Paul McCloskey challenged Amir Khan for Khan’s version of the junior Welterweight title. For Khan, a victory meant a big dollar fight with Timothy Bradley and who knows from there? Khan decided to take the action to McCloskey and while neither fighter appeared to hurt each other, Khan’s activity won the first round as he threw more punches and connected on more.
Khan led with the right twice in the first minute of the second round but did little damage but McCloskey played a waiting game as if looking for the right moment to strike back or was it that he was simply unable to solve Khan’s hand speed? Khan started to throw more effective combinations at the end of the round but still did not hit McCloskey with solid shots.
By the end of the fourth round, McCloskey was fighting defensively and soaked up the harder punches of Khan but this strategy was hardly winning rounds. Halfway through the sixth round, Khan stunned McCloskey with a combination and an accidental head butt open up a cut over McCloskey left eye. The fight went to the scorecard and this resulted in an easy decision for Amir Khan as he won every round.
Andre Berto defended his version of the Welterweight against Victor Ortiz, a talented fighter who had a disappointing loss to Marco Maidana and a majority draw against Lamont Peterson, fights that had many questioning his heart.
In a fast pace opening round, Ortiz appeared to have knocked Berto but it was called a slip. Ortiz continued to attack as he forced Berto to the rope as he knocked Berto down after hurting him with a straight left followed but a right. Ortiz punished Berto for the rest of the round as Ortiz wanted to excised past demons.
Berto started to box in the second roundand set up a rhythm but Ortiz did managed to hurt Berto with short punches but a Berto right sent Ortiz for a flash knock down and this may have cost him the round. After the first two rounds, both fighters have felt the canvas.
Both men started to slug but Ortiz was getting the better as he wobbled Berto and forced Berto to the rope. Halfway through the round Berto countered with two solid rights but Ortiz managed to trap Berto on the rope and finished the round getting the better of the exchanges as Berto leg appeared unsteady underneath him.
At the beginning of the fourth round, Ortiz punished Berto on the rope and while Berto motioned Ortiz to the rope but Ortiz continued to connect with solid shots as he dominated the action with his power punching. Berto strategy went from using his hand speed and boxing skills to lay on the rope and hoping that Ortiz would tire himself out. As the fifth round began, Berto started boxing for the first minute but after the first minute, Ortiz forced Berto back to the rope as Berto looked for the one punch that so far had not yet appeared to change the fight around.
In the sixth round, the magic punch came with a right hand with a minute left and Ortiz went down. Wobbled, Ortiz retreated as Berto chased throwing haymakers trying to end it. With seconds left in the round, Berto trapped Ortiz but Ortiz threw a straight left to send Berto down. Berto never went to the body as he chased Ortiz and he left himself open for the Ortiz counter. With a minute left in the seventh round, both men unleashed hard shots at each other but both managed to stay standing.
The eighth round was trench warfare and both fighters fought exhausted as they fought inside and grabbed for rest. After what happened in the previous seventh round, no one could have excused them for not feeling the ill effects of the fight. In the ninth round, Berto decided to turn the slugfest into a boxing match but Ortiz tried to keep the slugfest going as he loaded up on each shot. The ninth round was quiet round as Berto boxing slowed the pace of the fight down.
HBO Harold Lederman had the fight in Ortiz favor by three points going into the last three rounds but Berto got a break in the tenth as Ortiz was deducted a point for hitting behind the head. Berto gained a breather and he connected on some solid shots that may have garnered a 10-8 round. While Berto connected on some solid shots, Ortiz came back over the final thirty seconds with hard shots that may have swayed the judges to call the round even. How this round would be judged could have been a factor in the fight scoring.
Ortiz moved forward to follow up on the momentum of the final thirty seconds of the tenth round as he punished Berto. Berto went back to the strategy early in the fight, looking for one big right hand to change the fight.
With one more round, Ortiz looked like he was three minute from winning the title and showed the boxing world a view of a fighter who had finally matured. He came out for the final round, not with the idea of running out of clock but he went for broke as if he was behind. Berto nailed Ortiz with two solid shots but Ortiz continued to attack and over the final half of the fight, Ortiz forced Berto back to the rope while closing the show with his physical domination.
This was a fight that both fighter’s stock went up but Ortiz showed that he indeed belonged with the elite; that he had not only the skill of a great fighter but the soul of a fighter. Ortiz won the Welterweight championship but more importantly, he regained his reputation as a young fighter on the rise. And a young fighter with a championship belt.
While HBO had a great fight, Showtime featured featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez fought Orlando Salido for Lopez WBO featherweight championship. For Lopez, win meant a big fight with Cuban sensation Yuriokis Gamboa.
Salido pressured Lopez in the opening round, which put Salida right into Lopez wheelhouse but then it has been long time that Salido had been stopped. In the second round, Salida managed two solid overhand right whereas Lopez landed straight lefts as both fighters spent the second half of the fight; fighting inside much to the delight of the crowd.
In the fourth round, both men laid some leathers as Salido connected on some vicious right whereas Lopez connected with lefts but Salido right hand forced Lopez to retreat over the final minute of the round. With twenty seconds left in the fifth round, Salido sent Lopez down for an eight count with a left hook followed by a right hand. Lopez found himself wondering where he was as Salido tried to close the show but he didn’t have enough time.
At the beginning of the sixth round, Salido attacked and staggered Lopez with a left hook and right hand. Halfway through the round, Lopez regained his leg and managed to land a few solid shots of his own while surviving Salido onslaught. With the fight halfway over, Lopez undefeated record and championship belt was in danger of slipping away.
Salido continued to pressured Lopez and Lopez managed to connect on some good left followed by right hooks over the first half of the seventh round but Salido connected with some rights but with five seconds left, Lopez nailed Salido with a solid left that staggered Salido. Over the next two rounds, Lopez had his moments but Salido pressure was starting to affect the champions.
Salido came out of his corner in the eighth round and started to nail Lopez with solid rights, rights that were there all night. Lopez leg wobbled and he staggered toward Salido as Salido landed some nasty haymakers. Salido trapped Lopez on the rope and unleashed a left hook that hurt Lopez. After an exchange of big punches with Salido throwing most of them; the referee stopped the fight. Showtime Al Bernstein questioned if this was a quick stoppage but there was no doubt that Lopez was hurt and he had already taken some big shots.
On this night, two champions not only lost their undefeated status but they lost their championship as well as opportunity for bigger fights. Berto lost a tough twelve round fight and what ever chance he had to be part of the Pacquaio sweepstakes are put on hold if not finished. Lopez wanted a big bout with Gamboa but it looks like Salido may get his a second chance at Gamboa.