By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Rau’shee Warren wasn’t able to avenge his Olympic loss to Nordine Oubaali on Saturday night.
Oubaali out-boxed Warren in their 12-round, 118-pound championship match and won a unanimous decision. France’s Oubaali also captured the vacant WBC bantamweight title by beating Warren at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Judges Julie Lederman (116-112), Ricardo Ocasio (115-113) and Steve Weisfeld (117-111) each scored their highly competitive clash between southpaws for Oubaali (15-0, 11 KOs).
Oubaali and Warren took turns playing the role of aggressor and both boxers had their moments throughout their 12-round battle. Oubaali began pulling away in the championship rounds, however, and secured a comfortable win on two of the three scorecards.
The 32-year-old Oubaali’s win was the second of three bouts broadcast by Showtime Pay-Per-View as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner undercard.
Cincinnati’s Warren (16-3, 4 KOs, 1 NC), a rare three-time Olympian, had hoped to defeat Oubaali after losing to him as an amateur 6½ years ago. Oubaali barely beat Warren, 19-18, in the first round at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Oubaali continued to land lefts and rights on Warren during the 12th round. Warren tried to fire back, but didn’t land many clean shots during those final three minutes.
Warren went after Oubaali to start the 11th round to try to re-establish some momentum. It worked, but only temporarily.
Oubaali landed numerous hard shots on Warren during the 10th round. Drakulich warned Oubaali for using his foreman with about 1:15 to go in the ninth round.
Warren’s straight left hand knocked Oubaali back toward a neutral corner with around one minute to go in the eighth round. Oubaali caught Warren with a clean right hook later in the eighth.
A right hook by Warren caused Oubaali to re-set his feet just after the halfway point of the seventh round. Warren initiated a fantastic exchange toward the end of the seventh round, in which Oubaali blasted Warren with a left-right combination, and then a right hook.
Warren was buzzed by that right hook, but Oubaali couldn’t put him down.
Oubaali unloaded a combination that backed Warren into the ropes right around the halfway point of the fifth round. Two right hooks by Oubaali made Warren retreat again later in the fifth.
Warren’s right hook knocked Oubaali backward with just over 1:40 to go in the fourth round.
Warren drilled Oubaali with a left hand and then a right-left combination late in the third round.
Oubaali landed two right hands to move Warren into a neutral corner with 1:45 remaining in the third round. Those connections made Warren shake his head affirmatively to acknowledge Oubaali’s work.
Warren’s quick right hook knocked Oubaali off balance briefly with just under 30 seconds to go in the second round. Warren went to follow up, but Oubaali fired back to create an good exchange before the round ended.
Oubaali clipped Warren with a short right hook toward the end of a tactical first round. That punch cause Warren to fire back at Oubaali, but none of his punches landed as hard as Oubaali’s right.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.