At the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California, WBO junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (26-0, 11KOs) made his welterweight presence felt, and kept his unbeaten record intact, with a unanimous twelve round decision over previously undefeated Carlos Abregu (29-1, 23KOs).
The scores were 118-110, 116-112 and 117-111.
Fighting in front of his hometown fans, Bradley was a hair less quick at welterweight with his punches. Bradley's punches are shot a little faster at his regular fighting weight of 140-pounds, but he showed more power with his noticeably bigger, chiseled body.
Bradley won the first round with a crisp jab and by using his speed. A cut opened up above Bradley's right eye as they clashed heads. Referee Jack Reiss was quick to rule it as an accidental head butt.
The second round was more of the same. Abregu had a lot of trouble adjusting to Bradley's speed. In the final minute of the round, Bradley connected on an overhand right that stunned and almost dropped his opponent. That was the moment it appeared the move in weight may have actually helped Bradley with his power.
Bradley won the third round but Abregu began to find his range with the counter left. During the fourth, Bradley speed and aggressiveness played a key role, but it also opened him as Abregu landed an lead right hand and followed it up, which forced Bradley to hold on. The power of Abregu's shots appeared to steal the round - even though blood began trickle from above his right eye.
Bradley's left jab was very effective in keeping Abregu in place during the fifth, and allowed him to jump in with right hooks and left overhand bombs with ease.
The sixth was a repeat of the fifth, and so was the seventh until the halfway mark when they clashed heads very hard for the second time in the fight. Abregu went down to the canvas but it appeared Bradley had landed a right to his body.
It was hard to tell what actually sent him down, the punch or the clash of heads. In any event, the ref waved it off and gave Abregu some time to recover. The crowd jumped in delight as Bradley closed the round by staggering Abregu with several hard combinations.
Abregu regained his composure in the eighth round and landed a hard right hook that got Bradley's attention. It was a more competitive round for Abregu, but not enough to change the course of the fight.
The ninth round began at a slower pace. Listening to the instructions of his corner, Abregu became more aggressive. Bradley spent the first half of the round fighting off the back foot - but Abregu was lured into his trap. Bradley began to land hard counter lefts and rights. Abregu was unsteady, and showed his fighting spirit by coming back in the final thirty seconds with combinations of his own to push Bradley back.
Bradley went back to his counter punching style in the tenth. The in-and-out approach was still successful as Abregu could only land an occasional punch. Abregu, breathing hard from an open mouth, continued valiantly in the 11th round, but couldn't change the fight.
Abregu knew he needed a knockout as the final round began. He landed a hard right and left on Bradley. Abregu was still very determined to pull off the upset, but Bradley took his time and slowed the fight down. Bradley knew he was well ahead on the scorecards and rather than play it safe by coasting until the final bell, he was determined to close the show in style.
The final minute of the fight had the crowd back on their feet. Bradley stood his ground by exchanging power punches with Abregu until the bell.
In the co-feature, Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo improved to 19-1 (16KO) by scoring a first-round technical knockout over Joachim Alcine (32-2) in their WBC junior middleweight eliminator.
The action started with Alcine landing the first big shot of the evening. Alcine appeared to be winning the first half of the round when his arms became entangled with those of Angulo. In a veteran move, Alcine was holding on to Angulo's left arm in what he perceived to be an advantage. Normally it is, but he left himself wide open and "El Perro" used his free hand to unload right hooks to Alcine's head.
Referee Lou Moret didn't break up the holding and it appeared that was the only reason that Alcine was able to stay on his feet. Seconds later, it appeared that Angulo may have punched himself out as Alcine weathered the storm and started to land punches of his own.
Angulo started firing back in a wild exchange of power shots and was getting the better of the firefight, landing consecutive shots to Alcine's head against the ropes. The Canadian fighter appeared to be out on his feet and stopped firing back. Moret jumped in to stop the contest with a second left in the first round.
The three minutes of action is a possible Round of the Year candidate.
The fight was so short that we didn't have a chance to see the improvements made to Angulo by strength and conditioning coach Darryl Hudson.
Angulo is now the number one contender to the vacant WBC junior middleweight title. We don't know who Angulo will be fighting for that title but like he says, "if you see the name Alfredo 'El Perro' Angulo on a fight card - you know it will be an exciting fight."
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