In a night of curious judge’s scoring Tim Bradley was given a draw and Mauricio Herrera a loss in a fight card that only gave fans satisfaction in a fight that saw Ireland’s Andy Lee capture a middleweight title on Saturday.
“I don’t understand the judging,” said an irate Bob Arum of Top Rank. “At least there was no controversy in the Andy Lee fight.”
Ireland’s Andy Lee beat Russia’s Matt Korobov to the punch with a right hook to win by technical knockout in a battle between middleweight southpaws.
Lee and Korobov had fought a conservative fight for the first five rounds when they opened up with the big guns in the sixth round. During one exchange Lee beat Korobov to the punch and connected with a lethal right hook to the chin before Korobov’s could connect. Though he didn’t go down he was clearly hurt. Lee attacked and unleashed a torrid barrage of blows that Korobov could not respond. Referee Ken Bayless stopped the fight at 1:10 of the round.
“I’ve never been hurt before. I was stunned and I could not continue,” said Korobov. “I should have taken a knee.”
Lee was very blunt with his reason for winning.
“I got there before he did,” said Lee. who formerly was trained by the late Emmanuel Steward.
Korobov had been winning the five rounds before suffering the knockout loss.
Tim Bradley-Diego Chaves
Former WBO welterweight titlist Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley (31-1-1, 12 Kos) looked to be cruising along in the first six rounds with a near shutout against Argentina’s Diego Chaves (23-2-1, 19 Kos). The second half was different, but it looked like Bradley had built enough early lead to carry the fight to a decision win.
Not on this night.
Though there were no knockdowns, Bradley seemed to be in front at the end of 12 rounds but when the cards were read it was scored a draw.
“We had Bradley ahead,” said television’s Jim Lampley of HBO. “It was a strange night of scoring.”
Mauricio Herrera-Jose Benavidez fiasco
The junior welterweight Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera of Riverside once again lost a fight that most of the boxing world felt he won easily. This time Jose Benavidez (22-0, 15 Kos), who spent most of the night against the ropes, was given a unanimous decision win to the amazement of the media and crowd.
Herrera wasted no time attacking the body with jabs in the first round. When Benavidez attempted to block, he was hit with an overhand right to the head.
In round two Herrera worked the body and when Benavidez went to the ropes combinations from Herrera worked through the gloves.
Jabs to the body continued as Benavidez lay against the ropes. At the end of the round a right hand by Herrera landed flush. The taller Benavidez found it hard to land any punches. Somehow two judges gave Benavidez two of the first three rounds though he was out-punched thoroughly.
Benavidez had his best round in the sixth when he landed some crisp right hands at the beginning and the end of the round. But he continued to lean on the ropes and allow Herrera to work his body with impunity.
The judges didn’t think so. For some reason the body work was ignored for all 12 rounds.
The judges scored it 116-112 twice and 117-111 for Benavidez. Most of the press had Herrera winning, not Benavidez.
“Nothing new,” said Herrera, who lost earlier in the year by a much disputed decision to champion Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico. “It happens all the time.”
HBO’s Max Kellerman said that Herrera should be enjoying life as a champion at this moment instead of wondering what happened.
“He beat Provodnikov, he beat Garcia and he beat Benavidez,” said Kellerman.
It was a very curious night of judge’s scoring.
Russia’s Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 18 Kos), who now fights out of L.A., defeated a game Miguel Mendoza (24-5-2, 21 Kos) of Mexico by unanimous decision after eight rounds in a lightweight contest. Shafikov proved stronger than Mendoza in the second half of the fight though Mendoza had his moments early. In his last fight Shafikov won a mandatory to fight for the title.
Former US Olympian Jose Ramirez (13-0, 10 Kos) scored a technical knockout over San Diego’s Anthony Arellano at 2:50 of the sixth and final round. Ramirez pushed Arellano against the ropes then fired a punch and referee Pat Russell jumped in to stop the junior welterweight fight.
Canadian welterweight Michael Zewski (26-0, 20 Kos) pulled out a majority decision to defeat New Jersey’s Jeremy Bryan (17-5, 7 Kos) in a 10 round fight. Zewski was cut easily and Bryan landed some crisp combinations to keep the big punching Zewski from getting leverage. One judge scored it a draw at 95-95 and the other two saw it 97-93 for the Canadian.
Photo Credit: Chris Farina