Michael Katsidis Outworks Vicente Escobedo Over 12-Rounds To Win Interim WBO Lightweight Belt

Michael Katsidisby James Slater - On tonight's Mayweather-Marquez bill, Australia's Michael Katsidis won the interim WBO lightweight title with a split decision over former U.S Olympian Vicente Escobedo. After 12 pulsating rounds, 29-year-old Katsidis was awarded a surprisingly close points win. Though he appeared to have won overwhelmingly (this writer had Katsidis a clear four point winner) Katsidis was only given a split win - with one judge amazingly giving the win to Escobedo.

Ultimately prevailing by scores of 115-113 and 118-110, "The Great" saw Escobedo get a vote of 116-112! on the third card (really, something must be done about these terrible examples of scoring a prize fight that seem to be more and more common these days). Now the interim WBO 135-pound champ, the man some have called the new Arturo Gatti is now 26-2(21). 27-year-old Escobedo is now 21-2(13).

Known as a great crowd pleaser, Katsidis, a fighter with seemingly unlimited stamina, came out and gave his all as usual. The talented Escobedo jabbed and moved well at times, and he also stood his ground for periods, showing his heart.. But Katsidis, who suffered a cut over his left eye in the opening round, did most of the work all through the fight and he simply would not be denied. Pouring body shots, right hands and left hooks on his man, the warrior from Toowoomba put on relentless pressure.

The first third or so of the contest was reasonably close, but in the last five or six rounds it was Katsidis who was the far more effective fighter. Coming forward all night long, Katsidis again wore his heart on his sleeve. Escobedo made it an interesting fight, and the slightly younger man showed skill and toughness in there, but it was clear who was enjoying the gruelling battle the most.

There were no knockdowns, and neither did there ever really look like being one, but the non-stop action was appealing and enjoyable. Cut above his right eye in the final round, Escobedo - who can definitely come again - withstood a final, furious attack from the Aussie hard man. Both men were rightfully applauded by the big crowd at the final bell, and thankfully the right man won. But how one judge had Escobedo wining by FOUR points, I will never know.

Hopefully, the value for money Katsidis will move on to another well deserved big pay day, and we all look forward to seeing the thrilling fighter's next bout. Escobedo, too, deserves another big opportunity.

Article posted on 20.09.2009

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