3 October 2010 – Cormac Campbell
European light-welterweight champion Paul McCloskey was back to his bamboozling best as he pummelled Scottish challenger Barry Morrison in seven one-sided rounds at the Aura, Letterkenny on Saturday night.
Before the contest unbeaten McCloskey, 22-0 (12KO), had promised a return to the slick, elusive style that earned him the British title via a sublime stoppage of Colin Lynes in December 2008. Since then the Dungiven man has been more banger than boxer dispatching Dean Harrison, Daniel Rasilla and Guiseppe Lauri in displays more memorable for brawn rather than brains.
However, it was very different against Morrison. In the early rounds McCloskey stalked, observed and jabbed. Now and then he threw a shot with more intent and as early as the first round McCloskey had found the shot to dismantle Morrison a right hand high to the temple.
Towards the end of the opening three minutes McCloskey clipped Morrison with the shot his legs stiffened a little. More was to follow. In the second, confident that he had measured Morrisons time and distance, McCloskey stood in a little, bobbing and weaving and ripping in more hooks and uppercuts. Finding no success with headshots, Morrison began to focus on McCloskeys body but despite making forceful contact with the torso on a number of occasions, he appeared unable to inflict any damage worth talking about.
By the fourth, McCloskey was in total domination. His rhythm, timing and sense of space were truly world class and it was apparent that Morrison, who brought a vocal crowd of nearly 100 fans from Motherwell, was on borrowed time.
In the fifth McCloskey brought the high right hand back into play. After landing clean, McCloskey stepped back and as if in slow motion, Morrison took a full second to absorb the shot before dropping to the canvas. Morrison rose, looking tired rather than hurt but returned for the sixth round with renewed vigour.
Going for broke, Morrison came out of the blocks, throwing barrages of shots in the hope of landing clean. However, McCloskey avoided most, and shook off what got through before trapping his tired opponent on the ropes and in the corners and letting rip. The end came in the seventh. Again McCloskey landed the right to the temple. Morrison slumped and with eyes in orbit, referee Mark Green did not even begin his count waving the contest off after 1.28 of the round.
That McCloskey is good enough to fight for a world title is beyond dispute but whether he gets a shot is another matter entirely. After the contest he admitted that wanting something and getting it are two different things and one wonders whether McCloskey will have to secure a mandatory challenger slot and endure a lengthy wait to secure his chance.