By David P. Greisman
Madison Square Garden, New York City - The main event between Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto wasn’t the only fight involving an Argentine against a Puerto Rican. On the televised undercard, Javier Maciel of Argentina, took on Jorge Melendez of Puerto Rico, scoring a majority decision in a bout between two junior middleweights with less skill and fewer accomplishments.
It was fun for what it was.
Maciel seems to be a prototype version of Marcos Maidana. Melendez, too, is a brawler. Maciel enjoyed bodying Melendez to the ropes, where he would try to throw hard punches from awkward angles.
Among the ways Melendez sought to keep Maciel off him early was with low blows. In the fourth round, referee Harvey Dock had seen too many of them and docked a point from Melendez. It soon got worse for Melendez. Maciel had Melendez on the ropes and threw a right hand. Melendez tried to weave away from it but got clipped and went to the canvas.
Melendez was smiling, but with the point deduction, it was a big round for Maciel. Melendez bounced back in the fifth with a much better round. And in the sixth, Maciel appeared to be tiring, retreating more. Yet every now and then, Maciel would burst back with a few punches. And in the seventh, Maciel seemed to have more energy. By the ninth, both men seemed to be losing steam. The 10th round began with a big barrage of punches. Maciel covered up and then tossed hard hooks in between the volleys. Melendez’s energy waned, and Maciel finished the round with his own attacks.
One judge had it even at 94-94, overruled by the cards reading 96-92 and 97-91 with Maciel was the victor.
Maciel, 29, is now 29-3 with 20 KOs. This was his second straight win. He lost a controversial split decision to Brian Rose last October, then returned in April with a decision over a designated opponent.
Melendez, 25, is now 28-4-1 with 26 KOs. He had previously won two in a row since dropping a decision a year ago to Nick Brinson.