Controversial Finish: Mares ‘Blows’ Past Agbeko

By Francis Walker
Updated: August 14, 2011

NEW YORK, NY, (BASN)—There is no denying bantamweight sensation Abner Mares’ appeal. Mares is one of the top 118-pound fighters on the planet and is a very skilled fighter. However, his performance against Joesph Agbeko during SHOWTIME’s “Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All” was spoiled by the questionable actions (or non-actions) of referee Russell Mora.

Mares (21-0-1, 19 KOs) was awarded a 12-round majority decision over Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) to claim the IBF 118-pound championship during the finals of SHOWTIME’s highly-touted bantamweight tourney on Saturday, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. .

The judges scored the bout 115-111 (twice) and 113-113 (even), but Mora’s actions spoiled the biggest victory of Mares’ career and robbed any chances of Agbeko having a fair opportunity to keep his title.

“I felt the ref was against me from the start,” Agbeko stated. “All I wanted was a fair fight.”

Mora’s worst action as simply not reacting to the numerous low-blows Mares landed throughout the fight. Mares landed at least a dozen low-blows, but Agbeko was the fighter that Mora issued repeated warnings for lowering Mares’ head forward while coming in.

The worst non-low-blow call in history occurred in the eleventh round. Mares, looking to dig a hook deep into Agbeko’s body, clearly planted a punch in the groin area in front of Mora. Agbeko went down on both knees. Mora stopped the action and started counting Agbeko out.

“I felt as though I was fighting two opponents in the ring tonight, Abner Mares and the referee,” Agbeko said. “The referee ruled incorrectly on the knockdowns and he allowed Mares to hit me low repeatedly. Then, in the 11th, he called what everyone could see was another obvious low-blow a knockdown.”

The disputed knockdown in the eleventh, in addition to the first knockdown that Mares scored in the opening round that sent Agbeko through the ropes, proved to be the difference in the fight. If you minus the second knockdown and take away one point that Mora refused to dock from Mares, the outcome may have been different.

Mares believed that the knockdowns, as well as, the punches he threw were legitimate.

“I thought the first knockdown was clear,” Mares said. “On the second I hit him on the belt and the ref chose to give him a count. I agree with the ref’s choice.”

Agbeko did hurt Mares with a solid right hand to his chin in the fourth round – his best punch of the fight. Agbeko didn’t start as fast as Mares, but he did close the gap as the bout reached the later rounds. Agbeko’s left jab was working and it kept him in the fight. Agbeko did land several right hands that shocked Mares, but he didn’t follow through. The fact that Mora didn’t warn Mares until it was too late and the reality that Agbeko was dealt numerous low-blows took away from what was developing into a terrific fight.

The International Boxing Federation ruled committee should review the tape of Mares-Agbeko and mandate an immediate rematch. Perhaps SHOWTIME’s bantamweight title trophy may not be on the line, Agbeko deserves the opportunity to recapture the IBF title he regained in the tournament’s semifinal round last December when he outpoined Perez unanimously in their rematch.

Golden Boy Promotions signs Alfredo Angulo

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has signed Alfredo Angulo. The junior middleweight prospect is aggressive and he is exciting. Golden Boy apparently purchased Angulo’s contract he had with former promoter Gary Shaw.

Angulo was a favorite over at HBO. As your modern-day Antonio Margarito, Angulo likes to come forward and throw punches. Angulo, a native of Mexico, represented his country in the 2004 Olympics. His only loss was a decision to former IBF welterweight champion Kermit Cintron in 2009. Since then, Angulo destroyed both Joachim Alcine and Joel Julio.

“I always want to give fans a great show and I work hard to get to my goal o retiring as a world champion,” Angulo said in a statement. “I believe Golden Boy Promotions is the right company to further my career and achieve my goals in boxing. I can’t wai to become Golden Boy’s next world champion.”

Seth Mitchell on Boxing After Dark

Former Michigan State University linebacker Seth Mitchell retired from football as a result of multiple injuries. The undefeated 29-year-old Maryland native is on the verge of becoming a top American boxing prospect.

Mitchell (22-0-1, 16 KOs) has a chance to boost his profile with a victory against Mike Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) on HBO’s Boxing After Dark on Saturday, August 27, at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, CA.

Mitchell vs. Mollo will be the co-featured attraction to the WBA super lightweight championship encounter between Marcos Maidana vs. Robert Guerrero beginning at 10:30 PM/ET.

Mitchell will be facing the toughest test of his career in Mollo. He is a very exciting 31 year-old from Illinois. Mollo has been credited with stoppage wins over Kevin McBride and Art Binkowski. However, Mollo has lost to former world title challengers: Andrew Golota, Jameel McCline, and Chris Arreola.

Tickets for Maidana vs. Guerrero start at just $26. For more information dial (800) 745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. If you’re local simply visit the HP Pavilion Ticket Office.