Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara successfully defended his WBA Super Welterweight Championship with a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision over Vanes Martirosyan in their rematch bout, but it was undefeated brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo who stole the show Saturday night in Las Vegas, becoming the first twins in boxing history to hold world titles in the same weight class.
Lara outpointed Martirosyan in the main event by the scores of 116-111 twice, and 115-112. There were no knockdowns. Martirosyan had a point deducted for a low blow in the 11th in a rematch of a May 2012 fight that ended in a technical draw.
Lara, 33, was making his fourth title defense.
“This is normal,” said Lara who landed 60 percent of the 160-plus power punches. “This is boxing, not baseball. Low blows and headbutts happen. I’m a very intelligent fighter and at no point did I feel this fight was going to be lost."
Martirosyan, the aggressor throughout, disputed the decision.
“I was chasing him all night,” Martirosyan said. “I put on the pressure. I thought I did enough to win. That was not a low blow. Replays show the trunks were high."
|Photo by: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME|
Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood shared his own thoughts on the fight and agreed there was no low blow.
"Watching the punch that brought the deduction on replay, I believe that it wasn’t a low blow," said Farhood.
“As usual Lara’s style is extremely difficult for the judges to score," Farhood continued. “He’s so selective with his punches, yet he lands such a high percentage of them. And to make it even more difficult, a lot of Martirosyan’s body punches were blocked. The judges agreed on seven of the 12 rounds. It clearly was a close fight and what got Lara over the top was the 10-8 score in round 11. The difference was Lara’s accuracy and ring generalship.”
With his win over Martirosyan, Lara immediately set his sights on another rematch.
“I want to tell Team Vanes thank you for giving me the rematch," said Lara. "I’m ready to fight anybody. I’d like to fight Canelo."
Charlo twins make history
Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) retained his IBF Junior Middleweight World Championship with a unanimous 12-round decision over tough veteran and former world champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs).
Meanwhile, Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) earned the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Championship by rallying from five points down to register an eighth-round knockout over John Jackson (20-3, 15 KOs), of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Born one minute apart, the identical twins celebrated their 26th birthday this past Thursday, May 19. Jermall is one minute older than Jermell.
Jermall Charlo stuck to his game plan against Trout and fought behind his jab, throwing 292 jabs and connecting at an 18 percent clip. It was a balanced attack from both fighters, but the power and accuracy from the physically bigger Charlo was a difference.
“Austin is a hell of a fighter," said Jermall. "He’s a beast. This was my first time going 12, but it didn’t matter because I knew I was in shape. My game plan was to execute with the jab."
Trout also showed his opponent the same mutual respect.
“Hat’s off to Jermall Charlo. He fought a hell of a fight,” Trout said. “I felt like I did enough to win. They won’t give me a close decision, so it’s time to start taking these cats out. But I can’t make excuses. I fought my ass off, Charlo fought his ass off and hats off to him."
As for the future, Jermall Charlo decided against moving up in weight.
“I changed my mind -- we’re going to stay right here (at 154)," said Jermall. "Making 154 pounds wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be.”
His twin brother, Jermell, secured his win in dramatic fashion with a late rally.
“I was behind," said Jermell. "He was boxing, he was moving around a lot. That was unexpected of him. I thought he was going to come out to brawl. I had to make an adjustment and I did."
Two minutes into the eighth round, Jermell Charlo, trailing 69-64 on the three judges’ scorecards, landed a perfect counter right hand to Jackson’s left eye. As Jackson dropped his guard to insure his mouthpiece was in place, Jermell connected with two more right hands that sent Jackson falling forward into his corner. Defenseless and seemingly out on his feet, referee Tony Weeks stepped in immediately and stopped it at 0:51.
“When he started slowing down, I was able to catch him with a shot," said Jermell. "I knew that if he could have continued he could have come back so I had to hit him.”
While both were selective with their punches, throwing just 427 combined shots through eight and a half rounds, Jermell was the more accurate fighter. The new WBC champ landed 23 percent of his total punches, including 34 percent of his power shots against Jackson.
Jackson indicated he was not as hurt as he appeared to be at the time of the stoppage.
“I feel like I was ahead and I came up short," said Jackson. "He caught me with a punch and I was trying to fix my mouthpiece. Then he hit me and I was out. It hit me in the eye, but my mouthpiece was coming out. I was trying to push in my mouthpiece back in and he hit me. I knew where I was. It dazed me, but I wasn’t knocked out."
As for the history-making performances that night, Jermall Charlo had the final say.
“It felt good because I knew my brother would get the job done," said Jermall, reflecting on the historic night. "We belong on this level. We need these titles to get the big fights and we’re going to keep these titles to keep rising."
Shumenov stops Wright in tenth round
On the non-televised portion of the undercard, World Boxing Association (WBA) "regular" cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 10 KOs) stopped No. 11-rated Junior Wright (15-2-1, 12 KOs) in the 10th round tonight at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Shumenov, a former WBA light heavyweight world champion, is first two-division world champion from a Soviet-bloc country. The native of Kazakhstan also earned the right to challenge unified WBA Super/International Boxing Federation (IBF) cruiserweight world champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) within 120 days, as mandated by the WBA.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services