In the TV opener on HBOs’ Boxing After Dark, Matt Korobov took on Jose Uzcategui in a showdown of undefeated middleweights, and Korobov won, but lost.
He could have made a case for himself as a foe for Gennady Golovkin, but he needed to finish with a fiery flurry, a blaze of nastiness. Didn’t go that way..He did score two knockdowns in the eighth, but the scrap landed in the laps of the judges. The scores read 97-91, 97-91, 96-92, for Korobov.
The scrap unfolded in Omaha, from the CenturyLink Center, and the response to Michael Buffer’s call was tepid.
Koro went 121-412 to 90-375 for the loser, as neither man was overly busy.
In the first, the Venezuelan (age 23, 16-175 on fight night; 22-0 entering) who has been fighting in Mexico showed long arms. The Russian Koro (age 30; 160-173 fight night; 23-0 entering) landed his lead left some, and started putting combos together. The left landed clean for the lefty and Uz stepped back in deference, with 15 seconds to go.
In the second, Koro’s jab popped, he moved smartly, and he had a better rhythm than the other guy. We saw a slice flowing on U’s left eye.
In the third, K took the round, but didn’t start pulling away, put more distance between him and U. Trainer Charles Mooney asked him after to dig to the body, good idea considering we’d seen none of that.
In the fourth, we heard from Jim Lampley that Koro said he’d like to be seeing Gennady Golovkin down the line. He’d need to get an exclamation point win to start that conversation…
In the fifth, to start off, we heard Lampley note that Korobov’s punch output dropped each round. A cut formed on K’s right eye, and Uz was having more luck landing. A butt, the ref said, caused the slice. The right hand was working for Uz, who woke up in this round, for certain.
In the sixth, K’s right hook landed clean to kick it off. Uz started pressing, hustling to get close to K, sensing maybe the foe was tiring.
In the seventh, down went Uz. It came from an overhand right. He was up at six. He went to the deck again, off a right hook. But the bomber grew tired, his arms and legs wearied, and Uz finished the round. In round eight, rights from Uz scored, and the crowd buzzed. A combo buzzed Korobov, and he was on the defensive a round after almost getting blitzed.
In the ninth, Koro scored a knockdown which was not called, from a body shot. Uz shoved the ref to get at Koro at the end of the round, knowing he needed a stoppage.
In the tenth, a right landed as Koro backed Uz to the ropes. Koro banged and stayed smart, so as not to get hit by a Hail Mary.
We’d go to the cards…