Last Thursday, heavyweight JD Chapman, 19-0 (17 KOs), went twelve rounds to win a unanimous decision over formerly undefeated Edward Gutierrez. While the performance was disappointing to those hoping to watch Chapman score another knockout, his handlers including Michael Moorer think the experience of a long fight was invaluable. Moorer, a former heavyweight champion, was asked for his honest opinion of the performance in six important categories and then to give his pupil an overall grade.
Jab - When you're 6’ 6” and have an 82-inch reach, it all starts with the jab. JD’s jab wasn’t effective that night because he had a sinus infection the week of the fight and we didn’t train for three days because of it. When you’re sick, a virus feeds off of heat, so I didn’t want him to train. He was weaker that night than at any other time I’ve ever seen him. That’s why the jab wasn’t coming out, he was pushing everything and it wasn’t effective at all. Grade: C-
Power Punching – He wasn’t throwing many power shots until the eleventh and twelfth round. That also comes from the sinus infection. I’m still recovering from it too. He’s so much more powerful than what he showed Thursday night. He just couldn’t get off like he wanted to because of it. Plus the guy was moving a lot, but JD knows how to sit down on his punches and corner the guy. He also knows when to drop the right hand and he wasn’t’ able to do it. I give his power punching a D up to rounds eleven and twelve, after that, a C. Grade C-
Stamina – JD went twelve rounds and his stamina was almost perfect. He controlled himself. I try to teach him mentally and physically how to control his body, not to get mad or overanxious, things like that. His stamina, I give it a B+. He wasn’t up to par totally, you saw him winded in the third round, but he caught his wind in the ninth second wind. Grade B+
Defense – His defense wasn’t how it should have been. I told him when he’s inside, he should switch left and right with his head on the shoulder and things like that and he wasn’t doing it. He was getting hit with some shots that weren’t hurting him, but he was still getting hit. Against somebody else that could cost him. I want his head down and his chin tucked when he’s coming in. Plus I think he relaxes too much on the inside. That’s the most he’s ever been hit. He would almost never get hit if he learned to do what I tell him. Grade D
Chin – He was taking the punches and they weren’t affecting him. He was getting caught and if you’re getting caught and you can take it and come back, that’s good. If you get caught with something and you get knocked down or hurt, that’s not good. This guy might not have hit very hard, maybe he did, I wasn’t in the ring with him, but it’s a good sign the way JD took his shots. Grade A
Intangibles – I was happy with his ring generalship except he did something that he never did in the past. He was looking at me as I was talking to him during the fight. You don’t take your eyes off the guy in the ring. You listen with your ears, not your eyes. Usually he hears my voice and I’II tell him what to do and he does it. You don’t take your eyes off anybody and you don’t get too relaxed in the ring where somebody can catch you. That’s how Travis Simms caught that guy Garcia. They were in a clinch and he was too relaxed and Simms knocked him right out and it was over. Grade B-
Overall Performance – I hired an assistant today, Norman Wilson and we’re going to work on a lot of different things with JD. I think the main point is that he got in 12 tough rounds and he stayed busy and won almost every round. Not everyone is going to crumble from the big right hand, there are guys you’ll have to grind it out with, and so this was a good learning experience. There were definitely things that need to be worked out in his performance, but JD is a guy with no amateur experience and 19 fights into his career, he’s going 12 rounds against a guy who is undefeated and trying hard to win. Grade C