By: Sean Crose
Minnesota’s 27-1 Jamal James returned to the ring to face the 13-0
Radzhab Butaev for the WBA’s world welterweight strap at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Saturday night. The bout was scheduled for 12 rounds and was aired live as the main event of a Showtime broadcast. The first was something of a feeling out process, but James nonetheless successfully kept his man at bay. Butaev pressed the action in the fast paced second. James landed the better shots, but he was clearly in a fight.
James unloaded in the third, but Butaev continued to apply pressure while landing shots of his own. It was a thrilling round. The fourth round was thunderous, with both men landing effectively – though Butaev’s gruelling body shots appeared to tell the tale. The fifth was also impressive, with James landing well – but with Butaev continuing the body attack. Roughhouse tactics, however, cost Butaev a point. James looked to be weakening in the sixth. By the end of the round, Butaev was comfortable enough to hold his hands at his waist.
James had a stronger seventh, moving well and striking the body hard himself. Although he fought bravely in the eighth, he looked like he was getting beaten up. Then, in a very close ninth, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight during a Butaev flurry. It was surprising, but James didn’t protest.
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