Maliek Montgomery demonstrated he can go rounds and entertain against a durable opponent Sunday night.
Montgomery remained unbeaten by out-boxing and out-working a determined Aleem Jumakhonov in a fan-friendly, 10-round featherweight fight FS1 broadcast as its main event from Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California. The 26-year-old Montgomery boxed beyond the fourth round for the first time as a pro and went the distance for the first time en route to winning a unanimous decision.
Montgomery (11-0, 10 KOs) landed nearly twice as many punches as Jumakhonov, according to CompuBox’s count. That reflected on the scorecards of judges Sergio Caiz (100-90), Jerry Cantu (98-92) and Zachary Young (99-91), who scored 10, eight and nine rounds, respectively, for Las Vegas’ Montgomery.
Montgomery, a native of Macon, Georgia, was extremely busy in what was a step up in competition for him. CompuBox counted 154 more connections for the winner (339-of-973 to 185-of-864).
Tajikistan’s Jumakhonov, 28, displayed extreme toughness. He has not been knocked out during his seven-year pro career, but he still slipped to 9-4-2 (5 KOs).
Despite his lack of rounds prior to Sunday night, Montgomery seemed energized even in the 10th and final round. He rarely stopped throwing punches during those action-packed three minutes.
Montgomery’s left-right combination toward the end of that round impacted Jumakhonov. A left hook by Montgomery moved Jumakhonov backward about 1:05 into the final round.
Montgomery landed the flusher punches during the eighth round, particularly when he backed Jumakhonov into the ropes. Jumakhonov never appeared hurt in that round, but referee Jack Reiss instructed a ringside physician to examine him before the ninth round began.
Jumakhonov wobbled Montgomery with a right hand a little less than 20 seconds into the ninth round. That only made Montgomery fight back harder.
Montgomery caught Jumakhonov with two left hooks while he fired back. With just under a minute on the clock in the ninth round, Montgomery hammered Jumakhonov with several power punches that kept Jumakhonov from throwing back.
Jumakhonov intentionally hit Montgomery with a right hand after the bell sounded to end the ninth round. That foul drew a warning from Reiss.
Jumakhonov and Montgomery exchanged at a rapid pace in the second half of the seventh round. Neither fighter could hurt his opponent, despite that each landed numerous power punches during that entertaining sequence.
Jumakhonov went to his corner following that seventh round with a lot of swelling around his right eye.
Montgomery landed a right hand and quickly slipped Jumakhonov’s counter right about a minute into the sixth round. Montgomery’s left hook caught Jumakhonov with about 1:15 to go in the sixth round.
Montgomery got the better of their exchange against the ropes during the final 15 seconds of the sixth round, too.
A right hand by Jumakhonov backed Montgomery into the ropes about 1:10 into the fifth round. Even while boxing off his back foot, though, Montgomery remained the more effective fighter in that round.
He staggered Jumakhonov with a six-punch combination with just under a minute on the clock in the fifth round.
Montgomery moved Jumakhonov into the ropes and landed an assortment of power punches to his head and body during the opening minute of the fourth round. A busier, sharper Montgomery landed the harder shots for most of the fourth round, but Jumakhonov cracked him with a left hook when there were about 45 seconds on the clock in that round.
Montgomery, an orthodox boxer, again began the third round from a southpaw stance. Jumakhonov and Montgomery traded hard shots from close distances throughout the first minute of the third round.
Jumakhonov’s right hand landed flush as Montgomery moved straight back with just over a minute remaining in the third round. A determined Jumakhonov kept coming forward for most of that round, but Montgomery made him pay more often than not.
Jumakhonov caught Montgomery with a counter right hand, but Montgomery walked through it about 25 seconds into the second round. With just under a minute to go in the second round, Montgomery landed a right uppercut and then a left hook that backed up Jumakhonov.
Montgomery’s speed and power advantages were obvious throughout the opening round.
Montgomery landed two straight left hands just after the midway mark of the first round. He also drilled Jumakhonov with a left uppercut and then a right uppercut with just under a minute to go in the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.