Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KO's) won a twelve-round split decision over Vic "The Raging Bull" Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KO's). The victory places Mares in the finals of Showtime's Bantamweight Tournament, where he will face Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko, who defeated Yonnhy Perez by a twelve round unanimous decision in the main event. Mares won by 115-111 on Tom McDonough's scorecard, and 115-112 on Alan Krebs' scorecard. Judge Glen Hameda saw it 115-111 for Darchinyan.
Mares suffered a deep gash along his hairline on the left side of his head from an accidental headbutt in round one. Mares scored with a right cross - left uppercut combination in round two, but was floored by Darchinyan's counter left. It was the first time Mares was floored as a professional, and he bounced right back up.
After Darchinyan landed his left hand numerous times throughout the first two rounds, Mares stepped up his punch output in the third round, landing a right to Darchinyan's body. Mares was aggressive, utilizing his left jab with blood pouring down his face from the cut. Mares also sustained a minor cut on the side of his left eye in the round.
Darchinyan landed a straight left to start the fourth round, but Mares came out quickly, scoring with rights and lefts to Darchinyan's body. Referee Robert Howard deducted one point from Mares for excessive low blows.
In round five, Mares connected with a short left uppercut. Then, Mares landed a right to the body, as he tried to trap Darchinyan in the corner. Darchinyan, 34, found the target midway through the round again, pummeling Mares potent straight lefts. However, Mares answered quickly with some counter left hooks.
Mares landed a big right hand in round six, and walked through most of Darchinyan's shots. Darchinyan landed two massive straight lefts, although Mares, 25, absorbed the punches like a true Mexican warrior. Darchinyan came on strong in the closing seconds, but Mares' youth was starting to have an impact in the fight.
In the seventh round, Mares floored Darchinyan when he connected with a grazing left jab, as Darchinyan was off balance. Referee Robert Howard made the correct call. Mares did land the punch, so it would have been incorrect if Howard had ruled Darchinyan slipped.
Mares' punch output dropped slightly in round eight. As Mares pressed the action, Darchinyan caught him with a straight left. Next, Darchinyan scored with a lunging left uppercut.
Mares came out furiously in the ninth round, walloping Darhinyan with a right cross - left hook combination. Then, Mares struck Darchinyan in the body with a fast right. Mares began to overwhelm Darchinyan with his swift combinations, landing short rights and rapid left uppercuts. Toward the end of the round, Darchinyan connected with a counter left uppercut.
Mares had a solid tenth round, peppering Darchinyan with rights to the body, vicious left hooks to the head and a firm right hand that sent Darchinyan backwards.
Mares continued to have a higher work rate, striking Darchinyan with a right cross. Yet, Darchinyan would not back down, landing consecutive, flush lefts. Moments later, Mares hurt Darchinyan with a spirited left hook.
In the twelfth round, Mares hit Darchinyan with a right cross. Then, Darchinyan connected with a straight left to Mares' body, but held him after the punch landed. Following a crisp left hook that found its target, Mares struck Darchinyan with wild shots from various angles. After that, he tagged Darchinyan coming forward with a straight right, but Darchinyan responded with a solid left cross.
In the end, Mares' youth, athletic ability and large volume of punches helped edge out a split-decision victory. Darchinyan hit Mares cleanly quite a few times, but Mares fought through these punches that would have put other fighters down for the count.
Next, Darchinyan will face Yonnhy Perez in a consolation bout, while Mares squares off against slick boxer-puncher Joseph Agbeko in the finals of the bantamweight tournament.
AGBEKO OUTPOINTS PEREZ
Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko (28-2, 22 KO's) captured a twelve-round unanimous decision over tough Yonnhy Perez (20-1-1, 14 KO's), pushing ahead a showdown with Abner Mares in the finals of Showtime's Bantamweight Tournament. Official scores were 117-111 (Alan Krebs), 116-112 (Glen Hameda) and 115-113 (Glen Feldman).
Agbeko, 30, and Perez, 31, fought very competitively in round one. Perez put on the pressure, as Agbeko utilized his left jab and moved in and out very efficiently.
In round two, Perez landed frequently, but Agbeko countered well and delivered punches from a multitude of angles, keeping Perez from sitting down on his punches.
Perez closed the gap in round three, trapping Agbeko in the corner and connecting with a three-punch combination. Perez' punches were very accurate, as Agbeko tried to control the distance between them.
Agbeko found his range and struck Perez with clean, counter rights in round four. Perez received a minor cut above his left eye, resulting from Agbeko's flush right hands finding its target.
Perez got close in round five to landing some deadly shots, but Agbeko was too elusive for the hard-punching Colombian fighter. Yet, Perez did connect with consecutive rights that briefly stunned Agbeko.
In the first thirty seconds of round six, both men delivered a series of blazing punches. A right cross by Perez momentarily buckled Agbeko, who was now slugging it out with Perez instead of using his lateral movement.
In the seventh round, Agbeko went back to circling around the ring and found his range. After connecting with an overhand right, Agbeko landed a right uppercut followed by a flush right cross. Perez received a cut on his forehead, as well as minor swelling under his left cheek.
Agbeko forced Perez back in round eight, landing clean rights and beating him to the punch. Agbeko's right hands were set up behind a well-timed left jab. Perez landed some right crosses, but Agbeko took the punches and kept unleashing his own.
Perez picked up the pace in round nine, landing a solid counter left hook. Agbeko's punch output dropped during the round.
After controlling most of the action in round ten, Agbeko connected with a devastating right cross behind his accurate left jab in round eleven, which was the best punch either fighter had landed in the round. Perez' punches lost steam, which enabled Agbeko to hit him at his own will.
In round twelve, Agbeko fought astutely by not entering into any heated exchanges, understanding that he was most likely ahead on the scorecards. Agbeko boxed intelligently, striking Perez with the jab and tactfully using angles until the final bell.
Agbeko versus Mares presents a very interesting match-up. Mares likes to throw a high volume of punches, relying at times on his youthful energy when trading shots with the opposition. Mares also possesses the gifted ability to hurt the competition with either hand. Adversely, Agbeko is a polished boxer, punching at various angles and avoiding an opponent's counter attack by sticking and moving smoothly. Currently, Agbeko utilizes his left jab much better than Mares. Fans are going to be treated to a very stimulating bout when these two men battle in the near future.