No Fouls, No Controversy, No Problem - Mares UD over Agbeko; Moreno the class of the night in win over Darchinyan

Abner MaresPhoto: Casino/Showtime - By Paul Strauss: Not surprisingly, Joseph Agbeko thought Abner Mares 23-0-0 (13KOs) got a California decision at the Honda Center in Anaheim.. But, then King Kong never did do well in this country. In the post-fight interview with Jim Gray, Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko 28-3-0 (22KOs) said that prior to the fight he was asked by some in the media if he was worried about being able to win a decision in California. He said he told them no, but now he knows what they were talking about. He now realizes that (in his opinion) the only way he could get a win is by knockout.

Well, he's in the minority. All three judges scored the fight the same 118-110. Announcers Steve Albert, Al Bernstein, and former champion Antonio Tarver all felt Mares won the fight, but by a close margin. The unofficial press row judges agreed. Agbeko was right about one thing, though. He fought a good fight. The scoring is deceptive, because even though on paper the outcome appears one-sided, the fight was not. The rounds were closely contested and difficult to score.

Referee Dr. Lou Moret gave a very precise, cautionary talk to each fighter in the dressing room prior to the start of the fight. He emphsized he would not allow rabid punches, low blows, and pulling behind the head. He warned both fighters that repeated violations would result in disqualification. Neither fighter expressed any concern with adhering to the rules; although, Mares did admit to Jim Gray that he would have to be especially careful about the low blows because of the controversy concerning the first fight. After reviewing film of the fight, Referee Russell Mora admitted he should have deducted points from Mares for low blows. He also admitted he incorrectly signaled a knockdown for Mares, when the blow causing it was illegal (low).

There was none of that tonight, other than a few incidental moments. But, what was of concern was a cut over the outside area of Abner Mares right eye, which occurred in the second round. The cut was ruled the result of a punch, so there was early concern that the fight might end in a TKO for Agbeko, even if he was losing on points.

It was somewhat humorous in the post=fight interview when Jim Gray asked Abner if he was worried about the cut, and he said that he has the best cut man in Miguel Diaz. But, then he acknowledged asking his great practitioner if they might stop the fight, and Miguel said, "Are you crazy? I'm the best!" Fortunately for Abner, the cut was to the outside portion of the eye, and although there was quite a bit of bleeding, the flow of the blood did not affect Mares' vision.

The flow of the fight was different than the first. In tonight's fight, Abner Mares fought intelligently, boxing from a distance. Agbeko jabbed a lot, and it was probably a left jab that caused the cut. But, his left hook was wild, and opened him up for counters. Also, he didn't attempt to use his right as much as in the first fight, and in the post-fight interview, he said that he purposely didn't because of Abner's ability to counter him with the left hook.

The rounds that could be scored for Agbeko were the early ones, primarily because he was more active. He also was feinting a lot and Mares seemed a bit passive. The only real warnings in the fight came early when Ref Moret warned Mares a couple of times, first for rabid punches, then for pulling Agbeko's head down. Both were guilty of these offenses later in the fight, but not seriously, and both quickly backed off on their own after it occurred.

By the third round, Mares started to take control. He fired more combinations, and looked to be getting into his comfort zone. He was countering well with his jab, and left hook, and occasionally getting in a short right. Agbeko was very active, but he was wild. The fourth round ended with Mares landing a good sharp, short right to the jaw.

By the fifth the cut had reopened, and there was quite a bit of blood. Mares continued doubling up and throwing multiple jabs. He was boxing well. It was in he sixth round that a obvious low blow was landed by Mares. The scenario was similar to the first fight when Mares' head was pulled down, as he tried to land a counter left. There was no previous warning, so no point deduction. The seventh round opened with Mares landing a good combination. In between rounds Mares' corner reminded him to keep fighting from a distance, and to keep his hands up and avoid throwing any low blows.

In the eighth round, Mares started things out with a good counter right. His cut continued to bleed quite a bit, and Mares seemed bothered by it. Agbeko was targeting the cut with his jab, which landed several times. Again between rounds, Mares' corner reminded him to maintain a comfortable distance and to do a little more. In the ninth, Agbeko opened things up with a good counter right over Mares' jab. Later in the round, Mares landed several good left hooks, and finished things up with a good counter right.

Agbeko was jabbing particularly well in the tenth, and Referee Dr. Moret was looking closely at Mares' eye. Agbeko continued to aim at it with his jab. At one moment, Agbeko leaned down and in, and Mares shot several punches to his back. Before Dr. Moret could do anything about it, the two fighters separated, and no there was no caution. Sugar Ray Robinson used to do that a lot, especially a right over the top to the back of the fighter coming in bent over. Never got warned about it.

In the eleventh, Mares shook up Agbeko with a good right hand to the head. Moments later, he landed a good left hook, then another. It ended up being a big round for Mares. Mares finished strong in the twelfth. He came out aggressively and then backed off a bit, only to surpirse Agbeko with another right. He landed more and won the exchanges to win the round. The SHO Stats were all in his favor. In the post fight interview, he said he's ready for anybody, including Anselmo Moreno, who did a number on Vic Darchinyan in the earlier bout of the night.

The best way to sum up that fight was to quote both fighters. Moreno felt he could beat the Raging Bull, because Vic was a dumb fighter. I'm sure he meant Vic fought stupidly, not that he literally was stupid. Vic didn't argue the point either. In the post-fight interview, he acknowledged that he foolishly kept trying to land the big knockout punch, and I just "Couldn't find him ".

That's because Moreno is a very skilled fighter. In his United States debut, he demonstrated his considerable talent. He made Vic look clumsy and awkward.......more so than usual. Vic often times uses that to his advantage, by confusing fighters and getting them out of position. But, that wasn't the case tonight.

The fight started slowly, with not much happening from either side. Both batam weights are southpaws, but Moreno is actually a converted right hander, so he has a good hard right hook. He used it very well, especially to Vic's body. But, that came later. In the second round, Moreno landed a good straight left, which seemed to really tick off Vic, who flew after Moreno, but he failed to land anything big. Moreno's considerable reach advantage (4 1/2") started to become more evident, as he was beating Vic to the body with good shots.

One of Vic's big problems in this fight was his failure to throw any jabs. He continued to try the "Raging Bull" rush, but it was no problem for Moreno. He repeatedly caught Vic coming him, often with hard shots to the body, and enough to the head to cause some swelling under both eyes of Vic. There was a lot of missing on the part of Vic. Moreno is very clever and elusive, and he was causing Vic to get very frustrated and tired from the effort.

By the eighth round, Vic was noticeably gasping for air between rounds. He was getting picked apart. Color commentator Antonio Tarver made a comarison between Anselmo Moreno and Sweet Pea Whitaker, which after watching Moreno work tonight doesn't seem like much of a stretch. He looked very good. He wasn't intimidated at all by his first fight in the USA. Vic's reputation and style didn't bother him either. It was a pleasure watching him perform. He has tremendous reflexes, instinct, poise, speed, to go along with his elusiveness. He also is a very good counter puncher, both up and down. A fight between him and Abner Mares would be very interesting. The final decision was unanimous: 120-107; 117-110; and 116-111.

In the undercard fights:

Abner Mares UD 12 Joseph Agbeko
Anselmo Moreno UD 12 Vic Darchinyan
WBA bantamweight title
16-111, 117-110, 120-107
Sakio Bika RTD 3 Alfredo Contreras
Omar Henry TD 2 Lester Gonzalez
Richard Contreras TKO 4 Juan Sandoval
Carlos Molina UD 10 Manuel Leyva
Frankie Gomez TKO 3 James Hope

Article posted on 04.12.2011

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