Erik Bazinyan barely kept his perfect record intact Thursday night.
Mexican underdog Jose de Jesus Macias battered Bazinyan at times in the final four rounds and hurt Bazinyan badly in the seventh round of their main event at Casino de Montreal in Montreal. The Armenian-born, Quebec-based Bazinyan did enough, however, to convince the judges that he won their 10-round super middleweight match comfortably.
The 28-year-old Bazinyan won by scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93 to remain in contention for each of Canelo Alvarez’s four 168-pound championships. Bazinyan (30-0, 21 KOs) is ranked second at super middleweight by the WBA, WBC and WBO and eighth by the IBF.
As his trainer, Marc Ramsey, would attest, though, Bazinyan didn’t look like a contender who could test Alvarez on Thursday night. In fact, when the final bell rang, their back-and-forth fight appeared to be a contest that could’ve gone either way.
Macias (28-12-4, 14 KOs) overcame a slow start and rocked Bazinyan with just over a minute to go in the seventh round. Neither fighter went down during their 10 rounds of action, but both boxers appeared hurt at times.
Macias and Bazinyan stood toe-to-toe and each fighter landed flush punches in the final minute of the 10th round. Bazinyan drilled Macias with a right hand that knocked his opponent backward with 15 seconds to go in their fight.
Bazinyan backed into the ropes in the final minute of the ninth round, which enabled Macias to trade with him. Macias battered Bazinyan with another right hand just before the ninth round ended.
Macias and Bazinyan banged it out on the inside during the middle minute of the ninth round.
Bazinyan and Macias traded hard shots while Bazinyan was backed into the ropes late in the eighth round. Bazinyan still seemed affected by the damage he suffered during the seventh round, when Macias hurt him.
Macias buzzed Bazinyan with a right hand when there was just over a minute remaining in the seventh round. Macias tried to finish off Bazinyan, but the subsequent shots he landed to his head and body couldn’t put Bazinyan down.
Bazinyan blasted Macias with a right hand that backed up Macias several seconds before the halfway point of the seventh round.
Bazinyan’s countered Macias with a right hand with just under 40 seconds remaining in the sixth round.
Bazinyan responded to Macias’ success in the third and fourth rounds by beginning the fifth round in a southpaw stance. Bazinyan went back to an orthodox stance approximately halfway through the fifth round and landed an array of power punches to Macias’ body and head.
A right hand by Macias landed as Bazinyan backed into the ropes with less than 30 seconds to go in the fourth round. Macias blasted Bazinyan with a left hook to the body barely 50 seconds into the fourth round.
Macias punctuated the success he had in the third round by blasting Bazinyan with a left hook when there were just under 25 seconds to go in it.
A left-right combination by Bazinyan landed at the midway mark of the second round. Bazinyan connected with a straight right that backed up Macias earlier in the second round.
Bazinyan spent most of the first round landing punches to Macias’ head and body. Macias mostly tried to cover up as Bazinyan unloaded on him in those opening three minutes.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.