One hundred fifty four pounders Willie Nelson and Vanes Martirosyan met up in the second TV scrap on Showtime on Saturday night. On paper, raise your hand if you thought this one coulda been a stinker. But no…it was a darned solid scrap.
Nelson went 185-608 to 194-625 for Martirosyan, who was on message tonight. He closed the distance, stayed busy and looked to rip hard shots low and high. The scores read: 97-93, 97-93, 96-94, for Vanes, the WBO Intercontinental champ.
Vanes after said that Dan Goossen’s death propelled him, and that he thought about Big Dan in round eight. Lil brother Joe Goossen spoke after, and said Dan wanted Vanes to win.
In the first, Nelson looked to use his height advantage. Vanes has had aggression problems and Nelson knows that. Nelson said before the bout that Vanes’ chin sometimes goes on a platter, while Vanes said he wanted a knockout, but didn’t want to go overboard in seeking it.
In the second, Nelson put his punches together. Vanes waited, watched, backed up. Then he scored. He hurt Nelson, with a counter right on a leaning in Willie. In the third, Nelson stayed smarter. He needed to not fall in and he’d be OK. His jab was the dominant punch. Vanes went to the body with the right and Joe Goossen yelled, “Niccce.”
In the fourth, a right caught Nelson at midrange. He was freezing up some, and Vanes was catching him with leads. We saw blood from the right eye of Vanes. Trainer Jack Loew told Nelson to, “Keep that jab movin!” After the round, Goossen told Vanes not to let Nelson have the range he wants.
In the fifth, the cut opened again. A right wobbled Nelson midway through. Vanes ripped two and three shot combos, didn’t neglect the body work. In the sixth, could Vanes continue to pull away? Vanes was coming forward, imposing his will. Then Nelson perked up, remembered he needed to be first, or Vanes’ confidence would build to a problematic place.
In the seventh, Nelson did well from long range. Nelson forgets to keep moving, though, freezes, so Vanes could close distance, rip a combo, hit body and head. Both men were busy, working hard. Goossen asked for more accuracy after the round. Loew told his kid they were in good shape.
In the eighth, Vanes came out obeying Goossen. Nelson was cut under his left eye. His corner didn’t like that round, told him to get busier. Goossen told Vanes not to back up one step. “Ready to win, baby?” he said.
In the ninth, Vanes threw a right hand, a bit loopy. He was in a mode, looking to win for Dan Goossen, maybe. Nelson was letting Vanes be in his face, he needed to establish a barrier, with that jab.
In the tenth, the action was furious. They didn’t bother moving much, it was trade city. “Great fight,” said ref Arthur Mercante Jr. It was..We went to the cards.