Underneath Manchester's MEN blazing arena lights, British heavyweight contender, Dave Allen's jet-black hair shines and glistens, drenched with sweat after a gruelling and brutal tear-up against Argentina's, Ariel Esteban Bracamonte, in an undercard bout to last Saturday's Usyk vs. Bellew main event.
With heavy battered eyes, a swollen nose, bruised brow and a bloodied ear; Dave Allen's face is badly banged-up from a rough and bloody encounter with the 6ft 3", 18 stone "Chiquito." Allen was the bookies favourite going into the fight and tipped to blast-out the Argentine in similar style to his knockout win over Nick Webb back in July or his first round avalanching of Samir Nebo last month. Either way, an easy night's graft was on the cards for the strapping Yorkshireman.
During his post-fight interview with Sky Sports he spoke candidly, analysing his punishing dust-up with the Buenos Airesian while explaining just moments after his 7th round TKO victory, a disappointed looking Eddie Hearn delivered possibly the most creasing dig of all: due to a sluggish performance, complete lack of training and preparation for the fight, Allen was 'done for the year.' A prospect he most certainly didn't envision nor contemplate, spurred on by his recent success and aspirations for the British title by the end of 2018.
The bell clanged for round one as Allen and Bracomate touched gloves in a display respect and sportsmanship. Both fighters presented physically unconditioned, lugging excess timber and spare tyres around their middles, like two bare-knuckle bangers who'd just whipped off their t-shirts ready to knock the s**t out of each other during a messy scrap in a barn, surrounded by bales of hay and fight-thirsty punters who shout, cheer and goad for blood and knockouts. However, the pair boxed well in the opening round, utilising some neat footwork, slipping shots before landing some stiff jabs and big chopping hooks.
A back-and-forth unloading and reloading of heavy combinations was the theme of the fight as both boxers definitely ate more punches their appetites should allow. Cuts, bruising and swelling began to surface early doors, but despite Allen and Bracamonte's slackened pace and lack of fitness, the crowds were entertained by the plethora of meaty cracks and blows the pair traded. The fight was warming nicely in rounds 1-4 with plenty of punches landing as rivulets of blood and lashings of sweat, trickled, spattered and pissed from the faces and crowns of the two fighting men.
The middle rounds saw more blood, more brutality and certainly more fatigue, as a combination of ill-conditioning and flab managed to hinder boxers’ movement, speed and grace, but not their ability to land solid uppercuts and haymakers.
With blowtorched muscles and exasperated lungs, the two heavyweight bulls locked horns, warring it out in the centre of the square battleground, engulfed deep into the trenches, totally spent and shattered but somehow continuing to engage in terse, yet ferocious exchanges of leather.
"BANG"! Dave Allen detonates a nose-crunching right that forces the big Argentinian towards the ropes. The "White Rhino" plods forward to dish-out some more dynamite, however, Bracamonte recovers and counters with a straight left and both fighters continue to clobber one another with a cluster of powerhouse shots, while a sweat induced mist exuberates and vapours from their broad bulks as they finish the round with empty tanks.
By round seven, Allen and Bracamonte were completely spent and totally gassed: throbbing hands, faces and ears. Their shoulders and arms burning and aching. Legs and feet immobilised by old heavy boots baked in cement. Yet, somehow the punches kept blasting into their targets and the two men slug it out.
The seventh finishes in brutal and bloody fashion - Allen's sledgehammering over the top relentlessly smashes into the Argentine's nose as he back peddles and rebounds from the ropes before being saved by the clang of the bell. Slowly lumbering back to his corner, Ariel Estaban Bracamonte's face is a mask of blood, cuts and bruises.
Esteban doesn't see the eighth as time is called on the fight and Dave Allen earns his third consecutive victory on the spin.
With the clash over and done with, the two men embrace and breathe with relief. Their cuts and bruises are testament to their brutal battle while the smearing of sweat and blood embellish their face and torsos like war-paint as they drink ice-cold bottles of Iron-Bru.; courtesy of Dave Allen.
A win for Allen, of course, but a night of boxing he'd rather not endure again. But, this is boxing - a sport where nothing is impossible. And this is Dave Allen - the man who holds the key to his own potential. Allen is warmly regarded by his fellow boxers and fans as a genuine and valiant man who'll stand toe-to-toe with any boxer - yes, that much is apparent. However, it's no surprise Eddie Hearn was extremely peeved when he realised Allen hadn't been near a gym in the last 5-6 weeks.
Fans love the Twitter lothario who persistently engages with everyone on the social media network, responding to the good and the bad criticism he receives daily. The boxing purists appreciate the way he goes about his self-promotion wih quiet admiration, but are hugely frustrated with a boxer who has bundles of talent, but doesn't seem motivated to put the work in. He moves his head well, he punches hard, he can box and fight, and he has heart and grit. He could make a good champion at British level, possibly more if he is willing to work at it. He defeated unbeaten favourite Nick Webb in an eliminator just last August and has fought twice more since, racking up three consecutive stoppage wins.
However, Joe Joyce is next in line for a shot at British champ Hughie Fury, then the winner of Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman are the next in line, so any glimpse of a Lonsdale belt will be far into 2019.
A break should do Dave Allen the world of good. A good rest before he gets back in the gym and pushes himself for a British title sometime in 2019!
Post-fight interview with Allen: "I'd rate my performance 1/10"