Unbeaten lightweight prospect Art Hovhannisyan barely escaped with a split decision over former lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta in their Showtime-televised main event Friday evening at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California.
Acosta managed to win 96-92 on one card but was overruled by matching scores of 95-93 for Hovhannisyan in a fight that saw both fighters hit the deck.
The fight was filled with valleys of momentums and lulls, though plenty of drama the entire way through. Hovhannisyan turned a dull first round into a highlight reel moment, dropping Acosta hard at rounds end courtesy of a straight right hand.
Action was once again slow for most of the second round, though Acosta – after spending most of the frame trying to get his legs back – turned heads and drew oohs and ahhs with a right hand that knocked Hovhannisyan off balance, though not to the canvas.
With each passing round, Acosta managed to chip away at Hovhannisyan’s early lead. An otherwise competitive fifth round proved to be a huge swing on the scorecards when Acosta scored a knockdown late in the round. A right hand forced Hovhannisyan to dip his knees and touch his glove to the canvas, correctly ruled a knockdown by the referee.
Acosta carried the momentum over into a huge sixth round, possibly his best of the fight. From there, the drama continued to build as tide shifted back and forth over the remainder of the bout.
Both corners expressed dire urgency to close strong in the final rounds. Hovhannisyan awoke from a mid-rounds funk to unload in the 10th round, though Acosta never wilted.
The late rally by Hovhannisyan was enough to keep his perfect record intact. The transplanted Armenian advances to 15-0-2 (8KO) in what served as his first ring appearance in nearly a year.
Acosta (29-6-2, 23KO) manages to breathe a little bit of life into his waning career, despite having lost three of his last four bouts. The Nicaraguan was thought to be damaged goods after taking tremendous beatings at the hands of Brandon Rios and the modest-punching Richard Abril.
Friday’s main event didn’t necessarily reveal much about the future of each fighter, at least not in a favorable light. At the very least, both make for entertaining fights, which should be enough to earn each of them future airtime in a similar capacity.
MORALES PASSES TEST WITH FLYING COLORS
Roman Morales enjoyed a successful Showtime debut with a unanimous decision over Alexis Santiago in their televised co-feature.
Scores were 79-72 and 80-71 (twice) in favor of Morales (11-0, 6KO), a hot super bantamweight prospect who makes for entertaining fights. Morales scored a knockdown in round three, courtesy of an uppercut that put Santiago down and momentarily on queer street before regrouping.
Santiago (11-3-1, 5KO) was game throughout. However, the once promising prospect fell behind just enough in each round to where a seemingly competitive fight was accurately scored.