By Rory Fitzgerald
It is a judges job to score a fight on how they see it happening on the night and to ignore any hype or emotional stories leading up to a bout. That being said, Anthony Crolla was a clear winner on Saturday night. Even without the two point deduction his opponent Darleys Perez received, Crolla should be the WBA world lightweight champion today.
The “Million Dollar” man looked like he had shaken off all the effects of the brutal attack that left him fighting for his life late last year. He looked full of energy and as the fight went into the championship rounds he looked the stronger fighter and it seemed to everyone watching that he had the measure of the Colombian.
When it went to the judge’s scorecards it looked like a forgone conclusion, that Crolla would fulfil his dream, prove to his critics and to the doctors that looked after him that he was capable of winning a world title.
As the wait for the scorecards to be read out grew longer, it seemed like there was a mini panic going on in the Manchester man’s corner. They had obviously heard that the bout had been called a draw and that Perez would walk away as the champion.
Unfortunately, it’s not always the case in boxing where we have such joyous and deserved happy endings and that was the case for the brave Crolla. As the Michael Buffer read out the scorecards of 114-113 (changed to 113-113) 113-113 and 111-116 a majority draw, you could hear every one of Crolla’s loyal fan’s jaw hit the floor in the M.E.N arena.
Even without the two point deduction that Perez received during the fight, the 28 year old clearly had his opponent’s measure and at no stage looked in any serious trouble. One could wonder how not one but two judges scored the fight a draw in a fight where the Colombian had little or no success whatsoever.
Hurting deep down inside with the decision, “Million Dollar” gave his fans in the Manchester arena a huge smile and a wave, as much as if to say, we will be back again.
Judging by that performance, there is no doubt he will.
Scott Quigg demolition of former two time Carl Frampton foe Kiko Martinez to retain his WBA world super-bantamweight title and send shockwaves throughout the division.
Martinez was widely expected to give the unbeaten champ the toughest night of his 32 fight career but Quigg put on a show that made everyone stand up and take notice.
It was a nervy first round for the Bury man as Martinez marched forward constantly pushing Quigg on the back foot. In what had the makings to be a cracking fight, a different Scott Quigg turned up in the second round and blitzed a man who had only ever been stopped by Frampton in his professional career.
Early in the second round, Quigg caught Martinez with a crushing right uppercut that floored the Spaniard. He rose to his feet after the referee’s count of eight but it was clear to everyone watching that his number was up. Quigg knew it and seconds later went in for the kill.
One minute into the second round, after landing a succession of shots that Martinez had no answer for, the 28th year old produced one more solid right hand that had Martinez down for a second time. He bravely tried to make it to his feet but referee Terry O’Connor had seen enough and waved the fight away.
It was a performance that was always going to be compared to that of Frampton’s two fights with Martinez. Scott Quigg’s stock has certainly risen after the dismantling of the former IBF world champion.
Martin Murray was victorious in his second fight since stepping up to the super-middleweight division by stopping Mirzet Bajrektarevic in the fifth round. The 32 year old who has had a long career of bruising encounters will soon need to step up a level as he targets world title glory. James DeGale and George Groves would be classic domestic world title showdowns.
Sam Eggington was mightily impressive as he disposed of the previously unbeaten Glenn Foot to capture the vacant British welterweight title. The fight went to the judges score cards after only 8 of the 12 rounds as Foot was unable to continue as an accidental clash of heads left him with a nasty cut. Eggington was easily ahead on all three judges cards and stretched his record to 16-2. The 21 year old from Stourbridge has added the British welterweight title to the Commonwealth strap he won in his last fight against Joseph Lamptey.
Chris Jenkins and Tyrone Nurse went to war in a thrilling battle for the vacant British super-lightweight title. In a fight that ebbed and flowed throughout, the title remained vacant as the judge’s cards read 117-112 (to Nurse) 115-115 and 114-114 another majority draw.
There were also victories on the night for many of England young rising stars. Cruiserweight Jack Massey (22), light-heavyweight Hosea Burton (26), middleweight Marcus Morrison (22), super-lightweight Jeff Saunders (23) and flyweight Charlie Edwards (22) all extended there unbeaten records.
Another man who kept his unbeaten record in tact at the M.E.N was Ireland’s Jono Carroll who defeated Barrington Brown to stretch his record to 8-0.
All those who taught it would be Carl Frampton who had the easy night’s work and Scott Quigg who would be made to work hard were in for an early shock.
The 28 year old’s American debut was nothing short of dramatic against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr in El Paso.
‘The Jackal’ was sent to the canvas in the opening round. While no knockdown was a crushing blow, The Belfast fighter seemed a bit anxious after the second knockdown and it looked like an American debut nightmare was on the cards for the Belfast man.
He quickly regained his composure and came out fighting in the second round. Frampton started to pull away in the middle rounds but was still getting tagged by the Mexican in rare mid round flurries.
The scorecards showed a comfortable victory for Frampton in a bout that so easily could have been a different story if Gonzalez (who was deducted two points for constantly hitting Frampton below the belt) had been more clinical in an action packed first round.
After the fight Frampton declared he had struggled to make the weight and a move up in divisions could be an option which may put a bit of distance between his fight with Scott Quigg ever happening.
Nonito Donaire picked up his second straight knockout victory on Saturday night in Macao, China by defeating Anthony Settoul inside two rounds. It was only his second fight back in the super-bantamweight division following his devastating loss to Jamaican Nicholas Walters in November last year. That was at featherweight and the “Filipino Flash” seems much more at home in the super-bantamweight division.
In Germany on Saturday night, super-middleweight king Arthur Abraham stopped Robert Stieglitz inside 6 rounds. It was the fourth time these two have faced each other with the score now 3-1 in Abraham’s favour and it looks like that will be the end of the war between the two.
Also on that card Anthony Ogogo came back from over a year off with a unanimous point’s victory over Ukrainian Ruslan Schelev.
David Price’s career looks to be sliding down a very slippery slope as he was emphatically knocked out in two rounds by Erkan Teper in Germany on Friday night. The 33 year old German picked up the vacant EBU European heavyweight title in the process and stretched his unbeaten record to 15-0 with 10KO’s.
Liverpool man Price who was eyeing World title glory was on the comeback trail with four straight victories following his two surprise knockout defeats to Tony Thompson. This latest defeat will really test the 32 year olds resolve and it is a doubt if we will ever see him in a ring again. Maybe he already has his eyes on joining Paul Smith and Carl Froch on the set of Ringside.