By: William Holmes
Tonight marked the first world title fight in Omaha, Nebraska since 1972 when Jose Frazier fought Ron Stander for Frazier’s World Heavyweight Title. The Century Link Center was the host cite for tonight’s card.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Matt Korobov (23-0) and Jose Uzcategui (22-0) opened up tonight’s telecast in the middleweight division. Korobov, a southpaw with a deep amateur background, was able to stay out of Uzcategu range in the first round land his straight left hands. Uzcategu was unable to get much of an offense going and Korobov was looking confident early on.
A straight left from Korobov opened up a cut over the left eye of Uzcategu that was visible at the start of the second round. Korobov came out more aggressive in the second round and was successful with his combinations while Uzcategu was not showing much of an offense. Uzcategu inactivity continued in the third round, but Korobov began to visibly slow down.
Korobov slowed down even more in the fourth round and was backpedaling more in comparison to the previous round. Uzcategu landed a jab cross combo in the middle of the round, which was followed by additional straight rights and a strong close to the round.
Korobov came out in the fifth round on the offensive, and had Uzcategu stunned in the middle of the round. He suffered a cut near his right eye from a punch that was ruled a head butt by the referee. Korobov opened up the sixth round strong with a clean straight left hand and later hurt Uzcategu with a body shot. He doesn’t follow up after hurting Uzcategu and Uzcategu is able to recover and land punches of his own by the end of the round.
Korobov connected with a thudding right hook in the seventh round that sent Uzcategu down to the mat, but he was able to get right back to his feet. Korobov jumped on Uzcategu and landed another right hook that sends Uzcategu back to the mat. Uzcategu gets back to his feet and attempts to hold on for most of the seventh round, but he ate several more hard hooks to the body.
Uzcategu recovered well from a devastating seventh round and was tagging Korobov with multi punch combinations in the eighth round while Korobov was trying to catch his breath from the previous round.
Korobov bounced back in the ninth round by landing hard body shots, and was only going to lose the fight if he got knocked out. Uzcategu was unable to seriously threaten Korobov in the final two rounds.
The final scores were 97-91, 97-91, and 96-92 for Korobov.
Omaha native Terrence Crawford (23-0) and Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0) met in the main event for the WBO Lightweight title. The crowd of 10,943 was very vocal in their support of Crawford.
Crawford was visibly the much taller and longer fighter in the ring, but Gamboa established early on in the fight that his hand speed was bigger. He connected with a hard two punch combination in the first round that ended with a right hand over the top that caught Crawford by surprise.
In the second round Crawford looked to be fighting from a greater distance than the first round and was backing Gamboa up with his jab early on. However, Gamboa adjusted by attacking to the body which opened up left hooks upstairs. Gamboa closed out the second round with a three punch combination.
Crawford came out more aggressive in the third round and was sharp with his jab in the first minute of the round, but Gamboa turned the tide of the round in his favor with a left hook straight right combination. Gamboa landed two more hard straight rights which led to Crawford switching to a southpaw stance. Gamboa landed two more hard right hooks near the end of the third round.
Crawford stayed in the southpaw stance in the fourth round but fought much better than the previous round. His right jab was finding it’s target and he starting to target the smaller Gamboa to his body more often. There was more exchanges in this round and Crawford was landing his left hooks. Gamboa’s left eye was swelling up by the end of the round.
Crawford came out in the fifth round in a southpaw stance again but was showing more upper body movement. Gamboa was able to connect with a hard left hand early and and looping right hand. Crawford however was able to answer with a hard counter right hook that put Gamboa on very wobbly legs and face first to the ground. Gamboa was able to get back to his feet, but Crawford charged at him and was landing several hard shots. Gamboa was firing back, but was loopy at the end of the round.
Gamboa showed he had heart and came out aggressively at the start of the sixth round, but his punches didn’t appear to have the pop of previous rounds. When his punches landed, Crawford looked to be unfazed. Crawford’s right jab was taking over the fight and he was landing it repeatedly along with check right hooks.
Crawford’s jab and right hooks continued to keep Gamboa at bay in the seventh round and forced Gamboa to really reach for his jab. The ring was causing Gamboa some problems and he wasn’t able to get solid footing beneath him.
Gamboa refused to sit down in his corner before the start of the eighth round and his frustrations continued in the eighth round. Most of his punches were being blocked, but he did have Crawford momentarily stunned in the middle of the round. Gamboa was knocked down in the middle of the round by a perfectly timed counter right hook by Crawford. Gamboa got back to his feet again and fought back valiantly, but he was being hit with the harder punches whenever they exchanged.
The crowd was on its feet at the start of the ninth round and Crawford responded to their support with powerful combinations with head snapping uppercuts. Crawford was later hurt by Gamboa and had to hold on, but when he got his senses back he put Gamboa on wobbly legs again and knocked him down with a two punch combination. Gamboa again rose to his feet and came at Crawford swinging haymakers but was knocked down again from a clean right uppercut.
Four hard knockdowns was enough for the referee and he waived off the bout. Terrence Crawford remained undefeated with an exciting knockout at 2:53 of the ninth round.