By: William Holmes
Three bouts were shown before the main event of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Berto, and the first televised fight was between Jonathan Oquendo (25-4) and Jhonny Gonzalez (58-9)in the super featherweight division.
Gonzalez was the taller and bigger boxer and both men came out in an orthodox stance. Gonzalez started the bout by circling to Oquendo’s right and was able to block most of Oquendo’s punches when he came forward. Gonzalez startled Oquendo with a three punch combination in the middle of the ring that ended with a left uppercut and sent Oquendo to the mat. Oquendo was able to get up at the count of eight and recovered well, and in fact ended the first round by connected with two heavy left hooks.
Gonzalez started off the second round with a cut near his right eye that may have been caused by a head butt. Oquendo was able to answer the previous rounds knockdown with a knockdown of his own from a straight right to the chin of Gonzalez. Gonzalez was able to beat the count of ten, but he went to the wrong corner at the end of the round.
Both Gonzalez and Oquendo were aggressive in the third round and both slipped during that round. Both boxers landed heavy body shots in the third and fourth round, but Oquendo appeared to do his best work when he switched to a southpaw stance.
By the start of the fifth round both boxers had landed forty power punches, and most of the middle rounds were close to call. Oquendo appeared to land the harder punches but Gonzalez appeared to outland his opponent.
In the sixth and seventh rounds Gonzalez appeared to be fading a bit as he was unable to keep keep his opponent from coming forward, but Gonzalez picked up the action in the final three rounds and looked like he was outworking and out landing Oquendo.
It was a close fight to score, but the judges ruled scored it 94-94, 95-93, and 98-90 for Jonathan Oquendo.
The next bout of the night was between Badou Jack (19-1-1) and George Groves (21-2) for the WBC Super Middleweight Championship.
This was Jack’s first defense of his title and he was surprisingly a slight underdog going into the bout. Groves had a vocal contingent in attendance and could be heard singing at the start of the first round.
Groves connected with the first punch of the night with a sharp jab. Both boxers exchanged jabs and Groves looked a little sharper, but Jack was able to score a knockdown near the end of the round with a right hand near Groves temple. Groves was able to get back to his feet and survive the round.
Jack was looking to land the straight right hand in the opening moments of the second round but Groves had recovered from the earlier knockdown. Groves connected with a clean body head combination in the middle of the round that may have won him it.
Groves did a good job at controlling the pace and maintaining distance in the third round with his jab and well timed straight right hands, but Jack was able to test Groves chin with his own straight right several times.
The fourth round slowed down in action as both boxers were content in landing and finding their range with their jab, but the fifth round was a clear round for Groves as he had landed several hard straight right hands to the chin of Jack.
Groves had another dominant in the round with an active and effective jab and got the better of Jack when they did exchange by landing harder and crowd pleasing shots. The seventh round was a tough round to score as both fighters took turns throwing and landing combinations, but as it was for every previous round, Groves threw more punches than his opponent.
Jack was warned for a low blow in the eighth round and matched Groves output for most of the round, but Groves ended the round with consecutive hooks to the chin of Jack. Jack had one of his most dominant rounds in the ninth round when he was able land several hard looping right hands behind the guard of an increasingly tired Groves.
Jack looked confident at the start of the tenth round and was walking his opponent down and backing Groves up. The final two rounds were close, but Groves activity was not as great before and Jack’s straight right hands were noticeably affecting Groves. Jack’s body work was also paying dividends for him in the final rounds as Groves’ punches had lost its snap.
A lot of the rounds were tight and hard to score, but the judges scored the bout 114-113 Groves, 115-112 Jack, and 116-112 for Badou Jack.
The final bout of the undercard was a WBO Junior Lightweight Title bout between Orlando Salido (42-12-2) and Roman Martinez (29-2-2).
Their first bout was a war, and the rematch did not disappoint.
Martinez was the first boxer to land a combination and was circling well in the first round. Salido was a little short with his punches in the opening round, but did show that he could rough up his opponent when they did tie up.
Salido kept up the pressure in the second round and Martinez was not able to move as much as the previous round. Both landed several good combinations in the second, but Salido’s was doing good work to the body when in tight while Martinez was able to land at a higher rate from the outside.
Both boxers landed head snapping punches in the third round and both scored knock downs. Salido stepped on the foot of Martinez while landing a body shot in the early parts of the round that the referee ruled a knockdown, but Martinez disagreed with the call. Martinez later scored a clean knockdown from a straight right to the chin and had Salido badly hurt as the round came to an end.
Martinez was able to buckle the knees of Salido with a straight right in the fourth round, but Salido recovered well and backed up Martinez for the rest of the round. Both boxers landed savage punches during exchanges, but it was Salido who connected with the better shots near the end of the round.
Salido began to take over the fight in the fifth round as his punches remained heavy while Martinez was slowing down. The ferocity of the fight never simmered down in the middle rounds and Martinez and Salido both took and connected with hard combinations, but Salido was getting increasingly better as the rounds progressed.
Salido’s body work left Martinez hunched over and hurt in the eighth round and his movement was almost nonexistent by the ninth round. Salido’s attack was consistent and ferocious and his chin was durable and strong.
The action in the tenth round was unbelievable. Martinez had Salido hurt in the corner from two hard left hooks to the head and followed it up with thudding combinations. Salido returned fire with his won combination, spun out of danger, and hurt Martinez. Neither stopped throwing in the action packed tenth and both landed vicious punches.
The violence continued in the eleventh round and Martinez’s confidence returned and he had Salido backing up early. The only thing that stopped the action was the referee stopping the bout to have tape issues on Martinez’s gloves.
It appeared that Martinez would need a knockout in the final round to win the fight, but he was unable to stagger the iron chinned Salido.
It was the best fight of the undercard and most felt that Salido did enough to win the fight. But the judges disagreed and scored the bout a draw with scores of 115-113 Martinez, 115-113 Salido, and 114-114.