By Cliff Rold
Just over one year ago, Daniel Jacobs and Sergio Mora got together for an unlikely two round barnburner. Lightning had no intention of striking twice.
Jacobs (32-1, 29 KO), 159 ½, of Brooklyn, New York, the 29-year old WBA middleweight titlist, successfully defended his version of the WBA belt for the fourth time on Friday night at the Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania, scoring five official knockdowns and a seventh-round stoppage in an otherwise ugly, dull rematch with the 35-year old Mora (28-5-2, 9 KO), 159 ¼, of Los Angeles, California. Mora, a former WBC 154 lb. titlist, suffers the second stoppage loss of his career, both to Jacobs.
The referee was Gary Rosato.
From the start, Mora was in a defensive posture, providing little offense as Jacobs patiently walked him down. Never a big puncher, the knockdown Mora scored in their first fight looked a fluke as he could do little to deter Jacobs this time.
The survival game could only last so long. Knockdowns in the fourth and fifth rounds might have been debatable, influenced by the awkwardness of the fight. There was nothing awkward in the seventh, Jacobs dropping Mora three times, his corner coming onto the apron as Rosato waved the fight off at 2:08 of round seven.
With the win, Jacobs remains in line for a clash with the WBA’s more prominent beltholder, super titlist Gennady Golovkin. The WBA has said they will mandate a showdown next between the two should Golovkin successfully defend his other middleweight belts (he also holds the WBC and IBF belts but his WBA belt is not on the line) against welterweight titlist Kell Brook on Saturday.
Jacobs said in his post-fight interview that he’s up for the fight. “I want to prove that I’m the best middleweight…in the world so if Triple G gets the victory, that’s who we want.”
The televised card got off to a memorable start in the lightweight division.
In a battle of undefeated contenders, 25-year old Robert Easter (18-0, 14 KO), 134 ½, of Toledo, Ohio, survived a brief knockdown in the eighth to earn a grueling split decision over 29-year old Richard Commey (24-1, 22 KO), 135, of Accra, Ghana, for the vacant IBF lightweight title. The referee was Benjy Esteves Jr.
Well matched from the start, both men looked for an edge through a closely contested first four rounds. The heavy hands of Commey produced a booming effect when they landed but the longer, more diverse offense of Easter. In the fourth, Easter started to get into a groove and built what looked like a lead.
The power of Commey never let any lead feel safe. In an eighth round he was losing, an explosive Commey right hand scored a flash knockdown to suddenly draw the scores closer again. The fight was just getting ready to move into another gear.
The ninth round featured three of the best minutes of fighting this year, both men hurting each other as the momentum swung. Commey came on strong for the next two rounds, his heavy hands doing the best work while Easter relied mostly on the jab.
Heading into the final round, it was anyone’s fight. Easter found the shot he needed to make a loud case in his favor. Buckling Commey with a right hand that looked like a knockout blow, Easter came alive in search of a knockout. Commey wisely tied up, desperately trying to survive and find his legs. In the final minute, Commey seemed to buzz Easter and it was Easter who tied up. Both men used clinches to stretch out the final seconds before opening up with a final, thrilling exchange to end an excellent fight.
The scores came in rich with drama. The first announced was 115-112 Easter, followed by 114-113 Commey. The final score came in at 114-113 and the arena joined Easter in boisterous, well-earned celebration.
Easter maintained his excitement in post fight comments. “Man, it’s been a long training camp. My team…we have a hell of a training camp. This fight wasn’t easy at all. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Richard Commey, he’s a tough, tough competitor and he made me fight every round. But we did it man. We did it.”
The card was televised in the US on Spike TV as part of the Premiere Boxing Champions series.
Former IBF welterweight titleholder Kermit Cintron (38-5-2, 29 KOs) continues his comeback with a seventh round TKO of Manny Woods (15-6-1, 5 KOs).
Heavyweight contender Travis “My Time” Kauffman (31-1, 23 KOs) blew away Joshua Gormley (22-6, 21 KOs) in two rounds.
Highly ranked middleweight contender Jorge Sebastian Heiland (28-4-2, 15 KOs) demolished Angel Hernandez (17-19-1, 13KOs) in two rounds.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]