Gary Antuanne Russell had his toughest fight against Rances Barthelemy, a two-time champion in an intriguing fight. In his corner was his brother Gary Russell, the former featherweight champion who was sitting in for their father who recently passed away. Russell started the fight, but Barthelemy showed his experience as he showed his ability to land his punch. Russell hit the body, but Barthelemy found a home for his right.
For the five rounds, the fight was close as I had the fight 48-47 for Russell but it could easily have -been 48-47 for Barthelemy. Russell won the first two rounds as he landed nearly double the punches but the next three rounds, it was even, and I had Barthelemy winning the third and the fourth round. I gave the fifth round to Russell, but it was so close that it could easily been scored for Barthelemy. Both Showtime and I had the score the same
The sixth round was the controversial as Russell nailed Barthelemy with a solid right hook that sent Barthelemy sprawling to the ground. Barthelemy got up before the eight count was finished and he followed the referee instructions and yet the referee stopped the fight. This was a quick stoppage and while referees sometimes tend on the side of caution, there was no evidence that Barthelemy could not continue. The Barthelemy’s corner protested, and the fans agreed as they booed the decision. We do not know if Barthelemy would have found a way to win or Russell stopped him, but these are questions that will not be answer. Russell had an advantage in punches landed 92 to 70 but round three to five, the punches landed were even.
Adam Kownacki was at the crossroad of his career after two straight knockout losses after winning his first twenty fights. Ali Eren Demirezen from Turkey was fighting his first fight in the state and wanted to impress the American audience. This fight saw the second most punches thrown in the heavyweight division according to Compubox and both fighters showed solid punching techniques. This was not a wild fight but a scientific fight in which both fighters used jabs to set up combinations.
Kownacki landed 104 punches in the first two rounds compared to Demirezen 35 landed punch, but Demirezen survived and Kownacki, despite the overwhelming advantages in punches landed, he could not hurt Demirezen.
From the third round through the seventh round, Demirezen took over the fight as Kownacki slowed down from his initial pace. Demirezen used his jab to land solid combinations that bloodied Kownacki’s face. Kownacki won the eighth round, but he could not find a way to stopped Demirezen. While Kownacki landed more punches, that difference came in the first two rounds as he landed sixty-nine more punches in the first two rounds but after that it was Demirezen landed more punches over the final eight rounds. I had the fight 96-94 for Demirezen nd Showtime had it 97-93 for Demirezen. The judges scored it 96-94, 97-93 and 97-93. Now Kownacki must decide where he goes from here as while he fought a good fight, but it was not enough and there was no doubt that Demirezen won the fight.
Danny Garcia made is first fight as a super welterweight against Jose Benavidez and while Benavidez was the bigger fighter and the favorite, Garcia turned this fight into a typical Garcia’s fight as he moved in and out. Despite not fighting for two plus years, Garcia looked sharp and quick hands whereas Benavidez often looked confused and often failed to react. Garcia landed more than double the punches and every round, he landed the most punches. I had the fight 118-110 the same as Showtime but it could easily have been 120-108. However, the judges had it 116-112, 117-111 for Garcia but one judge had the fight 114-114. This was an easy fight to score and obviously the one judge must have been in the wrong corner to score the fight. There were too many lapses for Benavidez as Garcia simply out boxed Benavidez.
Garcia fought brilliantly but he did not show the power of a junior Middleweight and never had Benavidez in trouble. His boxing skills were superior to Benavidez, but can he exhibit power against a more natural junior Middleweight?