By Rick Reeno
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada - In the final bout of Showtime's bantamweight tournament, Abner Mares (22-0-1, 13KOs) won a twelve round majority decision over Joseph Agbeko (28-3, 22KOs) to unify the IBF and WBC silver bantamweight titles. The scores were 113-113 for the draw, 115-111, 115-111 for Mares. Agbeko was on the receiving end of two very questionable knockdown calls.
They started at a very fast pace. Mares' faster hand were hitting the target often. Agbeko slipped when Mares was throwing a punch and the referee scored it as a knockdown. Agbeko was taking some punishment at the end of the round. Mares applied a lot of pressure on Agbeko in the second and was forcing him to fight at a very fast pace. Mares was targeting the body often, but a few of his shots were going a bit low.
In the fourth round, Agbeko finally started shooting his jab a little better. Agbeko cracked Mares with a big overhand right that buckled his legs and made the entire crowd stand up. Mares was more cautious and fighting a little smarter in the fifth. During the sixth round, a clash of heads opened up a cut above the left eye of Mares.
Mares' pace slowed down in the seventh round. He was getting hit with a few good counters, but never stopped throwing rapid combinations in return. They were trading a lot of punches in the eight, with Agbeko getting the better of the action. A close ninth round was followed by a very good tenth for Agbeko, who was pasting the swelled up face of Mares.
They were trading heavy punches at close range in the eleventh. Both fighters had their moments, but Mares landed another low blow that sent Agbeko down. The referee, Russell Mora, ruled it as a knockdown and the crowd, even the Mares fans, were very upset with the call. The twelfth was very close. Mares was coasting for most of the round, with Agbeko coming forward and pushing the action until the bell.