The crowd loudly disagreed with two of the judges’ scores, but Ardreal Holmes Jr. escaped with a technical split-decision victory over Wendy Toussaint on Saturday night in Detroit.
Holmes had a lot of trouble with Toussaint, whose grotesque cut on his forehead caused their bout to end during the eighth round on the Claressa Shields-Maricela Cornejo undercard at Little Caesars Arena. Judges Katealia Chambers (77-74) and Vincent Santino (76-75) still scored their scheduled 10-round fight for Holmes, who remained undefeated.
Judge Rose Gross thought Toussaint won and scored him a 77-74 winner.
Referee Gerard White halted the action with just over a minute to go in the eighth round, but they went to the scorecards because an accidental clash of heads caused Toussaint’s cut.
White deducted a point from Toussaint in the fourth round for hitting Holmes on the back of his head. That point deduction was the difference on Santino’s scorecard. Without it, Holmes-Toussaint would’ve resulted in a spilt draw.
Holmes (14-0, 5 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, entered their fight as nearly a 4-1 favorite according to most sportsbooks.
The Haitian-born Toussaint (14-2, 6 KOs) gave the tall southpaw a very difficult fight, though, and often backed him into the ropes and landed hard shots Holmes had difficulty defending. Toussaint, of Huntington, New York, had lost only to undefeated junior middleweight contender Charles Conwell (18-0, 13 KOs) prior to Saturday night.
An accidental clash of heads caused a nasty gash on Toussaint’s forehead with about 1:45 to go in the eighth round. A ringside physician took a close look at Toussaint’s cut, but he allowed the fight to continue.
With just over 1:10 to go in the eighth round, however, White determined it was too dangerous for Toussaint to keep fighting. After some confusion and a long delay, they went to the scorecards.
Toussaint’s left hook snuck around Holmes’ right hand and landed with just under 40 seconds on the clock in the seventh round, in which Toussaint was aggressive and accurate.
A left-right combination by Toussaint backed Holmes into the ropes 40 seconds into the seventh round.
Holmes caught Toussaint with a right hook and slid out of Toussaint’s punching range with 15 seconds remaining in the sixth round. Holmes did a better job of slipping Toussaint’s shots in the sixth round than he did during the previous two rounds.
Toussaint backed Holmes into the ropes and landed two right hands that got the crowd’s attention in the middle minute of the fifth round. Toussaint unloaded punches in combination in the opening minute of the fifth round, when Holmes had trouble dealing with his activity.
After having some success in the third round, Toussaint was aggressive during the fourth round. White deducted a point from him, however, for hitting Holmes on the back of his head with a right hand.
White warned Holmes several times in earlier rounds before he took a point from him.
Toussaint caught Holmes with a right hand that made Holmes hold him toward the end of the third round. Toussaint hit Holmes with a left hand in an exchange during the middle minute of the third round, which caused Holmes to tie him up.
White warned Toussaint for leading with his head about 25 seconds into the third round.
Holmes landed three body shots just before the bell sounded to end the second round. Toussaint landed a right hand about 1:10 into the second round.
A straight left by Holmes split Toussaint’s guard with about 50 seconds on the clock in the first round. An accidental clash of heads made Holmes step away from Toussaint briefly with just under 1:40 to go in the opening round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.