Boxing

Mason: Gladiator in the Making

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Saturday night’s Top Rank Boxing show on ESPN had it all. Even though the night’s activities were marred by controversial judging in the co-main attraction, yielding to No. 1 WBC Junior Lightweight contender Robson Conceicao scoring a split decision win, the show was still a great outing for Bob Arum‘s promotion.

The TV portion of the evening began shortly after 8:30 pm with the first of four fights. Kicking off the night on ESPN proper was an eight-round affair in the lightweight division pitting Cleveland, OH native Abdullah Mason (14-0, 12 KOs) and Luis Lebron (20-6-1, 13 KOs.)

As fans who watched the fight would soon find out, Abdullah Mason has the skills to eventually hoist a world championship. It’s only a matter of how soon he scores the title.

Mason Proves Impressive

Even though the contracted length of the fight was eight rounds at three minutes per round, the Northeast Ohioan only needed less than half of that time to complete his assignment. His grade: A-plus.

Early on in the second round of action, Mason uncorked a combination and kept Lebron on his toes with lightning-fast hand speed, peppering him with a strike to the body later during the period before knocking him down for the first time in the fight. A short time later, Mason landed a flurry of right hooks to sit him down a second time.

Despite having been dropped twice in the second round, Luis Lebron answered the bell in round three, resulting in Abdullah Mason going in for the kill shot. Ultimately, Mason’s hand speed and variety of shots was way too much for Lebron to handle. The latter’s cornermen wisely rescued him by throwing in the towel.

“His corner has seen enough, and we want to see more of Abdullah Mason!”, Joe Tessitore commented on ESPN’s telecast.

“Wow” Factor on Full Display Saturday Night

In a single word, Abdullah Mason’s performance over the weekend was amazing. This is a man who was tasked with fighting on a card with two WBC world championship fights at the top of the bill. Some fighters would wilt under that kind of pressure on Saturday night.

Not Abdullah Mason. He responded splendidly. Immediately after the fight, Abdullah was interviewed by ESPN’s Mark Kriegel about his effort inside the squared circle.

“I guess we fed him a little bit of smoke, and he [didn’t] have the appetite for it,” Mason said about Lebron to a cheering audience in Prudential Center. “Here we go, Abdullah Mason, we’ve got an appetite for smoke.” Mason certainly brought the smoke with him from The Buckeye State to New Jersey this weekend, giving Luis Lebron a bloody nose in the process.

There’s no denying it: Abdullah Mason is going to be a force to be reckoned with inside the squared circle for years to come. Anytime you can give your opponent a bloody nose from a barrage of punches, you’ve shown that you have potential.

A Bright Future Ahead for Mason

Numerically speaking, Abdullah Mason was 11 years the junior of Luis Lebron in that fight. Mason is a guy who’s only 20 years of age and has fought for just under three years as of this writing. Don’t let his young age fool you. His stock is only going to rise after what happened on Saturday night.

However, given how well he performed against Luis Lebron, it’s just possible that potential opponents could look to dodge Abdullah Mason, owing to his toughness. For a combat sportsman, this is nothing new in the least bit.

Any adversary that agrees to box this young man next should study up on as much film as he possibly can leading up to their fight. Northeast Ohio sports fans haven’t had much to cheer about as far as championships are concerned, with the LeBron James-led Cavs finally breaking a near 70-year drought in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Abdullah Mason could certainly be next to bring a title to Cleveland. He put the lightweight division on notice over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Final Thoughts

If there’s anybody out there reading this article that hasn’t already seen the Abdullah Mason vs. Luis Lebron fight in its entirety from Saturday night due to being out of town for Independence Day this weekend and has a subscription to ESPN+, here’s a suggestion:

As soon as you can after coming back home, log onto your ESPN+ app and watch the scrap. Watch it several times. Mason is that good of a fighter.

This was one-way traffic at its finest. Stay tuned over the course of the next several years to see what Abdullah Mason can do next. If he keeps going at his current pace, he’ll need to clear off some shelf space for a title.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.