Showtime Bantamweight Tournament Action Vic Darchinyan vs. Abner Mares & Yonnhy Perez vs. Joseph Agbeko II:
In a scintillating night of bantamweight action, Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko advanced to the finals of the Showtime bantamweight tournament. Mares squeaked by Vic Darchinyan in a punishing back-and-forth battle. Agbeko was able to exact revenge on the man who took his title, winning a clear decision over Yonnhy Perez in another corker.
Darchinyan vs. Mares Results
This one got heated right away. A first round butt produced a cut on the hairline of Mares, which leaked blood throughout the 12 round war. In the second, Mares looked like he was beginning to cook, before a trademark Darchinyan soutpaw left deposited him on the canvas. In the 3rd Vic continued timing Mares with shots, as the young gamer seemed a bit out of sorts. Still, Mares was lashing out with vicious combinations and serious work to the body.
In the fourth round, Mares seemed to be bothering Vic with his sharp and voluminous combinations. Referee Bobby Howard deducted a point for low blows, putting a dent in the momentum of Mares. The referee was a pain for the entire night–constantly chattering and issuing hundreds of empty warnings throughout.
In the 5th, it appeared that Darchinyan had become the boxer, with Mares in pursuit. In fact, this is how they would spend the bulk of the fight. Vic was crafty, raking Mares with his underrated right hook and landing dozens of left-hand smashes.
A bad sign for Darchinyan began to tell in the 6th. The left hand smash, responsible for a knockdown earlier, was having little to no discernible affect on Mares, who continued in unabated. In the 7th referee Howard ruled an iffy knockdown, as a Mares poke to an unbalanced Darchinyan put him on the canvas.
Darchinyan did better in the eighth, timing Mares with some good shots, but the ninth was all Mares. In a passionate display of fighting, Mares fought through a crimson mask and repeated Darchinyan shots to bang Vic around.
In the 11th, Mares looked to be impossible to deter. Walking through more shots, he hot the Armenian ex-champ with combination after combination. In the final stanza, Mares looked to be running away with it. Darchinyan remained stubborn and resolute, summoning up enough resolve to stave off Mares to make it to the final bell. In feverish action, Mares seemed to hold a clear edge.
Mares appeared to win the fight narrowly, but with the knockdowns and point deduction, the decision was still up in the air. A split verdict for Mares punches his ticket into the final. All in all, a great and gutsy display by two of the top bantamweights in the business. Great stuff!
Perez vs. Agbeko II Results
In the other semi-final, Joseph Agbeko upset the odds, winning a unanimous decision over unbeaten champion and former conqueror–Yonnhy Perez. The deciding factor in this fight was the difference in Agbeko. In their first fight, he seemed flippant about Perez. He was all business tonight, relying on a precise boxing style to confound his nemesis.
Known for a reckless and sometimes-thoughtless style, Agbeko relied on poise and strategy to win tonight. Using deft movement and a punishing jab, he outmaneuvered Perez for long stretches.
A great round happened in the sixth, with the punch numbers going off the charts. Agbeko stuck to movement, a slick jab, and bone-jarring accurate right hands. More importantly, his chin was a marvel. Perez landed some right hands that would have put fighters in deep peril. Those shots didn’t even illicit a dipped knee from Agbeko and this caused some deflation in Perez.
In the 7th and 8th, Perez was finding more success with his workrate and big rights. In the 9th, with Perez apparently surging, Agbeko took charge again. His shiftiness, crispness, head movement, and jab helped him stem the tide.
In the last several rounds, Agbeko’s right was on point. He deftly stayed just inside the long reach of Perez, stunting the power of his opponent’s shots. The Agbeko jab was flowing, Perez was bleeding, and Agbeko cruised to the final bell an obvious winner. Kudos to him for coming back after a layoff to register the most impressive performance of his career. In doing so, he fought uncharacteristically. Slick and clever were not adjectives you would have normally heard when Agbeko’s name came up, but that’s just what he was tonight.
Bantamweight Tourney Championship Match:
In the final, Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko will meet for all the marbles. There are things to like about both men’s chances going into that fight. If tonight’s action was any indicator, it should be a great fight with even more now on the line. On one hand, you have the speed, heart, tenacity, and talent of Mares. On the other, you have the strength, grit, punching power, and crazy chin of Agbeko. Should be a war.