Sunday, August 14, 2011

Showtime Bantamweight Tournament: Joseph Agbecko vs Abner Mares

Courtesy of Showtime Boxing


Courtesy of Ringtv.com
By Randy De La O

Wow, I hardly know where to begin. Last night's fight, low blow's and questionable referring aside, was actually pretty good. Lot's of action and a good performance by both fighters, though for the most part the fight was dominated by Abner Mares. Joseph Agbecko, for his part, started coming on in the late rounds, though it was, perhaps, a case of too little too late.

 Mares, a bold fighter by nature, immediately took the fight to "King Kong" Agbecko, working the body (and more) with left hooks that would take their toll on Agbecko. Mares showed a good set of whiskers in the fight, especially in the fourth when Agbecko landed his best punch, a right hand flush on Mares' kisser, buckling him. His knees buckled but his will stood and Mares never lost a beat. Mares was simply in better form last night.

 Still, you can't get away from the low blows by Mares or the lousy referring by Russell Mora, Agbecko is correct when he says he was fighting both Mares and the referee. It eventually became uncomfortable to watch. I like Mares and I think he is a terrific fighter. It pained me to see him win like this. I don't think it was done intentionally and I do think that some of the low blows were caused by Agbecko holding Mares' head down, some of them were borderline, landing just at or below the belt line. Still, there were just too many actual low blows to ignore and Mares should have had a point or two deducted.

 The first knockdown by Mares, of Agbecko, was somewhat questionable but both sides could make a case for it's legitimacy but it was not the worst call I've seen. The second knockdown in the 11th round was too obvious to excuse. Not only was a point not deducted from Mares but it was called a knockdown by the usually competent Mora. That Mora allowed the fouls to continue without a point deduction was inexcusable and beyond belief. It was almost surreal.

 I don't know how the fight would have turned out if a point had been taken away from Mares. He might have become more aware and kept his punches up or he might not have, maybe Agbecko would have fought differently not having to worry about being hit low but we'll never know because Mora did not do his job. It was a bad night for everyone, though Mora was not without his own culpability, I couldn't help feel for him when he said, almost pleadingly to Jim Gray, "Hey, don't ruin my night for me". It was definitely a bad night for Agbecko who feels, and rightly so, that he unjustly lost his title. It was a bad night for fight fans at the Hard Rock Casino and at home watching the fight. Mora himself seemed almost puzzled by the questions from Jim Gray. Everyone was cheated out of a good and fair outcome. No pun intended but it was a low blow for boxing last night.

 Mares said he would give Agbecko a rematch. Let's hope that he's man of his word and that it happens soon. If ever a fighter deserves an immediate rematch, it's Agbecko.

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