Mares earns repeat win over Agbeko

By By Francis Walker BASN Boxing writer
Updated: December 5, 2011

Moreno (right) schools Darchinyan.

Moreno (right) schools Darchinyan.

NEW YORK, NY–(BASN)–In a rematch of the SHOWTIME Bantamweight Championship tournament in August, undefeated IBF champion Abner Mares (23-0-1, 13 KOs) once again defeated former two-time titlist, Joseph Agbeko (28-4, 22 KOs) on Saturday from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

“Tonight they saw the real Abner Mares,” Mares said. “I’ve beat him once and now I’ve beaten him again.”

In the first fight, Mares’ brilliant performance was marred with controversy following the numerous repeated low-blows he landed against Agbeko. Mares’ only warned once, kept fouling Agbeko and wasn’t docked any points as he gravely risked disqualification. One low-blow landed was ruled an official knockdown against Agbeko to the outrage of those that witnessed the event. Mares went on to win a close majority decision.

The IBF ordered a mandatory rematch. Thus far, offering an opportunity for Mares to right his wrongdoing, while providing Agbeko a chance at vengeance. Like Mares said before, he beat Agbeko once and he’d beat him again.

Similar to the first bout, Mares and Agbeko was a thrilling encounter, but without the low-blows. Mares and Agbeko didn’t hesitate to meet in the middle of the ring. Both fighters threw well-timed combinations behind a strong left jab. The difference was Mares appeared to be the sharper, accurate puncher. He made Agbeko miss with looping, wide punches.

Mares, who didn’t want a repeat of the controversy of the first bout, suffered a cut above his right eye.

“I asked Miguel, ‘Are we going to stop the fight?’ And he was like ‘What? I’m the best. No way we’re stopping this fight,’” Mares said. “(The blood) bothered me a few times because he was only going for my eye, but I knew I could get through it.”

Mares emphasized countering Agbeko with hooks to the head. Mares also showed great defense using good footwork to make Agbeko miss with his wide left hook. Agbeko fought well, but his performance wasn’t enough to dethrone Mares.

“If I win I deserve to win,” said the former two-time IBF bantamweight titlist from Ghana. “Right now, I don’t have anything to protest. I don’t feel like a loser. I think this decision is unfair. You shouldn’t have to knock out your opponent to win in California.”

The victim of several low blows that weren’t called in the first fight, Agbeko added, “I thought I fought better tonight than the last fight.”

All three judges scored the bout 118-110 for Mares. It was his first overall successful defense of the IBF title he won from Agbeko in the first bout.

Darchinyan outclassed by Moreno

Also, Vic Darchinyan (37-4-1, 27 KOs) was once again outclassed by a bantamweight champion. This time, WBA 118-pound kingpin Anselmo Moreno (31-1-1, 18 KOs) gave “The Raging Bull” a harsh boxing lesson, via 12-round unanimous decision.

“I’m extremely happy tonight,” Moreno said afterwards. “I will show more in the future. I was a little nervous because it’s my first fight in the States. He couldn’t catch me tonight.”

Moreno was unfazed by Darchinyan’s aggression. The champion easily handled Darchinyan by moving around the ring behind an efficient right-jab followed by a straight-left.

Moreno beat Darchinyan to the punch on every exchange. Darchinyan, known as a knockout puncher while he was a flyweight champion, didn’t have the timing to either hit or avoid Moreno’s punches.

Moreno’s jabbed, slipped, and counter-punched Darchinyan effectively throughout twelve rounds with ease. There were times when Darchinyan lunged straight toward Moreno and was greeted by a left uppercut that jerked his head backwards.

“I just couldn’t figure him out,” said Darchinyan, who was docked one point for throwing Moreno on the canvas in round four. “I was missing the whole time. I couldn’t find him and that was the fight. I knew he was just going to go for points. I knew this but still I lost the fight.”

All three judges scored the bout: 120-107, 117-110, and 116-111 for Moreno, who landed 216 total punches to Darchinyan’s 101.

Cotto-Margarito 2 revisited

Miguel Cotto’s performance in his rematch against Antonio Margarito in front of a packed house at a newly renovated Madison Square Garden on Saturday was inspiring, emotionally-charged, and well-deserved. Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) responded to criticism over no longer having the endurance to withstand a tough-grueling fight by withstanding relentless pressure from Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs), who pummeled him to a bloody mess three years ago.

It was in July 2008 when Margarito walked through Cotto, then an undefeated WBA welterweight champion. Margarito withstood everything Cotto had, walked the Puerto Rican sensation down, and stopped him in the eleventh round. Cotto’s face was badly lacerated, bloody, and swollen to the point he was barely recognizable.

After a “plaster-like” substance was found in Margarito’s gloves prior to his Jan. 2009 bout with Sugar Shane Mosley, there was speculation as to whether Margarito used the same hand-wrapping against Cotto. Miguel truly believed that Margarito cheated in their first fight and was anxious for vengeance on Saturday.

Some of Cotto’s career-best performances occurred at Madison Square Garden. The Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi, and Shane Mosley victories were all-action and outstanding. But Cotto’s win against Margarito was perhaps his career-best.

There was so much going on leading into the fight. Mainly, the talk was about Margarito’s damaged right-eye. The rugged Mexican suffered a detached retina in a fight with Manny Pacquiao last year and needed several surgeries. The New York State Athletic Commission, pending approval from a medical doctor, granted Margarito a license to fight just days before the bout.

Cotto boxed very well. He jabbed and slipped punches behind beautiful footwork to the amazement of everyone in attendance. Cotto made it clear that Margarito’s right eye was his primary target. Cotto launched as many hooks and straight punches as he could in attempt to further injure (damage) Margarito’s vision.

But Margarito kept moving forward without care. Whether his eye was healthy or not, loaded gloves or not, Margarito entered the bout more than confident that would knock Cotto out again. Margarito applied a lot of pressure against Cotto and even had him against the ropes where Cotto proved to be most vulnerable. However, the will of crowd, the encouragement of a wife and children watching and ringside, proved to be a huge boost for Cotto, who dug deep inside to continuously fight Margarito with zest, zeal, and punishing conviction.

Not only was Margarito’s right eye cut, but it was swollen shut as well. The fight ended at the end of the tenth round when referee Steve Smoger and doctors at ringside ruled that Margarito should not continue. It was the right call, as stubborn as Margarito proved; no one knows truly what long-term damage Margarito endured on Saturday.

In other bouts: Brandon Rios (29-0, 22 KOs), who lost his WBA lightweight title on the scales for failing to make the 135-pound limit, stopped John Murray (31-2, 18 KOs) in the eleventh round. The WBA title remains vacant.

Unbeaten welterweight prospect Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) looked unimpressive in his 12-round unanimous decision win over Sebastian Lujan (38-6-2, 24 KOs). All three judges scored the bout 119-109 (twice) and 118-110. It was an uninspiring fight between to men challenging for an IBF title shot. Jones at least was in better form than Lujan, who was simply awful.

In a rematch from their majority draw this summer, Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs) was a unanimous decision winner over Pawel Wolack (29-2-1, 19 KOs). The judges scored the bout 100-90, 98-91, and 98-92.

PHOTO CREDIT: HOGANPHOTOS