Mike Plania’s perception of how Joshua Greer Jr. viewed him entering their fight Tuesday night gave the then-unknown underdog even more motivation to pull off an upset.
Greer picked Plania over other opponents previously presented to him. Then, when Greer brought his trademark pillow to their weigh-in Monday and predicted Plania would go “Night Night,” that inspired Plania even more before their 10-round, 120-pound bout in Las Vegas.
Chicago’s Greer, a highly ranked bantamweight contender, was about a 4-1 favorite to defeat Plania in a main event ESPN televised from MGM Grand Conference Center. The Philippines’ Plania sent Grier to the canvas with left hooks in the first and sixth rounds, and withstood late fatigue to beat Greer by majority decision.
“I think he underestimated me,” Plania told BoxingScene.com through a translator after his victory. “It gave me more motivation because he kept saying, ‘Night Night.’ But now it’s ‘Magic Time.’ ”
The 23-year-old Plania (24-1, 12 KOs) – who referred to his nickname, “Magic Mike” – has not been knocked out in 25 professional fights, nor has Greer. The 26-year-old Greer rallied in the final three rounds of their bout, when Plania clearly tired and did his best to survive an onslaught from a re-energized, aggressive Greer (22-2-1, 12 KOs).
Judge Tim Cheatham (96-92) scored six rounds for Plania, who won seven rounds according to judge Patricia Morse-Jarman (97-91). Judge Dave Moretti scored six rounds for Greer, but he ultimately had it a draw due to the two knockdowns (94-94).
CompuBox counted 23 more punches landed overall for Plania (119-of-451 to 96-of-426).
According to CompuBox, Plania landed 99-of-290 power punches, 22 more than Greer (77-of-227). CompuBox credited the winner with landing one more jab than Greer as well (20-of-161 to 19-of-199).
Initially, Plania thought he was in for a short night. His left hook knocked Greer to the canvas just 1:10 into their fight.
Greer got up pretty quickly, yet he was taken aback by Plania’s power.
“I thought that he wouldn’t stand up anymore,” Plania said of his first-round knockdown. “But I was still focused and kept relaxed because you never know – anything can happen in boxing.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.