By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
This was night of fight of redemption and reclamation as three fighters fought to get their career going again, beginning with Andre Berto fighting Stephen Upsher.
Berto fought a strong first round as he landed combinations and this continued into the second round but Upsher landed three left hooks as he got Berto’s attention. Both fighters landed big punches against each other as Berto own defensive deficiency showed up.
Throughout the third and fourth round, Berto picked up the pace as he landed combinations at will while Upsher simply was contented to counter and never start any exchange. Halfway through the fight, Showtime had Berto up by three rounds to two and the sixth round showed the Upsher dilemma as he found himself on the defensive when he allowed Berto to attack but for brief moments when he allowed his hands to go; he nailed Berto with left hooks and straight rights.
Throughout the seventh and eighth round, Berto continued to get his punches off first and forced Upsher to retreat but throughout the early part of the ninth; it was Upsher got off first but as the round wore on, Berto got the better of the exchanges.
Berto used his jab effectively throughout most of the fight and landed body shots but he showed those defensive deficiency when Upsher did attack. Berto came off two losses and shoulder injuries to win this fight and Uphser proved to be the right opponent as he spent most of the time being defensive.
Lucas Matthysse won his last bout against John Molina but only after coming off the canvas twice before stopping Molina. Undefeated Roberto Ortiz promised he would not take a step back against Matthysse. Showtime Steve Farhood observed that Argentina fighters won the last 18 out of 20 fighters against Mexican fighters.
The first round saw both fighter felt each other throughout the first four minutes but a vicious body shots sent OrtIz down in the second round. The referee counted Ortiz out even though it appeared that Ortiz may have beaten the count. Showtime announcers debated whether Ortiz beat the count or not with Al Bernstein saying yes and Paul Malignaggi saying no and added that Ortiz’s mouthpiece was knocked out. (Malignaggi later recanted and decided that Ortiz did beat the count but should have been deducted a point for spitting out mouthpiece.)
Emanuel Taylor faced Adrien Broner, who was looking for redemption after a loss to Maidana and an uninspiring victory over Carlos Molina. Over the first three minutes, Manuel out hustled Broner, who may have landed a few solid punches but retreated throughout the whole ring.
Taylor pressed the action in both the second and third round as he threw more punches while Broner did manage some excellent counter, In particular his left hook. Broner used his jab to open up his power shots in the fourth round as he consistently landed right hands and left hooks forcing Taylor to retreat for the first time.
Throughout the fifth and sixth round, Taylor threw punches in the bunches as he forced Broner to the rope while Broner landed some solid right hand and left hooks to the body, in particular in the fifth round. The Showtime team has this fight even and the seventh round was a close round to score as both fighters had their moment with Taylor the aggressor and Broner countering with right hands and left hooks to the body.
Taylor started to slow down in the eighth round thru the tenth round as Broner used his boxing skills to neutralized Taylor until the last thirty seconds of the tenth round as both fighters landed big shots. Taylor started the sequence with a right hand that snapped Broner’s head back but Broner ended the round with a powerful combination.
Round eleventh round saw both men connects on wicked left hook as Broner may have connected on the more powerful fight in a tightly contested fight. Taylor started the twelfth round with solid combinations as he landed some solid shots that twisted Broner’s head and forced Broner to retreat. Broner did manage to land some shots but it was looking like a Taylor round for the first 2 minutes and forty five seconds before Broner nailed Taylor with a left uppercut that sent Taylor down and gave Broner a 10-8 round to clinch victory and win a unanimous victory. Taylor and Broner showed technical skills with some solid inside fighting while providing the fans with action.
Berto won an impressive victory but he was not up against an elite fighter. As for Matthysse, one punch showed he is still the feared puncher and while there was controversy on whether Ortiz beat the count; there was no doubting that body shot. Broner fought a tough competitive fight against Emanuel Taylor who determined to make the most of his opportunity and he came ever so short.