It was the closest he would come to being cornered and in danger all night.In what was supposed to be the toughest fight of his young career, Codrington knocked out Etianne Whitaker (32-17-2, 21 KO's) with a left hook in the first round last Thursday that was cartoon-like in its delivery. The punch catapulted Whitaker into the ropes and sent him to the canvas, his head snapping violently off the floor as he fell. When he tried to stand, his legs betrayed him and Whitaker, a slender fighter who never appeared steady even during his ring entrance, fell down again. Once more he tried to stand only to crumple in a heap in his corner. When officials from the New York State Athletic Commission attempted to lift him onto a stool, Whitaker's lack of balance continued. After several more attempts to get him on the stool, they let him sit alone on the canvas, his knees tucked tightly into his stomach in a position that suggested he was in deep thought. The end came at 1:45 of the first round of the scheduled 8-round super middleweight bout."I told you I could punch," said Codrington, who raised his record to 8-0, all by knockout. "People don't understand, but I have power. I can punch, I can punch. He was trying to impose his will on me, but when I imposed my will on him, he couldn't take it."It's easy to get excited over a win like this. Nobody except perhaps his promoter, Lou DiBella, could have imagined the fight would end so abruptly. Whitaker, 32, was an accomplished fighter who had gone the distance against types like Charles Brewer and Demetrius Jenkins and had knocked out a boxer named Sam Reese who has been on a roll recently. Comparing both of their records, it seemed like DiBella was foolishly rushing Codrington into the fight. DiBella's comments before the match seemed to confirm this."Jaidon is one or two fights away from fighting on ShowBox," he said in reference to Showtime's series that showcases young fighters. "I believe Jaidon has the skills to handle someone like Whitaker."He was right. Before the fight with Codrington, Whitaker had lost four of last five fights and had been knocked out 6 times since 2003. A quick peruse of his record revealed that Whitaker, a hyperactive sort, once fought 14 times in 2000 and 10 times in 2001. Clearly, he was someone willing to fight anyone at anytime. Back in his dressing room, Whitaker disclosed that two weeks before the fight he had injured his neck during a sparring session when a punch caused his neck to jerk back in a whiplash motion."I couldn't turn my neck," he said. "For the last week, I haven't been in the gym. I haven't been able to run. He was a good fighter, and I don't want to make any excuses, but if I had come in better condition, it would have been a better fight."Codrington hadn't fought since January 28 when he needed eight stitchces to close a cut during a match against Glenn Rayburn. He dedicated his performance to Greg Cuyler, his friend and a former New England Golden Gloves champion who was shot on April 10."I want to fight the best in the division," he said. "I want to fight anyone who has a belt."Reach reporter Mitch Abramson at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.
©2005 Community News Group
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