Chris John Keeps Title And Unbeaten Record With Draw Against Rocky Juarez

Chris Johnby James Slater - Last night, at The Toyota Centre in Houston Texas, Indonesia's WBA featherweight king Chris "The Dragon" John managed to retain his title with a tough draw against a determined Rocky Juarez. In making his US debut, the 29-year-old also retained his unbeaten record and in truth the drawn verdict was not one anybody could really argue with. Now 44-0-2(22) John basically commanded the first half of the fight while local man Juarez, now 28-4-1(20) came on strong and took over in the second half of the engrossing bout. All three judges had it exactly the same at 114-114.

John was really putting on a showcase of his fine skills in the first six rounds. He was out-boxing a Juarez who, though aggressive, was being frustrated. Making the 11th defence of his world title, "The Dragon" used every punch in his arsenal as he dominated the 28-year-old challenger. Left jabs, right hands, left hooks, uppercuts and body shots, you name it and John was scoring with it.

A nasty-looking cut was opened by a punch in the 5th round, and now Rocky was bleeding over his left eye. Fortunately the injury did not worsen. Even more fortunate for the game Juarez was the fact that he was finally able to make it more his kind of fight from the 8th round right until the final bell. When it was at first looking as though John would pitch a near shut-out, Juarez was at last able to find success with his punches. Driving himself on admirably when a number of other fighters may well have lost heart after having been so clearly out-punched in the earlier going, Juarez was able to get home with right hands to the head, left hooks and some body shots as he fought on the inside.

With John showing some signs of fatigue, Rocky poured it on. Neither guy ever looked like scoring a stoppage, but the action had warmed up nicely by the 8th into a good fan-pleasing fight. One that was now desperately close to call. Was Juarez' late rounds comeback enough to win him the fight? As one of the commentators said, maybe Rocky would have preferred a 15-round fight tonight - so badly was he running out of time.

The challenger closed the show well, and there were also some fine exchanges being fought. The last round was the Houston man's best of all, as he scored with a good right hand to John's head, and also a left hook to the jaw. After such a bright and impressive start it really was somewhat surprising to see the champion come so close to unravelling. The crowd, initially fairly quiet, was now bellowing out its approval as local hero Rocky landed his best shots of the fight.

It wasn't quite enough, however, and at the end all three judges agreed at 114-114.

Can you say rematch!?

Article posted on 01.03.2009

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