LAS VEGAS-Ghana's Albert Mensah used all of his size advantages but still Michael “The Great” Katsidis showed why he remains one of the most popular boxing gladiators in the world on Friday.
Mensah used a tight defense in the first few rounds as Katsidis attempted to brawl through the taller boxer's guard. Then it got interesting.
Katsidis absorbed some hellish blows but kept rolling on with his steam roller style and at times it worked as Mensah looked a little surprised that it was still a close match.
Katsidis ( 28-6, 23 KOs) found Ghana's Mensah (25-3-1, 10 KOs) too tall, too strong and too skilled to dazzle the younger fighter with his bag of tricks. But he tried valiantly in a losing cause until the final bell rang. The crowd was euphoric.
Mensah tried measuring bombs throughout the fight to eliminate Katsidis but the experienced veteran of numerous championship fights was too wily. At the end of 10 rounds, though Katsidis had his moments, the judges scored it a majority decision for Mensah 95-95, 98-92 and 96-94.
Maybe it was too soon or maybe Alan Sanchez improved by leaps and bounds as Artemio Reyes Jr. could not survive the first round on Friday and former junior lightweight contender Michael Katsidis couldn't make the jump to junior welterweight.
Sanchez (10-2-1, 4 KOs) avenged an earlier defeat against San Bernardino's Reyes (15-2, 12 KOs) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and showed a national television audience his ability. For Reyes it was his first defeat since losing in his second bout back in 2008.
Sanchez moved in quickly firing quick combinations and retreating just as quickly. After a minute of some short exchanges, a right uppercut snuck through Reyes guard and snapped his head back violently. From then on Sanchez began winging blows freely as Reyes retreated to no avail. Lefts and rights connected and Reyes sunk to the ground prompting referee Joe Cortez to stop the fight at 2:08 of the first round.
Alexis Hernandez (1-1) of Santa Ana dropped Sergio Lopez of Las Vegas three times in winning by unanimous decision after a four round featherweight bout. A right hand caught Lopez flush in round two in a round he looked to be winning. A left hook floored Lopez (0-1) in round three. Hernandez took some blows but was always in control. The scores were 40-34, 40-35 and 39-38.
A junior welterweight match featuring debuting boxers saw Richard Quesada (1-0) pour on the punches including a right hand to the body of Luis Gordon ended the fight in 50 seconds of round one. Gordon (0-1) fights out of Miami and the winner Quesada calls Havana, Cuba his home.
In a rock em sock em fight little guys Edwin Reyes of Nashville and Yorgey Ramirez ended in a draw after four rounds. Both were making their pro debuts and scrapped every second of every round with the shorter Ramirez starting faster and Reyes ending stronger.
Cameron Krael (1-1-2) squeaked past Tyler Larson (0-2-1) after four rounds of a junior weltweight contest. In their previous bout last year it was called a draw. This time Krael convinced two judges he was better than Larson to win by majority decision. Both boxers live in Las Vegas.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV