By Keith Idec
Ossie Duran could feel referee Lindsay Page preparing to raise his hand early Saturday morning.
It was unbeaten Brandon Gonzales, however, who won their competitive eight-round middleweight bout by split decision. Duran, of Paterson, N.J., won their “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event on George Hill’s scorecard (78-74), but judges Julie Lederman and John McKaie scored Gonzales a 77-75 winner at Bally’s in Atlantic City.
“Even the referee was picking up my hand,” Duran said. “I swear to God. He was picking up my hand. He thought I won. And all of sudden, he put my hand down. He was in shock, too.”
For Duran, who wants to make as much money as possible in boxing to help build a clinic in his native Nator, Ghana, it was another hard-luck loss against an undefeated fighter on his way up.
The 34-year-old Duran lost for the first time in four fights since suffering a majority decision defeat to then-unbeaten Fernando Guerrero in October 2009. Duran dropped that 10-round bout by majority decision in Guerrero’s hometown of Salisbury, Md.
Two years later, he was again left wondering why he didn’t leave the ring victorious.
“Everybody knew I won the fight,” said Duran, whose record dropped to 26-9-2. “I don’t know what these people want me to do. This guy’s young, and he’s a prospect. But you could see that I won the fight with my experience. I won the fight clearly. That split-decision should’ve come to me. It shouldn’t have gone his way.”
The 27-year-old Gonzales, of Sacramento, Calif., improved to 15-0 and showed some flashes of the potential that has excited his new trainer, Virgil Hunter, and his promoter, Dan Goossen. But Gonzales didn’t distinguish himself in a fight against a durable veteran that included enough close rounds that it seemingly could’ve gone either way.
Neither fighter appeared to really hurt the other at any point in the bout, but Duran landed the more obvious hard shots and was very effective with his jab at times.
“I chased him all the rounds,” Duran said. “He was feeling my power. He was doing some pitty-pat, pitty-pat, running away. Maybe I could give him three rounds, something like that. But come on, man.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for the Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.