one of British boxing's most frustrating and annoying fighters to watch means a fight between the pair could be a very tedious affair, or a couple of swift, entertaining rounds. Nelson, however, would probably be far too slick for Maccarinelli, whose main asset is power.

On Saturday night it was quite alarming to watch Maccarinelli's punches often miss their target by several feet; something that Nelson, who was a ringside pundit, will have noted.

Maccarinelli does have other options open to him. But the only way that he will remain an attraction will be if he is fed a steady diet of no-hopers in the future, because survivors like Abdoul will always extend him.

Nelson would be a step in the right direction and victory for Maccarinelli would be meaningful in a business that has increasingly lost its way because there are simply too many so-called British world champions.