SAN DIEGO, September 12, 2015 – Undercard bouts on the Mayweather vs. Berto schedule provided surprisingly good action fights for the few fans bothering to watch them.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena never completely fills up for undercard fights, but it remained nearly empty until the Jack vs. Groves fight, and only half filled until the final rounds of Martinez vs. Salido II. It’s a mystery why fans pay for tickets and throw away so much boxing entertainment.
Badou Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) successfully defended his WBC super middleweight title with a majority decision over George Groves (21-3, 16 KOs) of Great Britain. It was Jack’s first defense of the belt since winning it from Anthony Dirrell in April. Scores were 116-111 and 115-112 for Jack, with Groves getting a 114-113 score from judge John McKay.
Jack scored a knockdown of Groves near the end of the first round with two snapping rights; Groves took a knee but Jack could not close the deal. Groves worked his way back into the fight slowly and steadily, and it became a high stakes chess match for most of the fight.
Groves has been criticized for losing steam in his fights, and it seemed to happen again against Jack, although Jack gave Groves his due after the bout. “He came to fight, he was prepared to go 12 rounds. I should have gotten the knockout but I didn’t,” said Jack after the fight. Jack says after a little Jamaican vacation, he’ll be looking for fights against the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Lucien Bute, “a lot of big names.” Jack said he wanted to work on his head movement, “everything, I want to be better at everything, I want to learn every day.”
Groves needs to go back to the drawing board after this bout, and he knows it. “I am going to take some time to work out what’s next. Losing a world title fight is the worst feeling in the world.” He had moments but he needs to follow through and he didn’t stick with the body work he needed to set Jack up to feel the rest of his punches.
” I thought I controlled the fight with my jab and that I was in control throughout it appeared closer to the judges … Congrats to Badou. I hope he has a successful reign as champion. I’d love to fight him again and hopefully I will do better next time,” said Groves.
In the headscratcher decision of the night, Orlando Salido of Mexico three 1,037 punches to 691 for Roman “Rocky” Martinez of Puerto Rico, and seemingly dominated through 12 rounds. But at the end of the slugfest, the fight ended in a draw. Salido and Martinez each got a 115-113 scorecard, but judge Patricia Jarman saw it as 114-114.
Salido claimed the judges shortchanged him in the first fight in Puerto Rico, and he must wonder what he needs to do to win. A notoriously slow starter, Salido came on more quickly this time around. Salido (42-13-3, 29 KOs) looked like he could have gone all night and though Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs) hung in tough, he didn’t have the energy left to box under the Salido onslaught.
“I believe I won the fight. I thought in the first couple of rounds they were even, but I took the fight afterwards,” said Salido. “I was definately looking for the championship, I threw more punches in this fight and I should have won the fight. I dedicated so much to this fight, for the judges to take it away, it isn’t fair. I definitely want another fight.”
Martinez, who retains his title, said many of the punches Salido threw didn’t land, and not much else. Martinez might be wise to avoid Salido-Martinez III.
In a mild upset, Jonathan Oquendo shook off a first round knockdown to come back and win an unanimous decision over Jhonny Gonzalez (58-10, 49 KOs) in the first fight of the pay per view schedule. Gonzalez started switfly with a three punch comination scoring a first round knockdown of Jonathan Oquendo (26-4, 16 KOs). Oquendo returned the favor in round two and again in round eight, and gained momentum through the ten round bout.
According “I knew I had to throw a lot of punches and work to get inside to get the victory,” said Oquendo. “I was able to implement that game plan tonight.”
A disgruntled Gonzalez felt the judges overly favored Oquendo. “He kept head butting me. It just didn’t go well … As soon as he knocked me down, nothing happened. I just got right back up.” Gonzalez’ face showed the effects of the butts and punches, and it cou;dn’t have helped him on the subjective part of the scorecards.
Thanks to two knockdowns, Vanes Martirosyan (36-2-1, 21 KOs) defeated Ishe Smith (27-8, 12 KOs) in a ten round decision, based primarily on the strenght of two knockdowns in rounds three and eight in a bout show on the “Countdown” portion of the card.
“I knew as soon as I landed the first knockdown that I had to keep going, said Martirosyan. “I didn’t think he would get up from the second knockdown. He had never been dropped before. He has fought a lot of great fighters and I dropped him twice.”
Smith said the first knockdown “wasn’t serious,” that Martirosyan just caught him. “I just fought a hell of a fight against the # 3 ranked fighter in our division. I have a lot left. I’m pushing these guys to the limit. I take nothing away from him. He’s one of the best in the world and I’m a former world champion. We gave the fans a great fight tonight and I’ll be back again soon.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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