How low can you go? Mares wins IBF Bantamweight title in foul-filled decision over Agbeko
Abner Mares won the IBF Bantamweight title in the finals of Showtime's four-man tournament with a majority decision over Joseph Agbeko. Mares landed over two dozen low blows by one count, but never once got penalized by referee Russell Mora. He also scored two questionable knockdowns, one on what appeared to be a slip and the other on a low-blow.
Las Vegas, NV, United States
August 14, 2011 09:00 am EDT
Abner Mares won a controversial majority decision over Joseph Agbeko. The win earned Mares the IBF Bantamweight title and a victory in the Showtime Bantamweight tournament.
Mares scored two knockdowns in the fight, both of which were questionable.
In the first round, Mares scored well with body work and was awarded a knockdown on a body shot, although replays showed that Mares appeared to go down as the result of a slip.
Mares was aggressive early in the fight, working Agbeko’s body and outworking the defending champion.
As the fight wore on, however, Mares’ punches moved south, and he landed several low blows. At one point in the fight, Showtime announcers counted 28 low blows landed for Mares.
Despite the repeated offenses, it was Agbeko who received warnings from referee Russell Mora for pushing down Mares’ head.
In the fourth, Agbeko buckled the knees of Mares with an overhand right near the end of the round.
Mares continued to put rounds in the bank, and also continued to land low blows as the fight moved into the middle rounds.
Agbeko opened a cut on Mares in the sixth, but it didn’t appear to cause much difficulty in the second half of the fight.
Mares slowed considerably in the final three rounds as Agbeko made a late push.
Referee Mora drew heavy criticism in the late rounds for refusing to acknowledge that much of Mares’ offense was made up of illegal punches. He could have easily taken points in the eighth and ninth rounds.
In the tenth, Mares landed a solid punch that landed squarely on Agbeko’s groin, but Mora didn’t take a point or warn Mares.
In the eleventh round, Agbeko went down for a second time, this time on a low blow. Again the referee didn’t warn him, instead crediting him for a knockdown.
The two phantom knockdowns and missed point deductions were the difference in the bout. One judge scored the fight even at 113-113. He was overruled by a pair of 115-111 scorecards in Mares’ favor. AHN’s unofficial scorecard had it 114-112 for Mares.
Mares’ win earned him the tournament title, and he took Agbeko’s IBF title belt in the process. He improved to 22-0-1. Neither of his tournament wins were clean cut. He defeated Vic Darchinyan in the first round of the tourney via split decision, a fight in which he suffered a one-point deduction.
Agbeko fell to 28-3. He lost the title he won in the first round of the Bantamweight tournament, when he beat Yonhy Perez in a unanimous decision.
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