Fight fans who tuned in to the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights which unfolded at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada were feeling nervous that they’d see an out of towner, Juan Urango, get jobbed by the judges after he boxed more than adequately over 12 rounds in vying for the vacant IBF 140 pound title. His foe, Herman Ngoudjo, is a Montreal resident, and it so happened that the ref of this match was the same official who bungled the handling of a knockdown in favor of a Canadian three months ago. But that anxiety was misplaced, happily, as the judges did the right thing, and award the semi-crude banger Urango a unanimous decision (120-106, 118-108, 116-110) over Ngoudo on Saturday evening.
Urango, who won this vacated belt in 2006, with a UD12 win over Naoufel Ben Rabah and then dropped it immediately to Ricky Hatton, almost closed out the show with a strong assault and two knockdowns in the third round; so it seemed like judges would have to veer into the realm of the nakedly obvious felony if they chose Ngoudjo, but this is boxing, where we come to expect the unexpected, and with PlasterGate fresh in all our minds, the right call was welcomed with glee. The right call allowed us to forgive the timekeeper who allowed round 10 to go 5:10!
Urango, the lefty, looked to bomb from the start, and the Quebec resident Ngoudjo moved smartly to steer clear of punishment. Urango banged to the body, sharply, and the crowd gasped in round one. In the second, Herman’s straighter shots hit the mark a bit better. But he’d need to be sharp defensively for the duration of the bout to be successful—could he pull it off? Urango scored a knockdown in the third, off a left uppercut. To me, it looked like it could’ve been a slip, from tangled feet. It was ruled a knockdown, and Herman didn’t protest. He held on, as Urango went into blitzkrieg mode. Herman went down again, off a straight left, with 24 seconds to go. He got up, on weakened legs, and held on for dear life as the bell sounded. Could he clear the fog in the fourth?
In the fourth, ref Marlon Wright, who astute readers know gave IBF 168 pound champ Lucian Bute extra time when he was knocked down in the final round of his Oct. 24 fight against Librado Andrade, warned Urango for hitting low. The hometowner stayed alive in the fifth; his legs were firm underneath him, and he made good use of them. In the sixth, we wondered if Herman could do more than merely survive. He did indeed have more luck, as he made better use of the distance, and didn’t get caught in no man’s land as much. In the seventh, Urango jammed a home a couple of right hooks. Herman’s respect for his foe’s power meant that he didn’t commit to offense like he needed to. In round eight, Urango’s body work again impressed, to both sides. But Herman did some decent work in close, too, in the ninth. In the tenth, both men held. The ref warned Urango again for going low. The prospect of a hometown special, a gift from the judges to Herman, didn’t seem so outlandish by this point. The round also went 5:10, by ESPN’s clock, which did neither man a favor. Then again, Herman did probably have more ground to make up, huh? In round 11, Herman ran, as Urango pressed forward with decent energy. No judge in his right mind could give the Canadian the round. Could he? In the 12th, Herman didn’t go all out, but maybe he didn’t need to…The crowd didn’t rise and transfer their passion to the hometowner, either. Both men held a bunch down the stretch. We’d go the cards……..
The 29–year-old Cameroonian Ngoudjo (139 pounds; ranked No. 1 by the IBF) entered with a 17-2 (9 KOs) record, while the 28-year-old Colombian Urango (139 pounds) was 20-1-1 (16 KOs; No. 2 in IBF).
Brian Kenny chatted with Shane Mosley, via remote. Mosley told Kenny that his trainer, Naazim Richardson, took an Antonio Margarito “knuckle pad” which he thought didn’t “seem right” with him from Margarito’s dressing room back to Mosley’s on fight night, January 24.. Richardson, Mosley said, showed the pad to him and an unnamed physician. The physician scraped the pad, and a substance fell off the pad, and the physician said it looked to him like plaster. Then, the pad—or pads, because Mosley then referred to “pads,” rather than one pad, were boxed up and shipped off, to where he didn’t specify. Mosley said possibly the pads, when moistened, could conceivably become excessively stiff, and provide Margarito with an illegal advantage. But, Mosley said, he wasn’t getting hit with many shots of consequence and any Margarito edge would be minimal at best. Mosley stated that he thinks trainer Javier Capetillo should be help culpable, and that Margarito shouldn’t be blamed for the incident.
Margarito was also interviewed. He said that trainer Javier Capetillo and a commissioner and Richardson argued over taping protocol. He said his trainer told him that the incident was no big deal. He mentioned nothing about any plaster substance being on his knuckle protector pad. Margarito promised that he will return to action, “even stronger.” Atlas then spoke about said “pad” but described it as piled up gauze. He then called out the California commission, chaired by Tim Noonan, saying they should speak up now, to reduce all the conjecture knuckleheads like me traffic in.
SPEEDBAG Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy did contact Floyd Mayweather’s advisor Al Haymon, said studio analyst Bernardo Osuna (formerly of Telefutura), but Haymon told Schaefer that as of now, Floyd is still “retired.”