Matthew Saad Muhammad vs. Dwight Muhammad Qawi (1st meeting)

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1981-12-19 : Dwight Muhammad Qawi 174¾ lbs beat Matthew Saad Muhammad 174½ lbs by TKO at 2:54 in round 10 of 15

Notes

  • Qawi, then Dwight Braxton, was ranked No. 5 by the WBC.
  • Saad Muhammad's purse was $425,000. Qawi made $50,000.
  • The official weigh-in was at 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the fight. Saad Muhammad weighed in at 177 pounds, two pounds over the light heavyweight limit. He was given two hours to make weight. At 9:55 a.m., after hitting the sauna and running on the beach, he weighed in at 174½.


From Sports Illustrated:

A notoriously slow starter, Saad Muhammad was told to come out firing his jab to keep Braxton at bay. Because of his height disadvantage—Saad Muhammad stands 5'11"—Braxton figured to work in close, hooking the body with both hands.

In the opening round Saad Muhammad threw 44 jabs, although very few found Braxton, who did little more than test-fire the howitzers that had stopped eight of his last 10 opponents.

Then Braxton uncoiled. He doesn't try to jab at people, but through them, as though aiming for the back of the head or the spine. He delivers the jab like a battering ram, a savage jolt to the chest or a head-snapping bolt to the chin. Midway through the second round he hurt the champion with a heavy right to the head, and then rocked him again with a right uppercut near the end of the round. Another right hand riding behind a snapping jab hurt Saad Muhammad in the third. At the bell Braxton was busily working over the champion's head and body.

A savage jab had blood pouring from the champion's nose in the fourth, and he was rocked twice by right hands. By now Saad Muhammad had all but shelved his jab, which was proving useless against Braxton's well-planned assault. The champion had expected a heavy body attack; instead he was being torn apart by the jab and by right-hand rockets to the head. Saad Muhammad switched to heavier guns: He tried to load up for an overhand right, and he dropped his left as he looked for an opening for the upper-cut. All he accomplished was to leave himself open for even more right hands.

The pattern didn't change. Braxton rocked the champion in the sixth with a stunning counter-hook and wobbled him in the eighth with an overhand right that sent blood splattering two rows out. At the end of the eighth, Braxton peered at Saad Muhammad as though wondering what was keeping him erect.

His teeth bared, Braxton began the ninth by digging both hands to the champion's body; then he sent him reeling back into the ropes with a hook to the head. Moving in swiftly, the chunky challenger fired 27 punches without answer—although more than half missed—before Saad Muhammad could slip away.

The champion fought the 10th round as though he knew it would be his last. Battered early, in desperation he tried to fend off Braxton with a volley of weak jabs, only to be stung by a double jab. Digging deep within himself, Saad Muhammad found the strength for one more assault.

Braxton met him head on—both men firing as fast as they could reload, no quarter asked or given. Then a Braxton hook grazed the spent champion's chin, sending him stumbling backward until he sat down. Up quickly, Saad Muhammad took the mandatory eight count from referee Arthur Mercante, who permitted the fight to go just four punches more before stopping it. Adolfo Ritacco, one of the champion's cornermen, came leaping into the ring to signal surrender at about the same time. There were six seconds left in the round.

The scoring accurately reflected the fight. Judges Charles Spina and Tony Castellano had Braxton ahead in rounds 7-1 with one even. Judge Eva Shain had it 8-2. [1]