Heavyweight threatens UNWANTED boxing record with grim display on top US show

Jared Anderson vs Ryad Merhy was an eagerly-awaited heavyweight fight in the United States on Saturday night, but it delivered a record-threatening performance for all the wrong reasons.

Highly-rated big man Anderson is seen by many as the future of the sport’s marquee weight class, and he duly claimed a dominant victory on the Top Rank show which aired live on ESPN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

But while ‘Real Big Baby’ showed great maturity and patience in controlling every single round, it was Merhy who went into the record books courtesy of a hugely disappointing performance.

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The 31-year-old Belgian, a former world cruiserweight champion, had been expected to at least give Anderson a stern test, but he spent most of the 10 rounds on the ropes protecting himself behind a high guard. Seemingly unable to let his hands go to provide much attacking intent.

Merhy punch output, or lack of

When the scorecards were revealed at the end of the bout, the expected rout was confirmed with scores of 100-90 (twice) and 99-91. The only surprise was that one scorecard somehow gave a round to Merhy.

Afterwards boxing statisticians Compubox, who have been recording punch stats for 39 years now, revealed that Merhy’s performance had challenged for a very unwanted record. The Belgian had thrown the third lowest number of punches in a 10-round fight in that near four-decade run.

Merhy’s 144 punches thrown were ‘beaten’ only by the 127 from Brit Danny Williams in a loss to Kevin Price in 2013 and the 137 from Vaughn Alexander in a loss to Bektemir Melikuziev in 2019.

Merhy fallout

Merhy’s performance – described as a “disgrace” by respected former ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael – also doesn’t appear to have gone down too well with Top Rank, who promoted Saturday’s show. Check out the social media here from Carl Moretti, its VP of Boxing Operations.