Strange scoring marred what was otherwise a spirited Telefutura-teleivsed main event on Friday evening at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.
When all was said and done, top prospect Christopher Martin added yet another scalp to his growing collection, outfighting former standout Charles Huerta en route to a 10-round unanimous decision.
Both fighters weighed in at the super bantamweight limit of 122 lb.
Huerta’s strategy was simple and mapped out from jump – work behind the jab and not take any chances. Martin did his best to disrupt the house favorite’s rhythm, jumping in and out trying to catch him off guard. The results weren’t always there although his aggression left an impression on the judges over the course of the bout.
As the fight wore on, Huerta gradually began mixing up his attack, hooking to the body and throwing a straight right hand with more conviction. Of course in doing so, he left himself open to counter opportunities. However, Martin was unable to convert with anything fight altering.
Martin was able to take control in the second half, though seemingly never enough to where he deserved to remain undefeated by night’s end. Huerta began slowing down, allowing his fellow Cali-based prospect to pull ahead in the fight.
A late round rally by Martin was interrupted in the ninth. An inadvertent low blow turned out to be a rally killer, as Huerta recovered and regained control of the fight down the stretch.
The crowd began growing restless as neither fighter seemed willing to take much of a risk in the final round. Perhaps affected by the crowd’s jeers, both fighters atoned for that by standing toe-to-toe and swung for the fences in the final 30 seconds of the bout.
It was a strong finish to a decent fight, but the final scores left quite a bit to be desired.
Scores of 96-94 (twice) were respectable enough, even if both in the same direction. However, the judge who had Martin winning 99-91 is just the latest in a long line of California officials who need to find something else to do for a living.
Meanwhile, Martin continues to serve as a matchmaker’s nightmare. The San Diego native improves to 22-0-2 (6KO) with the win, his most significant since scoring a major upset over previously unbeaten Chris Avalos last August.
Huerta drops his second straight, falling to 16-3 (9KO) overall.
In the televised opener, Ronny Rios survived the stiffest test of his career to date in barely outlasting Russian-based featherweight Georgi Kevlishvili over eight bruising rounds.
Scores were 78-74 and 77-75 (twice) in the featherweight scrap.
The matchup of rising prospects turned out to be a dogfight, with plenty of infighting and two-way action. Kevlishvili made his presence felt in the first half, letting Rios know that he didn’t come all the way to California just to play the role of opponent.
Rios bit down in the second half, planting his feet and working the body in his greatest efforts to earn his opponent’s respect. It didn’t quite work to that effect, although it went a long way towards surging ahead on the scorecards.
The win is Rios’ first of 2011, as he improves to 14-0 (6KO). Kelvishvili falls to 12-2 (3KO), with the two losses coming in his last three contests.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]