By Vitali Shaposhnikov: While most eyes were on HBO’s Khan vs. Maidana in Las Vegas, Showtime’s “Winner Take All” bantamweight tournament also had something special going on at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. Abner Mares (20-0-1, 13 KOs) faced off against Vic Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs), and Joseph Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) shared the ring against his former foe Yonnhy Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs).
The WBC belt did not come easy to the younger and less experienced Mares, as he had to put on constant pressure to prevent Darchinyan from doing what he does best: coming forward with a mind blowing fast lead left. Abner had to struggle through an incidental laceration above the left eye towards the forehead, being dropped in round three by Vic’s signature straight left hand, and a point deduction in round four for a low blow. Still Mares never lost faith, and with a bloody face continued coming forward and sticking it to Darchinyan round by round. In round seven, Abner threw a punch that never clearly landed, but the timing was superb, as an off balanced Vic on one leg was unable to sustain his center of gravity, and fell to the canvas. Referee counted that as a clear knockdown for Darchinyan. Overall through the fight, Vic was landing the harder single shots, but Mares kept his volume up, accumulating every point possible. Darchinyan only received one vote, while Abner was given two. Official scores came to 115-112, 115-111 for Mares, and 115-111 for Darchinyan.
Joseph Agbeko looked much better and took back what was his this time around against Yonnhy Perez, proving to be the better man tonight. While Perez kept pushing forward and kept up his consistency and volume, Agbeko was able to avoid the majority of them, and come back with his own accurate counters. There were instances were the fighters traded a barrage of blows, neither seemed to be bothered or hurt. ‘King Kong’ Agbeko saw a flaw in Perez, and took clear advantage of it, as he repeatedly committed to straight rights, and lateral movement, all of which made the difference in the fight. The IBF belt made the whole 360, and came back to Agbeko from where it visited Perez for a little while. Judges decided on 116-112, 117-111, 115-113 all for Joseph Agbeko.
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