Sechew “Iron Horse” Powell is getting ready to graduate to the next level. Since making his SHOWTIME debut in 2004, the southpaw has fought on the network a total of five times, defeated stiffer competition in each appearance, and has ascended to the top 10 in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior middleweight rankings. However, when he takes on Robert “Push Up” Frazier in a 10-round junior middleweight battle Feb. 3, 2006, on the SHOWTIME boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” Powell will face a foe who has fought six world champions.
“Powell has become a staple on “ShoBox,’ and we have seen him improve with each outing,” “ShoBox” expert analyst Steve Farhood said. “He is a mature, well-schooled junior middleweight. By the end of 2006, he should be a contender. Frazier is a seasoned veteran with far more experience than Powell, and, for that reason, he is a good test at this point in Powell’s progression. Frazier fought to a draw against Tarvis Simms, who was 20-0, and he has gone the distance with boxers like Ronald “Winky’ Wright and punchers like David Reid. So, you know he is the sturdy type.”
In the exciting co-feature, Andre Berto will trade leather with Jonathan Tubbs in an eight-round welterweight scuffle. SHOWTIME will televise the DiBella Entertainment doubleheader from the Pend Oreille Pavilion in Airway Heights, Wash., at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Powell (18-0, 11 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., dismantled the strongest puncher he had faced, Archak Ter-Meliksetian, Nov. 4, 2005, in his fifth “ShoBox” appearance. Powell boxed smoothly and punched sharply en route to a 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 and 97-93 twice). The “Iron Horse” countered effectively and had better mobility and upper-body movement.
“Without the coverage that I have received on SHOWTIME, I would not be where I am today,” Powell said.
A brawler when he needs to be, Powell won the quickest fight in “ShoBox” history when he destroyed Cornelius Bundrage on May 6, 2005, in Mashantucket, Conn. At the opening bell, both fighters swung and connected, knocking each other down. The referee ruled that both fighters slipped. As soon as both men regained their footing, Powell decked his opponent with a solid straight left hand. After Bundrage got back to his feet, he stumbled and fell again, prompting the stoppage after just 22 seconds.
The pride of Brooklyn got floored and was nearly knocked out in the fifth round of his SHOWTIME and “ShoBox” debuts on June 17, 2004, against Grady Brewer in Laughlin, Nev. However, Powell managed to survive the round and gain an eight-round split decision (76-75 twice and 75-76).
In his second “ShoBox” appearance, Powell registered an eight-round unanimous decision (80-71, 80-72 and 79-73) over Patrick Thompson on Jan. 21, 2005, in Uncasville, Conn.
Frazier (31-6-4, 15 KOs), of Rochester, N.Y., has fought six former or current world champions: Felix Sturm, Charles Murray, Wright, Jose Rivera, Carl Daniels and Reid. He defeated Murray and Rivera.
“Powell is definitely a good fighter,” Frazier said. “He comes to bring the pain, but I am a veteran at this. I have been there and done that. I have fought the best of the best out there. Just look at my resume. I am just trying to make a statement, and, if nothing else, make my presence known.”
Frazier took a 10-round unanimous decision against Murray on April 17, 2003, in Rochester. In his outing with Rivera, Frazier snagged a 10-round decision on March 3, 2000, in Verona, N.Y. With the IBF crown on the line against Wright, Frazier dropped a 12-round decision on Oct. 12, 2001, in Indio, Calif.
“This is my year,” Frazier said. “I plan to capture one of those belts. It is Mr. Frazier’s time to shine. I have never been one to hype himself, but, sometimes in this sport, you have to make a statement, and I am making my statement this year.”
Berto (9-0, 7 KOs), of Winter Haven, Fla., won a bronze medal at the 2003 World Amateur Boxing Championships, was a two-time National Golden Gloves champion, a two-time national PAL champion and a three-time U.S. amateur championship medallist.
“Berto is one of the three Andres from the class of 2004,” Farhood said. “The other two, Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward, both won Olympic medals. In a sense, Berto is more promising than either of the other two Andres because of his style, which lends itself to the pro game. He is only 22, but he has a strong, fully developed body and an aggressive, pressure-fighter style. This is a fan-friendly fighter who is perfect for “ShoBox.’ "
In his pro debut, Berto scored a third-round TKO over Michael Robinson on Dec. 4, 2004, in Little Rock, Ark.
“It was not a hard transition for me to turn pro because people knew me as having a professional style in the amateurs,” Berto said. “I was never into the amateur style of pitty-pat punching. I just had to work on a few things, like sitting down on my punches and relaxing. Basically, I am more of a boxer-puncher. I am not big into jumping in and out and throwing light punches.”
Berto credits some of his success to IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jeff Lacy.
“I have known Lacy since I was about 13 years old,” Berto said. “When I first met him, I really looked up to him. He was one of the top amateurs around. One thing I have noticed about Lacy is that he trains extremely hard for every fight as if it was his last. I have sparred with Lacy before and man, those were some good sparring sessions. He really works with me in there, and I am always out to learn and much as I can from him.
Most recently, Berto clobbered Taronze Washington with a first-round knockout on Dec. 3, 2005, in Las Vegas.
Tubbs (7-0-1, 3 KOs), of Rochester, was ranked as high as No. 3 nationally as an amateur. En route to compiling a 184-38 record, he won the Junior Silver Gloves, Junior Olympics, Ohio State Fair, Empire State Games, Regional Silver Gloves and the Niagara USA Men’s Championship Tournament.
“I actually fought Berto before in the amateurs and beat him,” Tubbs said. “That was the Silver Gloves. I did not know then that he was going to become the fighter he is now. It was actually an easy fight for me. I know Berto is a power puncher and all that, but has not fought anybody yet with the skills and the talent that I have.
“Berto drops his jab hand, and he loads up on his hooks. He mainly shoots his hooks and power punches. I am going to keep my jab in his face the whole eight rounds, if it lasts that long. Depending on what type of shape Berto is in, I am going to play it off with my jab, keep it in his face. Then if I feel as though I can tee off on him and hit him at will, I am just going to start picking up the pace.”
The telecast represents the 72nd in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001. “ShoBox” features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. A number of fighters who have appeared on the series have gone on to become world champions, including Jeff Lacy, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, Leonard Dorin, Joan Guzman and Scott Harrison.
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside, with Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast is Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.
For information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.