MINNEAPOLIS – Eight more rounds weren’t enough for Kent Cruz and Enriko Gogokhia to separate themselves from one another Saturday night.
For the second time in nine months, the junior welterweights fought to an eight-round draw. Their first fight ended in an eight-round split draw February 5, but their rematch resulted in a majority draw because judges Scott Erickson (76-76) and Don Trella (76-76) scored the action even.
Judge Kyle Sheely scored six of the eight rounds for Gogokhia, 78-74.
The Republic of Georgia’s Gogokhia (13-0-2, 8 KOs) was the aggressor throughout their bout on the David Morrell Jr.-Aidos Yerbossynuly undercard at The Armory. Gogokhia got off to a strong start, but St. Louis’ Cruz (16-0-3, 10 KOs) rallied in the second half of their fight to close the gap on two of the scorecards.
Gogokhia, 31, and Cruz, 29, first fought the Keith Thurman-Mario Barrios undercard at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Their second fight appeared close on the cards entering what was a competitive eighth and final round Saturday night. A right hand by Cruz landed on the top of Gogokhia’s head with just over 1:20 to go in the eighth and final round.
Cruz caught Gogokhia with a straight right hand that backed him up with 35 seconds on the clock in the seventh round. Cruz snapped back Gogokhia’s head with a right hand a little less than a minute into the seventh round.
Cruz became more aggressive in the second half of the sixth round and unloaded power punches in combination on Gogokhia. Soon thereafter, Gogokhia returned fire and made Cruz back off.
Gogokhia drilled Cruz with a straight left hand early in the sixth round that made Cruz stumble.
Cruz was more active during the fifth round than he had been in previous rounds. Gogokhia protected himself well, though, and didn’t take many flush punches.
Gogokhia clipped Cruz with yet another right hook that stunned him with just about 10 seconds to go in the fourth round. Several seconds earlier, Gogokhia implored Cruz to stand and fight.
Cruz pot-shotted Gogokhia with right hands before Gogokhia lunged forward and connected with a right hook with just under 1:40 to go in the third round.
Gogokhia caught Cruz with a right hook toward the end of the second round. About 40 seconds earlier, Gogokhia clipped Cruz with a right hook that made Cruz circle away from him.
Gogokhia pressed the action throughout the first round. In the final 10 seconds of that opening round, Gogokhia connected with a straight left hand and then a right hook.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.