by James Goyder
Seldom in the history of the sport can a world title match have taken place with so little actual boxing as the one in Khon Kaen this afternoon. But after watching Knockout CP Freshmart and Byron Rojas spend 12 rounds hugging and holding each other the judges the judges somehow all arrived at the conclusion that the score was 115-113 in favour of the Thai.
Knockout is now the undisputed WBA 105 lbs champion after beating the ‘super’ champion but it was a win that was achieved in the worst possible style. The fight actually started brightly with Rojas setting the pace in the opening round and causing the Thai plenty of problems with his handspeed.
In round two the hugging and holding began with Knockout cut by a clash of heads which caused the referee to briefly pause the fight. He was still able to land a left hook which seemed to temporarily stun the Nicaraguan although Rojas responded with a flurry of punches.
From this point onwards the fight degenerated into a non stop wrestling match. The referee sensibly avoided issuing any point deductions because both men seemed more interested in wrapping their hands around one another and stalling that actual boxing.
Knockout started round eight well which stirred the Khon Kaen crowd. For the first time since the start of the bout both men were able to land some clean punches with the Thai starting to establish his jab as Rojas appeared to be fading from the fight.
Unfortunately it proved to be no more than a temporary interlude as both men got back to the serious business of wrestling with one another in the ninth. Rojas was fortunate to escape with a strong warning after thrusting his head in the general direction of Knockout’s face although there was no damage done.
Perhaps the referee decided to be lenient because Knockout had been holding and hitting throughout the fight and received no more than a couple of warnings. With both men resorting to underhand tactics and so little actual boxing it must have been difficult to decide exactly who to punish and when which would explain the lack of point deductions.
Rojas looked more aggressive in the 11th but the hugging and holding soon resumed. Given how little actual boxing there was it would have been no surprise to see a huge disparity between the three scorecards but surprisingly the judges all arrived at exactly the same decision.
Both fighters bear a burden of responsibility for putting on such a terrible display of boxing in what was supposed to be a marquee title unification fight but it is Knockout who walks away with the belt and his undefeated record intact, improving to 13-0. Rojas drops to 17-3-3.
Earlier in the afternoon Palangpon CP Freshmart (12-1) won in more straightforward style, defending his PABA WBC Asia 108 lbs belt with a unanimous decision win over Filipino. Vincent Bautista. The scores read 120-108, 119-09 and 120-108 in favour of the Thai fighter.
This article originally appeared on The Fight Nation.